by the greatest Allied aces during the First World War - such as Billy Bishop,
James McCudden and Edward Mannock, the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 (Scout
Experimental #5) was without doubt the most successful British
fighter of WW1.
The S.E.5 had an unreliable 150hp
engine. The later S.E.5a used a more reliable 200HP Hispano-Suiza engine,
which permitted this single-seat biplane with dihedral wings to finally be used
to it's full potential. The S.E.5 was a fairly forgiving aircraft for
relatively inexperienced pilots due to it's excellent handling
characteristics. Thanks to the efforts of the engineers, this aircraft was
as almost as maneuverable as its contemporary, the Sopwith Camel,
but was noticeably faster and quieter and a fighter with formidable
capabilities. Toward the end of the War, some SE 5a's were employed in close
support missions, armed with light bombs. The combined production of the
SE.5 and the SE5a reached 5,205, including some modified as two-seaters.
The plane was used
in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, and also on the Salonica Front. Many were
assigned to the air defense of British territory, with unimpressive results.
American aces who
flew the SE 5a included: Hilbert Leigh Bair, Louis Bennett, Jr., Charles A.
Bissonette, Sydney M. Brown, Alvin A. Callander, John O. Donaldson, John S.
Griffith, Frank A. Hale, Duerson Knight, Howard Kullberg, Willaim C. Lambert,
Jens F. Larsen, Reed G. Landis, Frederick E. Luff, Frances P. Magoun, Bogart
Rogers, Oren J. Rose, and Harold G. Shoemaker.
The S.E. 5a was
also employed by American military aviation. Plans for manufacture for the US
Army, under license
by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, were drawn up. The cessation of
hostilities, in November 1918, ended these projects. Only one example was built
by Curtiss, which accepted moreover the components needed to assemble 56 more
units coming from Great Britain. Another batch was produced after the war by
Eberhart Steel Products, in the United States.
This kit is comprised of 3 sprues
of off white styrene. The molding is very well done with no flash and
plenty of delicate detail that shows up very well.
The parts break down is logical
and assembly looks like it won't be too difficult. Wing rigging isn't
shown on the instructions but it is clearly laid out on the box art for those
people that like to string rigging on 1/72 Bi-Planes. The cockpit consists
of a decent little seat, a control stick and a flat panel for you to affix your
instrument panel decal. there is alsoa ridge around the cockpit
opening representing the leather padding ridge....a bit of paint will set this
detail off well. cockpit side wall detail consists of a few frame pieces
molded to the inside of the fuselage sides as well as one large sink mark that
might be hidden when everything is assembled.
images below to see larger images
general view of parts
and engine covers
There are 3 cockpit fuselage
openings included, but two are not needed and the instructions clearly show
which one to use.
images below to see larger images
It is difficult to
capture the wing detail......you can almost feel the cloth over the wing
spars....simply lovely and good to see such detail....especially in 1/72.
The machine gun is one of those "over the wing" jobs and has fantastic
detail. Subtle drybrushing will be the key here. Two props are
included and they both appear to be identical.
There is also a
small acetate sheet including the tiny windscreen....actually a few windscreens
depending on which version you are building.
|The 8 page
instruction booklet includes....S.E.5a history, parts breakdown of the
sprues, 6 pages of assembly and decal instructions. the line drawing
for the assembly instructions are well done and very easy to follow.
There is also colour drawing/paint instructions on the back of the
box. Painting instructions include Humbrol paints.
are for 4 different high scoring aces including
- S.E.5a D6856 No. 84 Sqn
RAF, Capt A. Beauchamp-Proctor (54 victories) 1918
- S.E.5a F5910/A No. 41
Sqn RAF, Lt. W.G. Claxton (39 victories) 1918
- S.E.5a E1295/A No. 74
Sqn RAF, Major Edward "Mick" Mannock (73 victories) July
- S.E.5a C1904/Z No. 85
Sqn RAF, Billie Bishop (72 victories) summer 1918 in France.
This is a great
little kit of this famous fighter and I highly recommend it and Roden kits in
general to anyone wanting to build some WW1 aircraft.
Special thanks to LuckyModel.com
Hobby Shop for sending me this review sample. I've ordered kits from
them and their service was excellent.