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Westland Wyvern S.4


Classic Airframes, 1/48

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 491 - Westland Wyvern S.4
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 68 parts in gray styrene, 15 parts in gray colored resin and 2 clear injection molded parts. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 3 aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$55.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Sharp panel lines, highly detailed seat, under-wing stores and improved packaging of parts.
Disadvantages: Aligned props and “clunky” looking rockets.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

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




Looks like I have arrived at the party as a “Johnny-come-lately” but the party appears to be going strong.  There is a remarkable amount of interest being shown in this model of an aircraft of which approximately 127 were built, in all variants, and which saw limited combat. 

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, Wyverns engaged in 82 missions, both in the fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles. The first combat mission was flown on November 1, 1956 against Dekheila airfield.  Two Wyverns were lost during this operation - one to hostile fire, the other due to engine failure.





The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the packaging.  The plastic, resin and clear parts were separately packaged.  This resulted in a clear part that was not scuffed.  While the two-part canopy is nicely molded, a dip in Future polish will enhance the clarity. 



The panel lines were also notable.  I don’t believe I have seen such sharply defined panel lines on any previous Classic Airframes kit. 



I pulled out a Defiant and an F-5 just to compare, and the Wyvern’s are quite different and distinct.  I’m not sure how much sanding will be needed in constructing the Wyvern, but in other kits the first victim of the sand paper are panel lines.  Also, pre-shading the Wyvern may be gilding the lily a bit.  I did an experimental painting (more about this later), and the panel lines show quite well.  Even in the poor quality photos that I have in my files, the panel lines are evident on the real aircraft. 

In looking over the sprues, I noticed a couple of other things.  As in nearly all limited run, low-pressure models, some stubs will need to be removed, especially on the inner surfaces of the wings and tail-planes.  There is also a fine rim of flash on the edges of the wings and tail-planes.  I presume this to be the minor price for the nice trailing edges and distinct panel lines.  This should clean easily with a sharp blade and a sanding stick. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

As was the case with their F-5, Classic Airframes provides stores for under the wings.  For the Wyvern, there are a pair of auxiliary tanks and 8 rockets on rails with separate fins.  From the little information I have, it appears that when the tanks were fitted, only the outer pair of rockets was carried.  Without the tank, four rockets could be carried under each wing.  The rockets appear a bit “clunky’ to my eye, and I’m sure some will seek after market.  Never the less, it is nice to have them in the kit.  Unlike the rockets that come with models from other manufacturers, the tips do not have sink marks. 

The Wyvern was not limited to carrying a single rocket on each rail.  Wyverns are shown with the "over and under" rocket arrangement on zero length stubs.  These presumably could be obtained from an Airfix F. 22/24 kit.  Also, while never used in operation, the Wyvern could carry a torpedo.  There is a picture of VW867 in a test flight with a torpedo under the fuselage and two pair of the over-under tandem rockets on each wing.  I’m not sure if the appropriate torpedo is available from an after-market company.  Finally, there were tests done with “RATO” packs.  I believe a resin set was done in 1/72, perhaps a set will be done in 1/48. 

Speaking of resin, I was amazed to see the cockpit tub.  The control column was molded as an integral part of the pit!  I cannot recall seeing that arrangement before.  The cockpit itself, compared to the seat, is a bit basic and the detail is none too distinct. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

A minor annoyance for me is the spinner.  The blades, fore and aft, are in the aligned position.  With all those blades, I would have preferred to see it arranged in the staggered position.  There is nothing incorrect about the aligned position, there are numerous pictures, including in-service pictures on a carrier deck, that show that arrangement.  The problem is that the aligned blades just don’t make an impact on the viewer.  It can be corrected, if one so wishes.  Either one can cut the spinner and re-set it fore and aft, or one could fill in one set of mounting holes and re drill them at the staggered position. 

The wheel wells have a very thin pour stub.  It appears they will require a little sanding at the outer portion to fit between the wing halves. 





The kit contains markings for three different aircraft and a set of stencils. 

All the aircraft have the same paint scheme, Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The aircraft for which markings are provided are: 

  • VZ794 /J /131 – No. 827 NAS, HMS Eagle circa May / June 1955. 

  • WP337/J/378 – No. 830 NAS, HMS Eagle, Operation Musketeer (Suez), circa December 1956.  This aircraft carries the black and yellow fuselage and wing bands. 

  • WN326 – RNAS Stretton, HMS Blackcap, circa 1957.



Preparation and Painting Issues


There has been some discussion about the nature and cause of the shiny plastic of the Wyvern, and its suitability for painting.. 
First, let me assure you that the plastic appears to be cured and inert.  Second, it seems that Classic Airframes now prefers that the casting molds be highly polished, which leaves a very smooth surface on the parts.  This is contrary to what I understand to be the normal Czech style of molding, which produces a slightly rougher surface with the appearance of a flat or satin finish.  Third, as in many kits, especially resin and limited run kits, the mold is treated with a releasing agent.  This allows the resin or plastic to be more easily removed from the mold.
I have heard of problems of paint adhering to the Defiant.  I can say that I had no such problems with that kit.  With that being said, I decided to conduct my own test of the issue. 

The Test 

The plastic parts come in a sealed plastic bag.  I was careful not to handle the wings. I held them only by the sprue. I cleaned one wing with denatured alcohol. I do this on all my models before painting.  The other wing was untouched. 

I then applied the following paints on the bare, unprimed plastic in bands across each wing: 

  • Xtracrylix

  • Tamiya Acrylic

  • Model Master Acrylic

  • Model Master Enamel 

I made sure my airbrush was thoroughly cleaned between each paint. I then shot some of the paint into a paper towel before I applied paint to each wing.  Note: The paints were taken straight from fresh bottles and were not thinned.  They all shot quite well straight from the bottle. 

After all paints were applied, I waited about two minutes and dragged my finger across each wing. Nothing of consequence happened. 

I then ran my fingernail across each wing. Xtracrylic scratched a bit on the uncleaned wing, and less so on the cleaned wing. MM Acrylic barely scratched on the uncleaned wing, and not at all on the cleaned wing. Tamiya acrylic and MM enamel were not affected. 

I waited five more minutes and used Tamiya tape across all paint bands. I burnished it down (you can see the residue) waited a few minutes and quickly lifted it off. Nothing happened. No paint lifted from any sample. 

Twenty-four hours later, I ran my fingernail across both wings, and no brand of paint showed any lifting or flaking. 



Of course, “your mileage may differ”.  But, I believe that this simple test has reasonable results.  Now I have to clean all that paint off the wings!





From what I have seen so far, this is a great kit of a distinctive aircraft.  For those modelers who enjoy modeling a theme, with the issuance of the Sea Hawk and Wyvern from Classic Airframes, and the availability of other aircraft, one can do a collection of Suez crises aircraft. 

As for the painting issue, simply wipe down the plastic with alcohol, or give it a light buffing with very fine sand paper, if you prefer. 

One final note, am I the only one to be reminded by the Wyvern of the Convair XFY-1? 

Highly Recommended.





Aircraft in Detail “Westland Wyvern”, by Sue J. Bushell, Scale Aircraft Modelling, November 1991.

“Westland Wyvern”, by Richard Caruana, Scale Aviation Modeller International, January 2003.


Selected Web Sites: 


Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.

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

Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 17 January, 2005
Last updated 17 January, 2005

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