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First Look Review
148
SE.5a Wolseley Viper
SE.5a Wolseley Viper
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Spring 2017 is proving to be a very exciting time for modellers interested in British WWI aircraft, with first WnWís beautiful Camels arriving, and now Eduardís eagerly anticipated 1:48 SE.5a. New Eduard WWI aviation kits have become something of a rarity of late - to the point where some doom and gloom pedlars declared that the company had turned its back on the genre which it had done so much to establish in the mainstream field. Well, the release of the SE.5a is the perfect answer to knock that rumour on the head - and, better still, itís a real gem of a kit.

Eduardís first release is a Hi-Tech boxing of the Wolseley-powered variant. The parts for other versions are also there on the sprues, ready for what is clearly going to be a series of kits.

The model arrives in a classy compact and sturdy top-opening box, with the main sprues bagged separately from the clear parts and accessories. The kit comprises:

96 x dark grey styrene parts ( 17 unused)
11 x clear parts
65 x etched metal parts
Kabuki tape painting masks for the wheels, windscreen and aileron pulley covers
Decals for 5 x colour schemes

The moulding is superb in the sample kit, with just the faintest traces of moulding lines. Ejector pins have been kept clear of the cockpit, with just a couple that will be hidden behind the engine. The only sink marks Iíve spotted are where there are locating pins on the bottom of the fuselage. These are very shallow and will only take a moment or two to deal with.

The surface finish comprises subtle ribs and stitching on the flying surfaces, with beautifully delicate fasteners and lacing on the fuselage. The representation of the fabric on the rear fuselage is drum-tight.

Test Fit
Thereís obviously only so much you can dry-assemble on a biplane, but checking a few major components on the SE.5a is very encouraging. The fuselage halves clip together precisely and the horizontal tail slots in very solidly. The full-span lower wing includes a large section of the bottom of the fuselage which clips in place tightly to provide a sound foundation for the rest of the build.

I compared the parts against Kageroís plans, and the fuselage and wings match precisely, while the horizontal tail is slightly shorter than shown. The depth of the nose matches Kagero's side illustration for the first production run - but the front view doesn't tally in the same set of plans, so Iíll leave it to others to make a call on accuracy. (It's at times like these that I wish I could still call into the RAF Museum and measure the real thing!)

A Few Details
Construction begins logically with the cockpit, which is very nicely detailed with a mix of over 50 styrene and etched parts. There are pre-coloured seat belts and a choice of etched or styrene instrument panels. The etched panel is pre-coloured cream, which will provide a good base for a wood-grain effect. Etched and decal instrument faces are provided as alternatives - but, of course, you could always mix and match as you choose to suit your favoured style of building.

The instructions show the Lewis magazine holders replaced by folded etched etched items, but less experienced modellers may well stick with the plastic versions which are fine in their own right. Jumping ahead a bit, the Lewis gun itself is very crisply moulded integrally with its track. Sadly, that does mean you canít model it pulled back for loading or servicing. The synchronised Vickers is also nicely handled, and has an etched cocking hand and ring sight.

The 9-part Wolseley Viper boasts some very fine detailing that will repay careful painting and highlighting. Itís ideally a job for an airbrush and some of the super-fine grained metaliser paints available these days (Eduard recommend Mr Metal Color), because brush-painting with conventional enamels or acrylics will risk swamping the details.

A photo-etched bomb rack is included for one of the colour schemes. This is beautifully delicate, although itís a shame there arenít any bombs to go with it. It requires some very careful folding and curving, so will present quite a challenge to newcomers to using etched parts.

Thereís a choice of windscreens offered, and the transparent parts are crystal clear. Covers are included for the inspection panels over the control cable pulleys, along with etched triangles to finish the job.

Instructions & Decals
The assembly guide is printed in colour as a compact 20-page booklet on glossy paper. Construction is broken down into around 50 stages and sub-assemblies (lettered, rather than numbered), which sounds daunting for such a small model, but many only involve a few parts and it does make for a very clear sequence. The diagrams are uncluttered and easy to follow. Eduard provide colour matches for Gunze Sangyo paints to most details in the course of the build.

The final two stages show the rigging, and beginners to the ďdark artĒ will face an extra challenge because the flying wires are doubled. The attachment points are marked on the kit parts, but youíll probably want to drill them deeper, whatever your preferred method of rigging.

The kit includes decals for five aircraft which offer an interesting variety of colour schemes:

A. C1096, Lt. H. J. Burden, No.56 Squadron, Valheureux, France, Spring 1918
B. F8146, 27th Aero Squadron, United States, 1922
C. F8953, 2nd Lt. S. C. Elliot, 85th Squadron, Ascq, France, December 1918
D. F8038, 25th Aero Squadron, November 1918
E. C1149, Capt. D. W. Grinnell-Milne, No.56 Squadron, Bethencourt, France,
January 1919

As weíve seen in a recent Forum post, the configuration and markings for Lt. Burdenís aircraft arenít quite as straightforward as portrayed by Eduard. Itís well worth reading this detailed discussion on The Aerodrome.

The decals themselves are beautiful quality. Theyíre custom printed by Cartograph, so they should behave excellently, and the register is basically perfect on the sample sheet.

Conclusion
Eduardís new SE.5a is a little gem of a kit and deserves to be a huge success. Itís detailed enough to satisfy advanced modellers, while the precise moulding and fit will be a great help to anyone new to tackling biplanes.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Highly detailed and crisply moulded. High quality decals and etched accessories. Excellent value for money.
Lows: There's a question over one of the colour schemes.
Verdict: Eduard's SE.5a looks beautiful. It would be a bit of an over-ambitious project for beginners (particularly if you include the etched details and rigging), but anyone with some experience can look forward to a very enjoyable build.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 82131
  Suggested Retail: 29.95 Euros
  PUBLISHED: Apr 07, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.55%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.33%

Our Thanks to Eduard!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Beautiful so far Merlin. Think I'll subscribe to this one, though my preferred scale for The Great War is 1/32.
APR 09, 2017 - 11:28 AM
A point on the painting... Box top... the prop seems to be in the upper position meaning a reduction gear was in use. Did not that require a different front end on that lovely model engine? or was the reduction gear Attached separate to the engine? curious Captn Tommy
APR 10, 2017 - 04:50 AM
Having actually looked at the 3-views, I see now I was incorrect the prop is in the correct pace for a non reduction gear engine. Excuse Me Captn Tommy I am not really an SE5 person, And wrote too soon. Apologies.
APR 10, 2017 - 05:21 AM
Hi Tom Darn you - now you've got me thinking about putting the other engine together just for the sake of it! All the best Rowan
APR 11, 2017 - 08:52 AM
Remember those props, I believe the reduction engine needed a clockwise prop (when viewed from the front. Also remind the ground crew... Happy Easter, and Passover Captn Tommy
APR 13, 2017 - 02:44 AM
Hi again Nothing fresh to show - but there has been progress behind the scenes, and the basic interior assemblies and colours are blocked out. If nothing else, this project has really underlined the value of Andy's "bare build". He's using the online PDF instructions, whereas I'm going by the printed set included with the kit. So, when it got to the engine, I clipped everything together, as per printed instructions: But Andy's shot confirmed a nagging doubt that something was missing - the carburetor: Checking online, this makes a miraculous re-appearance in Eduard's PDF instructions: I guess Eduard spotted the mistake too late to include an addendum note in the kit - but, hopefully, this will be corrected in future print runs of the instructions. All the best Rowan
APR 18, 2017 - 09:12 AM
Hi Rowan, That is interesting, and I have made a note to myself too check the printed instructions against the PDF version for future releases of their kits, to see if there are any more differences. I wonder if they forgot too fit the carburettor totally and updated the PDF ones, or its just the printed that has it missing? Looking forward to seeing some paint on this. Andy
APR 18, 2017 - 11:13 PM
Hi Andy I imagine Eduard spotted the omission after the print run, but not in time to add an errata note to the kits. "The Duellists" took up most of my day off work on Friday, but we've got cover at the shop tomorrow so it's looking good to crack on a bit with the SE.5a. A day at the workbench! Yip yip coyote! All the best Rowan
APR 22, 2017 - 06:52 AM
Hi again I was hoping to post some progress pics, but I've rather shot myself in the foot by using oils (instead of my usual water colours) for a basic wood effect on the interior. It's not totally unwitting - I want more practice with oils - but the extra drying time is a minor frustration. With oils being such a notorious dust magnet, I'm keeping the parts "cooking" in my "Heath Robinson" paint dryer (actually a heated seed propagator) for a while before moving on. All the best Rowan
APR 24, 2017 - 07:27 AM
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