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Swordfish Kit

Trumpeter 1/32 Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2009 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Scale 1/32
Kit Number 3207 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Perhaps the new champion for best Stringbag in any scale Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $124.95

First Look

Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit
Swordfish Kit

The Fairey Swordfish was designed for an early 1930s requirement for a torpedo attack and observation platform. Entering service in 1934, its large wing area enabled the Swordfish to loft an impressive amount of weight in equipment and weapons. In those days, British women had a net-like shopping bag that was easy to stow and carry to the store, but could expand significantly to bring home the groceries. This net-like bag was nicknamed a 'string bag' (for obvious reasons) and this nickname was applied to the Swordfish for its own ability to carry anything.

This biplane was obviously obsolete by the time World War II broke out, but its success in the attack on the Bismarck kept it in front-line service perhaps too long as all of the Swordfish participating in a similar attack on German battlecruisers less than a year later were lost. The Swordfish was pressed into anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duties.

When Trumpeter recently announced the Fairey Swordfish in 1/32 scale, there was some interesting discussions about the prospects and how it would compare to Tamiya's beautiful 1/48 Stringbag kits. The wait is over and the first of the Trumpeter kits is now here - the Mk.I. Let's take a look:

The kit is molded in Trumpeter's standard light gray styrene and presented on ten parts trees. There are two additional parts trees of clear parts, one of which is a duplicate of the fuselage tree. That's right, you have a gray or a clear fuselage to choose from in this box should you want to reveal more of the details inside the cockpit. One larger fret of photo-etched parts rounds out this release.

If you eyeball the parts trees to the right and compare them to the parts trees in the Tamiya kit (look here), you'll see that the two kits are broken down in similar subassemblies and feature similar levels of detail. The major difference is that Tamiya offered the photo-etched set for the rigging as an aftermarket item whilst Trumpeter provides the rigging in the box.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Standard and clear fuselage options
  • Wings can be posed in flight position or folded
  • Nicely detailed cockpit complete with tubular skeleton
  • Nicely detailed Pegasus engine
  • Exhaust collector cowl ring w/plumbing
  • Positionable rudder and elevators
  • Nice wireless set
  • Detailed centerline torpedo cradle and torpedo
  • Photo-etched rigging is part of the kit, not an aftermarket option
  • Rubber tires

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • Swordfish Mk.I, W5984, H
  • Swordfish Mk.I, L7647, 4H

While Trumpeter didn't provide any details about the identities of these two aircraft, a quick search of Google reveals that L7647 was an 825 Sqn aircraft aboard HMS Kestral that was lost over west of Rotterdam on 2 July 1940. W5984 was also an 825 Sqn aircraft that took part in the successful attack on the Bismarck but was later lost in action during the Swordfish attacks upon the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen that resulted in the loss of all of the attacking Swordfish.

This kit looks great in the box and given its very similar layout to the Tamiya kit, it should be an equally pleasurable build. Trumpeter has already announced a Mk.II to follow this kit with the metal lower wings for rockets. We'll see if there is a radar-equipped Mk.III or float equipped Mk.I in our futures as well.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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