Roden 1/72 SE5a Hispano-Suiza

By Bob Pearson


The SE5a provided the counterpoint to the more widely known Sopwith Camel. The Camel was credited with downing more enemy aircraft than any other in WWI. According to some wags, this was because it was too slow to get away from anythiung and had to fight it's way out. . and also due to there being more Camels on the front that any other type. Be that as it may, the SE5a was the aircraft of choice to many of the top British aces, as it was faster and more stable than the erratic Camel.

For some 30 years or more the Revell SE5a was the only kit available of this important aircraft. Earlier this year Roden released the Wolseley Viper powered SE5a, and now the original Hispano-Suiza powered version has joined their lineup.

The Kit

WOW ... the kit is on three sprues of white coloured plastic and everything needed for the various modifications that the SE5a went through appear to be included. The fuselage has three forward deckings providing different cockpit shapes and covers to the Vickers machine gun. The fuselage itself has subtle external detailing to the sides showing where the frames are located. Stitching is also visible.

The wings have very nicely done ribs - just a hint on the top surfaces and properly recessed on the lower surfaces. Trailing edges are commendably thin. The only 'fault" I can see is one of my tailplanes is slightly warped. . easy enough to fix. Two styles of tailplane are provided. . the original wide chord and the later reduced chord. Take care in matching the correct ones to the option chosen.

The remainder of the parts include two styles of undercarriage .. the original metal tube and the later faired wooden split strut. Four propellors (two each two- and four-blade), four 20lb Cooper bombs, long and short exhausts, seat, rudder bar, control column, spinner (for McCudden's a/c) Lewis gun with separte ammo drum and separate headrest round out the parts giving a total of 59 parts.

Markings are provided for McCuddens B4891 which featured the spinner from an LVG he had downed. This and the narrow chord elevators he attributed to an increase in performanceove the other SE5as of 56 Sqn. Interestingly, Roden have provided two stages in the marking of B4891. . originally it carried the flight letter G, this was eventually overpainted with the number 6 when B flight switched to numbers instead of letters. So to do the proper job, it is necessary to first put the earlier markings on, and then cover them with the later ones. this should look most effective when done. Other options are for RS Dallas' camouflaged D3511 of 40 Sqn, B139 of 111 Sqn, D351 of No.6 Training Sqn AFC, D5995 of No.143 HD Sqn, B507 of No.60 Sqn , C9626 of No.32 Sqn and finally McCudden's earlier B4863. Three view drawings are provided for all these options and the rear of the box shows B4891 in full colour.


The Roden SE5a looks to be a most complete kit and for those who wish to detail it even further PART offers a PE detail set which wwe should preview next month. Some of the detail is also a little soft, but with minimal cleanup this will not be noticable.

We can now retire all those Revell and ESCI/ERTL kits stashed away

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample


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