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1960's Vintage Tin SOPWITH SNIPE (WWI) Handmade Model (Single Seater Fighter Aircraft)

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Sorting through some boxes of "boyhood momento's" from the 1950's & 60's and they are revealing some interesting "Annuals" from those days but then I came across this little beauty!

Just imagine reading those manuals then having a 'real' Sopwith to hold in your hand and wage an air battle with the Germans ... alas, these are details that are not clear to me.

To be truthful, I don't even recall having this model aircraft although I do seem to remember a family friend was very skilled at metalwork and perhaps he put this one together for me ... I just cannot remember (happens a lot these days!)

If that is the case, then this model was designed and constructed in New Zealand.

At first glance you could be thinking "that's a Sopwith Camel" but no, look closely and you will see the wing structure is different to a Camel and this is definitely the later Sopwith model, the Snipe. Not generally as well known as the Camel but these did also eventually (around 1918) see some active service towards the end of World War I and were used by both the RAF and RAAF (yes, the Australians) but their use was phased out by 1927.

This model is made totally from tin & steel (I checked with a magnet, there is no other metals or alloys used and this is certainly not diecast! - even the wire wing supports are steel wire) A lot of hard work has gone into creating this model originally, and it has been done very skillfully!


It has been assembled "fixed" meaning you cannot dismantle it EXCEPT the propellor blade (also metal) which does have a screw. Oh yes, the propeller actually spins too!

The model is very sturdy and in pretty good shape, it actually appears the creator of this model tried to simulate a fighter that had seen active service, not pristine or "just left the factory"

The decoration used is however not quite "correct" but that aside, some Black shading has been used to simulate active service 'wear n tear' to the paint work.

All decorations are hand created, NO DECALS are used at all.

Nice touch is the single machine gun mounted just in front of the pilot's seat. Those guns were quite an engineering feat in that they needed to fire bullets through the propellor without shooting the propellor to pieces!

Here is the setting ....

It's New Zealand in the mid 1960's, I was a young lad at the this time and play was all about using your own imagination. Books, specifically Annuals, were your food for the imagination and during this period much of the focus was on military related machines, specifically British - World War II was still fresh in everyone's minds. Imagine what it must have been like to not only read about the adventures in the Annuals but to actually hold a "real" fighter in your hand and wizz it around the room! Wow...

I am not a collector of such things nor do I normally trade in these things but I will describe this model as best I can now ...

METAL AIRCRAFT MODEL - Depicting a Sopwith Snipe

Circa 1960's creation (probably in NZ)

Materials: Tin or Steel - each section checked with a magnet, there is no Brass or Aluminium that I could find. Absolutely no plastics are used and the aircraft markings are all hand created without the use of stick on decals

While I am no expert on British military aviation, I can immediately see discrepancies with the decoration used. The tail has the Blue/Red/Stripes - I don't believe they should be there. There is no decorations on the side of the fuselage nor the underside of the wings, I think this aircraft originally had those.

The basic colouring is a Greenish shade which has discoloured in places due to the passage of time.

I would imagine that if someone wished to 'clean up' the decorations and give the whole aircraft a complete decoration restoration, this should be perfectly feasible.

All metalwork is sound and secure, no broken sections and certainly none missing (other than the pilot!)



Model (from end to end): 240mm x 95mm height

Wingspan: 315mm

WEIGHT: 350g




Some discolouration can be observed to the top wing in particular.

NO RUST! or other oxidisation marks or stains

NO seriously out of shape sections

ALL struts are undamaged

Propellor actually spins freely! ('finger power')

Aircraft sits 'level' when placed on a flat surface, looks great!

I have now placed this model aircraft into a sealed clear plastic packaging to protect it from the environment (dust etc)

The Sopwith Snipe is now just sitting on the runway, ready to fly off to a new owner who appreciates these momento's from almost 100 years ago!

USED Exactly as described