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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: 87.63%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.31%

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

WWII?? Red disappeared instantly from American insignia?[/quote] From 1919 to January 1942 the wing insignia was blue circle, white star, red spot/center with the red filling the center of the star to the inner points. That red Center disappeared. Captn Tommy
MAY 31, 2017 - 04:19 AM
The red disc was removed from American insignia so as not be confused with the Japanese Hinomaru. For the same reason, the RAF removed their red centers from roundels, but only for aircraft deployed in the Pacific theater. -------------------------- About the Sutton seatbelts with Eduard's Se.5a, for the most part they are correct after some searching. That set up replaced the wide lap belts sometime in 1918 while the war was still being waged - just haven't been able to pinpoint an exact date.
MAY 31, 2017 - 04:34 AM
Cheers Jack Many thanks for the fresh info. So, I almost certainly messed up mixing the belts - but what's done is done. I probably could still tweak the little bleeders out, but that might not go well... So, I'll know they're "wrong" - and, of course, anyone reading this thread - Ahh the joys of modelling with an audience! To both you and Tom - I didn't quite understand why Stephen seemed so flummoxed by the reference to ditching the red in US WW2 insignia - hence not chipping in. It seemed a fair enough analogy to me - maybe "instantly" was a tad overstated (it took until the tendency of US pilots in the Pacific Theatre to shoot at anything wearing red in their markings (however small) became apparent), but I got the point OK; sporting a red "flying circus" type scheme wouldn't have been the brightest idea for a British pilot before the Armistice. As I say, what I've read indicates that Duncan Grinnell-Milne "got away" with his repaint after the cessation of hostilities. Checking the rota at work today, it's more of a mess than I'd feared - so... hopefully an update on Sunday... if not, it'll be the week after. All the best Rowan
MAY 31, 2017 - 08:13 AM
I think it's fine to just have lap belts on the Se.5a - though they should be quite wide I'm guessing. Over at the Aerodrome forum, the late Dan-San Abbott mentioned that he had a diagram of the Se.5a with the Sutton A type harness, dated April 1918. I'm guessing this is what Eduard have given us.
MAY 31, 2017 - 06:48 PM
Hi again Jack I'm afraid my skinny lap-belts will have to do this time. It's looking like I might actually get a chance to get back to this little beastie tomorrow - an update is long overdue. Somehow, there are always fresh reviews to tackle (it hasn't let up so far, despite stepping down as Managing Editor! LOL!), but I'm itching to make a bit more progress on this and Copper State's F.K.8. All the best Rowan
JUN 19, 2017 - 08:00 AM
I've already built mine! And still, I bought also the Eduard Royal Class box. And - of course - I've got the WnW kit in my stash Mikko
JUN 19, 2017 - 05:46 PM
Hi Mikko They look fantastic! Yes - the WNW kit is staring at me from the shelf too! That's a definite one to tackle one day soon-ish... All the best Rowan
JUN 19, 2017 - 06:53 PM
The Wingnut kits are terrible, you should both definitely get rid of yours. I'll be happy to take them off your hands for you and won't even charge you for the favor. See what a great guy I am? Seriously, nice work there, Rowan; and you too Mikko! Michael
JUN 19, 2017 - 11:39 PM
Cheers Michael Sorry - I'll have to pass on your generous offer to give my WNW SE5a a home. I did manage to finally spend a couple of hours at the workbench today, but the F.K.8 cornered my attention. All the best Rowan
JUN 20, 2017 - 07:48 AM
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