Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Airfix Sopwith Pup

It's WW1 week at school for my son at the moment.  He asked me what WW1 aircraft looked like, which took me aback at first.  For me growing up in the 60's, both granddads were WW1 veterans and I had several Great Uncles who were also veterans, plus a Great Uncle who as part of family lore had died at a place called Merville in N France in 1918.  As an aside, I found his burial place in Aval Wood Military Cemetary, just outside Merville, so family lore was pretty accurate.  Sadly, I found he died within 2 days of arriving in France, at the age of 19 - not enough time to understand what was going on!  Anyway, stories from my elders and a trusty Airfix catalogue, plus a copy of "Biggles Pioneer Airfighter" meant that I was up to speed with Fokkers, Rumplers, Albatross, Camels, SE5a, RE8s, Handley Paiges and Bristol Fighters before I knew my times tables.

So, as he was interested in what they looked like, I decided apart from internet pictures, I'd build him a model.  I looked at the next show coming up, which was Phalanx in St Helens.  I was surprised that no one there was selling Airfix WW1 model aircraft and mentioned this to Will from the Deeside Defenders club.  He mentioned he had a model he wasn't going to build and brought it along to the next club night as a gift for my son.  So, I found myself with a Sopwith Pup model to put together.  Although fiddly, it was surprisingly easy to assemble and a lot of fun to paint.

A change from the kits I remembered from my childhood was the addition of a pair of formers which held the upper and lower wings in lace to give the model the correct dihedral angle.  Still fiddly, but less so.

Painted up in Vallejo colours, Buff undersides, Chocolate Brown fuselage and upper wings, oily steel engine cowling, gunmetal MG and engine, English uniform prop, struts and undercart, neutral grey patch around cockpit, black grey wheels.  Varnished in Vallejo matt except prop and cowlings in gloss.

Slightly wonky under carriage.  Was slightly off before painting,, but seems to have worsened as the paint and varnish built up.

Fun to build and paint, I was seriously thinking of rigging the flying wires, but then remembered it was for my son, who's almost 6, so I figured it was probably a waste of time.  All I have to do now is hand it over and wait for the crunching sounds......!

Thanks for looking and thanks again Will.


  1. I've a number of WW1 Airfix aircraft, including a couple still mostly unmade in the boxes! I bought them a while back for a game but never managed to finish any of them. And the landing gear is wonky on every single one! I found them somewhat tricky to make because of the fragile nature of the struts, did you use plastic glue or super glue?

  2. Hi Rick, way back when, it was always getting the wings to sit right that was the issue, but the formers supplied with the kit seem to work well. It was the undercarriage and as you say the fiddly struts were the problem. They didn't sit well in the location holes under the fuselage. I used Humbrol polycement and found I was holding the undercarriage for ages while the glue set. Funnily, between each coat of paint and varnish the twist seems to have got worse - very odd.

    Cheers, Andy