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It's been a long-term ambition of mine to do a RNAS Sopwith Triplane, ever since I discovered the name of Australia's top Ace in WW1. 

Now that is not as long a time as you might think, because I was well into my 50s by the time I came by this nugget of information. If I'd heard it before I would definitely have remembered the name, wouldn't I?? 

We, (in the UK) are so darn parochial and downright blinkered and shortsighted about history - recent or otherwise - it's been trimmed down to Mick Mannock, Richthofen and that blasted red Fokker DR1. That's not a proper Triplane...... PFFFF. 

THIS is a Triplane,

this is THE Triplane ‼️👍

So this is a bit of a new adventure for me. I'm not very practiced in the Art of biplane construction, never mind triple. 

This is no master class in WW1 kites. 

And I hate photo etch fiddly bits. 

Rigging is a mystery and a black art. 

However, I've got my kit. In fact I've got a selection....won at auction 😎


The Tripe is indeed an Eduard Profipack with all kinds of weird items that are not injection moulded plastic. 


But for this chap, my namesake and Australian hero, who sadly, like so many, didn't make it to the end of hostilities, I'm going to give this my best shot. 

To try and get in the zone, to see if I've got any chance, I've done the Pfalz D.III as it looked the simplest in terms of the sticks and rigging. 

It's not bad!! Nearly finished and a few lessons learnt along the way. The Bristol F.2B has many sticks and much rigging and has been relegated to the bottom of the pile. 

I also have stashed an Eduard Albatros DV, remarkably similar to the Pfalz. I think Pfalz were basically trying to improve the early Albatros type. 

Any way, I've now started rummaging in the Sopwith box and get to grips with the contents and instructions. 

The basic airframe is fairly straightforward, it's all the additional bits and pieces that bothers me. 

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I'm looking forward to seeing the build of my favourite WW1 fighter. :)

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Just a quick run-down on the box contents to illustrate the job in hand. 

The plastic on 2 frames is a fairly straightforward proposition, I guess what you would get in the Weekend kit version. 


(I like their Weekend versions...!) 

Then there's this.... 


And this.... 


I have had a go at the instrument panels, both of them, with a hardwood appearance and brought the bezels and details back up, and fitted the other odd item of black printed instruments on acetate that show through the holes. Then all glossed up to finish.. 


Decal sheet is straightforward enough with 4 options.... 


This is a flavour of the instructions, 


That bag of resin bits contains the makings of a 9cyl rotary engine to replace the styrene moulded part. We'll see how I get on.... 😉


And 2 Vickers guns as an option which is handy. Apparently a very few of these planes were fitted with 2 to keep them "up to date with developments" before the Camels came through in numbers, and Little's favourite plane was on of the first to get the modification. Might have been his idea. 

So I need the 2 gun option. 

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Looks good.  I recently built the Revel 1/72 Sopwith Triplane for a bit of fun build.  My collection is 1/48 so I’ll be interested in how your build goes as at some point I would like to add a RNAS Pup, Triplane and Camel.


The rigging of the Triplane is not too demanding, getting a clear diagram is the hardest part..

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7 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

The rigging of the Triplane is not too demanding, getting a clear diagram is the hardest part..

Fairly simple if I can figure out where to put the holes in the middle wing. No hint of it on the plastic 

These planes are so tiny in 1.72 I can't hack it. Congratulations on getting your's done 👍

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1 hour ago, rob Lyttle said:

Fairly simple if I can figure out where to put the holes in the middle wing. No hint of it on the plastic 

These planes are so tiny in 1.72 I can't hack it. Congratulations on getting your's done 👍

Very simple, they are in line with the struts centres! The wires start centrally at the bottom of the strut and finish centrally at the top, so in the middle they are still central, and since wing spacing is equal top and bottom, they are also halfway between the struts.






This is my Revell 1:72 kit. 






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2 hours ago, Steve Coombs said:

I'd sneak a crafty look

I'll definitely have a look at the Wingnuts site - I've been consulting it for info on the Pfalz. 

Good job @Brandy. I see that you have done a metal cowling on Blymp, which looks good. How thorough is the info?? Or do you go for the look you like?

I'm not a stickler for historical accuracy at all costs but I thought I'd better make my best efforts with this'un. Just wondering what you have, decor-wise? 

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I have a small advantage regarding the Pfalz (or did have, pre-COVID) in that I can easily get to the Technik Museum in Speyer and see the Pfalz DIII replica built to original plans (though the engine is a dummy). The museum incorporates parts of the old Pfalz factory!

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The reason I'm fussing about the decor is, I've got a conundrum with the kit paperwork..... 

The 2 gun aircraft is clearly marked as option C, 


.... but C is illustrated as N534, 


Meanwhile N5493 which I take to be Little's "Blymp" is shown as option D and fitted with a single gun, 


.... complete with a red band (Red Flight??) and a red heart on the linen colour tailfin. Both cowlings are shown as painted khaki. 

So some figuring out is required. 

Having got the Pfalz close to completion it's obvious that any efforts made to improve the machine-guns is a complete waste of time. They are in there.... 


The same will be true of the Albatros DV model as it's all but identical. 

However, the Albatros kit has photo etch perforated barrel shields for the Spandau guns. Having rolled them, I find they're a good fit on the resin Vickers guns.... 


I've never seen a Spandau and a Vickers side by side, but they strike me as being very similar in appearance. 

Because of the Triplane's wing layout those guns are a lot more visible and, I'm thinking, a much better use of the PE gun details. 

Am I missing something significant between the two gun types?? 

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Hi Rob,

The Vickers cooling jacket doesn't have perforations like the German gun.  It's basically the same casing as a "ground" Vickers but with holes in the front plate , and some louvers at each end, but the main part of the jacket is still perforated.

Info about air vickers



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1 minute ago, malpaso said:

The Vickers cooling jacket

Aha... Thanks, Will. The resin guns do seem to have fine details as per the illustrations in your link. I'll try to pick them out a bit. 


This WNW Triplane build has thrown a fair bit of light on the subject of N5493, with red band, linen vert stab and shiny metal cowling 


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N5493 did NOT have twin guns. I'll check the Datafile later for more info but that much I can be certain of.



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Good luck with your  build Rob, manufactureres do get things wrong sometimes too.  I have a stalled Camel at the mo and Eduard give the struts in that option as wood yet photos and and I used the WNW site show they are clearly grey.  They may not have been about when the kit was produced though?

I look forward to seeing this progress, this may also help get me back on my Camel !!!

Great start 


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7 hours ago, Brandy said:

N5493 did NOT have twin guns. I'll check the Datafile later for more info but that much I can be certain of.



I'll be interested to see what you can find out, Ian. Eduard's 2 gun subject is N534 and the metal cowling version is N5459 with a blue fin. 

If that's a Windsock Datafile you have, I think we can take it as being correct. 

The Pfalz went together OK. The only fail was the undercarriage, specifically the little axles which yielded. I couldn't fit wire stub axles into the fine plastic structure and in the end I pulled the lot apart and replaced everything with Ali tube and wire. 


Much more stable. I just need to redo the rigging and fit the wheels 




Edited by rob Lyttle
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According to the Windsock Datafile, only 6 were built with twin Vickers guns. All built by Clayton & Shuttleworth and the serials were N533 - N538.


As for N5493, there are two photos of it. One with the tail hidden, and one with it showing. That one has a heart on the fin but no "BLYMP" name and the comment that this was after Lyttle's use and the markings were not his.  This pic also appears to show a painted cowling. Pics of aircraft in the same number range (up to N5494 were Sopwith built) show a mix of painted and bare metal cowlings. I think you can safely say that they were all delivered in bare metal but some were painted afterwards. Then it becomes a case of what do you prefer as you could argue equally that your model depicts it before or after the cowling was painted, if it was!



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4 hours ago, Brandy said:

Then it becomes a case of what do you prefer

Excellent...... That's my kinda talk!! 😎


I'm starting to think I need to backtrack and reconsider the one-gun option for N5493 and omit the heart emblem on the fin, and as you say I can go bare metal on the cowling if I want. 

I'm tinkering with various bits, CA glue +pe microparts +me is a fearsome combination. 

And trying my hand at creating a wood effect. 

I used the resin tailplane part as a template to reshape the styrene piece which was the old Pup-shaped tailplane. So I can use either - I think I'm more at home using styrene especially if I want to deflect the elevators with some drop. 

At least I have backup if I mess up the resin part 👍

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Well, 1st of all I've finally actually figured out how to do THIS..... 


Composite pictures! Yayyyy 👆

Bit of a fluke to be honest, but it seems that's the way to learn stuff.... 

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that the single gun installation is obviously the way to go here. I haven't got very far in the build process but already I have to reverse. 

Those 2 dashboard options are for the different gun arrangements and I need to change' em. I had this... 


..... and I need this.... 


The pe seat is getting there too, just a couple of lap belts, and I've even got the pe joystick handle attached 🤬

The single Vickers is based on the kit styrene part with additional frail parts. 


The moulding on the barrel ain't bad! 

There's a crosshairs detail to add on the front but that must surely be better off fitting last or later. 

This is the kit tailplanes going in for modification - 


This is the finished article with a first coat of paint.... 


And several holes drilled for fittings and rigging. Many holes drilled elsewhere in the wings and fuselage. 😎

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Paint trials have taken place to try and get to grips with the colours. There's much discussion and opinion around the appearance of the green/brown that I see referred to as PC10 but I'll keep out of that and be satisfied with something close. 

I've got Humbrol acrylic 66 olive matt as a base coat on the upper areas and a homemade linen wash over white primer on the under surfaces. 




Just why they made the mid wings facing opposite to the top and bottom wings on the sprues is a mystery to me and faintly irritating, but only faintly. 🤔

I rubbed down the tops of the ribs a little. The bare plastic is very glossy and made the ribs look more prominent than perhaps they actually are. The matt paint has improved the appearance but I think it's worth removing some of the raised effect especially underneath the wings. 


The Pfalz got a bit of attention too, with rigging completed and wheels drilled to let the Ali tube axle through to the outside face. 




The stretchy monofilament I've used does look a bit glassy and I tried out some aluminium paint on some of them to see if it helps with the appearance. The flying wires and u/c bracing have been done, and the aileron cables. I don’t know if it's visible there but I think the paint helps. 

Last bit of rigging was to the rudder. 


I expect to be using the same rigging method on the Sopwith. 

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The cockpit is installed in the starboard fuselage side, complete with various tiny parts of etch. 





There's a tube, a shute?, in each side of the forward fuselage that I've indicated with pieces of brass tube through the plastic. The internal end is visible. 

Possibly a spent ammo shute....? 

No, can't be that for a single gun installation. 

Thinks...... 🤔.... Carburettor intake!? I seem to recall the same on a Camel.

I have now engaged with the resin rotary engine.... I'm struggling with getting each cylinder base to fit the holes in the crankcase 




I've found that the biggest Jaws in my pin vice will hold a cylinder so I can file the base till I get a fit in a cleaned out location hole. Tedious work, and I keep looking at the kit plastic engine... 🧐

We'll see. I shall plod on and see what I end up with. There's 18 push rods and 9 intake ducts.......not my idea of fun 😇

But I am a little less apprehensive about bits of etch. I've even managed this, 


I've used acrylic gloss varnish as glue with this and various other teeny tinies and the slowness suits me. I find the ca glueing process a bit panicky and out of control. All a bit adrenalin-fuelled 😳

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Nice progress Rob, your clear doped linen and PC10 choices look fine to me. Those little photo etched parts look like a proper fiddly business! 

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Thanks @RichieWit's a relief to know that it's coming across not too badly!

Proper fiddly sums it up quite nicely 🤨

We have 9 cylinders fitted (one way or another) and I tried with the pe pushrods. WAY to frail and unworkable for the likes of me.

I have some 0.4mm brass wire that I'm using as a substitute. 


Certainly more hand friendly as the length of surplus is the handle, and it's trimmed off if and when the ca glue works. 


That makes 3.....🥴😧😳🧚‍♀️🧚‍♂️🧚

Sooooo.... Not many left.... 

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10 hours ago, rob Lyttle said:

Carburettor intake!? I seem to recall the same on a Camel.

Correct! Although technically not a carburetor, it is the air intake for the engine. You will see it on all rotary engined aircraft.

Nice progress on the engine too.



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