Westland Wyvern S. Mk. 4
During WW II the Royal navy invented a strange breed of aircraft called the torpedo fighter. One TF, the Bristol Beaufighter was a success but it was converted from an existing aircraft. Another, the Blackburn Firebrand, was purpose built for the TF role but took the entire war to develop and still proved unsuitable for the job. The last of the breed was the Westland Wyvern.
It began life with the world’s most powerful piston engine, took years to develop and seven years later entered service with the piston engine replaced by a turboprop which saw the max speed reduced by 108 km/h. The Wyvern was an utter disappointment and never endeared itself to the pilots that flew it. It could not fly its intended mission as a torpedo-and attack aircraft because it was a single-seater with modest fuel load, no navigator, radar or bad weather equipment. As a fighter its sheer size and weight made it ineffective.
The ultimate version was the S.Mk. 4 which saw active service during the Suez crisis during which the RN lost one to ground-fire, however recent research indicates that it might have been downed by an Egyptian Mig flown by a Soviet pilot. Another was famous for the first underwater ejection by a pilot, after he had ditched. The S.Mk. 4 was powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Python 3 axial flow turboprop, rated at 2736 kW plus 536 kg jet thrust for take-off, driving a massive 8 blade contra-rotating Rotol airscrew. Span was 13,42 m, height 4.57 m, Armament comprised four 20 mm cannons, underwing racks for rockets and bombs, centreline rack for an aerial torpedo or fuel tank.
The Trumpeter Wyvern is typical of the Trumpy kits. It is festooned with rivets, however the panel lines are crisp and the kit is suitably detailed having gears to build a workable counter rotating prop. Cockpit details are acceptable seeing that not much is visible once painted black. However, I opted to replace the cockpit with an aftermarket resin set from Pavla. Wheel wells lack plumbing details and the rear wheel well is just an open hole. I selected to scratch build the rear wheel well and added plumbing, hydraulic and brake lining to the wheel wells and undercarriage.
Additional details were scratch built such as the vent behind the prop and in front of the engine intake. This was simulated by gluing a cross shaped piece of thin styrene strip that was placed inside a drilled hole. The navigation lights were drilled to simulate light bulbs, a dorsal and tail light from clear sprue was also added. All Wyverns, when carrying bombs, had an AS-68 ? APG-5 radio beam antenna added to the left wing. This was simulated with clear sprue. A dorsal antenna and two antennas under the tailplanes were made from copper wire. The underwing rockets’ pig tails were also made from copper wire. The RATO gear also received copper wire details and foil straps around the RATO gear. All flaps, ailerons and rudder were removed and re-positioned.
The model was painted in a light aircraft gray base coat. The Dark Sea Gray areas had the panel lines highlighted in RLM Schwarzgrau, panels were highlighted with Modelmaster Neutral Gray and oversprayed with a thin coat of Modelmaster RAF Dark Sea Gray. The Duck Egg Green areas had panel lines highlighted with Modelmaster Olive Drab and individual panels with Humbrol Sky and Matt White. This was oversprayed with Humbrol Duck Egg Green. The black and yellow invasion stripes were sprayed over a matt white basecoat. The white sealant around the canopy was simulated with nail art masking tape that comes in white 2mm width tape. Weathering was accomplished with Tamiya weathering kits, Doc O’ Brien’s and Humbrol Smoke weathering powders.
23 additional images. Click to enlarge.