Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter 44 5/8" N173

Skill Level: Advanced

Prototype Version
More than 440 parts

Sopwith Strutter 44"

Historical Perspective (PDF) by M.K. Bengtson

Scale: 1/9th
Prop: 11x6
Channels: R/E/A/T
Wheels: Balsa Ply w Neo Tires
Wingspan: 44 5/8"
Airfoil Type: Flat Bottomed
Wing Area: 632 Sq. In.
Cowl: Built up Balsa and Plywood
Designer: M.K. Bengtson
Weight: ~42 oz.
Spinner: N/A  
Prototype By: Michael Sammut
Power System: AXI 2217/20 brushless outrunner
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter

Decals Available

Prototype Version Does not Include Instruction Manual

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  • One piece construction
  • Box front fuselage, built up rear
  • Top and bottom wing alignment is built into design
  • Scale dihedral with ailerons
  • Scale number of ribs including sub ribs.
  • Plywood training edges
  • Plywood cabane struts insure proper alignment of top wing
  • Dummy motor that doubles as electric motor mount


The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British one or two-seat biplane multi-role aircraft of the First World War. It is significant as the first British-designed two seater tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun. It also saw widespread but rather undistinguished service with the French.

In December 1914, the Sopwith Aviation Company designed a small, two seat biplane powered by an 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome rotary engine, which became known as the "Sigrist Bus" after Fred Sigrist, Sopwith's Works Manager. The Sigrist Bus first flew on 5 June 1915, and although it set a new British altitude record on the day of its first flight, only one was built, serving as a company runabout. The Sigrist Bus formed the basis for a new, larger fighter aircraft, the Sopwith LCT (Land Clerget Tractor), designed by Herbert Smith, powered by a 110 hp (82 kW) Clerget engine. Like the Sigrist Bus, each of the upper wings (there was no true centre section) were connected to the fuselage by a pair of short (half) struts and a pair of longer struts, forming a "W" when viewed from the front, this giving rise to the aircraft's popular nickname of the 1 Strutter.

The first prototype was ready in mid December 1915, undergoing official testing in January 1916. The 1 Strutter was of conventional, wire braced, wood and fabric construction. The pilot and gunner sat in widely separated tandem cockpits, with the pilot sitting in front, giving the gunner a good field of fire for his Lewis gun. The aircraft had a variable incidence tailplane that could be adjusted by the pilot in flight, and airbrakes under the lower wings to reduce landing distance. The Vickers-Challenger interrupter gear was put into production for the Royal Flying Corps in December 1915 and in a few weeks a similar order for the Scarff-Dibovski gear was placed for the RNAS. Early production 1 Strutters were fitted with one or the other of these gears for the pilot's fixed .303-in Vickers machine gun; due to a shortage of the new gears some early aircraft were built with only the observer's gun. Later aircraft standardised on the improved Ross gear, although the Sopwith-Kauper gear was also fitted. None of these early mechanical synchronisation gears were very reliable and it was not uncommon for propellers to be damaged, or even entirely shot away. The Scarff ring mounting was also new and production was at first slower than that of the aircraft requiring them. Various makeshift Lewis mountings as well as the older Nieuport ring mounting, were fitted to some early 1 Strutters as an interim measure.The two-seaters could carry four 25 lb (11 kg) bombs underwing, which could be replaced by two 65 lb (30 kg) bombs for anti-submarine patrols. From the beginning a dedicated light bomber version was planned, with the observer's cockpit eliminated to allow for more fuel and bombs to be carried in the manner of the Martinsyde Elephant and the B.E.12.