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Wyvern Kit

Trumpeter 1/48 Wyvern S.4 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Westland Wyvern S.4 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2820 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-etch
Pros Wings can be folded, many external stores options, working engine gearbox! Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $54.99

First Look

Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit
Wyvern Kit

The Royal Navy had the distinction of using biplanes as naval torpedo bombers through the early part of World War 2 with the Fairey Swordfish. The aircraft was used in a variety of engagements, most notably in the attack and sinking of the Bismarck.

After World War 2, Westland was given a contract for a next-generation carrier torpedo bomber. As with the US Navy and others, attention was shifting to jet-powered aircraft, but application of turbo-prop engines was also being examined. The Wyvern S.4 would be the only turboprop strike fighter to emerge from this post-war development era. Even this aircraft had a number of technical issues that delayed its service introduction, but by 1953, the major bugs were ironed out and the aircraft went to sea.

The Wyvern S.4 was distinctive with its counter-rotating propellers, the answer at that time to translating that much shaft horsepower into propeller thrust without huge prop blades. The aircraft would see its only significant action in the Suez crisis of 1956 and was retired in 1958.

The Trumpeter Wyvern S.4 kit was a bit of a surprise when it was announced last year. While Classic Airframes had previously released its own Wyvern S.4 in 1/48 scale, here is an opportunity for the 1/48 scale community to have a mainstream production of this unique aircraft. While Trumpeter did release this kit first in 1/72 scale, they did add some interesting features to this one.

The kit is molded in Trumpeter standard light gray styrene and is presented on fives trees, plus a single tree of clear parts and a small tree of white parts. Detailing of this kit is quite nice with finely scribed details throughout.

You won't be lacking for details and options. Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit and ejection seat
  • Counter-rotating propeller detail is nicely captured
  • VERY nice Fowler flaps positioned down
  • Positionable canopy
  • Wings can be optionally folded
  • Airbrakes can be positioned open or closed
  • Nicely detailed reconnaissance camera
  • Working engine gearbox
  • External stores options include:
    • 500 lb aerial torpedo
    • 60 lb rockets
    • 1000 lb bombs
    • Twin RATO assemblies
    • Centerline fuel tank
    • Underwing fuel tanks

One of the new features in this Wyvern over the previous releases is a working engine gearbox as an option. Turn one propeller and the other will rotate in the opposite direction. From the looks of the gearbox assembly, we might be seeing a motorized version of this kit in the future. Watch out Tamiya!

Markings are included for three examples:

  • Wyvern S.4, WN325, 830 Sqn, HMS Eagle, Suez, 1956
  • Wyvern S.4, WN335, 831 Sqn, HMS Ark Royal, 1957
  • Wyvern S.4, WL879, 813 Sqn, HMS Eagle, 1958

This is a nice looking kit that will provide FAA (Fleet Air Arm) modelers with the first full styrene kit of this unique aircraft in 1/48 scale.