Wingnut Wings 1/32 S.E.5a

By Ernest Roth

I recently built my seventh Wingnut Wings (WNW) kit, the SE-5a. Like the other six WNW kits I have built, this one went smoothly due to the excellent production values of the kit parts and decals. I used a few aftermarket accessories for the build including: Gaspatch Vickers and Lewis machineguns, Gaspatch metal eyelets, a Proper Plane propeller, a few Archer Fine Transfers fuselage stitching decals and an HGW seatbelt.

The machineguns, especially the Lewis, were modified to fit the kit. I had to thin out the cover for the Vickers to ensure it fit without issues, but that was a pretty minor task. I also added a couple of mounting pins to the Vickers making it easier to align correctly and added the PE sight from the kit. I had to do a fair amount of scratch building to get the Lewis MG to mate with the Foster mount, as well as doing some minor modifications to the mount itself.

Both the HGW seatbelt and Proper Plane propeller were simple additions and make an already fine kit that much better. The eyelets were very straightforward additions that make rigging a WWI aircraft easier and makes the rigging look more realistic. Strangely, given how well researched the rest of the kit obviously is, WNW’s forgot to add stitching to the fin and rudder. I used Archer Fine Transfer resin decals that are made to replicate such stitching to correct that oversight.

I also did some very minor scratch building. I added spark plug wiring, little of which can be seen on the completed model. I made both the magneto that sits to the right of the pilot’s shoulder in the actual aircraft, as well as the small crank on the outside of the cockpit that the pilot could turn to operate the magneto. Additionally, I shaved off the molded on bracing wires within the cockpit framing and replaced that with thin steel wire.

The model is rigged with a combination of EZ Line and Uschi van der Rosten elastic thread; the EZ Line being used for the structural support rigging and the Uschi line being used for control cables. I also rigged the control cables within the cockpit which, unfortunately, cannot be easily seen. Overall, the rigging process was pretty straight forward, though getting the double lines threaded where they came together was challenging.

The exterior surface of the model was painted using MRP PC-10 Early and Clear Doped Linen Variant 2. The wooden areas were painted with Tamiya acrylics and most of the detail items were painted with either Life Color or Mr. Color paints. I weathered this model fairly heavily as the timeframe for the diorama I planned to make would be set in the late fall. The heaviest weathering was applied to the bottom of the model to simulate dirt and mud splashed up during takeoff and landings. The upper surfaces were faded as I wanted to show an aircraft that had had some service behind it.

The figures are by Model Cellar (dark leather coat) and Kellerkind (light leather coat). Given how they are dressed and posed they actually drove a lot of the planning for the diorama scene. I did an extensive step by step tutorial on how I painted them in the build thread. They turned out well and fit very nicely into the overall scene.

I made a simple wooden base, sealed it and painted it a dark earth tone, then applied brownish colored grass to the surface. The small tree was added for a bit of interest and to make the diorama look less flat. The snow is a mix of Ammo of Mig wet and dry snow. I showed my 8 year old daughter how to apply first the wet snow, followed by the dry snow to simulate the look I wanted and let her go to work. I only had to give her a couple of guiding instructions during the process and only made some very minor adjustments after she was finished applying the snow – which we did in three separate sessions. I think she did a great job and I am very proud of her!


© Ernest Roth 2023

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This article was published on Thursday, January 26 2023; Last modified on Sunday, January 29 2023