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HR Model's 1/72 resin Martinsyde S-1


By Michal Beran



The small company of Helmut Martin and George Handasyde was one of the pioneering aircraft companies in pre-war Great Britain. It was well-known and admired for its series of fine performing and elegant monoplanes. But in 1914, perhaps influenced by the appearance of the Sopwith Tabloid and the Bristol Scout, they initiated construction work on a small single-bay, single-seat biplane. The prototype was purchased by the War Office for the RFC after the outbreak of war. Perhaps 69 of these small biplanes were built for the RFC and they saw limited operational service in France and Mesopotamia.

L.A. Strange and the S-1

The big moment for the Martinsyde S-1 came with the aerial adventure of Lieutenant Louis Strange of No.6 squadron, RFC. On 10 May 1915, during an engagement over the front at 8,000 feet with what was probably an Aviatik two seater, he had to change the ammunition drum of his overwing mounted Lewis gun. Unbuckling his seatbelt he stood up and tried to remove the empty drum, however he found it almost impossible to change the drum. He did not give up and tried again. Suddenly, the aircraftstalled and flipped over onto its back. Strange fell of the cockpit and the only thing keeping him from hitting the ground was the damned ill-fitting ammunition drum. The aeroplane started to spin down out of control, but Strange hanging unto the drum somehow managed to get hold of the cabane strut, and finally pulled himself back into the seat. He brought the aircraft under control and flew back to his own lines.

The kit

A very welcome addition to the growing range of HR resin kits is Martinsyde S-1. The HR S-1 consists of 31 resin parts, including fuselage halves; one piece upper wing; lower wing halves; tail surfaces; engine cowling; wheels; engine; Lewis gun; struts and some parts for cockpit furnishing. The resin in the kit is very nice and my example was without any air holes. The wings are fine but will profit from refining of the shape and rib details and repositioning of the ailerons.

All the small parts are very delicate and separating them from the "backing plate" requires some carefull work. All struts are resin, so they too need carefull handling. I personally prefer the use of altrenative material - Strutz or wooden struts made from toothpicks.

The instructions are very brief. There is an A4 sheet of paper with line and tonal drawings of the S-1. There are no assembly diagrams, so extra reference material is a must for assembling and detailing the kit. The kit includes the Lewis gun, but no information on how the gun was fitted to the upper wing.

The decal sheet offers markings for Strange's aeroplane. The decals are made by MPD and are very well done.

This aeroplane was previously just available as a vacform kit from Aeroclub and in either form is a very welcome addition to any collection of early RFC aeroplanes.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM

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