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1:32 Sopwith Pup Trainers and 'Pets' of the RFC

James H

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1:32 Sopwith Pup Trainers and 'Pets' of the RFC

Pheon Decals
Catalogue # 32015
Available from Pheon Decals for £17.50
Pheon Website: www.pheondecals.com  Email for purchase.





If you think of RFC machines as being solely combinations of PC10/12 with linen undersides, then this set from Pheon Decals should put paid to that illusion. Yes, I suppose most aircraft operated by the RFC and early RAF were indeed combinations of those colours, but it didn't stop a little experimentation and even humour appearing in some of those early aircraft.




This set isn't a new release, but it is a re-print of a set which was very popular when first released in 2010. The only issue here is that Wingnut Wings was a company that was only a year old, so many modellers new to this genre since then, and since this set first went out of print, may well have been unfortunate enough to miss this. To that end, we're delighted that Pheon have agreed that we can trumpet this release to newer converts to WW1 aviation modeling.


As the Pheon manual for this set sates, we won't go into the history of these machines here, but will point you towards the review we published for the RNAS Pup kit in these links. Absorb a little about the actual type, and our analysis of these releases.

As with all Pheon Decals releases, this comes in a large zip-lock envelope with a printed cover sheet showing the schemes in a smaller format. The pack contains the various A4 sheets and large decal sheet within. These sets aren't insubstantial either. If you're used to aftermarket decal sets, as I am, then surely there can't be many manufacturers which add so much beautifully presented and informative material within.



Inside the pack, there are FIVE fabulously glossy sheets which show the SEVEN schemes available within this pack, plus also a detail sheet which gives the various changes that need to applied to the kit in order to produce those schemes. An A4 decal sheet is the crowning glory, with of course one of the famously detailed Pheon manuals, containing 14pages of information. More on that soon, but let's look at the scheme sheets first.


Rowan sure knows how to kick off the party. The first scheme up could be arrested for being too loud in a built-up area after 9pm. Seriously, this takes bright schemes to the extreme, in a strangely beautiful way. The Pup in question is actually dressed in patriotic red, white and blue bands, with red wings lined in blue trim, and the Union Flag being sported just to the rear of the engine cowl. The wheels hubs have spirals and one side, and a radiating pattern on the reverse. This aircraft commands attention. As it was probably a post-war machine, of course, it would have been under the auspices of the RAF, and it was actually a training machine operated from a flying school. The machine is also unarmed, leaving beautifully smooth lines to the fore of the cockpit, and with a windshield installed. The detail sheet does show that you'll need to create a small pointed spinner to attach to the red, white and blue airscrew.




So taken am I with this scheme, that I'll build this one fairly soon. The spinner will be courtesy of Magic Sculp.

With the exception of two machines, all the schemes supplied here are unarmed. One machine carries its single gun mounted on a bracket above the top wing. The additional detail sheet again shows this detail clearly.


Options 2 and 3 are entirely black, with individual motifs, whilst both are liberally sprinkled with stars, supplied as separate decals here. Again, there are changes which will need to be applied to the base kit, including a curious luggage area to the rear of the pilot, on one machine. Some other local variations apply in colour, such as one machine having a doped linen finish on the underside, but all variations are clearly shown in detail form, and also on both the side profile and upper plan sheets which are included.






Option 4 is a little more sober in appearance, but nonetheless attractive. Operating from Joyce Green , I was flown by James McCudden who fitted this machine with a Lewis gun over the top wing. A rather unusual streamlined windscreen was also fitted. Details supplied on the supplied data sheets. McCudden brought down a Gotha with this machine. The aircraft is painted in pale blue, with PC10 uppers. You'll need to source the Lewis from the RNAS Pup kit, or from the LVG C.VI kit which has a spare, although the latter kit is now sadly OOP.


Option 5; This aircraft is finished in an aluminium dope scheme, and was fitted with strut streamers. Very attractive indeed.

Option 6 is mostly white, with a red cowl. Again, a spinner will need to be made for this simple but very attractive option.

Option 7 was an all blue Pup, with silver cowls. Rowan explains that the shade of blue is open to question due to the representation of blue from orthographic film. This gives the user a little freedom to tailor this to suit personal appeal, but Rowan does cite blue colour VB3 a strong possibility. Ultimately, if someone critiques your shade, ask them to provide you with proof-positive.



As well as the large side profile sheets (with additional cutaway information), we are also given TWO glossy sheets which depict the Pup from above, to help with those all-important individual details. In addition to this, another glossy sheet provides you with another sheet which highlights the additional equipment added to the night fighter machines. The last sheet I already mentioned a few time here provides the modeller with other detail such as gun mounts, windshields, fuselage hatches, spinners and the luggage panel mentioned for one of the night fighter aircraft.


The 14 page manual is simply superb. This starts with a little additional information about the non-standard Pup aircraft, and then explains the best way to apply these decals, as well as general colour notes, and tips on where you should/could weather your model.







Each aircraft scheme is described in detail, from a little historic detail, so full blown explanations of the scheme, backed up with as much reference as Rowan can find. Of course, where there are uncertainties, Rowan mentions these too. Your model may need to be modified for a scheme. For this, you will be given written descriptions of these changes, backed up with the printed diagrams.




Some schemes are a little involved, such as Option 1. Where this applies, a description of the best order of application is given, as well as notes of where trim lines fit. This is very comprehensive. In relation to Option 1, Rowan does say that a mistake was made on the decals. The intention was for the roundel location on the side fuselage panels to have a blank area in which to add the roundel. Applying this over the stripes may well mean that you can see the stripes through the white roundel areas. Two ways to fix this are to either cut out the roundel location from the side panel, or to add a white disc before the roundel. In respect to that, Pheon have produced a white background decal for the night fighter moon scheme so that this doesn't take on a grey hue. I can't see this on the sheet, so contact Pheon if this is your chosen scheme.

The schemes are:

  1. D4077, Central Flying School, unknown pilot, date uncertain (possibly post-war)
  2. C305 189 (Night) Training Squadron, Sutton's Farm, 1918
  3. C312 189 (Night) Training Squadron, Sutton's Farm, 1918
  4. A7311, Joyce Green, James MuCudden, July 1917
  5. C354, Hainault Farm, unit and pilot unknown, date uncertain, 1918 – early 1919
  6. C374, no history known
  7. D4073, CFS Upavon, pilot unknown and date uncertain

The decals:
All these schemes are presented on a single A4 sheet, superbly printed by Fantasy Printshop. Printing is beautifully thin, crisp and entirely in register. The decals aren't numbered, but it's obvious what applies to each specific scheme. Whilst decals aren't numbered, there are a few trim lines which are given a letter identifier. These trims apply to tailplane and wings. This sheet also includes a number of national markings, again meaning that you can certainly build more than one scheme from this set, comfortably. In fact, without counting every decal, I venture you can pretty much build them all.




Roundels with white inners have their red centres printed separately, and the whites also aren't vivid, meaning no having to tone them down. No stencils exist here, so you will need to use them from the excellent ones provided in the kit. The most laborious job will be adding the stars to the night schemes, but ultimately, very rewarding.


I am so pleased to have this opportunity to see this earlier release from Pheon, and nothing here disappoints. The schemes are intelligently chosen, and their reference as complete as you can find. The decal break-down is also very, very good, despite the need to remove the roundel position from the Option 1 fuselage decals. This set probably represents the most outlandish paint-jobs that ever adorned the RFC Pup, and will surely signify a spike in sales of the kit for WNW.


Very highly recommended


James H


Our sincere thanks to Pheon Decals for the review sample.




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