Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Sopwith Pup

The Sopwith Pup was a viceless aircraft to fly. It was very popular amongst pilots, and it was in service between the fall of 1916 and late 1917, both with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. By then it was outclassed by German scout aircraft, but it remained in service as a trainer. It was also used as a ship-borne fighter. British ace James McCudden claimed that "When it came to manoeuvring [sic], the Sopwith [Pup] would turn twice to an Albatros' once ... it was a remarkably fine machine for general all-round flying. It was so extremely light and well surfaced that after a little practice one could almost land it on a tennis court."

The kit is the Airfix 1/72 model that was initially released in 1973, and it remains the only 1/72 model of the Pup available. It consists of 24 crisp parts, and the kit dimensions are quite correct. The fabric effects on the wings and the tail are a bit overdone, but paint conceals these effects quite well. The decals are from the spares box, and this particular Pup is painted in the colors representative of No. 46 Squadron, which was based at La Gorgue in June of 1917. It had exchanged its Nieuport two-seaters for Sopwith Pups in May , and it was heavily engaged in the Battle of Messines, scoring several victories against German aircraft. The squadron returned to England for home defense duties in July, but it returned to France in August. The Pups were eventually exchanged for Sopwith Camels in November 1917.

The two figures were added to a base made out of an old gift card. The officer enjoys a stein of beer, while the erk (aircraftman) might be trying to persuade him to add a Lewis gun to the top wing. This was occasionally done, but many pilots found this to add too much weight to the Pup.

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