Robert Cooper, of Georgia, built a museum-scale (1/4) model of the 1918 British Sopwith Snipe fighter aircraft in 2003. A museum-scale model contains everything as close to the real thing as possible. For example: most aircraft are riveted together with thousands of rivets. In a scale model, the builder makes fake rivets with glue drops for each rivet. For museum scale, the model builder makes the rivets, installs them, and sets them just like the full-size airplane.

Cooper’s model airplanes have several functional features including the Bentley BR2 rotary engine built by Paul Knapp with throttle quadrant, tamper valve, fuel pump and fuel filter.

This is a copy of the instrument panel from Cooper’s model. It features operating lights from individual toggle switches located in the accumulator box (lower right). The magneto switches (lower left) are below the pulsator (glass tube oil pressure gage). The turn-and-bank indicator and fuel gage are lower center. The second photo shot in low light shows the lights shining on each instrument, powered by a set of batteries on the back of the panel. The tiny switches in the lower right corner of the panel actually activate each light individually. The panel is 6″-long, 9″-wide, and 8″-high.

The pulsator and fuel gage have operational petcocks for emergency shut-off in case of glass breakage. On top are a tachometer, air speed indicator, clock and altimeter. Directly below the air speed indicator is a famous air compass type 5/17 that actually tracks true north just like its full-size counterpart.

The 1/4 scale model Sopwith Snipe instrument panel.
The 1/4 scale model Sopwith Snipe instrument panel.
The 1/4 scale model Sopwith Snipe instrument panel installed in a model Sopwith.
The 1/4 scale model Sopwith Snipe instrument panel installed in a model Sopwith.

Exhibit added: May 1, 2008 - Last modified: January 27, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship