SE-5a WWI biplane . The renowned SE-5a, considered by many to be the best WWI biplane ever made. .
OK, so here we have the SE-5a, a WWI biplane, first made by the Royal Aircraft Factory in late 1916, and introduced in 1917. In modern parlance, it's a fighter, but in those days, it would have been called a scout - Hence the designation: Scout Experimental 5. In those days, almost all planes had "E" designations. Fast, armed, and agile, the SE 5 was a plane to be reckoned with (as well as the fastest plane in the skies at the time).
This shot is quite fun because it shows the unusal (but accurate!) shape of the radiator, as well as the gear. Yes, I know, the bar should have gone all the way across, but I had so much trouble trying to fit one (tricky length) that I settled for two shorties.
The wings may appear a bit short, but from different perspectives, they look about right. Although it's a shame I couldn't come up with a less bulky system to hold the top wing up.
The armament - a Vickers .303 synchronised machine gun (bottom), and a Lewis gun mounted on the top wing. You can also see the pilot peeking out past the windscreen - "Where are they?". You can just about see the top part of the radiator, and the exhaust as well.
The Lewis gun swivelled down in real life, so that a) the pilot could reload the drum of ammunition on top, as well as b) giving the pilot a chance to hit an enemy while approaching in his blind spot, i.e; behind and below.
A pilot was in a dogfight once, and when reloading, the hingeing mechanism broke, leaving the gun stuck upright. The pilot managed to shoot down the German plane by flying uder him, and firing straight up! (This tale is reported in Cecil Lewis's book "Saggitarius Rising", his memoirs of flying in WWI and in China post war. The pilot was a member of the same squadron)
A close-up of the hinge on the rudder. I was desperate to get the blue, white & red colour scheme on the tail, to add to authenticity. Unfortunately, lack of pieces rather spoilt the effect on the colour front. And faced with design v colour, I had to go for design.
It looks good from a distance, though (well, I think so anyway!)
Cockpit shot! I like the angle of this pic, and even the slight blur (sorry!) gives a sort of movement to the pic. OK, I'm probably talking nonsense at this point!
This shot shows the pilot to scale with the plane. I suspect the plane is too big (proportionally), but due to the shape of minifigs, it's hard to get something that is to exact scale, as well as the right shape! The pilot is to scale when he's in the cockpit, though.
OK, he isn't Albert Ball, but he is a WWI pilot! I deliberately made him looking young-ish to honour all the young inexperienced pilots who left their homes to fight abroad, many dying shot down on their first patrol, or killed in crashes during training. A sobering statistic: in 1917, the average life expectancy for an English pilot was 17½ hours.
The real McCoy - this was one of the many pics I used as reference for proportions, etc.
Hope you enjoyed, and that no-one is foaming at the mouth in rage at me! Please rate & comment!