Model Airplane News

Model Airplane News Cover for February,1964 by Jo Kotula Sopwith Baby Seaplane

Sopwith "Baby"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February,1964
by Jo Kotula
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This plane should properly be called the "Sopwith Schneider/Baby" because it was developed from the successful 1914 Schneider (Seaplane Race) Trophy winner (with an average speed of 86.6 mph, a big deal for the day) . With the outbreak of the war in the summer of 1914, the Navy feared that the Germans would use Zeppelins to bomb ships. To counter this threat, small fighter planes were carried aboard ships so that the Zeppelins could be destroyed before they reached their targets.

Since the aircraft carrier had not been perfected, float planes were used, and the speedy Schneider was the first choice. Early operational uses of the Schneider were fraught with problems, particularly weakness in float construction.

Drawing of the Sopwith Baby    Model of the Sopwith Baby

The Sopwith Baby
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There were also problems with providing these machines with effective armament. Initially, the Sopwith/Schneider floatplanes carried Ranken Darts (special, hand-launched incendiary bombs designed to pierce a Zeppelin's covering and burst inside the gas cells) and grenades. Lewis machine guns were also used, but these were never effectively synchronized to fire through the propeller. With the added weight of armament the Schneider came a decrease in its overall performance. The "Baby" resulted from lessons learned in adapting the Schneider to warfare adding a more powerful engine and redesigned wings. Sopwith Babies were produced almost until the end of the war, well after it had become obsolete.

Cleveland Model Plans for the Sopwith Baby    Cleveland Model Plans for the Sopwith Baby

Cleveland Model Plans for the Sopwith Baby
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Here is a video of an excellent radio-controlled model of the Sopwith "Baby":

The Cleveland plans for the Baby date to the 1920s, so they are reasonably contemorary with this airplane. Since this is the first naval attack fighter, it is certainly a memorable subject for a model. Note that the Cleveland plans show all the parts and are therefore sufficient to build the model.

Cleveland Site Location of the Sopwith Baby   

Sopwith Baby at the Cleveland Site

You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.

Click Here for more information about the Sopwith "Baby".

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