1/32 Hobbycraft Sopwith Camel
Gallery Article by Guy Wilson - November 15, 2008
Plane Type: Biplane; Plane Name: Sopwith Camel; Scale: 1/32; Kit Manufacturer: Hobbycraft
I owe the inspiration for this build to many of the contributors on the ARC forums. In particular, the bi-plane builds of Skyking (aka Mike Robinson) and Brad Cancian to name but two. The creations that these master modellers turn out is enough to inspire anyone and although I'd shied away from bi-planes before, their beautiful models set the wheels in motion.
I wanted to try my hand ay an aeroplane that I'd always liked, so the choice was either an SE5a or a Camel. At the time the build started the Roden SE5a was still only at the drawing stage so a Sopwith Camel it was. With a huge amount of help from the guys in the Classic Aviation forum here on ARC I opted for the Hobbycraft "Le Rhone" version of the Camel.
I'd hoped to be able to build the model straight out of the box but I'd never built a Hobbycraft kit before. It soon became apparent that a little extra work was required.
I set about adding as much detail to the interior as I could. With the help of Mike Robinson I had a few references and used the beautiful large scale (1/16th) build by Ken Foran as a template. Actually, references for this older aeroplane proved the most challenging part of the build for me. I added CopperState etch bezels to the instrument board and scratch built the framework and interior control lines. I even wove a wicker seat to replace the kit item. Once painted and installed the result was quite pleasing. Lucky really as it's difficult to hide anything in these open cockpits.
One of the most interesting aspects of these older aeroplanes is the collection of different materials and textures used in their construction. In order to replicate the bare metal panels around the nose of the Camel I shaped real metal foil for everything except the cowling. This gives a nicely authentic look. I chose to remove the molded on stitching along the canvas of the fuselage in favour of real stitching created with wire passed through lots of pre-drilled holes. Once covered and painted the uneven surface appears more realistic.
The kit supplied engine was put aside and a resin Le Rhone engine was purchased from NeOmega. This resin addition is a true gem and thoroughly recommended. The prop was painted with a wood effect achieved by painting a dark shade of thinned brown Valejo acrylic over the lighter base coat.
The one area of the build I has been dreading and which filled me with the most fear was the rigging. Luckily, the method I adopted proved painless and gave satisfactory results. Using tiny eyelets (00 gauge railway hand-rail knobs) cut and shaped accordingly then glued into holes I'd drilled in the wings, I passed fishing line through and tied the ends off. For a first attempt I was happy with the way it went and would use this technique again.
I'm pleased with the end result, so much so that I decided to re-create my model in oil paints! While away on my holidays I put brush to canvass and for a first time oil painting it came out nearly as well as the model.
Happy modelling all
ARC Air Forum Name: Guy_Wilson
9 Gallery Articles
Photos and text © by Guy Wilson.