Valom 1/144 Sopwith Pup
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run kit. Two complete kits provided|
The Sopwith Pup was a British single seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good manoeuvrability, the aircraft proved very successful. The Pup was eventually outclassed by newer German fighters, but it was not completely replaced on the Western Front until the end of 1917. Remaining Pups were relegated to Home Defence and training units. The Pup's docile flying characteristics also made it ideal for use in aircraft carrier deck landing and takeoff experiments. The Pup also saw some success with foreign air arms. Surprisingly, several original airframes are extant.
Valom has decided to enter into the 1/144 market and though the first kit was a Luft '46 offering, the next batch is concentrating on WWI. There are not a lot of injected WWI kits on the market and so this is a good choice and I hope they do well with these.
The first of their first war kits is the Sopwith Pup. A good choice as it was a successful plane and looks nice as well. In order to provide value for the money, Valom had chosen to put two full kits in each box. In actuality, they could probably market these on header bag kits as both kits fit within a single bag and there is room in the box for probably two additional kit sets.
The molding is very nicely done and well up to Valom's usual standards. All of the detail, including the wing ribs, is engraved and while raised detail may be a bit more accurate, it really doesn't make much difference in this scale.
The plastic bits include the fuselage halves, a complete upper and lower wing, full tailplanes and fin/rudder. The engine is molded onto a firewall which fits into a one-piece engine cowling. The interior consists of a floor, seat and instrument panel.
Photo etch is used for the control stick, all of the wing struts, the tail skid, and the two side pieces of the landing gear. The landing gear spreader bar and wheels are in plastic. So is the prop and the machine gun. Not sure how well that p.e. tail skid will hold up, but there won't be a lot of weight on it so it may work well.
Instructions are nicely done and contain three well drawn construction steps. No rigging diagram is provided, but you can figure that out from the box art. There are markings for four aircraft all in dark green over unpainted linen with a metal forward fuselage and cowling. The box art plane is from 54 squadron in April of 1917. The white number 4 is for 'Chin Chow' of 46 Squadron in July of 1917. One with linen fuselage sides is with HMS Furious in August of 1917. This aircraft also has the tricolor on the elevator. Finally, a Japanese version from May of 1921. Both the JAAS and IJNAF flew the Pup. This aircraft has a red rudder. The decal sheet is very nicely done and should provide quite a bit of color. As a note, not shown is a small addendum sheet with another pair of rudder stripes.
A nice choice for their first offering in this scale. I hope it and the others do well as 1/144 is pretty well uncharted waters for this era.
Review kit courtesy of Valom. For more information, visit the link.
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