by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
The prototype was completed in 9 February 1916. The first Pups for the RFC reached the Western Front in October 1916 with No. 8 Squadron RNAS, and proved successful, with the squadron's Pups claiming 20 enemy machines destroyed in operations over the Somme battlefield by the end of the year. The first RFC Squadron to re-equip with the Pup was No. 54 Squadron, which arrived in France in December. The LeRhône engined Pup quickly proved its superiority over the early Fokker, Halberstadt and Albatros biplanes. After encountering the Pup in combat, Manfred von Richthofen said, "We saw at once that the enemy aeroplane was superior to ours." It was to prove itself as the first shipboard fighter and in the vanguard of the BEF over the Western front during 1916.
It was in April 2009 that the Wingnut Wings website announced their1:32 kit and listed as “coming soon”. Then on 5 September 2009 that this kit was previewed at the Wellington Model Expo. It was noted that there would be 2 different versions. One for the #32013 RFC (9901) type and the other was based on the #32016 RNAS (9901 & 9901a) type. Mine arrived at the end of January 2010. Mine arrived at the end of January 2010. I remember the first kit review I published back in 1998 concerned a 1:48 model kit of the Sopwith Pup. Now to begin.
The cover page to the 24 page instruction monograph contains the background, data and history of the original aircraft.
Page 1 has the legend symbolic keys for actions to employ or not to use, paint recommendations and page 2 has the kit parts map. Some areas are shaded to not parts not meant for use with this build.
The best place to start with is the clean up of parts, erasing all molds seams. Pay close attention to the seams on the edges of the fuselage, wings, horizontal and vertical tail unit. The “parts map” on the second page of the instructions will guide you to your plastic pieces Pre-drill all rigging holes at this time. Assemble the cockpit parts in the Wingnut Wings (WNW) recommended sequence. Note to their credit WNW has corrected an age old faux paux on page 4 of the instructions. In several previous references the images of the Pup cockpit has been reversed.
Step 1. Being that varnished wood is prevalent in most WWI aviation subjects, consider that Sopwith products are high on that list. Simulating “wood veneer” is pretty easy. Each component of the cockpit assembly (PP A 17, 19, 21, 26, 29 - 31, 33, 34, 37, 39 ) and (PP B 15 & 16 ) needs individual attention as to its construction media. Metal, wood and fabric all play a role here. If your going to model the Pup with control surfaces in an actuated positions here is the time to set the control column & rudder bar in complimentary positions.
To simulate wood I will paint a base coat of acrylic buff or linen colour. When thoroughly dry I will apply a clear flat coat. When that is dry, I will begin streaking a brown enamel wash over the area with an older brush. Several coats may be needed. In the next sub assemblies all hardware items of metal can be painted aluminum with black knobs and handles or medium grey entirely. Page 4 shows clear routes of the rigging (blue) and control cables (green). For the instrument panel I will drill out the center plastic of the gauges and add a clear backing with the decal for the gauges placed over the clear areas and then paint the backs of the dried decals and the clear panel to seal the deal.
The brass etched pieces are readily marked on the fret itself. Anneal the seat belt straps (PE 3 & 4 ) by passing them over a heat source. Don’t plunge the part into an open flame. You want to soften the part, not cook it to the point that it is brittle. Paint the part with a flat colour then when it is dry use flex film on its raised sections. This will reveal the brass buckles and eyelets in relief. Carefully form the part, attach it and touch up any scuffed or exposed areas. Add these PE items to the seat (PP B 13 & A 43 ) assembly as shown. The next cockpit additions include the fuel /oil tank (PP A 7 ) The original had an inner partition to accommodate both substances in one container. Then the instrument panel assembly (A 13 & B 17 ) and the arched rear Vickers machine gun support (PP A 7 ).
Step 2. The tail skid and fuselage facade details section notes the difference in the adjustable (PP D.1 , B 2 & 11 ) and fixed (PP D 1 & B 2 ) type of horizontal tailplane details. There is also cowling variations (PP A 15 & 16 or 23 & 24 )in the types of access panels to the rear of both the firewall and the rotary engine. Check your profiles.
The cabane struts are one of the best features structurally speaking. The rear cabane struts are moulded to the internal fuselage sides (PP A 17 & 19 ). I just wish other manufacturer’s would follow suit. The moulded cabane struts integral with the fuselage halves can make short work of wing alignments.
Step 3. Details the horizontal tail surfaces and control horns (PP B 8 & 12 X 2), cockpit decking (PP A 10) and the variation for the unarmed profile with (PP A 44) added. Next the rudder’s vertical stabilizer variations for the adjustable (PP A 11) or the fixed (PP A 12 ).
Step 4. The rudder (PP B 3 & 5 ) assembly is straight forward with the admonishment to add the decals before adding the control horns (PP B 3 ).
Step 5. I separated the both wings (PP D 5 & 6 ) into six sections. Note that on the real a/c the top wing is in three sections and the lower wing is in three parts as well. Checking the rigging and strut locator pips. These sections of the Pup’s wings were attached to threaded unions protruding from the fuselage and the center section producing a noticeable gap. Using brass rod here will help you adjust the dihedral as you go. I also put brass rod into the pre-drilled ends of the struts.
Step 6. The Vickers machine gun (PP B1 & C 5 or A 4 ) assembly is shown. I will save adding the clear windscreen (PP C 2 , 5 or 6) until a last step. But dry fitting it is a good idea.
Step 7. Rigging can now be applied as we add the top wing (sections from step 5) to the assembly. I used a metal cabled fishing line in sections for the stabilizer cables and Kevlar fishing line (flat in crossection) for the RAFwire flying cables. I anchor one group of threads with Super- glue, then pass the other ends through their holes and clip spring action metal surgical clamps to their ends. Then secure those ends always using Gap Filling Super Glue, but sparingly. With the Pup you’ll find 2 pairs of rear inter-plane flying wires pass from the fuselage underside through the lower wing to the area adjacent to the upper end of the inter-plane strut. Builder be warned. I then run the other ends of the strands through their holes and attach clamps to draw the line-s taught (One clamp per line). Next a small drop of thin Superglue and wait for it to dry completely. Yes, I know that I’m being redundant but believe me its important to a well built kit.
If your going to model the Pup with control surfaces in an actuated positions here is the time to do so. Now add the Upper wing ( PP D 6 ) ailerons and control horns (PP D 7 & 8, B 14 X 2 ) in concert with the control column ( PP B 15) and rudder bar ( PP B 16 ) positions. These parts are stabilized with brass pins in pre drilled holes. If your really AMS afflicted you can soften the detail on the under surfaces of the wings with the application of sanding film.
Step 8. The 80hp LeRhône rotary 9c engine ( PP E 1, 3 X 9, 4 - 9 ) consists of 17 pieces and as been notes elsewhere is crisply moulded. A wiring diagram is provided for the spark plug leads (which not included but would be easily made from wire or heat-stretched sprue). Now here is the rub. The air induction pipe unit (PP E 4) needs real adjustment by most accounts, to meet with the engine cylinder head assemblies. There will have to be some bending for all pipes to connect. But WNW has really done a superior job of providing the modeler with detailed images of the real engine on the same page.
Step 9. Adds the lower wing ailerons and the ir control horns.(PP D 2 & 3 , A 8 X 2) Note the way they should attach. I also put brass pins in these ailerons and in the ends of the Landing Gear struts (PP A 18, 20 ). I will also replace the split axle (PP A 28) with a bent brass rod item for strength. The axle wing (PP A 25) and other under carriage items(PP A 27 X 2). The remaining items (PP B 4,6,7 X 2 ), fit on with the recommendation of not using any adhesive. .
Step 10. Note the cowling (PP A 2 or 35 ) propeller (PP A 14 or 22 ) variations. Also the rear prop boss insert (PP A 3 ) is a very neat item I found handy when doing the WNW Junkers J.I. The insert not only allows them to avoid sink marks in production but provides a good deal of strength.
Step 11. Notes all the rigging paths.
The Pup left its parent and various license contract manufacturers with a coat of PC 10 on all upper face fabric covered areas. The fuselage was even painted this on the under surface. The under surfaces of the wing panels and horizontal tail unit were clear doped. The metal cowlings were usually painted in a light to medium grey tone.
A. Sopwith Pup A6156 “OS” Whitehead built was a 54 Sqn RFC machine flown by Lt. O. Stewart in April - May 1917
B. Sopwith Pup A7327 “1" Standard built was a 46 Sqn RFC machine flown by Capt S.H. Pratt in June - July 1917.
C. Sopwith Pup B1777 “Chin Chow" Standard built was a 46 Sqn RFC machine flown by Lt. A. S. Gould - Lee in July - August 1917.
D. Sopwith Pup B1795 “Z " Standard built was a 46 Sqn RFC machine flown by Lt. A. F. Bird in August 1917. This machine was brought down by MvR on 3 September 1917 as his 61st victory.
E. Sopwith Pup D4165 Whitehead built was a JAAS machine flown by Lt. Kawaida in May 1921.
Extra detail decals include;
1. The cockades are cookie cutter types for applying to the ailerons. As RFC machines the cockades and are all in outboard positions.
2. ‘Palmer Cord Aero Tyre’ decals for the tyres 700 x 75.
3. Manufacturers decals for the propeller (different types, RFC: 2)
the interplane struts (different types, RFC: 2).
4. Faces for the instrument gauges, placards,
5. ‘Lift Here’ markings and numerous manufacturers stencils for application to the wings, tailplane and fuselage are included.
Air Enthusiast #4 Pp.187-207.
British Fighter Units Western Front 1917-18 by Alex Revell , Osprey Airwar #18, 1978.
Cross & Cockade Int. Vol. 19, #1, Pp. 1-25 Esp. Pp. 4 ,14, 16 &19. 1987
Cross & Cockade Int. Vol. 23, #1, Pp. 34-41. 1991
Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 23, #3, Pp.193-214. 1984.
Profile #13, The Sopwith Pup by J.M.Bruce. 1965
Quarterly Review Pp. 4-12 “Sopwith Pup...First Carrier Fighter.” by R. Hucker, date unknown.
Royal Flying Corp in WWI by R. Rimell, Osprey Vintage Warbirds series #1, 1985..
Sopwith Fighters in WWI by J.M.Bruce, Osprey Vintage Warbirds series. #3, 1986.
Sopwith Pup Aces of WWI by Norman Franks, Osprey a/c of the Aces, 2005.
The Sopwith Pup” by J.M. Bruce, Gordon Page and Ray Sturtivant, published by Air Britain 2002.
Windsock Datafile #2 , Albatros Pub. Ltd.
When contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Click here for additional images for this review.