Dicta Ira

Sopwith Schneider

The Sopwith Schneider was developed from the Tabloid in 1913. The Tabloid was a revolutionary small 2-seat sports plane that used all the latest technology in a sensible mix. It was immediately nicknamed the Tabloid, due to it's small size. It turned out to be an extraordinary fast machine for the day, so plans were made to enter it in the 1914 Schneider Trophy race. Now fitted with an 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine, it was mounted on an enormous flat single float, but overturned on the first attempt at taxying on Southampton water. They managed to rebuild it in time for the race, this time on two small floats, mounted further forward, after a short flight from the Thames it was shipped to Monaco. The competition consisted of Nieuports, Moranes, Deperdussins and an FBA. The Nieuports were the favorites, but the Sopwith was a complete unknown, even to the Sopwith crew, they had hardly flown it. The first off were the two hot Nieuports of Espanet and Levasseur, they were lapping at 67 and 58mph, then Pixton in the little Sopwith started, followed by the Swiss entry Burri in the FBA. Pixton immediately started to post amazing speeds, up to 89mph, the opposition was shattered, none of the others could have approached that speed even in ideal conditions. In the end all but Burri and Pixton dropped out, and Pixton won the Schneider trophy with more than an hours margin.

The First World War broke out shortly after, the Tabloid was quickly ordered for millitary use, and eventually so was the floatplane version. The Schneider cup design was put into production with only minor changes. The rear fuselage was made detachable and the floats were redesigned, strangely wing-warping was retained despite the Tabloid already being fitted with ailerons. New modifications were made to each batch produced, proper ailerons were soon fitted. A larger fin and improved floats were other changes. With the change to a 110hp Clerget came a new name, the Sopwith Baby, and later on Babies were made by other manufacturers thus becoming Hamble Babies, and Ansaldo Babies for instance.

In service the Schneiders were mostly used for patrol work, but attempts were also made to deploy them aboard the seaplane carriers Engadine, Ben-my-Chree and Rivierra. These deployments were mostly unsuccessful, as were attempts to intercept Zeppelins. It certainly pointed the way towards future developments and that is perhaps what the Schneiders service career should be remembered for.


There are two possible kits for the Schneider, both by Eduard, a Baby in 1/48 and a Schneider in 1/72.

Anders Bruun of the IPMS Racing & Record-breaking SIG suggests the following changes for the 1/48 kit. The aileron gaps need filling, tail reshaping and a new cowling can be crash molded. If you want to do a lot of work the cockpit needs moving backwards for the Schneider, and the wings are too big for both the Schneider and the Baby. For the Schneider racer the rear float needs replacing, and also some other minor changes, especially to the floats.

In 1/72 the Eduard Schneider is dimensionally accurate, but rather poorly detailed, it was one of their earliest issues. Only changes really necessary are removing the aileron gaps (wing-warpers had smooth wings) and making a new rear float, if you're building a racer or early Schneider. There is a lot of useful photo-etched parts, but I don't think photo-etched struts are a good idea, so they will need replacing.

Introduction courtesy of Neil Crawford.


1:72 Eduard Sopwith Schneider, Multi-media
1:72 Milresin Sopwith Schneider, Resin



Neil Crawford - 1/72 Eduard Sopwith Schneider, 1914 Schneider Trophy Winner.