|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Full color printed paper|
The first examples reached the Western Front before the Sopwith Camel. Although it had a much better overall performance than the Camel, problems with its Hispano-Suiza engine, particularly the geared-output H-S 8B-powered early versions, meant that there was a chronic shortage of S.E.5s until well into 1918 and fewer squadrons were equipped with the S.E.5 than with the Sopwith fighter. Together with the Camel, the S.E.5 was instrumental in regaining allied air superiority in mid-1917 and maintaining it for the rest of the war, ensuring there was no repetition of "Bloody April" 1917 when losses in the Royal Flying Corps were much heavier than in the Luftstreitkräfte.
One of the more interesting segments of scale modeling is paper models. This is actually a larger part of the hobby as what one might think. It is fairly well established in Europe and I've seen a lot of Japanese train buildings and accessories made from printed paper. Huntly's Paper Warplanes is an American company that has a growing catalogue of aircraft, most of them biplanes of some sort. These models all range from beginner to those requiring more skill. I was sent one of the beginner models, the Royal Aircraft Factory Se.5. This is undoubtedly a beginning kit as it has mostly square edges with no need to try to fabricate things like radial engine cowlings.
Much of what makes a successful paper kit is how well it is engineered. This one looks to be top notch and it must have taken a lot of trial and effort to come up with a method of designing the kit. There are three full color sheets, three pages of instructions (one for each sheet) and three sheets of high quality paper. One of the sheets of paper is thicker than the other two.
As with plastic modeling, you need to have some tools and other bits to properly build one of these kits. The instructions provide a full rundown of what you need and actually, you probably have most of these items already. I have to make a huge guess that one glues the colored sheets to the thicker white paper to build these kits. I confess to reading over the instructions and not seeing this stated, but it is probably one of those things that 'everyone knows already'. Rubber cement is the recommended attachment medium.
The instructions are quite complete and each of the color sheets includes precise folding information as well as some helpful hints in making the model. The end result has a wingspan of about 7 inches so I'm not sure what scale that might be, though a lot of other companies produce kits to 1/33 scale.
This would be a great introduction into the hobby. At least one regular MM reader has been building these sorts of models for a few years and his finished work looks superb. This kit would be a great one on which to start.
January 2016 Copyright
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