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Sopwith Camel F-1. WWI Fighter, 1/16 Scale (3/4" = 1')


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This Model Airways Sopwith Camel kit arrived today! I picked it up on sale from Model Expo and plan to build it in the background as I work on my other projects
My interest in aviation goes back to my childhood. When my friends were building model cars, I was always more interested in aircraft and ships. That interest stayed with me as I grew older.

In the 1990's I was introduced to MicroSoft's Flight Simulator and I was hooked. I spent hours flying simulated aircraft on my computer, and finally started designing airplanes for the platform - both the visual model as well as the flight characteristics. I specialized in WWII propeller driven aircraft, single and multi engine and designed more than 20 individual planes, some in multiple liveries. The coolest thing that happened to me was an email I received from an Army Air Corps pilot in WWII who flew B-29 bombers in the Pacific. He told me that my B-29 simulation, modeled after the "Enola Gay" flew exactly like the real thing! That made my month!

In my late 40's I decided I would learn to fly, and I ended up passing my check ride 4 days before my 50th birthday! I had my Private Pilot's License!
I don't fly anymore, for a variety of reasons, but I still love aviation. I have about 600 hours in my log book in Cessna 172's, and I even have 1/2 hr. logged as Pilot in Command of an Army Air Corps T-6 Texan. I did some aerobatic flying with an instructer: loops, barrel rolls etc. Great fun!

So I'll start this build and keep it running in the background. It should be interesting! Thanks for looking in.

 

 

 

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My oldest brother was co owner of a small airfield in a rural Florida area. They had two Citabrias that were fully aerobatic. Big brother took me for some great aerobatic flying sessions and gave me lots of stick time. Man, those were some fun days in the 60's and early 70's.

But one of the most fun rides ever was in an aerobatic sail plane. Back in those days, it was relatively cheap to acquire a pilot's license and there were affordable aircraft to be had. Not so much today. 

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Look forward to your build, Doc. I'm also an aviation enthusiast and my favorite TV show is Airplane Disasters (go figure). I'm sure you're familiar with Tom's YouTube videos on building airplane models like yours but for others check this one out. It's ingenious.

 

 

Edited by dvm27
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That was the coolest video I’ve ever seen! Really makes you appreciate the complexity of the subject. I thought the way the prop was made was so simple but so obvious when you see it, but I would have never thought to do it that way. And when the manikins sit down to watch the film was priceless. I’ve got to see more of those.

 

Kurt

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If you want to get creative Doc, there was a night fighter version of the Camel called the Comic, it was used to battle the ever-increasing raids by German strategic bombers late war. The twin Vickers were replaced by two overwing Lewis guns on Foster mounts (allowed reloading), and I know there are good aftermarket 1/16th Lewis guns out there. You could stump quite a few people with a Camel with twin overwing guns.

 

Even if you don't do that, you should look at aftermarket Vickers guns, they will be much better than the kit versions, and I thought I saw 1/16th 3d printed WWI aircraft engines someplace. That's the weakest part of these kits, MSW's insistence on using white metal instead of resin, and that's made worse by the castings frequently being extremely rough, requiring inordinate amounts of time to clean them up. You could save yourself many hours of filing and sanding by replacing as many of the white metal parts as you can.

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24 minutes ago, vossiewulf said:

That's the weakest part of these kits, MSW's insistence on using white metal instead of resin, and that's made worse by the castings frequently being extremely rough, requiring inordinate amounts of time to clean them up. You could save yourself many hours of filing and sanding by replacing as many of the white metal parts as you can.

A very very very true statement, sound advice.

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If you ever wondered what these things could do, there's this guy Mikael Carlson who's like a Swedish airline pilot, and he builds his own production-accurate versions of German WWI aircraft including the engines, and as such feels free to fly them as hard as he wants to. And he frequently flies them right to the limit. This is his Dr.I in Jasta 6 colors, I think Neckel's maybe.

 

Anyway, you'll see he flies it in a big reverse Cuban-8 where he's split-Sing on the far side of the loop instead of zooming up, his direction is considerably more dangerous as he's doing a split S just a couple hundred feet up.

 

Even better, on his first attempt to zoom up a bit and then roll inverted, he was too slow and the plane departs into an incipient spin at the top, and only some really good stick and rudder skills stopped him from going splat right there. Then he follows those with some max-G horizontal turns, and yes the Dr.I could do a 360 in an absurdly tiny space.

 

The Dr.I and Camel were pretty evenly matched with the Dr.I turning a bit tighter but the Camel being somewhat faster and rolling quicker, so this video is a good approximation of what a Camel could do also.

 

I'm sure none of this is good for his life insurance premium, but it's wonderful stuff for WWI aviation fans.

 

 

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Dave,

 

Another interesting variation of the Sopwith Camel would be that used by the Royal Navy- either as a very early carrier plane or as one launched from a platform atop a battleship.  The Sopwith Camel was used in both capacities.  When launched from a battleship they were disposable as they were ditched at sea with the pilot supposedly recovered.

 

Roger

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