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Eduard 1/48 scale Sopwith Triplane

Kit: No. 8014
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Eduard, 800 Proctor Ave., Ogdensburg, NY 13669, phone 613-224-9071
Price: $24.99
Comments: Injection molded, 77 parts (40 photoetched brass), decals.

Its triple stack of equal-span, equal-chord wings makes the Sopwith Triplane look like a Venetian blind with a propeller. But this odd-looking-yet-maneuverable fighter saw success in the hands of Britain's Royal Naval Air Service. It became a trendsetter, too, as the Germans followed up with the best-known triplane, the Fokker Dr.I.

Eduard shows off its new molding process which produces flash-free moldings with crisp detail. Throw in fine photoetched details, and the Triplane cries to be built.
The fit is superb, but the pictogram instructions could use a little text to help the beginner. Study the illustrations carefully before you start each step.

I found it best to mount the engine on a round toothpick to install the photoetched pushrod and crankcase detail. Next I installed the finished engine by inserting the shaft through the assembled fuselage bulkhead before installing the bottom of the forward fuselage (part No. 23). Do this if you want the engine and propeller to turn, and don't cement the engine to the bulkhead. A little graphite from a No. 2 pencil will lubricate the hole in the bulkhead.

Fit and install the outboard interplane struts into each middle wing to help hold the wings in position as you attach them to the inboard struts.

I used jeweler's bezel cement, super glue, and plastic solvent cement to build this model. It's best to paint the major components before final assembly, and I used Testor enamels overall. Eduard provides markings for two Triplanes, and I chose "Hilda" flown by Flt. Lt. C.D. Booker of No. 8 Squadron RNAS. The decals are fragile and could stand a clear overcoat before application to help reinforce the images.

The model can be put together in less than 20 hours, but double that if you wish to add the complicated rigging. I used stretched sprue on mine. The finished model looks just right compared with the pictures and statistics in J.M. Bruce's Windsock Datafile No. 22, Sopwith Triplane and World War One Aero issue No. 91.

WWI modelers will love Eduard's new effort, but it's not a beginner's project due to the tiny folding photoetched parts.

Bill Gebhard


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