1/32 Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on Dec 10 2019

 

      

If you read any literature about WW I aviation that references the Sopwith Pup, you will usually find some of the following words used to describe its characteristics: delightful, beloved, a dream to fly, favorite, nice, agile, forgiving, docile and without a vice. When RFC pilots were sent back to training squadrons in England for a rest, they often chose as their personal aircraft the Sopwith Pup, and often painted them in outlandish schemes. While officially designated as a Sopwith Scout, it was known by those who flew it as the "Pup".

The Pup was armed with a single Vickers machine gun synchronized to fire forward without hitting the propeller. It was powered by either an 80 hp Le Rhone, Gnome, or Clerget rotary engine. While the airplanes flown by the Germans were armed with twin forward firing synchronized machine guns, the Pup was able to hold its own against the Halberstadt, Fokker and early Albatros fighters. Initially going to the RNAS to equip their land based squadrons, the Pup became such a favorite that the RFC began to order it from Sopwith. By the end of the war, 1,770 had been built.

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Canadian Lloyd S. Breadner of the RNAS flew "Happy" during the critical time of "Bloody April", 1917. Despite the superiority of the Albatros D.III supplied to the German Jasta, the RNAS was able to hold its own against them with the Pup and the Sopwith Triplane. Flight Commander Breadner accounted for 5 victories during Bloody April while flying with Naval 3. He downed a Gotha G.II while flying Happy on April 23, 1917.He ended the war with 10 victories, 7 in a Pup and 3 in a Sopwith Camel. Breadner retired from the RCAF with the rank of Air Chief Marshall on November 25, 1945. He died on March 14, 1952.

Pheon Decals produces a sheet for RNAS Pups (32014 - RNAS Operational Pups) that has decals for Breadner's "Happy". I believe that a reboxing by WNW of their Pup kit now also provides for this option. Early in the war the RNAS didn't know what to do about naming individual aircraft. Ships, after all, always had a name, H.M.S. VIctory, etc. So, on some of these early naval airplanes, you will see the initials HMA (His Majesty's Airplane ?) above the name. I don't know why Breadner named his Pup Happy, but he did. I went with the red and white shadow color choice for Happy but Pheon also provides a choice for a PC10 with white shadow.

Like all WNW kits, the Pup is a dream to build. As long as you make sure the attachment and insertion points are free of paint, everything fits together nicely. The ailerons and rudder require a little extra work to fit solidly. They are "hinged" with 2 parts on one wing and 1 part that fits in between them on another. The problem is that the bumps (for lack of a better word to describe them) are rather small. So, I cut off the single bump and drilled a hole where it was located. I then attached a piece of firm wire with c/a into the hole. I then drilled a receiving hole between the other 2. I then inserted the aileron with wire protrusion into the hole after applying some c/a onto the end of the wire. A firm and stable attachment results. I took some photos to show this process. It sounds more complicated than it really is. All you need is a sharp knife and a small drill bit. 

British airplanes were painted in a covering of something called PC-10 and later in the war PC-12. The color was formed by mixing yellow ochre, lamp black, and iron oxide. Depending on when the paint was mixed and by whom, the color ranged from a "chocolate brown" to olive drab. I usually go with a brownish color but for this one I went with a dark green. I also decided to try a "whiter" version for the clear doped linen. It doesn't stand out too well on the tailplane when contrasted with the white elevators. Next time, back to my usual choice for cdl, Modern Desert Sand decanted from the Model Master spray can.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth