Sopwith"s wonderful Pup was developed from a design that their test pilot, Harry Hawker, legendarily chalked out on the factory floor for his own personal runabout in the latter stages of 1915. Featuring wing warping technology this runabout formed the basis for the Sopwith Sparrow of which only 4 were made. In February 1916 Sopwith took it upon themselves to produce a single seat fighter prototype based on this design, slightly redesigned, strengthened and with ailerons replacing wing warping for lateral control. Given the serial number 3691, this prototype attracted the attention of the RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) who were suitably impressed enough to order the type into production as the Admiralty 9901 Type. The RFC were likewise taken by the prototype with Maj. Gen. H.M. Trenchard famously stating "Let us get a squadron of these" which lead to them ordering it into production as the Sopwith Scout. Despite being officially known as the Admiralty 9901 Type or Sopwith Scout it was quickly given the eminently more appropriate, albeit strictly unofficial, nickname "Pup" after a remark by a Brig. Gen. W Sefton Brancker upon comparing it to the larger Sopwith 1 & 1/2 Strutter.
The Sopwith Pup was universally liked by the young aviators of the RNAS and RFC charged with flying it. Of the more than 2100 built by The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, William Beardmore & Co Ltd, The Standard Motor Co Ltd and Whitehead Aircraft Ltd the vast majority were powered by a 80hp LeRhone 9C rotary engine as represented in this kitest. Many others were fitted with Clerget and Gnome engines of various capacities, although usually in machines destined for training units. Ever adaptable, the Pup was modified for shipboard use by the RNAS as the 9901a Type, taking off from both turret mounted platforms and early aircraft carriers. Despite having only one Vickers gun its light weight and great maneuverability ensured it was a good match for the twin gun armed Albatros D.II, Fokker D.II, Halberstadt DII and D.III fighters it faced in late 1916. At least 29 RFC and RNAS pilots achieved ace status in the Pup with victories claimed over the aforementioned fighters as well as later Albatros D.IIIs and D.Vs, observation balloons, various two seaters, seaplanes and 5 Gotha bombers before being withdrawn from frontline service in the latter stages of 1917.