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Trumpeter 1/48 scale Westland Wyvern S.4

Kit: 02820
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer:: Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: 54.95
Comments: Iinjection-molded, 226 parts (1 film, 6 photoetched), decals
Pros: Excellent fit and details, geared counter-rotating props
Cons: Molding design of rockets doesn't work well in this scale
When it rains, it pours ... Wyverns. After years of silence we now have a choice of three injection-molded kits, including two in 1/48 scale. Trumpeter's new 1/48 scale kit is an almost exact copy of its very nice 1/72 scale version. At this rate, there are nearly as many kits of the Wyvern as there were real ones made.
As a teaser, the kit is labeled "S.4 (Late Version)." Could it be an earlier version is in the works?
Options abound in Trumpeter's latest kit, with the modeler deciding whether to fold the wings or use the rocket-assisted takeoff gear (RATOG). The impressive array of ordnance is identical to the 1/72 version and includes three 1,000-lb. bombs, 16 60-lb. rockets mounted on eight two-tier rails, drop tanks, and a torpedo (which was never used operationally on the Wyvern). Trumpeter's 1/48 scale version adds the slim centerline tank missing from the 1/72 kit.
In general, the fit and design of this kit is impressive. The complex propeller assembly has interior detail as well as the option of gearing to allow the counter-rotating props to spin in opposite directions - albeit at different speeds. Detail ranges from outstanding surface details to adequate sidewall detail in the cockpit. Very little filler is needed during construction - I only added a smidgeon at the rear wing-to-fuselage joint and to one wing fillet (probably my fault, not the kit's).
There are a couple of issues to watch for, however. Trumpeter indicates the separately molded wingtips fold, which according to my references does not apply to the late-version S.4 portrayed in this kit. As in its 1/72 kit, Trumpeter incorrectly molded the inner gear doors down, while on the real Wyvern they were down only during transit. You can easily correct your miniature version by cutting off the portion of the gear well molded to the door. The doors are then a drop-fit in the closed position.
Trumpeter has corrected the most serious failing of its 1/72 version by molding a mounting tab for the stabilizers that includes the correct dihedral angle, allowing the stabilizers to fit perfectly this time around.
The wing assembly is impressive, with separate flaps and dive brakes as well as folding outer wings. I was pleased to see Trumpeter has correctly placed the underwing ordnance station inboard of the wing fold line - again a correction from the 1/72 version. However, when I fitted the drop tanks to these points, the pylon overhung the wing fold. I'm not sure if the wing fold is not far enough outboard or the landing gear is too close to the wing fold, but some dimension is apparently off somewhere. I decided to install the bomb racks and bombs instead, as they don't have an overhang. One small downside to all the ordnance is that all the mounting holes for the rockets are molded into the wing and need to be filled if you choose not to mount them.
I painted the fixed portion of the spinner prior to installation, as it would have been difficult to mask otherwise. The color painting instructions are adequate, but you may want to check other references - Wyverns had many subtle variations in paint over their lifetime. Trumpeter provides three schemes for its Wyvern, all a variation on a standard theme. The most colorful is a Wyvern in the classic "Suez Invasion Stripe" scheme. Even though I chose another scheme, I tried applying one of the Suez stripes to a wing. The fit was very good, but you'll want to be cautious to avoid rips and tears - the decal didn't take kindly to being pushed and prodded into place. All other decals worked as advertised and are opaque enough over the dark sea gray. No mention is made in the marking instructions of the "shark mouth" included, but it is for the nose of the centerline fuel tank.
I spent a pleasurable 20 hours on Trumpeter's latest take on the Wyvern. I highly recommend it to modelers of nearly any skill level who are attracted to this brutish British turboprop strike fighter.
- Chuck Davis


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