As a child, I spent hours in an inconspicuous garden shed somewhere in Oxford building plastic model kits. Spitfires and Bf 109s were popular among my schoolmates, but I was strangely drawn to the kite-like form of WWI aircraft. The Sopwith Pup was my absolute favorite. There was something endearing about its simple shape, and I doodled squadrons of marauding Sopwiths on any scrap of paper that fell within arm's reach.
Airdrome Aeroplanes in Holden, Missouri manufactures a broad range of WWI kitplanes, including the Fokker DR-1 Triplane, various Nieuports and -- wonder of wonders -- the stunning full scale Sopwith Pup pictured here.
A deluxe airframe kit costs $12,495 and includes everything from the rudder and fuselage to the engine mount and cowling. You'll need to add an extra $195 to get your hands on the machine gun kit. If you're skilled, it will take about 400 hours to turn a few boxes of parts into a flyable airplane. Power comes from a decidedly modern 110 hp Rotec R2800 7-cylinder radial engine and there's room for basic instruments in the single seat cockpit.
Officially known as the Sopwith Scout, A total of 1,770 Pups were manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company between 1916 and 1918. The Pup proved to be a nimble combat aircraft and dominated the skies when it arrived on the battlefield in October 1916. However, it was quickly outclassed by formidable new German aircraft and was pulled from combat in the face of mounting losses a year later. The Pup went on to have a second life as a capable training aircraft.