Eduard SE.5a Wolseley Viper

One of the most successful Allied fighters of WW1, the SE.5A (Scout Experimental 5A) was a sturdy purposeful machine which was initially powered by the 150hp V8 Hispano-Suiza engine. This powerplant was the main Achilles heel of the SE.5A which was unreliable thanks to its gear reduction system. When the direct-drive 200hp Wolseley Viper was introduced, production was increased and the initial slow supply to front line squadrons improved by 1918. Although superior to the equally famous Sopwith Camel, the problems with the powerplant did not see the SE.5A become the dominant front line fighter as it should have been. The inline, rather than rotary engine of the Camel, meant that SE.5A was less manoeuvrable but the trade-off was stability and if you made a mistake in it, the aircraft would not kill you like the Sopwith. Over 5,000 of this little biplane was built by no less than six manufacturers made up of Vickers, Austin Motors, Air Navigation and Engineering, Wolseley Motors, Martinside and the Royal Aircraft Factory (R.A.F.). Ironically the R.A.F. only built 200 while the main manufacturer, Vickers produced over 2,100 of them.

Personally I think that 1/48 is one of the best, if not the best, for WW1 aircraft and this latest edition from Eduard to this scale stable is spot on in all respects. A new tool for 2017, this kit is a ProfiPack edition so as well as a couple of over-laden plastic sprues you will also find a comprehensive clear part sprue, a very busy PE sheet, a set of pre-cut masks and nice Cartograf-printed big decal sheet. A well-produced A5 colour instruction booklet takes us through a 20-stage build and at the rear there are five different schemes. Three of the schemes are for RAF machines serving with 56 and 85 Squadrons while the remained two represent the USAAS 25th and 27th Aero Squadrons.

All of the parts are crisply produced and the detail on the fuselage and inside the cockpit, even before you’ve applied the PE, is very well done. Despite its size the Viper engine is made up of multiple parts and once completed is a little gem in its own right. This kit really goes together well and even the dreaded rigging stage is made easier with a couple of well-annotated line drawings on the last page of the instructions.

A great aircraft and a great kit; highly recommended. Thanks very much to Eduard for our sample which is available from all major outlets and online model stores. 


Product: Construction kit

Ref: 82131

Scale: 1/48

Parts: 107 plus PE (x65)

Price: Approx £25

Manufacturer: Eduard