by: Filip [ ]
INTRODUCTION EDUARD is a company that probably anyone, who has any interest in model building have already heard of. Younger model builders will probably not remember the original short run kits from the 90`s that helped to achieve the status of one of the best. With a Great War Centenary, they decided to return to their original field of interest - WWI aircraft. The SE.5a (Scout Experimental) is undoubtedly one of the most important and iconic fighters of the Great War, its Night Fighter version, however, is not that well known. The previous releases covered both the Hisso (Hispano Suiza) and the Wolseley Viper variants of the famous fighter.
THE KIT The SE.5a arrives in a sturdy box with all the content packed in separate bags. The box art is quite nice with the SE.5 shooting down the huge Zeppelin Staaken bomber. In the Profipack boxing, both photo-etched and resin parts are included. As both the Hisso and the Viper-powered SE.5 were used as night fighters, there are just a few parts not for use.
The kit consists of:
two grey styrene frets (111 parts)
clear parts fret (11 parts)
Eduard masking set
two PE parts sheets (one pre-painted)
six resin parts
two decals sheets
The parts are crisp and clean of flash. I have noticed just two sink marks, which will be easily dealt with. Ejector pin marks are located in such places, where they will not be visible or interfere with the construction of the kit in any way. Cleaning and cutting the parts off the sprues should be a painless process.
The details are crisp and generally subtle, the ones that may appear too heavy to the more advanced modellers, are simply replaced by their PE counterparts. Eduard attempted to simulate the rib tapes as accurately as possible but in my humble opinion, they are a little bit overdone. The stitching on the fuselage halves is pretty accurate and in scale.
I must admit that the kit is extremely well-detailed one gets everything necessary to build a busy looking cockpit with separate parts for the internal structure and pre-painted instrument panel and seat belts. Another great addition is the presence of both Hispano Suiza and the Wolseley Viper engines and their corresponding radiators, so it is possible to leave the engine cowling off to display it fully. There is one detail I particularly like - the inspection panels of the wing and tail pulleys. They make a huge difference in the overall look of the miniature.
The parts that are different to the day versions of the SE.5a are mainly the fire dampers of the exhausts. There are three variants for the four paint schemes included in the kit. The resin parts are exquisitely cast.
TEST FIT The kit is extremely well engineered and it will pose no problems even for the modellers, who do not have experience with building biplane models (the only thing to remember - one has to paint the majority of the model before assembly of the upper wing ;)). I wasn`t able to test fit all the parts due to biplane configuration but the ones that I tested fit like a glove after minor cleaning.
INSTRUCTION AND DECALS The instruction is the usual full-colour Eduard style. It is very comprehensive and leaves a little room for any doubts. The paint schemes are described and printed in full colour.
The decals are printed by Eduard. The print is of very good quality with a perfect register. One sheet is solely the blue checkers for both the fuselage and the wings (scheme A).
There are four marking options:
A - B658, flown by Capt. Cecil Lewis, No. 61 (Home Defence) Squadron, Rochford,
United Kingdom, January 1918
B - C1805, flown by Lt. W. R. Oulton, No. 143 (Home Defence) Squadron, Detling,
United Kingdom, May 1918
C - flown by Capt. Gilbert Insall VC, No. 50 (Home Defence) Squadron, Bekesbourne,
United Kingdom, May/ July 1918
D - D5995, flown by Lt. L. Lucas, No. 50 (Home Defence) Squadron, Bekesbourne,
United Kingdom, summer 1918
CONCLUSION The Eduard`s SE.5a Night Fighter complements the previously released Hisso and Viper powered versions of this famous fighter. The quality of the kit is superb and the state of the art engineering allows this kit to be built by modellers without prior biplane building experience. What is more, there are some striking looking paint schemes to choose from.
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