name "Sopwith"brings to mind a certain fictional beagle
and his never-ending quest to bring down a certain Axis pilot.
it isn't the beagle's famous Sopwith Camel, the Sopwith Pup
was a respected dogfighter in its own right. It had a
relatively long service life in the original Great War (World
War I), with production running from 1916 through 1918. It is
even rumored that Manfred von Richtoven, the famous Red Baron
that our beagle friend relentlessly pursued, commented about
the Pup's superiority to Axis aircraft of the same vintage.
is a time of great technological advancement, and the Pup
didn't retain its superiority for long. By 1917 it had been
outclassed by planes like the Fokker Dr.I and replaced with
planes such as the Sopwith Triplane and later the Sopwith
Camel. Still the Sopwith Pup went on to become the first
plane to land aboard a moving ship, and to become the first
operational carrier-borne aircraft.
Sopwith Pup is a stand-way-off-and-cross-your-eyes-scale
rendition that offers clever engineering, a quick build, and
a gratifying end result.
Electrifly Competition BP300 ESC used: Electrifly
Silver Series 8A Radio equipment: Futaba
9C, R616FFM receiver, S3114 servos
Small Phillips screwdriver
Foam-safe CA kicker
everything is neatly packed and secured to prevent damage
without resorting to messy packing peanuts.
power system. The plane is so new, the recommended
components weren't available.
from the box. Where was all this hiding?
a full-bodied foamie, there sure was a lack of foam in the
form of packing material. The only foam in the box besides
the airframe itself were the wingtip potectors. Each part is
individually wrapped in clear plastic and suspended from a
cardboard crutch inside the box using clear tape. Everything
is efficiently packed to maximize protection and minimize
plane is so new that much of the recommended onboard
equipment hadn't been released at the time of the review.
Great Planes designed the plane to accept alternate power
systems, so the recommended (and unavailable) Rimfire 250
motor was replaced by the slightly larger Rimfire 28-22-1380.
Electrifly recommends ES80 Pico Micro servos for the Pup, but
as these were not available yet, Futaba S3114 servos made
excellent substitutes. Electrifly's ?old reliable?
Silver Series SS-8 ESC has been available for years.
bead of foam safe CA across the leading and trailing edges
at the fuselage secure everything.
first step is to test fit the bottom wing to the fuselage.
on foamie park flyers, getting the surfaces square is
I got all the parts unpacked, laid out, and inventoried, I decided
to time myself and see exactly how long it would take to put
this plane together. The parts count is relatively low, with
excellent fit and finish, so it looked like a relatively easy
build. Officially, I started at 8:03PM.
looks nice and square. Time to glue.
tech note on Great Planes' website warned that there may
be a gap here. Easy fix.
test fit. This time the fin/stab to the fuselage.
always a good idea to review the instructions ahead of time,
and check the manufacturer's website to make sure there
aren't any technical bulletins. I'm glad I did. There was one
tech note for the Pup regarding a gap between the lower
rudder and the rear of the fuselage. The fix is to use a
hobby knife and straightedge to trim the top sheeting on the
fuselage to move the stab/fin assembly forward and close the
this review was originally written, another tech bulletin has
been issued by Great Planes regarding the motor and servo
substitutions described earlier. Neither of the tech notes is
a big deal, and an experienced modeler would be able to
recognize and correct these issues in stride.
rudder horn glued in place, with the pushrod installed.
Notice the simulated ?axe handle? tail skid.
control horn is now in place.
servo compartment is right behind the firewall. Scale WWI
models need all the nose weight they can get.
that are joined by aluminum or carbon fiber tubes are
miracles of modern technology in my humble opinion. Joining
wing panels using epoxy and wooden dihedral braces is my
least favorite job in assembling ARFs. The Pup has two
one-piece wings, so that isn't a problem here.
second least-favorite job is running pushrod tubes. This task
can often turn into a frustrating game of hide-and-seek as
the pushrod tube wiggles and flops around inside the rear of
the fuselage like a pool noodle as you fish around trying to
line up with the exit hole. Here, the pushrod tubes, and even
the pushrods themselves are already installed, with Z-bends!
I immediately went out and bought a lottery ticket.
two control horns are made from thin plywood stained to match
all the other woodwork on the plane, and must be glued into
precut slots in the elevator and rudder. Be sure to test fit
the control horns before adding CA. I needed to widen the
slots in both surfaces. Also be sure to install the control
horn on the Z-bend before gluing them in for good. The
alternative isn't pretty.
S3114 servos are all this plane needs. I'm not used to
things being this easy.
are two sets of holes for mounting motors. Electrifly's
28-22-1380 mounts on the larger pattern.
second smaller set of holes fit the more compact Rimfire
280 motor, coming soon.
things in the right order makes all the difference in the
world. Electrifly suggests loading the electronics next, and
the timing is perfect. There's enough structure to the
airframe to stabilize it, but not so much as to make it
unwieldy and prone to ?hangar rash,? those dings
and dents all airplanes receive during handling in the shop.
S3114 servos are slightly larger than the upcoming ES40
servos, so the slots need to be expanded ever so slightly in
each direction. This is easily accomplished with a fresh
blade in a hobby knife, because the servo tray appears to be
hard balsa. When securing the servos, don't drill pilot holes
and thread the screws in carefully so they don't strip. They
will hold up fine against the tiny forces imparted on them by
this little plane. To make them extra secure, remove the
screws and add a small drop of thin CA, but be careful not to
drip or it will eat the foam structure.
patch of hook-and-loop material holds the ESC in place on
the left of the motor box, and the receiver on the right.
cabane struts interlock with the inner structure through
precut slots in the plastic skin.
the top wing and gluing the interplane struts in place
took mere seconds.
first try at bonding the wood gear fairings to the wire
gear with CA. It didn't hold.
3-4 layers of CA and kicker, a sort of built up around
the wire. It's holding just fine.
hour and fifty-nine minutes in, these are the only parts
at the plane at this point, one would think that there are
miles left to go. Assembly goes quick, though. The cabane
struts interlock with the fuselage frame, and the top wing
keys on to the cabane struts. Pop the interplane struts into
their indentations and secure with foam-safe CA, and it's
time to flip the plane on its top to install the landing
where I ran into the only fault I can find with the plane.
Thirteen years of building airplanes has taught me that CA
glues wood to wood, skin to skin, or wood to skin. CA will
glue anything you DON'T want glued together, permanently.
Unfortunately, CA doesn't glue anything to metal, at least
not very well. It took several tries to build up enough CA on
the wooden gear leg fairings to keep them stuck to the steel
landing gear wires.
the wheels is a two stage process. First, the wheel goes
on the axle with a keeper.
the hub cap is carefully glued in place.
the finished product. It's 10:13PM, and I'm ready to go
flying. Rats, too dark.
is the only place where I deviated from the instructions. I
found the recommended method of attaching the cowl using clear
The cowl is slightly larger than the fuselage, and is forced
out of shape when taped down. It doesn't take long for the
cowl to spring back into its original shape, peeling the tape
off the fuselage in the process. Instead, I cut three small
1/4? square pieces of self-stick hook-and-loop material
and hung the cowl using these. The hook-and-loop is just thick
enough to take up the difference between the fuse and cowl.
Plus, the cowl is now easily removeable to make adjustments to
completed Pup balanced perfectly on the middle balance points
cut into the cabane struts.
Sopwith Pup is intended as an indoor or calm wind flyer. In
May, in Rochester, NY, nobody's flying indoors, and dead air
is tough to come by. It took three full weeks and several fruitless
trips to the flying field to find a calm night for the Pup's
the stars finally aligned properly, I
set the plane in the short grass and spooled up the prop. As
I suspected, the Pup needs a smooth surface to ROG. My second
attempt was a hand launch. I don't think there's an English
translation for the word I uttered as the little Pup left my
hand. What I do know is that it had 27 letters, no vowels, and
was an expression of pure wonder and joy.
still air, the Pup is rock solid. It will cruise at as little
as 1/3 throttle with the 28-22-1380 motor and 8x6 prop. Low
and slow is the Pup's bread and butter.
Pup flies slow, the Pup flies (sorta) fast. It's just as stable
and smooth at full throttle as 1/3; the only difference is a
seriously shortened flight time. You'll want to throttle back
and maximize all 300mAh from the battery.
the heavily undercambered airfoil and lack of ailerons, aerobatic
ability is limited to stall turns and what I like to call ?barnstormer
loops.? This wasn't designed to be an aerobatic plane,
with takeoffs, landings on grass are typical of a plane meant
for a smooth gymnasium floor. Regardless of how smooth and slow
you bring it in, the grass grabs the light little wheels and
flips the poor plane on its lid! It's so light, though, that
even after several ?exciting? landings it doesn't
have a single scratch.
the maneuverability and slow speed, the Pup should make a great
indoor flyer in a moderately-sized gymnasium.
Electrifly Sopwith Pup is the perfect airplane for the last
flight (or two) (or ten) of the day. Diving into battle out
of the setting sun like a Royal Air Force Lieutenant after an
imaginary Axis triplane is just
plain cool. Assembly couldn't be easier; even with my clumsy
foam-mangling meat hooks I was able to assemble the entire aircraft
without dinging, bending, or breaking a single thing. Assembly
couldn't be faster; I spent a whopping two hours and ten minutes,
including taking pictures for this review.
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.