|The Flashback 1/72 Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter kits
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter (or Land Clerget Tractor - LCT to Sopwith) was built in two different forms - a single set bomber (Sopwith 1B1 to the French), and a two-seat reconnaissance fighter (1A2). Its unique name was derived from its arrangement of interplane cabane struts which from the front formed a 'W'.. or one-and-a-half struts. .. Along with the bomber and recon fighter, the LCT was also used as a single seat nightfighter. In this case the front cockpit was faired over and the resulting 'Comic' was flown from the rear seat. Eventually over 1,200 Strutters were built by the British . . . . and over 4,500 by the French.
Flashback has released two kits of the Sopwith Strutter, and since they differ only in a few areas, Ill cover both of them here. The main difference between the two kits is that one is the single-seater and the other is the two-seater variant. The plastic parts are the same (although the two-seater has a second top wing), and the only real changes between the two kits are in the brass details.
A quick glance in the box reveals some dark gray plastic, some tan polyurethane resin, and an etched brass fret, along with some nice decals and a decent set of instructions. The plastic parts are cleanly molded and have a very well done fabric shape to it. I say shape rather than texture because there is no texture to the plastic, but it drapes very realistically over the wing ribs and the front fuselage ribbing. A coat of your favorite PC10 formula and some light weathering will really make this stand out. There are three upper rear deckings provided: the rear seat, a solid cover, and a fabric cover. Which one gets used for which variant is clearly outlined in the instructions.
The interior is made up of a resin floor and seat and brass side details and instrument panel. You can really go to town on all of the resin and brass in this kit, but remember that once the fuselage is together it will take someone very flexible to see any of it. Two engines and two propellers are provided, one set for the British Strutters and one set for the French. The engines are resin and are very well molded. Some careful painting will be needed here, as there is a lot of detail in the resin that isnt readily apparent until the first coat of paint goes on.
Once you have decided which variant youre going to make (French or British), the rest is downhill. In the two-seater kit, both types of rear gun mount are provided. If you opt for the British variant, be prepared for some careful folding and bending of brass to get that Scarff ring to look right.
As with any biplane kit, the detail that sets a model apart is the rigging. Often, just in figuring out where all the wires go can be difficult. Flashback has cured this by providing a set of illustrations showing where all the wires should be anchored. Use your favorite rigging method and follow these instructions and youll have this plane rigged in no time.
The decals are very thin in both kits, and each kit gives you the option of a British or French aircraft. The single-seater has markings for N5107 of No. 3 Wing, RNAS, 1917 and a Sopwith 1 B1 of SOP 111 of the French Air Force. The two-seater kit markings are for N9407 of No.3 Wing, RNAS, 1917 and a Sopwith 1 A2 of Esc. Sop. 226. FSL R. Collishaw, who shot down a Fokker in it on November 10, 1917, flew the British two-seater N9407.
If you are new to World War I modeling and want to try a biplane model, the Flashback Strutter kits are a great place to start. They have a large amount of detail, they are simple to build, and they dont have very complex rigging. If youre an old hand at WWI modeling, then you know how long weve wanted a decent Strutter kit. The Flashback kit is just that, and you shouldnt hesitate to pick one up.
Flashback Voisin 3