(Wolseley Viper version)
u m m a r y
||Roden SE5a (Wolseley Viper version)
1/48th scale kit #416
|Contents and Media:
||71 parts in injection moulded
plastic; acetate sheet for windscreens; markings for three aircraft
USD$17.96 from Squadron.com
||Quality mouldings, single piece
wings, thin trailing edges, acetate windshields.
||Decals slightly out of register,
problematical lower wing.
Reviewed by Robert Baumgartner
scale RAF SE5a (Wolseley Viper version)
is available online from Squadron.com
It has been a long wait for a mainstream manufacturer to release a kit
of the SE5a in 1/48 scale. With Roden having done all the “leg work”
with their release in the smaller size, it was expected that sooner or
later we would get the larger version.
Well it’s here and first impressions on opening the box are good. There
are two sprues containing 71 light grey plastics parts and an acetate
sheet for a choice of windscreens.
This kit represents a Viper-engined SE5a.
Obviously many other versions will be produced and the “gates” stopping
the moulding of different types of cockpit/engine area and propellers
As expected the parts are very well moulded with only minimal cleanup
needed. The only sink marks found were on a couple of the engine pieces.
Click the thumbnails below
to view larger images:
Cockpit items consist of the instrument panel, shelf, compass
assembly, rudder bar, control column, spare Lewis drum, and seat. The
lower wing centre section provides the floor. Some structural detail on
the inner fuselage halves completes a respectable representation of this
The fuselage halves are nicely formed and compare very well with the
plans found in the Albatros Productions Datafile Special. The SE5a was
built by a number of manufacturers so there are often small detail
differences between aircraft. For this reason, modeller’s should check
their subject carefully. A case in point being the access plates to the
rear of the engine. A nice touch is that the glazed panel over the
cockpit has been supplied on the acetate sheet.
The rest of this sprue contains a choice of two bladed propeller,
struts, long type exhausts, headrest, and a superbly done Foster
mounting. The latter coming with and without spacers.
The wings are found on sprue A. The one-piece nature of these means that
the dihedral of the original is not going to be a problem. Detail is
excellent with the ribs being particularly subtle. When compared to the
aforementioned plans by Ian Stair, one immediately sees a discrepancy
with the positioning, and therefore the numbering, of the ribs. Roden
have moulded the top and bottom wings the same whereas the lower wing
“should” have one less rib.
Naturally the next step is to look at photographs from the period. Sadly
all clear pictures agree with the plans. Strangely this latest
arrangement deviates from what Roden did on their 1/72nd scale releases
of the SE5a. One assumes there must have been a compelling reason for
them to make the change.
Although the ailerons are not separate, the elevators are, and the
trailing edges of these items are excellent. The rest of the sprue is
filled with both types of undercarriage, lovely radiator, wheels with
separate covers, and Roden’s usual delicate machine guns. A set of bombs
is also present that can be consigned to the spares box.
Three subjects are catered for with the decal sheet, with my example
being slightly out of register. This being most noticeable with the
white on the smaller roundels.
The pulley inspection panels are also done as a decal, which is a
novel way to solve the appearance problem. However I think the use of
black for the surrounding frame is too stark in this scale.
RAF SE5a E1295/A flown by Major
Edward Mannock of 74 (sic) Squadron, July 1918.
Mannock was already with 85
Squadron at this date and used this aircraft to claim 8
victories from 7th July to 26th July 1918. He also died in this
machine when shot down by ground fire immediately after getting
his 61st victim. The total of 73 victories that has been
previously attributed to Mannock was believed to be the result
of detractors of Billy Bishop. Bishop having finished with a
claimed total of 72.
RAF SE5a C1904/Z flown by Billy
Bishop of 85 Squadron, summer 1918.
Bishop had claims for 13 aircraft
while flying this SE5a, which included the famed 5 victories of
19 June 1918.
RAF SE5a D6856 flown by Capt. A.
Beauchamp Proctor of 84 Squadron, 1918.
Roden chooses another ace for the third scheme, this time the
diminutive Beauchamp Procter. He was only 5 foot 2 inches tall
and when it came to flying the SE5a, this was a definite
disadvantage. As a result, he had to have a special seat made
and the controls for his machine adjusted accordingly.
He loved going out in search of balloons and out of the 54
victories attributed to him, 16 where “air bags”. D6856 was used
for 16 claims, 6 of which were balloons.
This really is a lovely kit and the qualities of the mouldings show
it. The “extra” bottom wing rib will be problematical to some but for
the majority of buyers it will “disappear” into the overall visual
Squadron.com for the review
Review and Images Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 18 October, 2004
Last updated 18 October, 2004
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