Released December 2016 – High quality Cartograf decals for 6 aircraft – Optional fuselage halves with alternative lacing details, windscreens, cut down cockpit decking, early and late undercarriage, propellers, 20lb Cooper bombs & carrier – 166 high quality injection moulded plastic parts – 18 part highly detailed 130-140hp Clerget 9B/9Bf engine – 10 photo-etched metal detail parts – 24 page fully illustrated instruction manual. You can find more information about this model on the Wingnut Wings website.
32074 includes common Sopwith Camel sprues A, C & D, Sopwith F.1 Camel sprue B and 130-140hp Clerget 9B/9Bf engine sprue E and markings for Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand and South African pilots and/or squadrons.
- A -Sopwith F.1 Camel B3834 “Wonga Bonga”, RH Daly (7 victories) & AF Brandon (1 victory), Manston War Flight RNAS, July-August 1917.
- B - Sopwith F.1 Camel B3889 “B 1”, CF Collett (11 victories), B Flight 70 Sqn RFC, August 1917.
- C - Sopwith F.1 Camel B3893, AR Brown (10 victories), 9(N) Sqn RNAS, September-October 1917.
- D - Sopwith F.1 Camel B6289, HL Nelson (1 victory), WM Alexander (23 victories), A Flight 10(N) Sqn RNAS, January 1918.
- E - Sopwith F.1 Camel B6313, WG Barker (50 victories), 139 Sqn RAF, late July 1918.
- F - Sopwith F.1 Camel B7406, HG Watson (14 victories), C Flight 4 Sqn AFC, March 1918.
For someone like me who grew up making WWI models, Wingnut Wings is really a dream company. We’re just a bunch of like-minded people who have been lucky enough to take their hobby to another level.
The iconic Sopwith Camel, so named for the "hump" over its guns, is possibly the most famous of all First World War aircraft, if not by sight, then by name. Sopwith developed the Camel in late 1916, in an effort to overcome the single gun handicap suffered by their successful 80hp Pup and improve performance with a more powerful engine. The initial Sopwith F.1 Camel prototype was unveiled in late December 1916 and featured a single piece top wing, 2 Vickers Mk.1* machine guns and a 110hp Clerget 9Z engine. Unlike their previous Pup and Triplane, the Camel featured a top wing with no dihedral coupled with a high 5 degree dihedral bottom wing which, combined with its concentrated centre of gravity, helped contribute to its high manoeuvrability and well-deserved reputation as a difficult (and frequently dangerous) aircraft to fly. Additional prototypes were produced with various improvements including a 3-piece top wing with centre section cut-out and 130hp Clerget 9B engine. Testing by selected operational pilots in early 1917 brought mostly positive reports along with a few recommendations for additional improvements, some of which made their way on to early production aircraft.
The Sopwith F.1 Camel went into production in January 1917 and aircraft began equipping Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Squadrons in May and June 1917. Initial problems with performance above 10000ft, mostly attributed to the poor quality of British manufactured 130hp Clerget 9B engines, were troubling and lead to various other engines eventually being used. The RNAS preferred the 150hp AR.1 (Admiralty Rotary 1), later renamed the BR.1 (Bentley Rotary 1), while the RFC preferred the 110hp LeRhone 9J or the improved 140hp Clerget 9Bf when they became available. Many 130hp Clerget 9B engines were upgraded in the field to 140hp 9Bf specifications after a conversion kit was made available in April 1918. The Sopwith Kauper interrupter gear used by Clerget and Bentley powered aircraft proved troublesome but the Constantinesco CC synchronizing gear used by LeRhone powered Camels were relatively trouble free. Other changes included aileron control horn tie wires, re-routing the tailplane control cable exits on the side of the fuselage and a field modified enlarged top wing centre section cut-out which was incorporated on many late production aircraft. After its initial teething problems the Sopwith Camel proved to be a highly capable fighter and, along with the SE.5a and French SPADs, helped wrest air superiority back from the German Albatros fighters towards the end of 1917.
Around 5500 Camels were built by The Sopwith Aviation Company, Ruston Proctor & Co, Boulton & Paul, Clayton & Shuttleworth, Nieuport & General Aircraft, Hooper & Co, Portholme Aerodrome, Marsh Jones & Crib and British Caudron. A shipboard version with shorter wingspan and removable rear fuselage was produced for the RNAS as the Sopwith 2F.1 Camel from September 1917. A night fighter conversion with 2 Lewis guns mounted on the top wing and the pilot seated further rearwards was known as the Sopwith F.1/3 "Comic". The USAS arranged to equip 5 squadrons with Camels, many of which were powered by the 160hp Gnome 9N Monosoupape engine. Other nations to use the Camel were Belgium, Estonia, Latvia and Canada. Although rendered obsolete by the arrival of the 230hp Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe in late 1918 the Camel continued to serve though to the Armistice and was not officially declared obsolete by the RAF until late 1919.
Because Sopwith Camels were manufactured by 9 different companies and Sopwith's own factory drawings designate both Cellon Scheme A (PC10) and PC12 it is practically impossible to determine which colour a particular aircraft was finished in. PC10 was made from mixes of yellow ochre, iron oxide and lamp black pigments and could vary between olive drab and chocolate brown depending on the mix and time spent exposed to the elements. PC12 is slightly less controversial although previous reports of it being red brown are in error and it was actually a dark chocolate brown. Long serving aircraft were invariably re-doped and repaired with components salvaged from other aircraft resulting in them wearing various combinations of doped finish.
Photographic evidence indicates that after trench strafing became commonplace for Camel equipped units in 1918 the upper surfaces of many aircraft were overpainted with a matt camouflage colour that appeared paler than the factory applied dope. Often the white, and sometimes red, of the top wing cockades were overpainted as well. The undersides of the wings, tailplane and often the fuselage were left CDL (Clear Doped Linen). Exterior wooden fuselage panels and cabane & interplane struts were usually given a dark brown varnish, although on some aircraft these were clearly painted. Metal cowlings could be left unpainted aluminium, with a "turned" finish on Sopwith built aircraft, although most were painted. Metal brackets and fittings were black unless overpainted. The early aerofoil metal tube undercarriage struts were usually painted black while the later production fabric wrapped undercarriage struts were almost certainly finished in the same colour as the fuselage. All fabric surfaces exhibited a gloss appearance when new which would lose its shine relatively quickly in service. Unlike many British aircraft, the Camel frequently featured colourful personal and unit markings, although many of the more extreme examples were restricted to aircraft at training units and immediate post war service.
References: Windsock Datafile 26 Sopwith Camel, J.M Bruce, 1991 – Schedule for Sopwith Camel Biplane. 130 Horse-Power Clerget Engine Type F.1., RAF 1918 – The Camel File, Ray Sturtivant & Gordon Page, Air Britain 1993 – Sopwith Camel King of Combat, Chaz Boyer, Glasney Press 1978 – Sopwith Camel Aces of World War 1, Norman Franks, Osprey 2003 - 1914-18 Aviation Heritage Trust – The Vintage Aviator LTD – Colin Owers - Private Collections.