Suez Crisis: 1/48th Trumpeter Wyvern S.4
Here is an aircraft that I did not expect to see in a production injection mold kit. The 1/48th Trumpeter Wyvern S.4 is also one of the nicest kits on the market, certainly one of Trumpeters best kits. Excellent fit of parts is accompanied by great surface detail in this offering.
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely detailed cockpit and ejection seat, complete with PE belts
Counter-rotating propeller detail with working gears if desired (although ratio is off)
Nice Fowler flaps (positioned down)
Finely scribed panel lines and surface detail
Wings can be built open or folded
Airbrakes can be positioned open or closed
Reconnaissance cameras included
Working engine gearbox
External stores options include:
500 lb. aerial torpedo
60 lb. rockets
1000 lb. bombs
Twin RATO assemblies
Centerline and underwing fuel tanks
I wasn't really interested in this particular aircraft (that had a rather short career) until I read a history book on the Suez crisis and was inspired to add yet another aircraft type of aircraft to my growing build collection. The six days of Operation Musketeer featured the Wyverns of 813 Squadron based off of HMS Ark Royal in 1957.
The kit comes with a wingtip fold, however my references never showed the late-version S.4 with this feature.
The wingtip fit is not particularly good, with the tips being under sized in the chord resulting in a bit of a step here (difficult to resolve without sanding off detail) The best fix for this would be to add a plastic card shim to the wingtip parts
The inner gear doors on the Wyvern were down only during transit, therefore the tabs should be cut and the doors closed
Airbrakes fit can be improved by attaching the upper components to the upper wing and the lower components to the lower wing and then add the forward sections Note: Wyvern aircraft were not normally seen on the ground with the wing air brakes extended
The fit of the Fowler flaps is better in the lowered than up position, so I attached them open (Although Wyvern aircraft were hardly ever seen with the Fowler flaps open on the ground)
On production Wyverns, the propeller blades should be more pointed than the paddle blades provided
Insignia decals over the wing stripes require either a white decal base or masks (so as not to paint stripes where the decals will be placed), otherwise stripes will show through decals
Kit Additions / Modifications:
I left out the prop gear mechanism as I figured it wouldn't be used (or worth the effort)
I had to fill some minor sink marks in the flap area
Added a bit of wiring detail to the main wing fold
Cut tabs on main gear doors and closed them (fit was very good)
My gear legs did not align well and I had to shave a bit of plastic off to correct this
Reshaped the propeller tips to a more pointed shape
I removed the rockets from the rails as these were not carried during Operation Musketeer although the rocket stubs and pipe rails were installed
I started with painting the yellow wing and fuselage stripes and then masked off those to paint the black stripes. The paint scheme for this aircraft was the standard British FAA scheme of the time consisting of Extra Dark Gray (FS 36118) over "Sky" Green-Gray (FS 34424). These two paint tones were varied slightly during the paint spray session to darken the paint along the panel lines. I noted there was some debate over the colour of the nose and finlets of the 830 Squadron machines. Tradition had them painted in the Squadron colour, red, however it was difficult to find reference photos to support this during Operation Musketeer (and there was support for the plain black version), so I went with black. Gloss coat was my standard (J&J floor finish) Pledge, which was allowed to harden for a couple of days and then polish sanded to improve the smoothness. Decals and weathering washes were next, followed by the top coat of (model Master) matte coat. The final parts were then assembled with the finer parts added (including a bit of wing-fold wiring detail which was a bit of a challenge to fit). In the end it was all worth it as the Hangar crew all applauded when the Wyvern arrived and we had a few beers to celebrate!
The After-Build Report:
This 1/48th Trumpeter Wyvern S.4 is an excellent model aircraft kit which I highly recommend to any model maker. The parts fit is quite good and everything you need to produce a proud display piece is in the box. The kit will probably be a challenge to a beginner due to the wing-fold, contra-rotating props and overall detail, but given some patience, the end result will be worth it. If you are so inclined, you can add detail to the kit to bring it up a level.
Completed build #258 - April 2023 using the 1/48th scale Trumpeter #02820 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers