Corgi AA37710 Royal Flying Corps Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a Fighter - Captain Albert Ball VC, No.56 Squadron, Vert Galant Aerodrome, Amiens, France, May 5th, 1917 (1:48 Scale)
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in attacking hostile aircraft, and in carrying out difficult reconnaissances. On one occasion, although wounded, he continued his combat and brought down a hostile machine. On two other occasions he brought down hostile machines in flames."
- London Gazette, April 26th, 1917
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 November 22nd, 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 fighter that was piloted by Major R. S. Dallas, CO RAF No.40 Squadron, then deployed to Bruay Aerodrome, France, during May 1918.
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Release Date: April 2022
Historical Account: "Final victory in an SE5a" - At a time when Britain was suffering horrendous losses on the Western Front and the nation was in desperate need of a hero, they found what they needed in a handsome young fighter pilot from Nottingham named Albert Ball. Fiercely patriotic and desperate to do his duty, Ball had displayed both bravery and real flying skill in amassing an impressive victory tally in a relatively short period of combat and by September 1916, he had at least 31 victories to his name, making him Britain's most successful flying ace. The majority of his victories were scored whilst flying the nimble Nieuport Scout and when he was forced to exchange this for the new, but heavier Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 on joining the elite No.56 Squadron RFC, he was initially less than impressed.
He soon came to appreciate the rugged and heavily armed new fighter, as it was more than a match for the latest German Albatros D.IIIs he was now facing in combat. During a period of combat inactivity due to bad weather, 56 Squadron ground crews painted several of their SE5 fighters in flamboyant schemes, reportedly in response to the colorful German aircraft which were opposing their pilots. This unusual embellishment would prove to be relatively short lived, as higher authority took a dim view of the practice and ordered the markings removed immediately.