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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: 87.56%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.35%

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

Looks really good, and the progress for you is astonishing ;, but it is a shame all that nice detail is pretty much hidden. Those Brassin magazine casings do look the part and a lot easier to install then the kit ones. Looking forward too some more progress soon. Andy
MAY 21, 2017 - 10:50 AM
My what a lovely Model. I am curious does "Swinehund" Have red wings as well as fuselage? 2) I spent a year in the Nottingham area on the US Gov. beautiful country. GREAT aviation museums!!! Captn Tommy
MAY 22, 2017 - 04:32 AM
Hi Tom Many thanks for the kind words about the model and Old Blighty. Duncan Grinnell-Milne's SE.5a is shown with just the fuselage painted red in Eduard's instructions. I believe he flew the same aircraft with standard camouflage prior to the Armistice. Not having any reference photos of the actual machine to go by, I'm shying away from it for my build; basically, I don't know how carefully (or otherwise) the red over-painting was done, so I don't want to do a pristine job and find out later that the original was rough and ready, or visa versa. However, if anyone would like to post some shots of "Schweinhund" here, I'm still very open to being persuaded to do the scheme. As we've noted in the forum, Burden's aircraft is a bit of a minefield, so I reckon it'll be a toss up between Lt. Elliot's 85 Sqn. aircraft (which I do have a couple of photos of) or one of the American schemes. Shout now, if anyone has a particular preference. All the best Rowan
MAY 22, 2017 - 07:27 AM
Depends on what references are correct, but according to an interview with said pilot, he states he was not allowed to paint the whole aircraft red until after the armistice. The all red aircraft may also have been emblazoned with Swinehund III.
MAY 22, 2017 - 07:44 AM
Okay, that clinches it. Does anyone want to buy a couple of Roden Se.5s? I've got one Hisso and one Viper powered. Never had a part off the sprues; completely near mint condition! They're going cheap, and that's cutting me own throat!
MAY 22, 2017 - 01:36 PM
Why? The Roden kits are quite nice... in all the scales. True, they don't have the finesse of the Eduard mouldings, but they still make a nice model! Cheers, Hugh
MAY 23, 2017 - 11:17 AM
ON THE RED WINGS I think the idea of the green wings during the war would be a logical call. and Red Wings after the war for display purposes. I would want to make sure the 'youngsters' didn't mistake me for a Hun. I am actually surprised he got away with the red fuselage. Captn Tommy
MAY 24, 2017 - 01:02 AM
??? Red wings?,red fuselage before the EOW?
about 22 hours ago
??? Red wings?,red fuselage before the EOW?[/quote] Yes... Remember in WWII the red disappeared instantly from the American insignia. Besides that, how did he get away with it with RAF Command?? There must be a story an that, buried in the mythos. Captn Tommy
about 7 hours ago
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