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Built Review
RFC Pilot -standing
RFC Pilot -standing in a Sidcot suit
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

Frederick Sidney Cotton OBE (Order of the British Empire) was born 17 June 1894 and died 13 February 1969. He was an Australian inventor, photographer and aviation and photography pioneer, responsible for developing and promoting an early colour film process, and largely responsible for the development of photographic reconnaissance before and during the Second World War. Cotton left South Wales and returned to England to join the RNAS in November 1915. He qualified as a combat pilot, and initially flew Channel patrols. Cotton went on to participate in night bombing sorties over France and Germany with Nos 3 and 5 Wings. His experience with high level and low-temperature flying led Cotton in 1917 to develop the revolutionary new "Sidcot" suit, a flying suit which solved the problem pilots had in keeping warm in the cockpit. This flying suit was widely used by the RNAS & RAF until the 1950s. Cotton continued with No. 8 Squadron RNAS in 1917 where he was promoted to Flight Sub-Lieutenant in June 1917. Soon after, he resigned his commission in October 1917. But his phenomenal career as a spy was to carry on even after WWII. See: Aviator extraordinary: the Sidney Cotton story. Mr. Cotton was such a modest fellow he refused patent rights to the Sidcot flying suit.

The Sidney Cotton flying suit (Sidcot) outer shell was made of “Burberry”. The inner layer was usually made of wool or sheepskin. In 1880, Mr. Thomas Burberry introduced in his brand the “gabardine”, a hard wearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving.

Sometime after New Year’s 1917 flying gear items were standardised for the RNAS. The personal weather clothing & equipment for British aviators in the First World War was provided by private purchase from local outfitters and tailors. The fledgling aviator was given a list and told where they could go for fittings and purchases. There were specific types and patterns of flying suits, coats, skull cap helmets, gloves, goggles, breeches, tunics and thigh high “fug” boots that were allowed for purchase.

The review
Copper State Models Ltd has designed and produced this standing British aviator that is posed to adjust his gloves. The Sidney Cotton flight suit was designed for the RNAS but the design soon found its way into the RFC and finally the RAF. It was highly prized by German aviators and was usually bartered from captured crews before their being shipped off to POW camps. The foot wear is thigh high sheepskin “Fug” boots. Originally designed by Major Lanoe Hawker and made for him by Harrods. The pattern also found its way in to all the BEF aviation units before the war’s end.

The second figure that Copper State Models decided to issue is the “CSF F32-002 RFC Pilot - standing resin figure.” It is suitable to include in any British WWI aviation display or dioramas. It was sculpted by figure master Andrey Blyoskin. The over-all lines and details are clean and the figure’s facial features are highly impressive. It comes in four easy to assemble segments that include head, arms and body. A basic image search of the web will yield some great existing shots and details to help the modeller further. The natural stance of the figure adds to its scale realism. I had no trouble assembling and painting this kit using my basic talents for figures. In 1/32 this is the natural choice even if it is just to show proportion.

Methods of payment are listed on their website; At this time you must contact them through their website for prices and delivery schedules.

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Highs: High level of detail, historically correct.
Lows: Completed images on website would help
Verdict: Very desirable for early aviation subjects and can be modified for later variations.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID:  F32.002
  Suggested Retail: Must contact manufacturer
  Related Link: Website
  PUBLISHED: Nov 30, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. 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.


The Sidcot suit depicted in the article is painted shiny, like leather As seen in the accompanying photo the suit outer cover was cloth. This was along the dungaree, or cotton canvas type, or any weave tight enough to cut the wind, so should be much closer to Matte finish. This figure could fit into German and US especially Air Mail service, also. Captn Tommy
DEC 01, 2014 - 12:57 AM
Hhhmmm. . .it seems that is what the text say in the review. Berberry's gabardine to be precise. The figure does not look "shiny" to me but its just my opinion.
DEC 01, 2014 - 05:43 AM

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