Trumpeter 1/32 Swordfish

KIT #: ?
PRICE: 60 Euros from a shop in Germany
DECALS: Two options: 815 and 816 Squadron.
REVIEWER: Roger Hardy


The Swordfish needs no introduction. 
 Obsolete at the beginning of World War II, it soldiered on throughout the war, excelling in carrying enormous loads off the small British aircraft carriers.  It was an anachronism, so slow that the Italian guns at Taranto could not get their range because the minimum speed setting was, I think 120 kts.  The Swordfish was came in at about 80-90 kts!  It is credited with the destruction of 30 major enemy ships (including the Bismarck), the Italian fleet, 12 U-boats and 35,000 tons of enemy shipping.  Not bad for an obsolete aircraft.

I built the Tamiya 1/48 Swordfish some years ago and thought it the best kit ever produced, but expensive.  To add insult to financial injury, the photo-etch bracing wire set was extra.   When I saw the Trumpeter kit of 1/32 scale, it was a must-have. When I opened the box, I had a feeling of dťjŗ vu: it was the Tamiya kit scaled up.  Now that was good news because I have made a few Trumpeter kits and, whilst I applaud their efforts, their products are a bit hit-and-miss.  This one, however, is right on target.  Of course, the Tamiya kit was a perfect starting point and I decided to make this straight-from-the-box.  

OK, where does it differ from the Tamiya kit? 
 First, you get all the bracing wire as photo-etched parts, plus rubber tyres and a second see-through fuselage.  Wow.  I decided to make a hybrid, one side realistic and the other see-through, rather like a museum model.  This model also includes the parts that Tamiya added for the clear edition; fuel and oil tanks, internal structure, etc.  So, the emphasis was not on super-detail but to make an attractive display model.  The construction was relatively easy, for a biplane, and the design of the struts and wings make wing alignment easy butÖ.see below.  The instrument panel was a puzzle.  They give you a clear panel and a decal.  Huh?  The decal is meant to go on the front, so why bother with making it clear?   The panel is too thick to put the decal on the back.  In the end, I decided that, as the panel was buried deep under the coaming, I would put the decal on the front.  To my surprise, and with a lot of Microset and Microsol, it settled down well and actually looks good.  I put some drops of clear varnish for the glass and moved on.  Thereís little else to be said about the build although I was frustrated by the complexity of the under-wing stores carriers which are fiddly and rather weak.  Superglue to the rescue.  

Iíve never built a see-through model before but found it quite easy and used very runny liquid poly and Micro Kristal Kleer. One of the nice things about an old biplane is that you donít need to worry about joints too much. 
 They had joints everywhere and the Swordfish was a mess.  So, there was little to do, except to throw it together.  I painted the different assemblies as I went on and this worked well.  

You have the option of folding the wings but I didnít do this because I think that aeroplanes should look as if they are about to take to the air.  Also, when folded, the cockpit detail becomes invisible.  The photo-etched rigging set is the thickest I have ever seen, so forget about snipping the bits out with scissors.  I found that waggling them was the best way, then the tags need to be filed.  These parts are very robust.  I first thought that the rigging was going to be too thick, but, actually, when finished, it looks exactly right.  His was a big, heavy ugly aeroplane and needs big, heavy ugly rigging.  The rigging was not too difficult to apply and the finished model is very rigid.  My only criticism is that when it is assembled correctly, the lower wing has a noticeable sag which the real aircraft doesnít have (I noticed the same on the Tamiya kit).  The rigidity of the assembly is such that thereís little you can do about it.  Actually, when the under-wing stores are fitted, the sag looks appropriate.

The colour instructions are incorrect; the camouflage should be Dark Sea Grey and Slate Grey, not Dark Green.  Slate Grey is a lighter tone that Dark Sea Grey whereas Dark Green is darker.  Technically, the lower wing should have lighter tones but I didnít bother with that.  There is also some confusion as to the underside colourÖwhite, Sky or Sky Grey?  The instructions say Sky but there is a lot of evidence that they were Sky Grey.  There are few colour pictures of these aircraft and I chose Sky Grey.  Maybe it should have been Sky, I donít know, but it looks fine and Iím not losing sleep over it.  I mixed my own colours from the Tamiya range, including a slightly flat satin varnish and sprayed using an Aztek airbrush.

So, the overall conclusion?  Itís a great model to build and looks really impressive when finished.  The slightly unreal idea of having part of the fuselage see-through is interesting and, for me, works.  I should point out that I am not an expert modeler, I muddle along and this was not a difficult build, straight from the box.  I hope this encourages you to go and try this kit.  I highly recommend it. 

Roger Hardy

May 2013

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