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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 29





I am still awaiting the arrival of the 1/48 RAF seat belts for the Academy Spitfire and all but for adding the seat belts and gluing the canopy assemblies to the fuselage, this project would be finished.



I mentioned last week, that something quite unexpected and exciting had happened (well it was exciting for me) - my friend Jim Hatch is the webmeister of and he has forwarded me some bits and pieces for me to review from time to time. Taking into consideration that I have only been modelling for just over two years, I take this as a great compliment and admire the bravery (sanity?) of Jim letting me ramble on about things that are new in modelling. However, those of you who have been following my articles over the past few months will know that I do tend to tell things 'warts and all', and I feel that is how most manufacturers (and their customers) would want it anyway. I can also put my learning curve slant on things as well, so perhaps it was for this ability that Jim had asked me to do some reviews.



Most modellers will be aware of a relatively new kit manufacturer from New Zealand, by the name of Wingnut Wings. This company, owned by the multi millionaire film director Peter Jackson, is receiving rave reviews for their 1/32 scale World War I models that first came on the scene just over a year ago. I believe I am right in saying that four models were introduced during 2009. To date, these kits are only available direct from Wingnut Wings in New Zealand and although delivery times vary, 7 - 10 days seems to be the general time lapse from ordering on-line. Unfortunately, and I feel it could only happen here in the good old UK, although prices quoted on the Wingnut Wings website (in US dollars) includes postage, those lovely people of HM Customs and Excise may charge you duty, and not only that, the Royal Mail - bless 'em - also charge for 'handling'!! I have heard as much as £18! I don't know about the legality of the latter, because as I understand it, all postage, wherever it is paid, includes 'handling'. Like I said, it could only happen here. (This charge is actually for handling the VAT payment and forwarding it to Revenue and Customs. It is a bit pricey but most carriers such as UPS have a similar charge - Graham). I know for a fact that a friend of mine in the States received his kit without having to pay any Customs Duty or any extra US Mail 'handling charges' - but then they live in a modern Country. Rant over!



Anyway, the excitement for me was that Jim told me that he had received the two latest kit releases from Wingnut Wings to review on his website and could he send me the Sopwith 'Pup' RNAS version to review and build. Could he? Oh yes he could please! The Sopwith 'Pup' is one of my favourite aircraft from the World War I era and the RNAS version was the first aircraft to successfully take off and land on a ship. I knew that Wingnut Wings did not supply any rigging or control wire with the kit, so I pre-ordered the specific scale wire from Radu Brinzan. He does 1/32 scale flying and bracing wires complete with turnbuckles in a PE set. I had seen these displayed on a beautiful Wingnut Wings SE5A built by one of the Medway Model Club stalwarts, Rod Janes. I also have a small stock of Albion Alloys slide fit rod, tubing and their latest 0.2mm nickel rod and turnbuckles soon to be supplied through Graham. As an extra reference book (see next paragraph), I ordered the Windsock Datafile Special - 'Sopwith Pup'. Jim had decided to review and build the other Wingnut Wings new release, the Albatross D.V.



When the kit arrived, I was not disappointed. It is beautiful. The rendition of the fabric covered wings in particular, is exquisite, especially the manner in which the rib tapes have been depicted. I am jumping the gun here, because I should be telling you about the fantastic A4 gloss instruction manual illustrated with numerous black and white World War I photographs of various marques, and a detailed 'step by step' building sequence illustrated by CAD drawings in full colour. In all there are 24 pages crammed with information with the last 5 depicting full colour three view drawings on 5 options - three type 9901 and two type 9901a (this type was specifically allocated to the RNAS for shipboard activity). In the kit are two different fuselages, one for the 9901 and one for the 9901a which is distinguished by the extra stitching on the rear port side to aid access to the flotation bags in the event of a ditching. Colour call outs are shown with Tamiya, Humbrol and Misterkit reference numbers.



There also two versions of the top wing. The 9901a has an opening in the centre section through which a Lewis gun can be fired. The other versions have a 'standard' wing with a Vickers gun firing through the propeller arc from the cockpit. Each option has the relevant decals available on one A4 sheet and these are printed by Cartograph so you can see that this kit just oozes quality. The wing roundels have segments cut from them to fit directly onto the ailerons. Good thinking - as there will be no need for any cutting of the roundels. There aren't that many pieces of plastic in the kit, but what there is, is beautifully moulded and detailed.




It is suggested that building is done in modular format, and if, like me, you tend to follow the instructions(?) then, as with most kits, the build starts with the cockpit assembly and then moves on to the fuselage, tailplane and bottom wing. Next in line is the engine, a Le Rhone 9c 80hp, a mini kit in it's own right - no ignition wire is included, but there is an ignition wiring diagram for detailers. According to the instructions, building is completed by fitting the under carriage and then.......................the rigging!! I know that this does put some people off bi-planes, and having built the Trumpeter Swordfish, I can understand that!




Wow! This is a 'kit and a half' and I was itching to get started on it. I had already chosen my favourite option - N6453, a type 9901a, built by Beardmore in Scotland, which served with HMS Furious and HMS Repulse. There is a very nice photograph of this aircraft perched on a wooden take off 'gantry' in very inclement weather. In a 26kt headwind, this aircraft actually took off from a run of just 14feet 9inches! Good job he did, because his maximum 'runway' length was only 19feet 3inches!! Next time you are out walking, just measure out 5 long paces and that is the take off distance. Amazing.



This aircraft was painted fairly simply - Proprietary Khaki upper surfaces, Clear Doped Linen on the fuselage sides and under wing surfaces plus a red white and blue striped rudder and tailplane. The engine cowling, forward fuselage top and engine side panels are in aluminium. Sounds yummy to me. Not only that, the caption to one of the photographs of N6453 states, "Note the heavily weathered appearance of this aircraft after just two months service". Nuff said.



More next week.



Peter Buckingham