Allied Aircraft Model Images
by Nick England

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Sopwith Camel

Kit: Revell (1:72)

The kit is an old one, and not without its flaws. The fuselage fit is lousy underneath, there are a lot of ejector marks all over the wings, the parts are very delicate, and it’s not entirely accurate.

I started construction by scratch building an interior. I used a part of sprue for the instrument panel, made a seat and petrol tank from blu tack, floor and control stick from matches, medical tape for seatbelts and when they were in, sealed the fuselage halves together. Of course, after the top wing went on I can’t see any of this, but I know it’s there!

The fuselage alignment was tricky. I lined up the top half well enough, but the underside seam line was poor, and required extensive use of filler and sanding. The results are ok, but not perfect.

The bottom wing went on, again with filler for the root join, and then on went the two piece rudder and wings. No problems there.

The upper wing then went on, and this was easier than I thought. The wing struts actually fit fairly well into grooves in the upper and lower wings, and once glued in, hold pretty well. The struts from the cowling to wings were no problems either.

The wheel struts were a problem however. They’re terribly thin, and really don’t fit on well. Mine broke in assembly, so I built some new ones out of matches and on went the wheels, then the engine cover, machine guns and prop. The engine cowling was sprayed silver, and then the rest of the painting was tackled. I started with the wood on the fuselage, for which I used a base coat of light wood brown from Revell, and then I drybrushed various other darker browns on top of that. The same was done for the prop and struts. The rest of the fuselage was brush painted in Revell matt dark green and beige to simulate the green and doped linen shades. I painted on the red white and blue stripes on the rudder, drybrushed a little silver over the prop nuts and guns, the wheels in carmine red and black, and leather for the skid, and that was it. When that was dry, I put on a couple of coats of Future, and it was ready for decaling.

The Revell decals were great, and I had no problems there. I used the options to decal it as the F1 Camel flown by Lt. L.S. Breadner of No.3 Naval Sqn, RNAS, Walmer, December 1917.

Rigging was done using Ernie Ball 0.08 gauge guitar strings, which were individually cut to size and CA’d into place. That was time consuming, and they are a little oversize. Next time round, I’m going to try to use monofilament thread. There are some important control wires left off, as by this stage, I’d had enough, and I hadn’t incorporated control horns to fit them on anyway, so they would have looked weird.

Overall, this took me 5 months of on and off building, but as my first biplane, I’m happy with it. I have subsequently bought the 1/48th Revell Camel, and much to my wife’s horror, recently bought 10 more biplane kits off e-bay, including 2 Pups, a Snipe and Salamander; just to build my Sopwith collection!

Sopwith Pup

Kit: Airfix (1:72)

I realised that I hadn't sent in details of an Airfix 1/72nd Sopwith Pup build that I did late last year.

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