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RAF S.E.5a


Roden 1/72

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit No. 045 - RAF S.E.5a
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: See text below
Price: USD$8.97  from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Good research, accurate; fine detail, delicate wings.
Disadvantages: Fit of cockpit section tricky, decal sheet out of register.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Robert Baumgartner

Roden's 1/72 scale S.E.5a is available online from Squadron.com




After a tremendous run with subjects from the Central Powers, Roden are turning their attention toward aircraft flown by the Allies.

This is the first of a series of releases in the SE5a range. The usual attractive box top contains three sprues in the familiar light grey plastic. As well as the decal sheet, there is a surprise with a most welcome acetate sheet printed with variously shaped windscreens. Major outlines of all parts compare favorably with plans in both the Albatros Productions Datafile on the SE5a and the SE5a Special. Be careful when you overlay the parts because reproduction of the plans in my two editions was not printed in the correct scale.

Sprue B contains the wings, and tail planes which all reveal Roden‘s expertise in providing fine trailing edges. Ribs are beautifully restrained and fully formed. The modelers task is made easier by the one piece wings with their built in dihedral. Surprisingly the lower wing on my example was slightly bowed which resulted in a lot less dihedral than there should be. Close inspection showed this to be to be a result of the cooling plastic and not a design error. A dip and bend in hot water will rectify this.



This sprue also contains the short cord elevators, which was seen on some SE5as.

The parts applicable to the Wolseley Viper installation are found on sprue D. As with the rest of the kit, these are well molded, accurate and contain good detail.


The cockpit is made up of the usual basic items such as seat, rudder bar, control column, instrument panel and shelf. Plenty of scope is available for those with extra detailing tendencies.

A busy sprue A contains everything else that will be required for this SE5a version. As well as the fuselage halves, three styles of top deck are supplied, two types of propeller, and both the steel and later wooden undercarriage legs. There is even a row of 4 x 25lb Cooper bombs.

A dry fit of the main components reveals a tricky job to fit the separate cockpit/top deck section. Like the engine cowling of the earlier Albatros kits, extra time spent here will reward. The lower wing fits into a cut out in the fuselage and a little trimming here results in a perfect fit with the airfoil shape.

Modelers will be left to make their own control horns, as these are too delicate on the SE5a for even Roden to mold onto the wings. Indentations are present to show correct placement.



Decal Options


Four aircraft are represented on a decal sheet that dislays good definition. The sheet in my example was out of register, which fortunately only affects the roundels. A novel idea by Roden is to represent the inspection windows and pulleys located on the wings with decals.


I) SE5a D6856 flown by Capt. A W Beauchamp-Proctor of 84 Sqn. RAF, 1918.

Being only 5’ 1”, Proctor had to have special adjustments made to his seat and the rudder bar of his SE5a. Alex Revell’s book “Victoria Cross – WWI Airmen and their Aircraft” illustrate this machine as having blue wheel covers with a white disc (denoting C flight). Proctor won a Victoria Cross and while flying this machine, scored 16 victories including 6 balloons.

II) SE5a F5910 “A” flown by Lt. W. G. Claxton of 41 Sqn. RAF, 1918

Claxton scored a total of 37 victories including 7 in F5910. It wasn’t long before the nickname “Dozy” was given to him for his calmness under fire. He frequently brought his aircraft back to base full of holes. On 17th August, a German surgeon saved Claxton’s life by performing cranial surgery after the pilot was shot down behind enemy lines.

III) SE5a E1295 “A” flown by Major Edward Mannock of 74 (sic) Sqn., 1918

“Above the Trenches” by Shores Franks, and Guest, list Mannock using this machine with 85 Sqn., after having transferred there to be the CO on 18 June. Mannock scored his last eight victories in E1295 between 7 July and 26 July 1918.

IV) SE5a C1904 “Z” flown by Billy Bishop of 85 Sqn., 1918.

Bishop scored a total of 72 victories (no, I won’t touch that topic with a 40 foot pole!) with C1904 being used to score the last 13. Ironically Bishop joined with another controversial Victoria Cross winner Billy Barker, to form a commercial aviation venture.

After serving as an Air Marshall in WWII, Bishop died on the 11 September 1956.




Roden is off to a great start with this new family of SE5as.

If care is taken during assembly, the cockpit/decking section will not pose too big a problem. Hopefully the decal registration problem I had was an isolated case. Good research has meant that we now have an accurate kit of a very important aircraft, with more in the family to come.



Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.

Review and Images Copyright © 2003 by Robert Baumgartner
Page Created 12 February, 2003
Last updated 12 August, 2004

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