by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Trumpeter's quarterscale Wyvern was very well received by fans of naval and British post-war aircraft when it was released in 2006, being widely acclaimed as the company's best kit in that scale thus far. Some five years later, the Wyvern still impresses straight from the box with its fine overall level of detail, going further than most mainstream kits by including a nice etched brass fret for the main instrument panel and seatbelts for the "office".
But good as the cockpit is, comparing it with shots in the 4 Plus Publication monograph on the Wyvern shows straight away that there's masses of extra items that the dedicated superdetailer can add. Luckily, you don't need to resort to scratchbuilding, because Pavla Models include an excellent resin upgrade set in their range of aftermarket cockpits.
The sample set arrived safe and sound with 9 dark grey resin parts sealed in a blister pack, however I'd like to see the most delicate items put in a separate bag for extra protection from rattling against the larger chunks of resin such as the main cockpit tub in transit.
The casting in my set is basically flawless. No bubbles or other problems, and just a wisp of flash to clean off in a couple of places. The set comprises:
Instrument panel and coaming
Canopy internal frame
A small console for the windscreen de-icer
The detail is really impressive, surpassing the original kit parts at every turn. The main tub slots straight into the fuselage halves without even needing its casting block removing and has that instant "Wow!" factor. The extra depth and complexity of the side consoles will really "pop out" with careful painting, while the floor (largely blank in the kit) has added pipework and small control units. Similarly, the new sidewalls are much more convincing than the shallow relief details moulded inside the fuselage halves (a bonus for preparing to fit the resin parts is that the shallow detail will be simple to remove), while the control column has a much better handgrip and the new rudder pedals are stirrup-type, as against the solid kit items.
I was quite prepared to preferTrumpeter's photoetched main instrument panel, but in fact Pavla's resin version has a much better 3D effect, including tiny knobs and buttons. It's still tempting to try to find a way to use Trumpeter's printed film for the instrument faces though. The gyro gunsight is a bit basic and appears to be in the retracted position (the real thing attached to a pivot mounting), and that's probably correct for an aircraft on the ground.
Last but not least is the Martin-Baker Mk.2B ejector seat, and it really is a beautiful bit of modelling. It's cast as one piece, complete with harnesses and firing handles. The inevitable mould-seam is safely hidden at the back, and the overall effect is much busier and "lived in" (or should that be "sat upon"?) than the kit seat. The only obviously items missing compared with the drawing in the 4 Plus Publication book are the foot rests.
The set includes a straightforward sheet of instructions that break assembly down into 4 simple stages. Colours are keyed to most items - not surprisingly, the office is predominantly black, which can look totally featureless if you're not careful, so I'd suggest using a very dark grey instead to allow subtle shading and highlighting to make the most of all the extra detail. The aforementioned book includes colour shots of the FAA Museum's preserved TF Mk.1's cockpit (similar, but not identical to that of the S Mk.4) which are useful for showing where a few spots of colour can be added.
ConclusionPavla's Wyvern set is hard to fault. It's packed with detail and seems simplicity itself to install, with little modification to the original kit needed. Reviewing the upgrade set served to remind me just what a nice kit Trumpeter's Wyvern is overall - one which seldom seems to appear among our on-line builds now the initial flurry of interest surrounding its release has long since passed. That's a shame, and seeing the extra detail that Pavla provide is a timely spur to buy one or dig it out of The Stash. Highly recommended.
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