by: Mike Still [ ]
Ukranian model manufacturer Toko was the predecessor of Roden, and the firm made a pretty significant impact in the 1/72 modeling world with some well-detailed modern Russian and WW I-era kits including this little gem.
I picked this kit up on eBay a few weeks ago for $6 as a guide to finishing my Pegasus Sopwith Salamander, since the Snipe begat the Salamander trench fighter, and it was money very well spent.You get 37 delicately-molded parts in light-gray sprue that bely the origins of all those great little Roden kits many Armorama folks have been building. Ribs and stringers are very understated, with none of those hills and valleys that have been de rigeur for WW I models over the ages. The fuselage and wings look like a fabric-covered structure should in real life.Some minor flash was present on the seat and along the wing trailing edges, but nothing that a quick bit of X-acto work couldn't handle. The wing and horizontal stabilizer trailing edges are wonderfully thin as well.The rudder has a Pup-style, continuous curve outline, but I seem to remember that the WW I Snipes had a lumpier outline. Check references or ask our illustrious experts here at Armorama.A nicely-molded Bentley rotary engine is capped off with a propeller whose retaining plate includes the attachment bolt heads.The Snipe, like the Camel, has its twin Vickers partially housed in a hump in front of the cockpit, and Toko has molded this hump with the Vickers breeches integral to the part. Separate barrel jacket/muzzle parts fit into the hump's troughs.Every cabane (wing-to-fuselage) and interplane (wing-to-wing) strut -- 12 of them -- are molded separately, and this feature alone makes the Snipe a kit you probably wouldn't want to hand to a young beginner. Although, of course, there's a lot of us old Aurora builders who never let that stop us when building some of their WW I kits . . . . . and I killed a grizzly bear with my looseleaf binder one snowy day walking to school . . . .Cockpit detail is basic, with a spade-grip control column, an ammunition box listed in the instructions at the instrument panel, rudder bar and and an adequate pilot's seat. Raised ejection pins are in each cockpit wall, and detail is none-existent in the fuselage. Given the scale, it might not have been that noticeable, but if you're of the mind to scratch up some detail it wont hurt.The landing gear comprises left and right strut frames, axle bar, wheels and separate tail skid. The Snipe, according to what reference I've been able to find on the web, has a Camel-like split axle that leaves each ground-loaded wheel looking askew. The detail-hungry modeler might want to address that in the kit.
The instruction sheet gives a potted history in Russian, English and German, with well-laid out drawings showing each stage of construction.No rigging diagram is provided, although the box illustration gives some hints to the basic rigging and control wires.Color and decaling diagrams include Humbrol paint callouts and clear decal placements for a Red Air Force Snipe from the Russian Civil War and Major William Barker's epic E8102 in which he suffered rather mortifying wounds while fighting his way out of a force of 60 Fokker D.VII's two weeks before the Armistice.
I've read several accounts of Roden's matt-finished decals being a bit hard to make conform to surface details and, guess what? Matt-finished decals here too. I'll probably break out the Solvaset for that. Registration is sharp and colors look good and dense.
What a little gem of a kit! Highly recommended for WW I buffs and for anyone wanting to stretch their skills. The separate struts just scream for some basic jig work, and the rigging gives an opportunity to practice drilling and sprue stretching. She'll demand some work, but she'll give back a great little WW I fighter in return.
Copyright ©2020 text by Mike Still [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.
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