Author Topic: Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Sopwith Scooter  (Read 111 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 500
  • "Truth Springs from Arguments Amongst Friends"
    • Brad's Models
Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 scale Sopwith Scooter
« on: November 20, 2021, 09:34:20 PM »
Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) 1/72 Sopwith Scooter
Reviewed by Brad Cancian



Item: KPM0165
scale: 1/72
Price: 10.70 Euros direct from Kovozávody Prostějov

Review kit kindly provided by KP Models at https://www.kovozavody.cz/

The Sopwith Scooter



In the summer of 1918, the Sopwith Company created a parasol Monoplane Number 1, later called the Scooter. The aircraft was initially designed as a light run-about, utilizing a slightly modified standard Camel fuselage. The lack of armament and associated weight meant a slight shift in the location of the pilot seat slightly aft of that seen on the Camel. The Scooter was powered by a 130hp Clerget rotary engine, and featured swept back wings, supported by flying wires from the fuselage as well as an A-shaped pillar above the wing. The Scooter had decent manoeuvrability and turn of speed. A military version was built, named Monoplane Number 2, or the “Swallow”, just prior to the Armistice. It was different from the Scooter in a number of ways, including larger-span wings mounted further above the fuselage to accommodate twin Lewis guns, and a 110hp LeRhone engine. It was considered as a shipboard fighter but was abandoned after trials in May of 1919 as the Scooter didn't perform as well as a Clerget powered Camel, and there was also no longer a military need. After the war, the sole Scooter was a favourite mount of Sopwith test pilot Harry Hawker for several years, performing at air shows in various liveries until around 1927, when it was scrapped.

The Bits and Bobs

Not surprisingly, there have not been many mainstream kits of either the Scooter or the Swallow in 1/72. The RVHP resin kit of the Swallow is the only other one out there, and this is well out of production. KP have released a kit of both the Scooter (KPM0165)and another boxing of the Swallow (KPM0165), finally adding a mainstream plastic kit of these neat little monoplanes onto the market. Both feature the same plastic sprues, but I will be focusing on the Scooter in this review.

The kit consists of a single sprue of grey plastic, constituting just 39 parts, a decal sheet, and a small instruction leaflet. There is no etch, resin, nor any clear parts included.



The kit is nicely detailed, and crisply moulded. The surface textures are nice and smooth, and the details relatively crisp in most areas. The kit has some nice representation of wing tapes, and the ribs on the horizontal stabiliser and fuselage sides is nicely done. Mould release pins on the fuselage should be hidden away when the model is built. The wheels are quite nice, as is the engine, instrument panel (albeit with cutouts for guns), cockpit floor, and pilot’s seat. At a guess, some components may have been inspired by a Roden kit, namely the wheels and engine. Alternate ailerons and struts are used for either the Scooter or Swallow. Alternate propellers are provided (with nice hub detail), as are two Vickers guns for the Swallow. Commendably, the characteristic ‘up kick’ of the rear fuselage ahead of the tail plane, and the exposed structure ahead of the rudder, are nicely represented.




The only downside is that there is a bit of flash on some of the parts (nothing some sanding or a sharp blade couldn’t fix). The detail-inclined will be able to go to town on the interior. Those also inclined may also want to consider replacing the engine with crisper after-market items.

Instructions

The instructions are printed in a nice little folded A4 sized leaflet, printed in colour. The instructions contain a description of the aircraft’s history, some specs, a parts breakdown (clearly specifying which parts are not used for the Scooter), and construction sequence. No rigging diagram is provided, so you’ll have to glean the rigging details from the box top or other references. Paint callouts are only given for the exterior colours on the box top, which is slightly odd. Other KP models instructions have had paint callouts within the instructions, so again you’ll have to use your intuition or other references. .





Colour schemes for three machines are provided in this boxing. Colours and decal placement are called out on the rear of the box. The colour schemes are varied and quite interesting and eye catching.



Decals

The decals are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. The decal film looks nice and thin.



Accuracy

Here is where things get interesting. The kit accurately provides shorter mounting struts for the Scooter’s wings. Shorter struts were seen on the Scooter due to the lack of armament; this produces a shortened gap between the wing and fuselage. However, the other variations between the Scooter and Swallow are not insignificant, in particular regarding the wing dimensions, as can be seen below (Scooter above, Swallow below):



The kit in the box best represents the wing of the Swallow, vice the Scooter. It contains the distinctive chord wise reinforcing strips on the inner ribs of the wing. The Scooter did not sport these strips, so these will need to be removed. The bigger problem is wing area; from what I can glean from various references online, the Swallow had a wing area around 162 to 165 square feet, and the Scooter somewhere around 135 to 140 square feet. That meant that the Scooter wing was around ~85% the wing area of the Swallow wing. Some counting of wing ribs in available photographs, as well as some cross references to other articles online (including Tom Ruprecht’s article on the Scooter), points to removal of two bays on either wing to get the right dimensions and layout. On the Swallow, there were 17 wing bays on either side of the wing, and two half bays at the centre, making a total of 35 bays. Shortening the wings by four bays as per the below drawing (pardon my poor photoshop skills!) gives a total of 31 bays, gives a rough equivalent area of the aforementioned 85%. Shortening the ailerons by one bay, and slightly modifying the centre section, as well as removal of the reinforcing ribs, should see the wing about right for a Scooter (though I certainly welcome other views).




Regards the markings, scheme number 1 for the red fuselaged livery looks about right compared to the photographs. It is possible that the panel that is black on the scheme, under the cockpit, may have been another colour, or a dark varnished wood.



Regarding scheme number 2 for the yellow livery, the markings look about right, but the quartered black / yellow wheel covers are probably a tad conjectural, from what I can see in the photographs.



For the third livery (K135), the colours look like they could be about right, but it is possible again that the wood panels under the fuselage were varnished. The cowling may also have been painted white due to the different sheen from the metal panels immediately aft. Overall though, the accuracy of the schemes looks plausible.



Conclusions

This is a great little kit of a unique aircraft. It will build a good Scooter with a few modifications, and a good Swallow pretty much as it stands. If you don’t want to do any modifications (most folks won’t know the specific differences anyways), then this will make a good subject for a speedy build. KP models are to be commended for their interesting choices in terms of both subject and markings; this one is sure to be a little eye-catcher once built. Recommended!

Our very sincere thanks to KP for the review sample!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 09:44:05 PM by Brad Cancian »