Sunday, November 1, 2009

SE5a Flight Build: Part II

Building biplane models is always about three times harder than I think it's going to be when I start the project...

So, here are the five planes of "C" Flight, 56 Squadron, with lower wings masked and ready for a coat of paint.

I wanted to call this blog installment "Wrestling With Decals". I spent the weekend applying decals to these aircraft. For the most part, I used the markings from Americal sheet #143. However, there weren't enough lower wing rondels for all five SEs, so I scavenged a set from a Sopwith Strutter sheet.

The Americal 56 squadron sheet is quite comprehensive, and I was really looking forward to marking up "C" Flight...however, I was kind of disappointed that the fuselage letters didn't really match the "type" seen in the strong photographic evidence of this flight. Booo! Anyway, the decals were very well behaved and didn't disintegrate like the many other sheets I tried to source bits and pieces from this weekend.

One pain point was that I didn't have the proper rudder stripes anywhere. Those supplied on the Americal sheet were too wide. As it turned out, I had to cut strips of colored decal and assemble the rudder stripes bit by bit. Aggravation!

One of the reasons I was so keen on doing "C" Flight was the strong photographic record, each plane shot in early March, 1918!

Here is flight leader, Fielding Johnson in "U".

Here is Jarvis, in "V".

Mealing, the flight's 14-victory ace in "W". He was shot down and killed on the 24th of the month.

Franklin in "X".

Finally, here is Walkerdine in "Y".

As of the end of the weekend, all planes have their base coat of paint, all decals on, including their serial numbers, and the wheel disks are in their proper blue color. As you can see in the photo, the models look quite glossy. This is because I coat everything with Future floor wax to seal the paint and create a slick base for the decals. When the builds are done, they'll get a spray of Testors Dullcoat to create a matt finish. Anyway, next comes a little fuselage detail painting. Then it will be time to attach the upper wings and landing gear. The end is in sight!

I'll close this installment with a shot of "C" Flight taking off for a very chilly patrol in February.

I'm hoping that the next post will see the end of this project...but who knows? Like I said, biplanes are always longer builds than you think they're going to be.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya,

    My mum found photos of my great grandfathers squadron C Sopwith Se5's on (Walkerdine) on your blog. We're doing a bit of research on him, as we have one of his old propellors and were wondering the origins of it.

    She was wondering how you came by the photos of him standing next to his plane. We have the original of this photo so it was amazing to see it on your blog.

    I look forward to hearing from you.