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SE.5a Night Fighter. (82133 ProfiPack) - 1:48


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SE.5a Night Fighter

82133 Eduard (ProfiPACK) - 1:48

 

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Eduard have already produced four previous boxings of their SE.5a kit in Hisso, Viper, and Royal Class forms. Now we have the 'Night Fighter' version, which is the most unusual of all the releases. It contains all the optional parts to build either a Hispano-Suiza or Wolsely Viper powered machine, with wooden or metal undercarriage legs, and a choice of three different propellers. The easy way to tell if an SE.5a was Viper powered is that the propeller is exactly midway between the top and bottom of the front radiator, whilst on the Hispano the prop is mounted more like two thirds of the way up. A second clue is that they rotated in opposite directions, so the Viper prop rotated anti-clockwise and the Hisso clockwise when viewed from the front. Adapted for use a night fighter late in the war to tackle raids being mounted by German bombers, the basic SE.5a does not appear to have been altered very much. Noticeable differences are the addition of various exhaust flame damping devices, and the mounting of Holt flares under the fuselage (an early form of landing light). Very likely some form of illumination was provided for the instruments as well.

 

The Kit.
Presented in Eduard's familiar Orange banded 'Profipack' box, the artwork features what looks to be a Zeppelin-Staaken machine being shot down by B658. Inside are two large sprues, one clear sprue, two etched brass frets, two sheets of decals, a pack of resin details, a small sheet of kabuki tape masks, and the instruction booklet.

 

Sprue A.
Crisply moulded in Eduards standard dark grey plastic, this sprue holds the wings, struts, tail, and undercarriage. The rib detail is nicely done with very fine stitching just visible on the rib tapes. I particularly like the way that the leading edge riblets are done, they really do look as if they are wooden frames covered by taut fabric, with a subtle amount of sag between. It is nice to see that the triangular openings for the wing pulley inspection covers are represented, with miniature pulleys inside. These were present on several British aircraft of this period, but this is the first time I can recall seeing them done in this scale.

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The struts have really lovely detail on their end brackets and are commendably thin. Both the 'wooden' and 'metal' undercarriage legs are supplied, with options A,B, and C requiring the 'metal' ones, and option D using the 'wooden' set.

 

Sprue B.
Equally finely moulded are all the fuselage parts, the engine, and numerous little details. The stitching work on the fuselage is possibly the best I have ever seen in this scale, it is really lovely. There are some very small detail parts such as trim wheels, footsteps, brackets, pipes etc that will need to be carefully cut from the sprue, because if the carpet monster gets them you'll be unlikely to ever see them again.

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Both the Hispano-Suiza and Viper engines are provided as separate crankcase + cylinder units, although both share the same ancillary parts. A four blade and a pair of two bladed propellers are supplied, and if using a two blader be careful to select the correct one as one is for clockwise rotation while the other is anti clockwise depending upon which engine you choose. Although I have not had a chance to build one of Eduard's SE.5a's yet, based on previous experience I have no doubt that it will all fit together beautifully.

 

Sprue C.
This is one of Eduard's circular clear sprues, with optional windscreens and covers for the pulley inspection covers in the wings.

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Etched frets.
Two frets are supplied, the larger of the two is the 'standard' set provided in the other SE.5a kits (except the 'weekend' edition). Two styles of pre painted seat belts are provided, the more common wide lap type and the later four point type. Among the forty four parts are various cockpit details, including pre painted instruments, ammo drum boxes, and details for the guns. Also useful are the aileron and elevator control horns, complete with the cables. These save a very fiddly job!

 

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The second brass fret is much smaller, and provides night fighter specific items to form various brackets and mountings for the exhaust pipes and flame dampers, as well as the under fuselage flares. A nice little bomb rack is also on the fret, but obviously not required for the night fighter, nevertheless it will be very welcome in the spares box for other projects.

 

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Resin.

Three sets of different exhaust flame dampers are supplied in resin, only one of which will be used according to which option you select. The detail is very fine, and the exhaust pipes have recessed openings at their ends.

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Masks.
A small set of pre-cut kabuki tape masks contains items for the windscreens, inspection panels, and tyres.

 

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Decals.
Two sheets are provided, the larger of them consisting of the diamond pattern for Option A, Cecil Lewis's machine.

 

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The slightly small sheet covers the other three options, including the multiple red striped option C.

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All the individual decals look to be very thin with minimal carrier film. The colours are good and in perfect register with sharp edges. As noted in the instructions, the main colour is not the usual dark green/brown PC10, but the green/black 'Night Invisible Varnish Orfordness' (NIVO). This is probably one of the first uses of what became a familiar colouring between the wars, and further adds to the interest.


Marking Options.

 

 

A. B658, flown by Capt. Cecil Lewis, No. 61 (Home Defence) Squadron, Rochford, United Kingdom, January 1918.

B. C1805, flown by Lt. W. R. Oulton, No. 143 (Home Defence) Squadron, Detling, United Kingdom, May 1918.

C. Flown by Capt. Gilbert Insall VC, No. 50 (Home Defence) Squadron, Bekesbourne, United Kingdom, May/ July 1918.

D. D5995, flown by Lt. L. Lucas, No. 50 (Home Defence) Squadron, Bekesbourne, United Kingdom, summer 1918

 

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Conclusion.
This is a very well presented package by Eduard, and is without a doubt the best 1:48 scale SE.5a available. The addition of the resin and etched brass to make a night fighter is a clever move by Eduard, and as far as I know this is the first time that such an option has appeared for the SE.5a in any scale. The choice of marking options makes it almost impossible to choose just one, I will have to obtain another kit as I need do at least two of them. (Option A, Cecil Lewis was a truly extraordinary gentleman, who only died in 1997. Obituary here.  and remarkable BBC interview here)

 

Highly Recommended,  a really superb offering from Eduard.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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