Jump to content

Eduard 1/48 Sopwith Triplane

Recommended Posts

Here is my first picture for my Eduard Sopwith triplane. It is c 1996 Eduard so it is not quite up to what you would expect from today's kits.

There are a few additions and corrections which I will attempt, including correcting the tail a bit, adding metal brackets on the wooden struts, and so on. Nothing too major.

I already started the kit a while ago, forgetting I had earmarked it for this FAA GB.

The aircraft will be an early Sopwith triplane serving with RNAS No. 8 Squadron, Flt. Lt. C.D. Booker, August 1917.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little more on the Sopwith Triplane.

Here is a link to a 'Dieselpunks' posting about the triplane. I didn't expect to find information on such a site as this, but there it is. It is a nice introduction to the subject and has some interesting photos, including pictures of several other triplane prototypes.

My next posting will be about Flt. Lt. C.D. Booker, who flew N5482 for 17 of his 29 victories in the war, and technical specs and characteristics of the aircraft.


Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good luck on this one, looks a treat; triplanes have always scared me witless - way too many wings!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It will be a complicated build. I build a lot of biplanes, and there is a standard method - paint the fuselage,and wings, then assemble, then rig. With this triplane, it won't be the same because of the middle wing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a photo showing work on the triplane tailplane. The Sopwith Triplane had a variable incidence tailplane controlled by a handwheel in the cockpit. It allowed the pilot to fly 'hands off' for short periods to deal with machine gun jams, or whatever. The older Sopwith Pup had this as well. The later Camel did not.

The Eduard kit does not detail this. I wanted to add it, well, because I know it was there. The tail plane is not shown in place. I have to build up the rear fuselage as per the real aircraft using Milliput - I love this stuff.

Please excuse the grainy photo. It was taken with my iPad, I can't find my main camera right now.


Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the encouragement.

Being a short run kit there aren't many locating pins. The middle wing has none. There are details missing here and there that can't be added until constructed.

I think I'm going to a lot more brush work than I normally do.

Still I have a few months to go. Glad I started early!

I won't be doing any work on it for about 10 days as I have another non model related project starting Monday.

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

well, back from holidays.

I am getting around to working on the Tripe. I am now researching colours - PC12 for top surfaces, CDL for below.

Due to complexity of the build, I will be choosing paint that sprays well, and brushes well. My 'go to' paint for this is Games Workshop (Citadel). Their acrylics are superb. The construction will be finicky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I thought it is about time that I posted my most recent work to show I'm still in the game, so to speak.

Well since last time I've been modifying some parts slightly for better assembly and for accuracy.

First of all I added some styrene to the inboard end of mid wings.


Secondly, after checking references I discovered that the tailplane of Booker's triplane was constructed in late spring of 1917, and therefore would have had the 'late' syle tailplane of reduced area.So I cut off a bit of the kit supplied part.

More to come....

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Latest work

I primed with Vallejo Acrylic primer, without thinning, all over. Once dried I sprayed a light coat of Games Workshop's (GW) Bleached Bone acrylic paint thinned with Liquitex Airbrush Medium on the lower surfaces to represent Clear Doped Linen (CDL)


Next, I sprayed the upper surfaces with thinned GW's Calthan Brown, which is close enough to PC 12 for me.


Then, due to the fact that the under wing rib tapes are very visible in all the period and modern photographs of Sopwith Triplanes, I applied thin strips of white decal material to simulate this. Later I will apply another light coat of Bleached Bone to tone the tapes down a bit.


As for the modified tailplane; before I discovered that Booker's triplane had the new version, I had drilled holes for rigging. In the photo, I have filled the holes and am getting it ready for priming.

That's all for now.

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Biography of Charles Dawson Booker.

First is a photo, from 'The Aerodrome' -



Next, from Wikipedia, a biography -

Charles Dawson Booker was born to Joseph Dawson and Rachel C. Booker at Burnt House Cottage, Speldhurst, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. He spent part of his youth in Australia, attending the Grammar School in Melbourne from February 1908 through December 1911. He then returned to England and went to Bedford Grammar School in Bedfordshire until May 1915. On 8 September 1915, he was accepted into the Royal Naval Air Service as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant.

First Tour of Service
He served on the Belgian Coast, first with 5 Naval Wing, then with 8 Naval Squadron from May through October 1916, and further inland for another year, through November 1917. He did not open his victory roll until 23 January 1917, after his transfer to 8 Naval, when he drove an Albatros D.III down out of control while piloting a Sopwith Pup.

After a lapse of some months, he used a Sopwith Triplane to score four times in April, becoming an ace on the 30th.[1] Even at this early stage, he was flight commander of C Flight despite his youth. He was described by one of his wingmen as "...a little fellow, usually very silent, who fears nothing, but he would run a mile from any girl....he hopes the war will go on forever because he loves air fighting, and if the war were to end he is afraid he might not be able to find a suitable job."

May was an especially notable month for Booker, with nine victories, including a triple on the 24th.
On 22 June, after his 17th win, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross; the citation noted his three wins tallied on 24 May.

After three victories in July, he shot down and badly wounded German ace Hauptmann Adolf Ritter von Tutschek, commander of Jasta 12, on 11 August 1917; Tutschek would take half a year to recover. In this same fight, Booker was so badly shot about that German ace Viktor Schobinger claimed Booker as a victory. Booker actually managed to coax his destroyed 'Tripehound' to a forced landing in friendly territory.

He had used Sopwith Triplanes (his usual aircraft being serial number N5482, which he whimsically dubbed 'Maude') to run his string of triumphs to 23 by this time. The crash landing on the 11th was the end of 'Maude'. It had been his mount for at least 14 triumphs.

On 27 September, he scored his first victory while flying a Sopwith Camel; he shot down German ace Oberleutnant Hans Waldhausen of Jasta 37, who became a prisoner.

However, Naval 8, and Booker, were withdrawn from action in November and returned to England. Booker was the fourth ranked of the 25 aces in this prestigious squadron.

Second Tour of Service
After some months back in England, he returned to France as a Major commanding 201 Squadron of the newly formed Royal Air Force. He had been given the command in March, just shy of his 21st birthday. Once again, he would be flying a Camel.

He led 201 by example, scoring two May victories and one in July. In May, on the 24th, he identified the body of his friend, Australian ace Robert Little, who had been shot down nearby.

On 13 August 1918, he was leading a rookie pilot on an orientation tour of their aerial battlefield. The two Camel pilots ran into a formation of at least six expert pilots from Jagdgeschwader II. Booker tackled them single-handedly to cover the green pilot's retreat. It was the greenhorn who verified Booker's final three wins. However, Jasta 12's ace Leutnant Ulrich Neckel finally shot Booker down.

Booker was buried in Vignacourt British Cemetery, Somme, France.

He had claimed 29 victories; he shared in the capture of two enemy airplanes; destroyed ten, including six victories shared with other pilots; and drove down 17 'out of control', including five shared wins.

Distinguished Service Cross
Flt. Lieut, (act. Flt. Cdr.) Charles Dawson Booker.
"For special gallantry in the field on numerous occasions, especially the following:—
On 26 April 1917, he went to the assistance of some of our photographic machines, which were about to be attacked by twelve Albatross scouts. One of-these he fired on at close range, and brought it down out of control.

On 24 May 1917, whilst on patrol, he went to the assistance of a formation of our machines, which was being attacked by nine hostile scouts.

He attacked one of the latter, which was driven down-in flames and crashed. Later in the same day he attacked and drove down out of control another hostile machine.

On numerous other occasions he has attacked enemy machines and driven them down out of control."
—Supplement to the London Gazette, 22 June 1917

Charles Dawson Booker was also awarded the Croix de guerre on 14 July 1917.


In a future post I will present information of the the design, development, etc. of the Sopwith Triplane.

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is some worthwhile information on the Clerget 9B Rotary Engine that powered the Sopwith Triplane.

Clergets were used in many WW1 aircraft including the Sopwith 1 1/2 strutter, the Pup. the Camel, Nieuport 17's, and others.

Here are two links for print information -



Below is a link to an animated 3D presentation of the construction of the 9B, this is especially good and worth a look -

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the Sopwith Triplane, Cecil Lewis, WW1 pilot and later co-founder of the British Broadcasting Company (precursor of the corporation), writer, and Academy award recipient, had this to say about the Sopwith Triplane -

"of all all machines, the Triplane remains in my memory as the best . . . Other machines were faster, stronger, had better climb or vision; but none was so friendly as the Tripe. . . It was so well balanced that it would fly hands off on the tail-trimmer, which other aircraft boasted they could do, but didn't. It could do more than this: set the engine at three-quarter throttle and wind the tail well back and the Tripe would loop indefinitely. I once did 21 loops in a row!"

For an excellent article on the Sopwith triplane, follow the link below to History.net.

The article, 'The Triplane Fighter Craze of 1917' by Robert Guttman chronicles the state of fighter aircraft design in 1916, Herbert Smith's work on the Sopwith Triplane, its impact, and the triplane 'craze' its appearence spawned in 1917.


Many famous pilots became aces flying the Triplane, Raymond Collishaw (34), Robert Little (24), Charles Dawson Booker (21), Elles Reid (19), Richard Minifie (17), and Roderic Dallas (15), to name the highest scoring six of the twenty-three 'members' of this elite club.

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been working on the model on and off.

I've finished the rib tapes on the bottom of the wings, and added inspection windows to the top and bottom wings (these are for inspecting aileron cables, and attachment points of drag wires on the lower wings.) I've also painted the prop, cowl, and struts. I'll add the wood grain on the struts later. I also have to work on the rudder and tail structure in general - I'll attach all that once i have the wings on.

Next I need to apply a coat of clearcoat to protect the paint surfaces during assembly. Unfortunately I ran out. I also need masking tape, glue, and rigging material. So a trip to the hobby shop is in order.

It will be a complicated build. I think I will be doing rigging as I go along rather than all at the end.

The brown is actually a shade darker in real life, it's just the camera flash that has made it look lighter than it really is.


Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Regretfuly, I'm going to have to drop out.

I cannot get this model's wings to line up and assemble. Even of I could, I would take some time to rig it. I don't want to rush and spoil it.

So sorry.


Update - I got the wings on afterall! A last ditch inspiration.

So, I'd lke to withdraw my withdrawl.

Stll some stiff slogging ahead I'm afraid.

Edited by Richard B.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did get the wings on, the decals turned out to very brittlle and very thin, but I was able to use some of the small ones. I found spare roundels in the spares collection. I want to get the decals on, and then a clear coat to protect them before rigging. I have work to do on the tail in order to accommodate the corrections I made.

This kit has been a struggle. This Triplane is an Eduard kit from 1996. Good as it is, it needs TLC to build it.

I'm working very hard to finish it. I think I can do it. I'll take some progress pictures tomorrow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...