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Sopwith F.1 Camel “LeRhone”

1:32 Scale Model Kitset


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Wingnut Wings, a Peter Jackson-owned company, is renowned worldwide for its incredibly accurate, 1:32 scale model kitsets of World War One aircraft. Designed and researched by the passionate professionals at Wingnut Wings, their quality and attention to detail is unparalleled.

The iconic Sopwith Camel is probably the most famous of all First World War aircraft, if not by sight, then by name. New from Wingnut Wings, we are pleased to announce that the long-awaited 1/32 scale Sopwith Camel model is now available for pre-order, with six variants to choose from.

Released December 2016 – High quality Cartograf decals for 5 aircraft – Optional cut down cockpit decking, windscreens, Holt lights and flares, LeRhone style engine cowling, small & large cut out top wing centre sections, 20lb Cooper bombs & carrier – 165 high quality injection moulded plastic parts – 17 part highly detailed 110hp LeRhone 9J 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.

32071 includes common Sopwith Camel sprues A, C & D, Sopwith F.1 Camel sprue B, 110hp LeRhone 9J engine sprue E and markings for American, British and Canadian pilots and/or squadrons.

  • A - Sopwith F.1 Camel B5417 “11”, GAC Manley, “B” Flight 54 Sqn RFC, February 1918. 
  • B - Sopwith F.1 Camel B5423 “6”, FM Ohrt, “A” Flight 54 Sqn RFC, January 1918.  
  • C - Sopwith F.1 Camel C1555 “Suds”, FL Luxmoore (3 victories) & SP Gamon, 78(HD) Sqn RFC, January-February 1918.   
  • D - Sopwith F.1 Camel F2137 “U”, DR MacLaren (54 victories), “C” Flight 46 Sqn RAF, September-October 1918.    
  • E - Sopwith F.1 Camel F2141 “L”, H Burdick (8 victories), “B” Flight 17th Aero Sqn USAS, August-October 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.

Peter Jackson

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.

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