Wingnut Wings 1/32 Sopwith Pup

KIT #: 32016
PRICE: $59.00 MSRP
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: New Kit

HISTORY

 

The Sopwith Pup (or Scout as it was supposed to be known as) was based on Sopwith Test Pilot Harry Hawkerís chalk outline of a single engine scout.  This later became known as Admiralty Type 9901 and eventually called the Pup by everyone except military bureaucrats because of itís size compared to the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter Observation Plane/Bomber.

 

The Pup was a light and maneuverable fighter armed with a single Vickers machine gun    but matched up well against the heavier and more heavily armed Albatros, Halberstadt and Fokker biplanes of the time and helped the Allies keep air superiority till the effects of vastly better Albatros DIIIs and German air tactics led to Bloody April 1917.  Pups served with the RNAS from Mid 1916 till early 1917 when they were replaced by the Sopwith Triplane and in the RFC from mid 1916 to Dec 1917 when Camels finally replaced the last active duty Pups which were used in home defense units to protect England against Gotha Bombers and Zeppelins.  Pups were used in training squadrons till the end of the war.

 

What is surprising to me is at the peak of its wartime service, the Pup only equipped a mere seven squadrons (four in the RNAS and three in the RFC.)

 

Due to its light weight, the Pup became the first ever carrier aircraft as the Royal Navy developed the means to fly planes off ships.  In 1917, Squadron Commander Edward Dunning became the first man to ever land on the deck of a moving ship, the HMS Furious and several days later became the first man killed in a carrier landing when his plane fell over the side during a landing attempt.

 

The Pup also served with the Americans, Greeks, Russians, Dutch, Romanians, Australians and notably with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, who promptly fell in love with its maneuverability.

 

Info from Wikipedia and the Wingnut Wings Instructions

 

THE KIT

 

See my preview of the Sopwith Pup Kit

CONSTRUCTION

 

I actually started building the La Rhone engine first and followed the instructions.  The detail and fit of the parts are excellent.  If one really insists then you can deal with the seam between the engine halves, but I chose not to as that detail will only be seen from underneath by someone with very good eyes and an all too anal temperament.  Wingnut Wings provides a wiring diagram for the ignition wires, but again I chose not to as this was a detail that could only be barely seen from underneath.  The parts were sprayed with Tamiya TS-30 Old Silver.  When the base paint was dry, I hand painted the other parts steel and copper.  I aged the copper by dry brushing a layer of Vallejo clear blue to show the effects of heat.  Next the engine was weathered with Tamiya smoke to pop out the detail.  Once completed, I set the engine assembly aside.

 

Next I worked on the cockpit.  Due to the wooden frame construction of WW1 biplane cockpits, this was not a quick and easy task (for any biplane model I might add.)  I sprayed the wooden parts Tamiya Buff to provide a base color for the wood and the canvas was painted using Tamiya Deck Tan (as suggested in the color guide) while the metal parts were done with Tamiya Chrome Silver as the base and Talon Aluminum as the top coat.

 

I didnít spend too much time with dry brushing the wood effect on the interior bits, but I did enough to it sort of show without putting too much effort into it.  I took more effort with the interplane struts and props because they would be very visible.  One thing I tried to do was vary wood grain patterns instead of making them uniform.

 

The real prop is a laminate of wood, but I couldnít get that right with the brushes I have so I did what I could.

 

The instructions mention various parts were light wood and dark wood.  What I did was brush clear yellow over the base paint layer for the light wood and two layers of red clear and one layer of yellow clear for the dark wood.  The reasoning behind that was due to trial and error.  I found that clear red by itself was too red while a one to one ratio of red/yellow made it orange while the two red to one yellow ratio appeared just right to me.  It was easier than trying to mix and match different colors of wood for the base color. 

 

Next I assembled, painted and decaled the cockpit plastic and PE seatbelt parts following the well done instructions.  I cut and glued in some fishing line represent the control wires while I used brass wire for the bracing wires between the frames using the information found in the instructions.  I found this assembly to be a bit fiddly and had a bit of a hard time trying to get that to fit in the fuselage.  Take your time with it and be gentle as the cockpit assembly is rather delicate.  One thing I should warn you about is that if you do make the control wires is that you keep them as close to the floor as possible or the seat will not fit well as I discovered when it would not stay secured to the frame.  I ended up having to cut some flat toothpicks to help raise the seat enough off the ground so that the seat would stay on the frame but not be too obvious to anyone peering into the cockpit.

 

I glued the fuselage halves together with the cockpit.  Again take your time as the various parts need some coaxing.  After a week to allow for outgassing, the fuselage seams were filled with CA glue and carefully sanded so as not to removed the fabric detail.

 

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

Painting

Note:  I painted the sub assemblies before I put the thing together.

 

The wings were preshaded using white and/or Tamiya Deck Tan on the areas of the wing that were on the wing ribs and flat black between the ribs.

 

I started with the ailerons and painted them white on both the top and bottom.  Once dry, I masked them off in preparation for the base color.

 

Apparently, Sopwith had their proprietary version of Khaki which was fairly close to Tamiya OD (FS34079) XF-62 instead of PC10.  I decided to take the path of least effort and I used XF-62.  I sprayed on two light coats so that the preshading could show through.  Looking back I think I may have over done the wing effect in comparison to real life.  I like how it turned out though.  The underside was painted Tamiya Deck Tan which looks like the clear doped tan from the color photos provided in the instructions.

 

I did the same for the underside although I think I may have made a mistake with the underside fuselage color as I went with Tamiya OD instead of Doped Linen.  It was hard to say as the paint guide didnít say one way or another. 

 

Decals

Wingnutís decals are made by Cartograph.  They go on very well using MicroSet and Solvaset for the difficult areas.  They provide six options all from the RNAS, but I selected the plane from the cover, Betty.  Wingnuts provides a choice between a Red Betty or Black Betty.  Despite the fact that I like the song Black Betty, I prefer the Red Betty markings.  Note:  the decals were done after the sub assemblies were glued together.

 

It is the little details that make things much easier.  Wingnuts makes a four part decal fuselage stripe that fits perfectly rather than trying to fight a one or two piece decal stripe made easier due to the box fuselage.  The upper wing roundels on the real plane were painted into the gap between the wing and flaps, but Wingnuts was thoughtful enough to provide a guide on the decal sheet to help to place them on the wing to create that effect. 

 

I used MicroSol on the decals and a little bit of SolvaSet for the problem areas.

 

Weathering

This was actually done when the plane was completed.  I kept the topside weathering to a minimum.  The underside was another matter altogether.  The engines of WW1 airplanes sprayed a lot of oil so I spent a lot of time trying to make oil leaks and exhaust stains on the underside.  I used a combination of brush painted Tamiya Smoke (oil stains), a water color wash and the Tamiya weathering set (exhaust stains) for the underside while I used a sludge of Tamiya Desert Yellow and watercolors (burnt sienna, black and raw umber) to represent mud on the tires and undercarriage.

 

Topside I added some black pastel for the gunfire residue and added some Tamiya Smoke with a fine tipped brush for the fuel stains.

 

It was all sealed in with a final coat of Future and then the absolute last final coat was Xtracrylic Satin Coat in random places.

 

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 

There was a slight gap between the lower wing and fuselage after I put them together.  Itís not really a problem if one uses Mr Surfacer or Vallejo Acrylic Putty to fill the gap and then let it sit for a few minutes before removing the excess with Q-Tips slightly damp with lacquer thinner or water.  Of course, I ended up painting the affected area again.

 

The Vickers Machine gun was cleaned up, the photo etch parts were added then painted flat black and dry brushed with steel.  The windscreen frame was painted burnt sienna to represent the leather.

 

ďBettyĒ had an aluminum cowling covered with red chipped paint so the various cowling parts were masked off and painted.  I first painted all the exposed metal parts with Tamiya TS-30 Old Silver because it was durable and would not react with the top coat acrylic paint.  Next I sprayed gloss Red, let it dry for about five minutes and took low tack tape to the red to create the chipped paint look. 

 

The top of the cockpit section was painted Tamiya Deck Tan, burnt sienna was dry brushed on to give it a wood look then it was sprayed with two thin coats of Tamiya clear yellow.  Once dry it was glued on and then held together with C-Clamps till the glue fully cured so as to eliminate any gaps.

 

Next I worked on the landing gear.  All the parts were pre painted as per the instructions before assembly and then glued together.  If there is one area of a WW1 biplane model I have consistent trouble with then it would have be the landing gear.  I have had issues getting the damned things to align correctly and not wonky as it usually happens.  The Wingnuts landing gear is designed well enough that even I can assemble a non wonky landing gear.  One thing I did find was that one tab was slightly higher than the slot it was supposed to fit into so I trimmed it.

 

After that I glued on the struts and the upper wing.  Again, I have to say that I am very impressed how the Wingnuts model design team put it together as I had no issues with this part of the assembly unlike every other WW1 biplane Iíve put together.

 

One last area that needed to be fixed was the seam between the wing and fuselage which is not there on the original (the underside is one long piece of fabric.)  I masked off the wings with painterís tape so as not to let the paint be ruined by sloppy sanding.  There is a way to do it without filling and sanding, but I could not find the article and went with the old painful way of filling/sanding instead.  Once done, the affected areas were masked off and painted Tamiya OD.

 

The rest of the bits including the cowling, prop and machine gun were glued on at this time.

 

Rigging a Sopwith Product is never fun because there is soooooo much of it.  I took about three days to complete the rigging using compass dividers to mark out lengths between holes and using RB Productions PE British 4BA and 2BA wires (based on a suggestion by Tom Cleaver) for the places that had the foil wires.  FYI, the sections that require double wires were the worst.  I stuck with my old method of using white glue to secure metal wire rigging and am happy to say that these worked out great.  One thing I wished that Wingnuts provided was to indicate which wires used 4BA and 2BA.  I took an educated guess as to where it was and left it at that.

 

Note:  I also bought some of RB Productionsí 1/32 scale attachment points, but I realized I donít have the patience to make some 50+ attachment points and didnít do it.  Maybe next time.

 

The control wires were done with 0.08 inch diameter brass wire.

 

One hint to make rigging easier.  Work from the inside out.  What I mean is do all the fuselage bracing wires first, next the wires between the struts that are parallel to the fuselage and then do the wires between the wings that are perpendicular to the fuselage.  Any other order will make things painful as you knock over wires or canít put the wires in because the previous wires get in your way.

CONCLUSIONS

 

 

Iím impressed with everything about this kit from the quality of the box art, parts and right to the instructions.  Wingnut Wingsí owner Peter Jackson got more of my money as I ordered more of these kits as Iíve been told that the free shipping from New Zealand (!) is still on.

 

If youíve always wanted to build a WW1 plane then Iíd strongly consider getting a Wingnut Wings kit.  These models are amazing well done pieces of plastic and well worth the money in my opinion.  I canít say enough about how much I really like these kits.

 

If you want to purchase a Wingnuts kit then you will have to go to their website: http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/

 

Kit courtesy of my wallet.  Besides owning a set of the LOTR DVDs, I have no connection to Peter Jackson or Wingnut Wings.

Dan Lee

September 2010 

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