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MODEL: Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter
BRAND: Roden from the Ukraine
KIT: number 635
NUMBER OF PARTS: about 125 plastic parts
PRICE: between 45 – 60 Euro
NEW KIT: yes, April 2023 and first 1/32 Strutter
"In box review"
Roden, a model kit company based in Ukraine, released a new injection-molded kit in April 2023 despite the current Ukraine war. It is the first Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter kit in 1/32 scale.
The Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter was a British biplane aircraft that entered service in 1916. It was the first British aircraft to have a synchronized machine gun, although it was not always reliable, and some pilots did not have a gun installed. The aircraft was named 1 1/2 Strutter due to the long and short cabane struts that supported the top wing. The aircraft had several variants and armament configurations, including use as a bomber. Over 1,300 aircraft were built in Britain and over 4,500 were built in France by various companies, including Hanriot. The American Expeditionary Force also used the aircraft in France during World War I, although it quickly became obsolete. Some were even built in Russia, and after the Great war, many were used overseas.
The Roden kit contains 125 medium grey plastic parts with 9 sprues, a clear film sheet, and a nice-looking decal sheet. There are no metal or resin parts included, and no rigging wire is provided. The parts look crisp, but some sprue gates are rather thick, especially at the wing leading edges. Careful cutting and sanding will be necessary to separate the parts from their sprues. The wings have thin trailing edges with convincing fabric surfaces between the ribs.
The fuselage has two halves with internal detail and a separate crew cover with openings for the front pilot and rear gunner. The interior features a control rod, trim wheels, and what appears to be a small bomb bay. A single Vickers machine gun can be positioned in front of the pilot, and the gunner has a rotating flat seat with extra rounds for the movable Lewis gun with Scarff ring. The 0.303 guns are single parts that could be replaced by more detailed aftermarket options. The Clerget 9B 9-cylinder 130 HP engine, enclosed in a cowling, has around 15 parts and looks impressive.
The upper wing has two large openings covered with clear acetate sheets provided in the kit, which gave the pilot a view to spot enemies from above. A nice detail is that the control wire guide wheels in the wing have clear inspection panels, though Roden suggests painting them. The kit provides two types of propellers.
The instructions are clear, with 11 sequence steps and a drawing for the paint scheme. A parts layout is shown, and the colours are indicated in Humbrol paints. A small drawing is provided for the rigging, and Roden refers also to the box art which is also useful for this aspect.
The decals included in kit number 635 provide markings for two aircraft:
(1) a Strutter flown by British RNAS FSL Collishaw of the no. 3 wing in autumn 1916.
(2) a Strutter of the RFC no.70 squadron by Lt. Gotch in Spring 1917.
Both aircraft sport similar paint schemes with big roundels.
There are some unused parts in the kit, including another top wing without the openings, an extra gun and probably the small 25 lbs bombs. It's possible that the French-built 1.B2 two-seater aircraft could carry these bombs under the wing, and there may have also been a single-seat bomber with a small bomb bay located aft of the pilot. It seems this bomb bay is in the kit though for this kit a cover is to be installed in the lower opening. Given the presence of extra parts, it's likely that Roden will release this kit as bomber with other decals featuring different markings.
The upper wing has the correct span in 1/32 scale.
In summary, this Roden 1/32 scale kit is a nice addition to any WWI aircraft modeller’s collection. Although it is not super-detailed, it can be made into a beautiful model with careful assembly.
The interior, engine, and armament can be further detailed to improve the overall quality of the model. As is usual with biplanes, adding rigging is essential and some of the rigging wires are "double." Each experienced WWI modeller has its own preferred way of adding rigging.
It's hoped that aftermarket decals will become available for the many squadrons and countries that used the Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter.
For my model, I plan to build a model of a machine that was interned in the Netherlands during the Great War. Five of these aircraft made an emergency landing on neutral Dutch soil, and most of them were given Dutch LuchtvaartAfdeeling (LvA) markings with large orange balls. More information about the LvA Dutch used aircraft can be found on our IPMS.NL site here…
Finally a note about the kit purchase price: this is quite high though in recent years kit prices have risen a lot of many kits. Let’s hope that some of that extra money goes to Roden in these difficult times.
REVIEWER: Meindert de Vreeze
DOWNLOAD kit instructions: strutter-roden-no635.pdf
Also check out my Strutter Walk Around on our IPMS.NL site here...
this article was published on IPMS.NL website May 10, 2023 by M. de Vreeze (c) IPMS Nederland