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1917 Sopwith Camel by Model Airways

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The kit arrived yesterday and it's time to get started.  Over the next few months (or years or until I die) i'll be building the 1/16 Sopwith Came by Model Airways.  The plan is to replace all of the pot metal with new pieces fabricated and machined out of aluminum, brass and copper.  Where there are parts not included in the kit (front windscreen, etc.) those parts will be fabricated and added as necessary.  Also, there will be a second, free-standing, engine built so that folks can get a better view of all sides and angles of that gorgeous Clerget 9 cylinder power plant.  (I haven't yet decided if the stand-alone engine will be done in 1/16 or 1/8).

 

I'll be using the instructions that came with the kit for a reference on assembly, but I'll be relying more heavily on the Haynes Sopwith Camel Owner's Workshop Manual for actual construction and fabrication advice.

 

So without further ado, away we go...

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Signing up, I would really like to acquire one of these some day.

 

Ryan

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10 minutes ago, Bil said:

If this is anything like your car models, it will be a can't miss thread.  Good luck, and I need to get that shop manual.  ;) 

 

Also, in case you didn't know, the original blueprints are available from www.plans.aero:  Sopwith Camel and Pup Blueprints

 

Bill - I may have to purchase a set of these blueprints.  Thanks for the heads up.

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I realize you intend to completely replace the white metal castings with your own stuff, but I'm curious what your opinion is of the castings that come with the kit upon initial inspection.

 

These are supposed to be the weak link of these kits, though I think they are better on some kits as opposed to others.


The best of these is supposed to be the Curtis Jenny.   Not sure about the Camel.

 

 

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Overall Ring, I find the pot metal castings to be better than average.  Having said that, they are still pot metal with all of the flash and "other issues" that come with that material.  There are a number of very, VERY small pieces (turnbuckles, pulleys, etc.) that are just too small to effectively cast and they are a bit of a mess, but, compared to what I've seen in many other kits over the years, the Model Airways pieces are darn good.

 

Once I complete the Camel, I'm planning on building the Jenny so I can give you a compare and contrast at some point.  But for now, while I don't like pot metal in general, I give Model Airways a thumbs up for the quality of these castings.

 

Andy.

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A NOTE REGARDING THE HAYNES SOPWITH CAMEL OWNER'S MANUAL

 

This publication is a solid tome of content about the Sopwith Camel and it does contain more than a few good reference photos.  To call it a "Owner's Manual" however is a bit of a reach.  As a publication, it does a good job of telling the story of the Camel and it nicely chronicles the construction, restoration and resurrection of two Sopwith Camels over in the UK as well as the historical significance of this plane in the context of WWI and aviation in general.  

 

It does not however contain the detailed, mechanical diagrams, reference material or photos that I had hoped it might.  You can get this book for less than $25 on Amazon, and at that price it's not a waste of money.  But if you really want to get into the kibbles and bits of the Camel, I'd say that your going to find this book to be a bit lacking (as I did).

 

Having said that, i'll be purchasing a set of the Sopwith Camel blueprints available at  Sopwith Camel and Pup Blueprints (thanks Bill) in order to capture the tiny details that make this plane so cool.

 

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AND ONE MORE THING...  Due to my arthritis, old-man's vision and a desire to create a working Clerget engine (at least one with functioning pistons), the stand-alone display engine is going to be done in 1:8 scale.

Edited by Garage21
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Before I start building the model, I've got to figure out how I'm going to fabricate the pieces that I'll need to build the model.  One piece that has been on my mind since the day I decided to take on the Camel is the turnbuckles.  There are over 100 of them used on the Sopwith Camel and the ones that came with the kit are not anywhere close to looking like what a 1917 turnbuckle should look like.  Based on my research, the buckles on the Camel were pretty large (in both length and circumference) and were drilled for safety wire.

 

Tonight I started playing around with different sizes of different metals to see what might work.  The first picture is a close-up of a turnbuckle on the Sopwith Camel at the United States Airforce Museum (where I shot about 200+ reference pics).  The next three photos show what the hand-fabricated turnbuckles will look like when I'm done.  The prototype in the photos is a mess because I used super glue just to get a sense of scale and design.  I also only finished one end because this is a design experiment.  The ones that i'll fabricate and use on the model will be much cleaner (solder instead of glue) and will have links at both ends. The new nut in the one I built tonight is a 00-120 but I think I'm going to use 00-90's instead.  Each turnbuckle will consist of 6 pieces and will be drilled out and safety wired (per the prototype).  And i've got to make over 100 of these things!!!  I think I know what i'll be doing for the next week or two.

 

(The silver piece in the last photo is a "turnbuckle" that was cast in pot metal and included in the Model Airways kit.)

 

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Edited by Garage21

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2 minutes ago, Wolf Buddee said:

Nice turnbuckles! Not the kit ones.........<_<

 

In 1/16th scale those are really disappointing. 

 

Cheers,

Wolf

 

Thank you Wolf.  Yes - the big cast metal pieces (engine cylinders, fuel tank, etc.) in the kit are OK.  But the very small pieces are messy and lacking in detail.

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