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Eduard's 1/72 scale Sopwith Floatplane
Palestinian Baby

by Patrick Chung

Sopwith Baby Floatplane


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Back in the mid-1990s, Eduard entered the WWI short-run aircraft kit market, and this Baby (item number 8006) is such one of their early efforts.

In common with other Eduard kits of the era (see my Siemens Shuckert elsewhere on HyperScale), all detail parts are fabricated in a manner of a relatively large fret of PE, including the complete interior plus all hinges, some panels, control horns, turn buckles and many, many more. The Clerget engine is a piece of die-cast metal with less-than-perfect details molded onto it. Thanks to simple profile and cross section of the real thing, the relatively rough and thick short-run plastic parts do not have too much of a negative impact, and luckily the wing trailing edge is of scale thickness.


I have owned this kit for more than 6 years and the basic construction was stalled several times due to lack of enough perseverance. Yet….building skill grows with your experience, don’t they? So when time approaches the end of 2005, all the remaining parts in the box seemed to suddenly jump onto my workbench and nothing seems too difficult anymore!





Construction of the cockpit is fully a matter of PE bits. Dry fitting and extra care of handling is required to protect very delicate and fragile details. Wood grain of this area was simulated using “wet-brushing” of oil colors and then covered with a coat of clear orange.

When the fuselage halves were closed, the lower wing was attached and carefully sanded flush with the bottom of fuselage, tail empennage then glued in position. Tiny PE parts were superglued onto the fuselage exterior, including control cable lead out covers, etc. For modelers with experience of building WWI biplanes, we all know all lead-in/out holes of flying wires and cables must be drilled out at this stage.


So far the construction was proceeding without serious problem. The main floats were weighted and closed and painted….and then came the nightmare: The N struts for the float attachment to the fuselage were almost 10mm short judging from real aircraft photos, and proved totally unusable. A pair of struts was fabricated using streamline cross sectioned plastic rods and a coat of CA glue blended the joints in smooth as well as beef up the structural strength.



After the problem was solved, the rest part of construction was rather smooth. Care must be taken to dry fit those inter plane struts for proper stagger and height of the main wings.



Painting, Rigging and Markings



My attempt in painting to vividly represent the translucent effect of entire CDL surfaces was to apply a special technique of pre-shading prior to the plastic parts to receive first coat of paint: Using a permanent oil marker with extra fine tip to draw as precisely as possible all the ribs, spars and ply wood reinforce panels onto each side of the wings and tail planes, so that when custom mixed paints (with 50% of clear varnish added) were carefully sprayed onto he surface, these shades can be subtly seen through.



Though a bit on the risky side, the result turned out very pleasant.


Wire bracing and cables were made by monofilament fishing lines of various diameter and painted with metallic gray lacquer paint.


Eduard’s decal sheet has included markings for 4 Babies: a Sopwith built Baby that had been deployed in Palestinian front; a Blackburn built Baby of Naval flight, a Norwegian Baby and a license built Baby by Ansaldo in Italian markings.



Printed by Propacteam, the decals are brittle type but still quite workable with a little care.





Eduard's 1/48 scale Sopwith Baby is another fine example of how an early short run WWI biplane can be built into with extra effort. I really love these classic birds and definitely will try more, and more, and more!



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Patrick Chung
Page Created 03 January, 2006
Last Updated 03 January, 2006

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