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Sopwith 1 Strutter
two seat fighter

Review Part One
Contents and Buildability

 

Roden

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: RD402
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 10 parts in clear styrene; 58 parts in light grey styrene;  1x photo-etched fret; four marking options.
Price: USD$20.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nice surface texture; excellent small details (brass and plastic); significant subject; plentiful marking options; well thought-out engineering (e.g. placement of sprue connectors on fuselage); great to see a 1/48 scale companion company to Eduard in the WWI mainstream market
Disadvantages: Clear fuselage and wings is a creditable but probably misguided idea; no locating pins on main parts; some potential fit problems - builder beware!
Recommendation: Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Roden's 1/48 Scale Sopwith 1 Strutter is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

HyperScale's resident WWI guru, Rob Baumgartner, has reviewed most of Roden's 1/72 scale WWI kits over the last 18 months. His recurring themes are that Roden's kits are well-researched and accurate, have very good fine detail, include imaginative markings and are well engineered; but on the other hand they are tricky to build and fine parts are susceptible to damage.

I will leave the question of accuracy to Rob (this kit and its companion bomber version are already winging their way to Perth), but my overall impressions of this premiere 1/48 scale Roden release are the same as Rob's opinion of the 1/72 scale kits.

I was delighted to see that Roden had expanded into 1/48 scale. The subject matter was also a cause for celebration. The Sopwith 1 Strutter was an historically significant and widely used aircraft that deserves a good quality injection moulded kit in this scale.

The first impression on opening the box is the clear sprues for the fuselage halves, wings (including alternate top wing), tail surfaces, cockpit decking and propeller blades.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The theory behind this initiative is that the modeller can paint structural details with a solid black paint or permanent marker, then apply a translucent coat of colour over the top. This is a nice idea but might be more difficult to achieve than it sounds. It will also require a putty-free construction job to obtain a perfect finish. Clear plastic will also complicate construction as it is more brittle than standard coloured styrene. Nevertheless, the modeller can choose to treat the clear plastic like any other plastic if he wishes.

Apart from the clear styrene, the main parts are very well moulded with fine surface detail including stitching and subtly raised ribs. The trailing edges of the wings are also admirably thin. Sprue attachment points are located thoughtfully away from areas that will show up on the final model, especially on the fuselage halves. Even if the clear styrene is not given the translucent paintjob, it will be easier to mask the clear windows in the top wing than to cleanly glue in a clear insert.

There are no locating pins on any of the main parts, so a little extra time will be required for test-fitting and securing the sub-assemblies while setting.

The remaining styrene parts are beautifully moulded. There are no sinkmarks or ejector pin marks in visible positions, but a little flash will need to be dealt with. The struts are scale thickness and will therefore require careful removal from sprues and subsequent handling. The detail parts include a total of six .303 Vickers and Lewis guns (labelled "Levis" guns in the instructions). These are wonderful mouldings. It will be very nice to have four of these guns in the spares box!

A photo-etched fret is also included. This fret contains an instrument panel, control surface actuators and other details.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


A nice large decal sheet includes markings for two British and two French aircraft.

 

 

Instructions are called out over ten steps using exploded view diagrams. However, the steps seem to be randomly scattered over the pages of the little instruction booklet. It is not too hard to follow though. Colour callouts are provided using stock numbers from the Humbrol enamel range.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Roden's 1/48 scale Sopwith 1 Strutter looks brilliant in the box but it should still be treated as a limited-run kit. I have heard from several modellers who have already built or started this kit that there are several challenges in the construction.

The most effective remedy is to follow the three Golden Rules of Modelling:

  1. Test Fit

  2. Test Fit

  3. Test Fit

If this is Roden's first foray into 1/48 scale, I can't wait to see how they continue to develop and improve over the next few years!

Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.


Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 02 November, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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