Toko 1/72 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter - Comic Nightfighter
The Comic Nightfighter variant of the Sopwith Land Clerget Tractor (LCT) - or, 1 1/2 Strutter - was created as a measure to help with the destruction of Germany'snight bombers. Not much has been written about the Comic version of the Strutter, so there isn't a lot of information available on the type.
Overall the Toko effort of the Strutter is very fine. Parts are well to scale, and measure out almost perfectly to the drawings and measurements in the Windsock Datafile on the type (Datafile #34). The only drawback is the fabric representation Toko continues to mold into their WW1 kits.
Kit decals are provided only for B'762, a Comic of No. 78 Home Defense Squadron.
There are two areas Toko did not mold. The first is the turtledeck in front of the horizontal tail. The turtledeck "sweeps up" in this area to meet the horiztonal tail. There is no "sweep up" in the Toko kit. The other area Toko didn't mold is the kingpost at the rear of the fuselage. This is relatively easy to add, while the "sweep up" can be a bit more daunting.
Also watch the undercarriage struts. They appear to be too long, and will need some trimming at the fuselage mating edges. Before proceeding though, be sure to study the scale plans found in Datafile #34.
There is an option in the kit not called out for in the instructions, nor do the decals support it. Toko provides two upper fuselage sections: one with a headrest, and one without. The part with the headrest - part #13F - is the one used with the kit decals and the part called out for in the instructions. The other upper fuselage section - part #12F - is for another "type" of Comic, which had a Vickers installed on the forward fuselage and is not called out for in the instructions. The book by Arms & Armour Press called Sopwith Fighters shows both machines to advantage on page 16. The machine provided for on the decal sheet is the upper photo, and the machine with the Vickers installed in front is the bottom photo in the Sopwith Fighters book.
Although I don't own any of the other Toko Strutters, it is apparent which are the common parts and which aren't. It appears that the common parts provide everything except the upper fuselage sections. These sections are what define each type. That means when you build the Comic you will have a slew of parts left over - extra seat, extra control column, etc.
The interior is well represented in the kit. The only item missing is the instrument panel - a very distinct, and obvious panel that should have been included in the kit.
Unfortunately, there is no rigging diagram in the kit - a major omission for a machine that had lots of rigging. If you have the Flashback instructions, use this as your rigging guide.
I stand by my comments about the Flashback Strutter in last month's Internet Modeler - it still is the best WW1 injection-molded kit to date. While Flashback missed the exhaust channel and the kingpost - plus the area under the horizontal tail isn't as accurate as the Toko - it is more complete than the Toko. However, the Toko kit is more "to scale" than the Flashback (but only marginally) and the options the Toko kits provide is definitely more than the Flashback (there are four separate Toko kits for four versions, while the Flashback only builds into a double seater or "standard" single seater). Plus, there's the matter of cost. You can purchase two Toko's for one Flashback.
I highly recommend the Toko Strutter. If you're interested in building multiple Strutters, then you can do so with the Toko kit. If you're interested in only building one or two Strutters, then by all means build the Flashback.
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