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Eric Berg
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Classic Airframes 1/48 Westland Wyvern S.4

April 13, 2021 · in Aviation · · 17 · 2.5K

One thing for sure, Westland's won't win any beauty contests. It's a real ungainly beast. Nor does it have the graceful curves of the mythological, two legged dragon for which it was named. But it does have a forked tail of sorts.

Westland's Wyvern S.4 had the distinction of being the last propeller driven naval attack aircraft produced in the world. It featured contra rotating props and was powered by a Rolls Royce turbo engine. It saw service with the British Fleet Air Arm from 1955 to 1958 and flew sorties in the Suez Canal campaign before being withdrawn from inventory.

I purchased this Wyvern kit back in 1998 or so when it was first released. It sat on my shelf of doom for over 20 years because after fighting my way thru four previous Classic Airframes builds, I lost all interest in tackling any more CA kits. That is until T.C. started the “Build “Em or Bin ‘Em” GB. And for some reason I chose this. Surprise. This CA kit was a delight to build after all and not all that difficult. Plus I grew fond of the Wyvern's looks as this progressed.

I chose to build 813 Squadron aircraft WL879 circa late 1957 on the HMS Eagle which is shown in the photo below equipped with a sharkmouth decorated 150 gallon centerline tank. However I had no extra tank although the current and much better Trumpy kit does come with one.

This was strictly an OOB build. I did use some leftover Trumpeter decals for the lettering as the CA supplied MicroScale sheet has incorrect sized letters (Thank you Tom Cleaver!) and I swiped a pitot tube from an Airfix kit. Other than that and some various homemade improvements, this is straight out of the box.

If you're interested how I went about putting this ugly but loveable duckling together, check out my build blog:

A big shout out to George H who came through with Wyvern references that made my build hopefully a lot more accurate.

Thanks for looking.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. Well done, Eric! One of my favorites.

  2. Great job on this ugly beastie Eric. Glad I could help out

  3. Great buildup Eric! Not beautiful aircraft, but a very cool design in my opinion.

  4. I believe ungainly looking is more descriptive of the Wyvern. For me it always looked like it was designed by committees assigned to develop specific sections of the aircraft, then mated together. Ungainly or not you really did a nice job on her, I like it.

  5. Very nice results, Eric.
    Although the Wyvern is not a beauty by itself, you have shown that a great model can be created from it.
    I'm definitely going to read your building thread.

  6. Beautiful build Eric!
    Actually, I've always liked the look of the Wyvern and your model looks fantastic.

  7. This is an amazing result of a difficult kit, my friend @eb801! It might have been one of the better CA kits, but it's still an old school limited run CA kit!
    I loved all research you made and solutions implemented upon your build.
    Your build thead was a joy to follow.

  8. It was a real pleasure following your outstanding build and the many "uphill" experiences. Well done!

  9. There was a Vauxhall Wyvern car in the 1950s, and, it too, had looks that only its mother would think beautiful, but somehow I think this model has a certain charm, greatly helped by the classic paint scheme. Definitely liked.

  10. A great model with a corresponding great WIP. Fantastic work with this one Eric!

  11. It may be ugly, but I really do like the Wyvern! Same for the Gannet. I have Trumpeters versions of both in 1/72, and am just going to have to build. This looks fantastic.

  12. You did a great job on this! I think there was a kit put out by Frog way back of the Wyvern.

  13. This was an epic build journal, look at that result! Best WW ever imho!

  14. Thanks to all for the positive comments about this ungainly beast of a plane. Much appreciated. It was a very enjoyable build, surprisingly.

  15. I just saw this one and it's a lovely model Eric. I especially like the cockpit pic and who wouldn't like all those props! I've sort of become fond of the looks of these birds; ungainly perhaps, but purposeful as well. I have the CA Westland Whirlwind in my stash and have often considered buying one of these too. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  16. Thanks Gary. That CA Whirlwind kit is a complete nightmare and one of the worst kits I’ve ever built. I came so close to throwing it against the wall in disgust several times but managed to make it to the finish line and it looks great from two feet away. The box art is the best thing about it.

    I’ll bet you Special Hobby releases a 1:48 edition down the road since they just came out with it in 1:32 scale, as the Trumpeter kit is also way off mark. The Wyvern is one of CA’s best kits along with the Sea Hornet.

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