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Taking a break on the ship builds for an airplane. I have the mighty decision to build the Syren or something else as the next ship, and I think I want to watch others complete theirs before I embark on that voyage. This is the Sopwith Camel F.1 from 1917 kit from Model Airways.  I've always enjoyed aircraft, flying them (real ones and models) and building them (models), so this looked like an interesting and more accurate than regularly seen kit.  So, some images. They build starts with the engine, a rendition of the Clerget rotary. The kit parts are cast Britannia and also some brass. I used epoxy and CA for this portion.

 

 

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.... and where I am today: working on the upper wing. There are a LOT of laser cut wing ribs that need sanding and such. It is a messy bit of work with the char going all over the place. I have finished adding the rib caps to each rib, and am now working on getting them aligned into their spars.  That's it! More as this progresses.

~john

 

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John,

Love to see WWI planes being built; these are my first love in model building. Not sure how detailed you will wish to get, but here is a link to my scratch built Camel that was a commission for Fine Art Models at 1/15th scale per their request that you my enjoy for details. It also includes the bomb rack that was used on some. Looks like you are off to a great start and keep up the great work!

 

http://www.wwi-models.org/Images/Foran/Camel/index.html

 

 

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Hi Ken,

 

Glad you've stepped in to watch the build. I, too, enjoy planes: they are my first love. Your work is astounding - what joy to work on such a large scale. From the few images I have seen on your site, one can readily see the attention to detail. Good work!   For this build I am not thinking about covering, though I might be tempted as I move along. My last aircraft, a 75 Stearman, I did cover, largely to show off the color scheme. The Stearman is also internally not to-scale, but rather was made to fly as an RC.  This Sopwith is definitely not flying. I would cry to see her crash! Too much detail to show off.  So, maybe it'll have some sort of large diorama.... we'll see.

 

~john

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Top wing making more progress tonight: majority of ribs glued onto the two main spars. This will dry overnight before continuing with the leading edge, ailerons and other details. After this, the bottom wing,,,, The last image shows the rib details: they are laser cut and then capped with curved planking.... these were most time consuming to do well. The gluing was painless. The plans are covered in regular wax paper, parts held with pins as needed, and then glued using standard yellow wood glue that had been thinned 30% with water. This flowed into the remaining gaps well, and it is solidifying nicely. A remaining issue will be to clear coat this first, before any color/stain/varnish is applied, as simple one-step staining will not work where the glue has already sealed the wood. 

~john

 

 

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Thanks for joining the build, John and Grant. 

Good point about scale. I'll post a couple of images here for you to give an idea of the size-of-things. The little charcoal cube is 1cm. 

The model is  3/4" = 1'  (1:16) scale of the F.1 Sopwith Camel. The wingspan will be 534mm (21") and the longitudinal length (prop to empennage) 584mm (about 14"). 

Construction materials: basswood, brass, Britannia metal, steel, rubber tubing, copper tape and tubing, thread. 

 

 

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Working on the inner wing framing today. Placed the leading edge on the plans and worked on a joinery issue: the leading edge is in two pieces (as were the main and secondary spars). Got the leading edge joined and glued, and now testing the fit against the front of the ribs. A little sanding here and there will be needed to get the leading edge of the ribs flat, then it is glue time. Aileron spars done. Dry fitting the wing tips as well. They'll need a little bending. 

~john

 

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Thanks, Torbogdan.... Not sure that I will finish soon or not. What you didn't see were the weeks and weeks of working on those wing rib caps. I am about to start work on those for the lower wing, and that will take me a month or more.... :-)   

 

~john

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Thanks, Eddie!   I am having fun with it, as a nice break from ships for a small while. I am now working on the bottom wing ribs, so that will take a long time... you all might not see anything from me for the rest of the month, as there will be nothing much to report. In the meantime, I'll also be looking at some Sopwith history, and maybe reworking some of the engine parts to look better.

~john

 

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Hey John, what a pleasant surprise seeing your Camel project here and also the Fokker triplane.  It's been a dog's age that I have visited this site, too may other things taking up too much time. I read through your entire build and have enjoyed it very much.  She's really looking very good, nice work.  Brings back many memories of working on and even restoring a few old airplanes. Not quite as old as the Camel is but some in the 20ties and 30ties.

 

Yeah, my whole working life was in aviation, from 1952 till my retirement in 2009. But now enjoy building ship models and enjoying it.

 

In the meantime keep up the good works and I'll drip in so once in a while.

 

Cheers,

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Thank you for dropping by, Piet. Good to have you along for the ride. Building models has been in my blood for a long long time, be they planes, trains or boats. This is a respite from the ship building I have been doing and plan to do in the near future. Funny enough, the progress I am making on this Camel is considerably slower than that I would make on a ship! Still, it is a worthy build, detailed, slow, patience demanding, intriguing, and a learning experience. I'd like to say I have worked on old plane restorations, but I cannot. I fly planes, enjoy being around them, and love the history. The opportunity has not yet presented itself for me to get into restoration... yet ;-)

All the best,

~john 

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Cool build.  I've seen this kit on the website and been intrigued by it, but do not have it.  Your progress all looks really good, but I am most impressed by the prop.  Seems it would be tricky to get it symmetrical but you seem to have accomplished that.  Following along...

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Thanks, John - yes, it does seem like there's more and more...and more detail to come!  Will she ever fly!?  ;-)  

 

gsdpic:  thanks for joining in. The prop was a more interesting piece to build, it being in a laminate of wood sheets. I had built props from solid blocks before, also a challenge though not as initially scary to face down.  I found that grinding the main shape, as seen from the side, using a Dremel tool, worked really well. Then I could face it from the front and back to get the angle of attack right. After that, a lot of fine sanding brought it to the final shape, followed by 4 to 5 layers of shaded poly. I am happy with it. I am considering a metal leading edge/tips. I am still thinking on that.

 

~john

 

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All,

The wing ribs and caps are complete for the bottom wing now. Phew! That was a workout in patience. It is time to run the fore and aft wing spars through them (skewer time) and then fit the leading edge. Then for both wings it will be time to add small details: spreaders, wiring, pulleys and such for the ailerons. I decided to go with a straight edge clamped to the work surface to help with alignment. We'll see how that works out. The recommendation is to thread the spars in first, then sand the leading edge. If the cutting was done well enough, using a straight edge at the front should be doable. 

~john

 

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The method worked pretty well.... that is, keeping the straight edge in place while aligning the ribs. Status: the fore and aft spars are in place, the ribs glued and aileron spars also in place. The lower wing has been cut in half, ready for their re-joining with the correct dihedral. That will come after tension stringers have been added. More to do!  

 

 

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I received the Hagasawa 1/16th scale plastic Sopwith Camel kit, Saturday. A quick reveiw of it compared to the Model Airways kit follows.

 

I bought the Hagasawa kit because it had more detail parts than the Model Airways kit. Engine cowl, front fuselage panels, etc. The Hagasawa kit is all plastic, and the MA kit has wood parts where the original does, though.

 

The Hagasawa kit has many better details than the MA kit, but also lacks several. A major problem is that the wing ribs, for instance are supposed to be shaped like an “I” beam. A central web, with a horizontal web on the top and bottom. The Hagasawa ribs are flat.

 

On the other hand the original plane had metal brackets at all the wood to wood joints in the fuselage. The Hagasawa kit has them molded onto the fuselage sections,  the MA kit does not have them. The MA kit has turnbuckles, the Hagasawa kit does not.

 

The Clerget engine had 22 cooling ribs on each cylinder. The 1/8th scale Hagasawa engine kit has the correct amount. The 1/16th kit only has 18, I guess that there is only so much you can do with even a plastic casting. The MA metal casting for the cylinders has only 11 fins. The bolt detail on the Hagasawa kit is finer and close to scale, the MA kit is OK, but the details are a bit larger than scale.

 

Some of the parts in the Hagasawa kit are also finer, like the wicker seat casting.

 

I have not yet decided on whether to build the Hagasawa kit, and ignore the wing rib problem, add the webs at the top and bottom, or use the wing assemblies from the MA kit, on the Hagasawa. Using both very expensive kits to make one model is not appealing, though.

 

I will build the Hagaswawa kit, and probably do the painful process of adding the rib webs.

 

Selling the MA kit and using the money for other goodies, is probably smarter, but more thought has to go on before a final decision.

 

The kit box

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The box contents, and the plastic parts spread out some.

 

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A close up of one half of the engine on the Hagasawa kit.

 

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David: nice to have you on board!  

Ron: thank you for the review. I am happy that the MA kit is wood: I am enjoying that a lot. The wing ribs are about as accurate as laser cutting can make them without them getting too fragile. Seeing real Sopwith's in the shop, all their components are more fragile... they were pretty light weight with thin components. 

 

This week finished the wings' wooden components and am about to add their compression bars and tensioning wires. I am ...just... almost concerned about cutting free the ailerons. We'll see how that goes!

 

~john

 

 

 

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