- Written by Martin Philpott and published for SP&R on Monday, 18 February 2013.
- Reproduced here with the kind permission of James Hatch (Editor SP&R).
1/32 Sopwith Snipe ‘Late’
Catalogue # 32054
Available from Wingnut Wings for $69.00 USD with FREE Worldwide shipping.
‘Sopwith’ …….An instantly recognizable name synonymous with some of the most famous aircraft in aviation history. I would feel confident in suspecting a good many people being inclined to think the Camel, Tripe or Pup as the aircraft most commonly associated with this famous manufacturers name. Of course you could be forgiven for doing so. Over the years all of those have been heavily publicised and draped in both recognition and fame. For me however the perhaps lesser known and often neglected Snipe is equally appealing if not more so.
When the WNWs company announced they were to release the Snipe in both the Early and Late versions my first thoughts were to applaud them on this bold move. With the Snipe only seeing action during the latter few months of WWI it is perhaps easy to understand how it could become overlooked and not thought of as affectionately as the other well established aircraft of the time. Lets face it, it would have been all to easy for WNWs to have gone the easy route with a subject much more ‘common’.
It pleases me greatly therefore to know WNWs are prepared to depart from the obvious in adding the Snipe to their already impressive array of 1/32 kits and I hope it’s a trend they continue with in the future. With my deep fondness for the Snipe the temptation would of course be far to great to resist adding to my consistently growing collection of these fine model subjects. So when I was given the opportunity to review the kit for Scale Plastic and Rail you could say I was somewhat delighted and overjoyed at the prospect.
Without further hesitation then, let us see if the kit can live up to the superb reputation others before it have gained. May I suggest you put your feet up and relax while I take you on another WNW journey of wonderment.
History of the Sopwith Snipe:
The Snipe was given a hard act to follow. Preceded by the Pup, Triplane and Camel all of which were fondly thought of the only other Sopwith that went before it was the perhaps less than successful Dolphin. With such a late introduction to the war the Snipe had very few chances for glory and headline grabbing attention. The biggest claim to fame the Snipe can call upon is the well known epic battle fought by Major William Barker on October 27th 1918 in which he brought down no less than four Fokker D.VIIs.
A truly remarkable achievement considering the Fokkers history and killing prowess. This action earned the Canadian pilot a Victoria Cross. No 43 Squadron was the first to be equipped with the aircraft making its first patrol on September 23rd 1918. Five weeks later 100 Snipes were deployed to France while No 208 Squadrons Camels were being replaced as the Armistice was declared. Post war Snipes served with 12 RAF Squadrons with 532 being recorded as serving by 1921. It was used in several roles including combat, occupational duties, home service and policing duties in both Egypt and Iraq. Not until 1928 was the Snipe declared obsolete having been replaced by the Gloster Grebe, Hawker Woodcock and Armstrong Whitworth Siskin. As well as serving the RAF the Snipe was also used in limited numbers by the Brazilian Navy, Canadian Air Force and Soviet Red Air Fleet.
First impressions :
Once more the packaging that WNWs employs goes a long way in setting it apart from the crowd looking positively sensational thanks to the awesome and iconic branding.
I know there will be those that think you could stick a WNW kit in a plain cardboard box and it would still sell. I am sure it would, however a big part of the overall success of WNWs branding continues to be the boxing with the wonderful and very impressive art work of Steve Anderson and Ronny Bar adorning the top and sides.
In this instance the top of the box depicts Sopwith Snipe E6964 56 Sq Hawkinge 1923. The scene is magnificent as the aircraft fly’s in tandem with a Bristol Fighter over the English Channel heading for the glorious countyside of Kent.
The kit :
Inside the box and described by WNWs as ‘Model Features’ are the following.
- High quality Cartograph declas for 5 late production aircraft.
- 113 high quality injection moulded parts.
- Late production ailerons, fin and rudder.
- Highly detailed 230hp BR.2 engine.
- 11 photo-etched metal detail parts.
- Fine in scale rib tape detail.
- Full rigging diagrams.
Lets take a closer look at these starting with the sprues……
Sprue A :
X41 Individual parts. All but one are used in this build.
Typically the majority of this sprue deals with the cockpit area and boy oh boy what an amazing cockpit build this will give.
Seat, instrument panel, petrol tank, oil tank and firewall are some of the larger parts while smaller and far more delicate parts include the tachometer and hand air pump.
Wrapping this all up are the sidewalls. These are just exquisite offering the most incredibly advanced and detailed moulding in styrene I have ever seen.
Detail throughout this sprue is just sublime being sharp, crisp and beautifully defined.
For the rigging enthusiast like myself you will be in rigging heaven when it comes to the cockpit…..both bracing wires and control cables are in abundance and while there are no materials included in the box for either of these you will have tremendous fun using the recommended materials and applying them accordingly.
Sprue B :
X4 Individual parts. All of which are used.
Here we have the sprue dealing with the lower wing, upper wing and ailerons.
These continue the theme of immense detailing with very well defined rib tape detail, superb fabric texturing and wonderfully reproduced leading edges that show the ribs running the length of both upper and lower wings.
Two of the concerns for modellers new to building bi-planes are rigging and strut alignment. Neither should be a worry in this situation as the strut location holes and indeed the rigging points are very well produced giving plenty of confidence when you come to deal with this part of the build.
Dependent on which scheme you follow some minimal work will need to be undertaken to the lower wing for the inclusion of Holt landing flares along with holes that need drilling for bomb carrier.
On the top wing some holes will need drilling for rigging lines and a small section will need removing from the outer edges for late production ailerons.
All of these modifications are easily achievable and should not lead to any undue concerns.
Sprue C (Clear Parts) :
X3 Individual parts. All of which are used.
The windscreen and plexiglass windows for the pulley access ports on the lower wing.
While there many not be many clear parts the detail given to them is still apparent and well produced being beautifully crisp and clear.
Sprue D x2 :
X18 Individual parts. All of which are used dependent on scheme choice.
Various parts of this sprue are used through the build process which include the wheels, guns, struts, bombs, holt landing flares and numerous other smaller parts.
The guns are a well detailed pair of Vickers Mk.1s These get photo etch parts added to them further down the line increasing the detail even more. The aircrafts other armament of four 20lb Cooper bombs are also on these sprue and nicely represented they are too.
The wheels area touch of genius. In two halves the main wheel not only shows the manufacturers name on the rubber tyre but also on the inner hub are the moulded spokes !! These would be viewable via the separate outer hub access port again well represented in the kit parts ….exceptional attention to detail that we have come to expect from WNWs and truly appreciated by us all.
Sprue E :
X16 Individual parts. All of which are used.
The awesome and draw dropping 230hp Bentley BR.2 Engine sprue consisting of cylinders, rocker arms, intake pipes, push rods and prop mount.
While the engine will later be surrounded by the front cowl much of it will still be visible and a truly stunning piece of engineering has been created by WNWs that will add real authenticity to this build.
Painting with the use of washes and weathering techniques on top will be a dream task here and will enhance the overall quality of the kit no end.
I am aware from previous kit release reviews that some people would like the cylinders to be moulded as one piece and assembled separately thus doing away with the WNW approach here of using two separate halves for the cylinders. The concern that the join line will be too obvious using the two haves approach really is NOT one to fret over. With care and attention the line really will be unnoticeable unless one really goes out of the way to point it out and only then would it be prominent while looking extremely closely.
Should you still be worried though Scale Plastic and Rail has it on good authority that our friends at Taurus Models are due to release a resin option in the not to distant future….you heard it here first!
Some additional wiring can be added to the rear of the engine however the material for doing so is not included with the kit.
There are some superb reference photos included in the instruction booklet that will no doubt inspire you to having a first class finish to the engine you build.
X5 Individual parts. All of which are used.
The two fuselage halves, propeller, horizontal tailplane and decking are found on this sprue.
The fuselage halves receive the same very high standard of moulding and detailing found on all previous parts. On the inside the stringer detail is beautifully sharp and defined. Some very small holes will need to be drilled to accommodate the tail skid which just as in the real aircraft has its fixing point located inside the rear of the fuselage frame.
Externally the detail is equally stunning with the fabric showing effects the internal stringers would have had upon it, this really is very nicely represented as are the foot stirrup holes.
The propeller is nicely shaped and represented with finesse. All of the schemes call for the front to be painted in a ‘Service Grey’ colour with the back painted black. The hub is picked out in a ‘Dark Wood’ while the fixing plate is Aluminium.
The tailpalne detail continues in the same way that we saw with the upper and lower wings. Rib tape detail being very noticeable and fabric texture first class. Holes are already in situ for the application of rigging.
The upper decking comes as one large part that shows great attention to detail. Riveting is fine and precise as are the openings that allow the twin Vickers guns to be protrude. The pilots leather protection padding that surrounds the cockpit opening will be picked out very nicely once painted.
Sprue H : (see Sprue F image for sprue H overview)
X4 Individual parts. All of which are used. (There is no sprue G).
Included on this sprue are the two ailerons for the upper wing, the late production rudder and late production fin.
All are beautifully produced and carry on the highly detailed theme seen in the previous sections with the fabric texture and rib tape showing through in glorious amounts. A word of caution, the post that attaches to the fin is extremely fragile…..great care will be needed here in removing from the sprue !!
Photo Etch :
X10 Individual parts. All of which are used.
Just a small offering of photo etch but enough to add some nice extra detailing. Parts are included for the twin Vickers guns and the pilots safety harness. All are beautifully formed and will definitely add to the overall effect and build quality. Nice addition.
Absolutely no complaints here as WNWs wisely stick with the Italian giants Cartograf for their printing.
All five schemes are produced in utterly wonderful colour rendition and if previous experience is anything to go by then these will lay down and conform to all the parts with no problems at all, helped by the fact only the absolute minimum of carrier film is used.
As well as the airframe decals also included are those for the instrument panel and separate instruments, tyres and bombs.
The following five schemes are included:
- Sopwith Snipe E6351, GS Sapozhnikov, 1st Soviet Fighter Aviotryad, 1920 (5 victories).
- Sopwith Snipe E6544, 17 Sqn, Hawkinge, 1924.
- Sopwith Snipe E6964, 56 Sqn, Hawkinge, 1923.
- Sopwith Snipe E8198 “U”, C Flight 4 Sqn AFC, Bickendorf, January – February 1919.
- Sopwith Snipe F2367 “1 – 2″, B Flight 70 Sqn, Bickendorf, March – April 1919.
Instruction Booklet :
I just love these instruction booklets and simply can not get enough of them, they continue to form a big part of the overall enjoyment these kits offer me. The CAD diagrams are a superb inclusion that somehow along with the other features bring these booklets to life. The rigging diagrams help tremendously and I for one would struggle without their inclusion.
A4 in size and 22 pages of in depth detailed instructions are printed on a high quality paper with a lovely sheen finish. Once more the well thought out and logical build sequence flows very well and describes in fantastic detail the steps you need to follow from start to finish. Nothing plain or boring here and it is hard to see how the booklets can be improved upon. The included reference photos both the colour and black and white will most certainly aid in the build and a fantastic addition along with the writen history. Original photos and those from aircraft that have been reproduced are included.
My only slight criticism is the fact on this occasion and for reasons unknown to me the booklet is loose inside the box. Previous releases have of course come presented in their own resalable clear plastic wallet. This does afford the booklet a fair amount of protection and therefore I hope WNWs do decide to reinstate the wallet for all future releases.
So what do I think ?
Those that read my Scale Plastic and Rail review of the WNW Fokker E.II/III Early will possibly remember me stating the Eindecker in all its variants was my favourite monoplane of WW1. Well I can add to this by declaring the Snipe has long been my favourite British bi-plane of the same era. Most modellers have at least one or two subjects they would love to see in production and for me I have dreamed of the day WNW’s would release the Snipe.
Well my dream is now very much a reality and having this opportunity to review the incredible offering from WNWs has been a real privilege. From the outset I have been left in total awe of the jaw dropping quality this kit gives in abundance. Make no mistake, WNWs clearly have no intention of sitting back on their previous successes. Instead it is very apparent they continue to take that success to greater heights with every new release.
The Snipe………. there can be no denying that WNWs have produced a superb representation of it here. The usual exquisite detail and superb engineering is present throughout, the schemes are all very satisfying and the subject offers such enormous appeal. Combine these factors and the Snipe has the makings of another huge winner from the WNWs empire. No guesses then for what comes next………..may I suggest you order at least one of these for you collection, I say at least one as the schemes are so good you will find it a tough choice deciding which to go with…….enjoy.
Very highly recommended.
With my sincere thank to Wingnut Wings for this review sample. To purchase directly, click this link.