Author Topic: Kit Review - 1/32 Roden 1 1/2 Strutter "Comic Fighter"  (Read 439 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Kit Review - 1/32 Roden 1 1/2 Strutter "Comic Fighter"
« on: February 11, 2024, 07:03:59 AM »
Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter “Comic Fighter”
Reviewed by Lance Carroll



Item: 637
scale: 1/32
Price: Hannants UK 58.32 GBP,  Mega Hobby USA $78.29 USD,  MBK Modellblau Germany 39.50 Euros


Review kit kindly provided by Roden

Contents

Nine gray plastic sprues totalling 111 parts
Acetate sheet with cut-out printed transparencies for two styles of wind screens and flight control inspection ports.
One Decal Sheet with markings for two aircraft of 78 (Home Defence) Squadron 1917, and
An eight page A4 size black and white Instructions Booklet

The “Comic”

The Sopwith “Land Clerget Tractor’  (LCT) design was first flown in December of 1916 and ultimately served in various roles until the end of the war and with various Allied Air Forces well into the 1920’s. Britain produced approximately 1300 of the type while France exceeded 4500  under licenced production. Known to history as the “One and one-half Strutter” both the RFC and the RNAS utilised the aircraft in both the Fighter and Bomber Roles as did the French however the former withdrew it from Front Line Service in mid 1917.

With the German decision to restrict strategic bombing raids on England to night missions only in September of 1917 the RFC found itself without a dedicated interceptor to fill that role and the majority of Home Defence aircraft were types retired from front line service including two seat  Sopwith 1 ½ “Strutters”. A number of these were converted to single seat configuration by shifting the pilot’s cockpit to the Observer’s position and fairing over the former Pilot’s cockpit location. This modification vastly improved the Pilot’s visibility. These aircraft were armed with either a fixed synchronised Vickers machine gun in their original configuration, or later a single Lewis machine gun on a flexible Foster Mount on the upper wing. Several were modified to carry a special double fixed Foster Mount with two Lewis guns which fired at a 70 degree angle upwards. The aircraft was referred to as the “1 ½ Strutter Comic”.

In early 1918 the Night Fighter version of the Sopwith Camel, dubbed the “Sopwith Comic” began to replace these aircraft in Home Defence Units.

The Package and General Comments

The package arrived from Roden well packed with the model in generally excellent condition. The plastic sprues are enclosed in a single sealed plastic bag with the instructions, decal sheet, and the transparent acetate parts in a separate bag. No damage was apparent other than some minor creasing of the Instructions booklet. The sturdy and improved heavier bottom section of the box is a great improvement on Roden’s earlier Kits.

As with the aircraft itself differences between this version and its single seat bomber and two seat fighter versions are limited to the cockpit positioning and upper wing configuration, the former being positioned further aft and the latter lacking the transparent panels between the center ribs of the upper wing; both wing versions are included in the kit as with the preceding two seat Fighter version reviewed here last year.  For more photos of the common parts to these Kits that Review may be found here:

https://forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com/index.php?topic=13934.msg257145#msg257145

I particularly like the box art on the box cover; a pair of Strutter “Comics” in pursuit of several Gothas presumably heading back home over the Channel post mission. Artists say that a picture should evoke a story; this beautiful illustration draws my mind to the many such stories already told in history and those about to occur in this typical encounter! 

The package arrived in good condition with the plastic parts all enclosed in a single plastic bag within the box. I would prefer that the sprues be packaged individually like the decal sheet and transparency sheet to eliminate abrasion and possibly worse damage in handling and transit although this kit did not have any such minor damage. The sturdy and improved heavier bottom section of the box is a welcome addition to the Roden packaging of their newer releases.

Instruction Booklet

The familiar Roden folded 8 page black and white Booklet is provided in three languages, Ukrainian, English, and German. The cover sheet provides a nice basic history of the Type and a basic Performance Table. (Please pardon the creases in the Instructions here, the booklet apparently was slightly crushed by the model parts bag in transit.



The color Guide provided is for the Humbrol line of enamel paints. The Parts Index and Sprue Layout diagrams are clear and easy to reference.



The parts “Index” provides an effective key for locations of parts in the Kit. With the exception of Sprue “H” (the replacement turtle deck and cockpit access fairings (2 alternate styles) and the acetate clear parts cut out sheet the parts provided are identical to the previous version released of the aircraft.



The standard Roden “exploded view” assembly directions are clearly illustrated and simple to follow.



The sequence of the assembling process is clear as well.



Paint and Marking Guide

The Rigging Guide is simple yet adequate, an upper and lower view being provided.



The double wires in the wing bays are not illustrated however are well portrayed on the Box Top Art.



The Paint and Marking Guide illustrates two marking versions contained in the Kit, both 78 Squadron aircraft as flown from Martlesham Heath and Sutton’s Farm in late 1917.



The Parts and Detail:

The flying surfaces are nicely molded with subtle and realistic rib detail. With a little razor saw work on the longitudinal joins of the ailerons they can be bent into permanently deflected positions without the use of pins if desired.



Smaller parts are crisply molded with well defined details. Although the description of the first Strutter modified to this configuration in the Plans Booklet states that  “the plane was equipped with a night search-light” the part is not included in the Kit nor mentioned in the assembly directions. I could find no mention of it in my Windsock Data File #34 so I assume it was not carried through into the post evaluation conversion process.



A nice feature is representation of interior framing on the exterior of the fuselage. A light sanding of the slight blistering visible on the lower left panel should remedy that small imperfection.



The rear portion of the fuselage right side illustrating more interior framing showing through and the fabric stitching.



The two Comic “Turtle Decks” with different windscreen styles accommodations included.



Small details are nicely done and flash virtually absent.



As with the previous versions of this Kit the short comings of previous products in this line regarding strut and wing attachments have been very nicely resolved. The strut pins have been considerably lengthened and the wing attachments enlarged providing for very tight and sturdy joins.



The lower wing attachment point.



The only flash noted on the parts was on the Wing sprues and what little there was is very thin, easily trimmed, and of little or no consequence.



The clear parts sheet with two styles of wind shields and the four wing flight control pulley inspection transparencies.



Decals

The decals appear to be of excellent quality and hopefully will perform as such. The register and colours are “letter perfect” and I am looking forward to trying them.



Summary and Conclusions

This kit has all the appearances of a real winner. It represents a rare subject and its quality is readily apparent on opening the box. The price, as with most Roden products, belies the high quality of the item. In my judgement it is excellent value for its modest price.

The shape, scale measurements and accuracy of the Kit compare favourably with the details in the Windsock Data File for the aircraft.

I have been a fan of the Roden Model line for a long time, have built nearly a dozen of this series, and applaud their efforts to continue improving their products. Last, Roden are particularly attentive to their customers. They have actively sought our recommendations for future releases and their recent ones have been strongly influenced by our membership.

This model was provided by Roden for Review. I urge you to support them as they support our Forum.

Our very sincere thanks to Roden for the review sample!