Fleet Air Arm 
Westland Wyvern

FAA models in 1/72 scale  
The Westland Wyvern was intended as a carrier based attack plane with torpedo armament but also with secondary fleet protection "fighter" duties. Development started after the second world war and high performance needs indicated that a high power engine with counter rotating prop would be required; the Wyvern was in the middle of the upcoming "jet age" but only later the new "turbo prop" was used for this type. It gave teething problem to control the power of this configuration which is obviously very important for a carrier aircraft. The final S. Mk 4 version (of which 96 were build) appeared around 1956, but still there were many problems such as short range and a not very high reliability. Many Wyverns were lost due to accidents and a few saw combat during the Suez War of 1956. Wyverns operated from HMS Eagle and also later HMS Ark Royal but were withdrawn from service in 1958. 

The Trumpeter kit #01619 in 1/72 scale is a fine model and was really needed in this scale. 

Let's see what the kit gives you...
The Trumpeter kit has 6 frames with about 100 plastic parts for the airframe, a nice set of armament with about 80 parts, a small photo negative for in the instrument panel and  good transparent parts. 

The decal sheet is for 3 planes: for 813 sq HMS Ark Royal, sq 813 HMS Eagle, 830 sq HMS Eagle Suez campaign with yellow-black stripes. The decals are not perfect however.

The cockpit is OK and will be black anyway, so adding a few details and a throttle with a bit dry brushing is the only thing needed. The instrument panel was covered with my own set of small printed instruments. The seat was painted black and I give it a dark brown cushions and seat straps made from tape and a small red "ejection" handle on top. 

The two counter rotating props are fine, but I think the parts to fit the rotation mechanism is a bit to complex. As I would fix the prop later on, I simply left out the parts A22, B25 , A23. The prop hub needed some filling of the small gaps around the blades. Paint the prop black with yellow tips and leave aside for later assembly. There are also nice and tiny white decals to fit on the props, but these are not mentioned on the instructions! 

The exhausts are unfortunately not hollow. It would take quite some and risky work to open this up, so two covers were made from thin card to be fitted instead.

Inside the fuselage, a small roof from card was added at the rear tail wheel well.

The prop fairing A2+A3 did not have a positive fit, so needed some careful aligning.

The under wing stores are nice in this kit, but I wanted to fold the wings. Therefor only the RATOG jet bottles were fitted below the center fuselage-wing area. Remember to open the holes to fit them. Although not perfect and a difficult assembly, the result seems OK. In the center, also the pylon was fitted as well as a pylon on each wing near the folding mechanism. No other stores were added though and all remaining gaps closed with white glue. (The torpedo, rockets and tanks all went to the spares box). 

The wing and stabilizer fitted perfectly and hardly any filling is needed in the further assembly of this kit. 

The wing folding is a remarkable item on this aircraft and the Trumpeter kit provides it all. On service Wyverns however, the wingtip folding was "dis-abled"; so the wing tips were glued straight onto the wing ends. 

The transparent edges are nice extra's on this model, but need a little trim work to get a good fit. The outher wing halves were assembled without trouble. The trailing edge fowler flaps are nice touches also to this model and were set dropped down.

The undercarriage was painted metal/aluminium, the tires "tire black" but these were not yet fitted. 

It was decided to use primarily the kit decals, for a Wyvern at HMS Ark Royal of no. 831 squadron. The scheme is pretty simple with some nice squadron markings on the nose.

The overall model was given a light grey coat. Next, the under surfaces (including the wheel bays and inner doors) were sprayed Sky, not silver as instructed. 

The upper fuselage and wing were given a coat of the standard FAA colours Extra dark sea grey (WEM paint ACRN02 or Humbrol 123). The vertical tail is mostly Sky (WEM ACRN01 or Humbrol #90) however, as are the vertical fins on the horizontal tail plane.

After the colours were applied, the model was given a coat of Johnson Clear to get a gloss decal undercoat. 

The stencils and markings are provided with the kit, although not perfect with some mis-spellings... The roundel decals were a bit off center and need replacement. The lower wing big serials are a bit to big in length. I simple cut the number at the wing fold and "fitted them in". 
The main rear-sliding canopy was given white edges with carefully cut thin decals. 

The windscreen did not fit perfectly, a little bit of white glue for the edges and painted later made it look good. Also note the small black anti-glare that should be in front of this screen. 

The small antennas were added now, some from the kit and others from thin sprue. These were tipped up in the appropriate colour with a fine brush.

Next, it was time to fit the outher wings. The wing mechanism was a bit detailed with rod and sprue, I had to reduce the parts #A11 in length a bit. It was decided to fold on wing halve completely and to position the other as being "in folding progress". This would show the cockpit a bit better. So obtained from the spares box, I fitted a crew man inside the cockpit to "trigger the switch and another one at the upper wing providing some extra assistance". 

The model was given a coat of "satin" of Johnson Kleer with a tiny amount of Tamiya Flat Base to protect the decals. Some black dry brushing was done at the rear of the exhaust pipe, the edges of the flying surfaces and the wing walk.

The end result is a nice plane in the FAA collection and although not build in large numbers, a remarkable addition.

Wyvern, FAA 831 squadron, HMS Ark Royal, 1957


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Created this page October 17, 2007