Corgi AA37705 Royal Flying Corps Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a Fighter - Captain James McCudden, No. 56 Squadron, Balzieux, France, February 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"As long as I live I shall never forget my admiration for that German pilot, who single-handed fought seven of us for ten minutes, and also put some bullets through all of our machines. His flying was wonderful, his courage magnificent, and in my opinion he is the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight."
- Captain James McCudden
The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. Like the Hurricane compared to the Spitfire in the Second World War, the S.E.5 was not as glamorous as the Sopwith Camel, nor did it achieve the same iconic status, but it was one of the most important and influential aircraft of the war. The S.E.5 was instrumental in ensuring that the period of German dominance known as Bloody April 1917 was not repeated.
The S.E.5 (Scout Experimental 5) was designed by Henry P. Folland and J. Kenworthy of the Royal Aircraft Factory in Farnborough. It was built around the new 150-hp (112 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8a V8 engine which, while it provided excellent performance, was under-developed and unreliable. The first of three prototypes flew on 22 November 1916. The first two prototypes were lost in crashes and the third underwent modification before production commenced.
Only 77 original S.E.5s were built before the improved S.E.5a model took over. In total 5,205 S.E.5s were built by six manufacturers including Austin Motors and Vickers. A few were converted as two-seat trainers and there were plans for Curtiss to build 1000 S.E.5s in the United States but only one was completed before the end of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Royal Flying Corps S.E.5a gighter that was piloted by Capt James McCudden, who was attached to No. 56 Squadron, then deployed to Balzieux, France, during February 1918. Sold Out!
Length: 5.25 inches
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Release Date: September 2010
Historical Account: "Too Young to Die" - James McCudden joined the RFC in 1913 and rose through the ranks, from Air Mechanic to Major, to become the British Empire's most decorated pilot of WWI. He amassed a total of fifty-seven victories and was awarded the VC for "conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance and a high devotion to duty".
In mid-1917, Captain McCudden was appointed Flight Commander of 56 Squadron flying SE5As. McCudden scored thirty-two victories in SE5A B4891, which he flew from December 1917 until March 1918 when he left 56 Squadron. He fitted the aircraft with the spinner from a LVG C.V which he had shot down and it was claimed it increased the top speed of the aircraft by 3mph. On July 9th, 1918, McCudden was tragically killed when a new SE5a he was flying, stalled shortly after takeoff and crashed. He was just 23 years old.