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Comparo Review:
Westland Wyvern S.4

Classic Airframes vs.
Dynavector plus Compass Rose Resin



S u m m a r y

Brand: Scale: Medium: Price and Source:
Classic Airframes 1/48 Injection moulded including resin resin details. Purchased for USD$54.95 in 2005 from King's Hobbies
Compass Rose Detail Set
1/48 Multimedia kit (vacform main components plus white metal details).

Compass Rose detail set in resin

Purchased for USD$31.00 in 1994 from Precision Enterprises Ltd. Current price on Hobbylink Japan 7200 yen (approx. USD$70.00). Aftermarket resin detail set by Compass Rose, USD$29.95
Airwaves wing fold set 1/48 Photo-etched brass Purchased direct from manufacturer


by "Bondo" Phil Brandt

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Westland Wyvern is available online from Squadron




The short-lived Westland Wyvern has, some fifty years later, become quite a modeling cult item, way back with the 1/72 Frog release, much later with the Dynavector multimedia offering, and now with the Classic Airframes injected version.


Dynavector's 1/48 scale Wyvern built in 1996 by the late Anthony Butters.
Anthony's construction article may be seen elsewhere on HyperScale

Perhaps the cachet of this big FAW fighter is the mean, purposeful countenance of that huge spinner and contra-rotating prop assembly, the turbo engine that drives it, and the huge vertical fin. For this modeler, all these plus those neat black and chrome yellow Suez stripes do it in spades!

The procrastination light has been glowing over the Bondo Industries stash of Dynavector kits--the TSR.2 and Sea Vixen excepted--for so long that it's about ready to burn out. And, this curmudgeon's reward for that lack of action is a spanking new injected--with resin detail parts--Wyvern, an industry first in 1/48, by "Uncle" Jules Bringuier, forward-looking honcho of Classic Airframes. Although modeling science does march on, I thought that since the middle aged Dynavector kit and Compass Rose detail set are still available in some quarters, it might be instructive to do a one-on-one comparison, plastico a plastico, if you will.

I need to mention here that the Compass Rose masters were done by legendary aftermarket resin guru Roy Sutherland. Translation: this set is not, as they say in Modeldad's New York vernacular, chopped liver! The following evaluations don't rate construction procedures--obviously quite different--until the article's end.



The Comparison



Note: In the following photos gray resin=Classic Airframes; yellow resin=Dynavector.

The Classic Airframes (CA) molding is very clean and crisp, with slightly aggressive engraving, virtually no flash, small spigots and glossy surfaces (in comparison with the textured "glass-beaded" look currently produced by many French and central European manufacturers. The kit's main components are bereft of any locating pins, which actually can be a benefit when aligning wings and fuselages. The CA moldings have one major sink area: the droptank pylons.



The Dynavector components are arguably the best vacuforms ever done, of relatively thick plastic with exceptionally fine engraving that is easily the equal of Tamiyagawa. Some corner detail is not as sharp as injected due to the molding process itself, not any flaw in the master. The Compass Rose set, however, levels the playing field by replacing most of the above "soft" areas (speedbrakes, wing root air intakes) with sharply detailed resin add-ons.

Verdict: A tossup

Cockpits and Canopies

The CA Wyvern features a resin tub and smaller components, all very well done; the seat IMO is exceptional, with a veritable forest of cast-in harnesses and belts just begging for wash application. Unfortunately, no sidewall detail is included, and locating the tub within the smooth inner walls of the fuselage is strictly up to the modeler. The instrument panel is resin with the customary depressed circles to represent individual gauges. The gunsight casting is so close in detail to that of the Compass Rose one, that I can't tell them apart! The canopy is conveniently two-piece, clear, but slightly thick.



The OOB Dynavector Wyvern uses a vac'ed tub with add-on cast metal consoles, instrument panel and fairly plain ejection seat (no harnesses and belts). This is the point at which the Compass Rose detail set comes into its own, replacing the entire Dynavector cockpit with a highly detailed resin tub, a seat equal to the one by CA (a color photo of the painted seat is included), sidewall panels and a multipiece PE instrument panel with printed film instruments and many tiny PE add-ons, such as a windshield wiper. Both early and late model vacuformed canopies are provided. Although one-piece, they're thin, smooth and very clear.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Verdict: Dynavector/Compass Rose

Props / Spinners

CA furnishes one monolithic resin spinner (individual prop sections do not turn) and individual injected blades. For some reason, the master designers indexed the two prop sections so that the rear blades are directly behind those in the front. This orientation IMO erases one of the Wyvern's most recognized features, EIGHT BEEG BLADES! I hear that a re-indexed spinner might be available in the future. Of course, innovative modelers would probably carefully sever the spinner sections and drill a hole for a prop shaft. The CA spinner is approximately 1/8" shorter than the Compass Rose item.

Dynavector provides a multipiece spinner assembly with cast metal blades. The Compass Rose spinner is, like that of CA, one piece with the front and rear props once again aligned. If memory serves correctly, Roy Sutherland then redid the spinner with staggered blades, and Lee Coll kindly obtained one for me. At any rate, my conglomeration of parts for the Dynavector kit has all three spinner combinations!

Verdict: Compass Rose/Dynavector by a nose

Landing Gear, Wheels and Bays

CA furnishes nicely detailed injected main and tail struts that will need light molding seam cleanup. Resin wheel/tire assemblies are very well done with petite hub detailing and appear to these elderly eyes to be exact duplicates of the earlier Compass Rose ones. All three wheel assemblies are separate from the struts. Tires are not "flattened." Maingear and tailwheel bays are resin and finely cast, with structural details and wiring bundles in the mains. Gear doors are injected with minimal inner side detailing. Note that, when parked, the larger maingear doors remain closed, so there will be very little visible bay area here.

Dynavector's main and tail struts are cleanly cast metal, equally detailed, and require even less cleanup. The tailwheel is cast as one with its strut, and the separate main wheels are metal, too. The Compass Rose wheel set furnishes new, excellent resin wheels, unflattened also. The Compass Rose tailwheel and strut are separate. Separate maingear/tailwheel bays are vacuformed with sharp interior panel edges but no wiring/plumbing is represented. Gear doors are vacuformed, with no inner side detail.



Verdict: Tossup


The CA effort provides two well done fuselage halves with molded-in fairings for the large exhaust outlets. The vertical fin is a separate piece. As mentioned before, there appear to be no locating references for the resin tub, so trial and error is the order of the day. Also molded in are camera windows openings (clear windows provided) aft of the canopy. Exhaust tubes are done in resin, with beautifully petite edges. An injected ring forms the transition between fuselage and spinner.



Dynavector fuselage halves are integral with halves of the prominent vertical fin. Exhaust tube fairings are separate vac'ed parts. The Compass Rose set replaces the metal exhaust tubes with thin resin ones equal to those of CA. Camera openings must be cut out and clear plastic windows fabricated, that is, unless one elects to do the old gloss black-painted window trick! A resin ring glued to the vac fuselage is the transition piece to the spinner of choice.

Verdict: Tossup


CA does their wings in five separate components. Chord cross sections appear to be slimmer than those of the Dynavector kit. Dihedral is built in to the bottom center wing section. Flying surfaces are integrated with the main wing sections; no provision for positionable flaps or ailerons is made. Wingfolds are not presently an option, so it's Scratchbuild City!

The Dynavector kit does the wing in three main sections, and dihedral is molded in to the one-piece lower wing as are the speedbrakes. Compass Rose includes finely molded resin replacements for the speedbrakes, including tiny actuators. Chord cross section is "fatter." Although Dynavector makes no provision (other than scratchbuilding) for separate flying surfaces, Compass Rose includes resin dropped flaps, outer and inner, as well as flap lowering mechanism and wing inner structure to receive the flaps. Airwaves produces/ed PE wingfold set AC48012 which was designed specifically for the Dynavector kit. As mentioned above, the CA wings appear too thin to accept these wingfold ribs.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Verdict: Dynavector/Compass Rose


CA includes two well-printed, thin sheets (MicroScale), allowing two different marking schemes, one for the Suez Crisis. A fair amount of fine stencils and other panel marks top off the exercise. Red roundel centers are separate.

The Dynavector sheet allows three marking options, but the resolution is not as good as CA, the whites are not as white, the film is thicker and in semigloss which is harder to hide with clearcoat. Separate roundel red centers also appear on this sheet. Stencils are noticeably less sharp than the CA sheet.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Verdict: Classic Airframes


CA includes eight integral rocket/stub/rail assemblies; fins are also integrated into one piece which, in turn, glues to each rocket/stub assembly. Molding seams will need cleanup. The instruction drawings indicate that there are mounting holes in the wings and tiny mounting pins on each rocket stub. Not so! There are no locating pins, and the supposed holes in the wings are, in fact, small raised dots. Since the instructions are essentially no-text, it must be assumed that the dots are to be sanded off, but you'll have to first drill small holes through the dots to maintain mount locations, and if you want pins, you'll have to add them!.

Dynavector rockets/stubs are also two-piece cast metal assemblies: the stubs and rails are one, and the fins/rockets are one. It appears that the cleanly cast metal will not need cleanup, and there are locating pins on the stubs. Tiny, hard-to-see leading edge dots show where to drill locating holes in the lower wing.

Verdict: Dynavector


CA provides exceptionally nice perspective assembly drawings, with mostly no-text instructions. A parts outline sheet and separate color/markings guide tops off this fine effort. A short aircraft history and airframe specifications fill out the cover page.

Dynavector, by virtue of being a vac kit, of necessity covers different assembly steps than that of an injected kit. Dynavector's large, instruction sheet, shows what needs to be shown, however, just not in as fancy a style as the more modern CAD CA sheets. Large side and planviews of each of the three possible aircraft are shown, as are stencil locations.

Verdict: Tossup

Assembly Procedure

The CA Wyvern employs typical injected model assembly procedures, with the exception that no locating pins exist, the cockpit tub must be located by trial and error, and cyanoacrylic glue or epoxy must be used for the resin parts. Although no aftermarket products currently exist for this hot-off-the-presses release, most modelers will no doubt still choose the relatively painless assembly of the CA effort. "Uncle" Jules has hit a homerun again by actually listening and acting upon what modelers want. Future aftermarket will, of course, push up the overall cost of Wyvern modelling pleasure.

The much older (and more difficult to acquire) Dynavector vac kit, while more labor intensive in the initial cutting out/sanding phase, subsequently goes together much like injected offerings and, with its delicate engraving, the wealth of detail provided by the Compass Rose resin set and the Airwaves wingfolds, offers, in this curmudgeon's opinion, superior overall "busy-ness" and detail to this most interesting airplane.





If we were talking about the Dynavector kit alone, the Classic Airframes Wyvern would probably be the choice for modelers who don't enjoy "practice bleeding." But, as I've mentioned above, the Compass Rose set added to the Airwaves wing fold makes this friendly competition between differing modeling media a whole new ballgame.

Final Verdict? Ya pays yer money and takes yer choice.

I bought both!

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright 2005 by "Bondo" Phil Brandt
except Anthony Butters' Dynavector Wyvenn photo Copyright 1996 by Pieter Stroethoff
Page Created 20 January, 2005
Last updated 20 January, 2005

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