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1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic' conversion


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Hi all,
As The Salmson 2-A2 model will be finished in the next week, my mind turns to what model is next on the bench.
I have yet to build the many models in my stash, from such as Wingnut Wings, Copper State Models and the new releases from Lukgraph.
But I've fancied the idea of building the Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter conversion of the Camel.
However, there is no 1:32nd scale model of this aircraft.
So I've decided to use one of the Wingnut Wings Camel kits I have and attempt converting it to a 'Comic'.

The first attempt at converting an existing aircraft to a night fighter was carried out on the Sopwith 1 1/2 'Strutters.'
However when the aircraft were first used by No.78 Squadron, the poor performance and lack of fire power showed.
The pilot's referred to the aircraft as a night fighter as being comical.
Even though the Camel conversion proved more successful, the nickname stuck.
The design of the ‘Comic’ version of the Sopwith Camel involved replacing the standard twin Vickers machine guns on the fuselage to Lewis machine guns, located on the upper wing.
This was due to muzzle flash from the fuselage guns temporarily blinding the pilot when night flying.
Lewis machine guns mounted over the upper wing negated this.
Therefore, the forward fuselage Vickers machine guns and their famous ’hump’ were removed.
The forward decking 'hump' was eliminated and a lowered and rounded decking was extended from the cowling to the new cockpit position.
The new armament consisted of a pair of Lewis machine guns, which were fitted above the centre section of the upper wing and on ‘Foster’ type mounting.
This enabled the machine guns to be lowered for re-loading and removed the chances of muzzle flash affecting the pilot's sight.
Some ‘Comics’ had one of the Lewis guns, usually the starboard one, fixed to fire upward at 45 degrees.
Due to the location of the Lewis machine guns, the cockpit had to be moved rearwards by one bay, to allow the pilot to reach the weapons.
This modification required that the main pressure and gravity fuel tanks, which were behind the original cockpit, being removed and replaced by a smaller capacity fuel tank of 18 gallons.
This was the type fitted to the BE2e aircraft was fitted forward from the cockpit.
This tank held less fuel than the original standard fuel tank of 37 gallons and was located forward from the re-positioned cockpit.
The internal forward area of the fuselage, to the rear of the fuselage firewall, had the engine oil tank, then the main fuel tank and a smaller auxiliary tank, all located behind the instrument panel.
The conversion improved the aircraft's performance and the VI Brigade regarded it as the best of its night fighters.

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No.44 Squadron (HD) was formed on the 24th of July, 1917 at Hainault Farm as Home Defence squadron for the London area.
This particular aircraft, Srial No.B2402, was flown by Capt. George Henry Hackwill, a former FE2b pilot with No.22 Sqn with two victories to his credit.
After time as a flight instructor he was assigned to No.44 (HD) Squadron as a flight commander.
On the night of 28th-29th of January 1918, Capt. Hackwill, flying ‘Comic’ B2402 and with Lt. Charles Chaplin Banks flying B3827, shot down Gotha GV, Serial No.938/16 at Wickford in Essex.
Hackwill, who was from Langtree in Devon, later flew more conventional Sopwith Camels in France as a flight leader in No.54 Squadron.
There he raised his victory count nine and received the Military Cross.

Mike 

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Thank you Mike for explaining the differences between the "standard" Camel and the "Comic" version, I knew there were differences but did not know exactly what they were.  Looking forward to seeing your take on this one, and what you do make an accurate Comic.  

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12 minutes ago, belugawhaleman said:

Sounds like a interesting variant. I never heard of the comic, but it sounds

Like you've done your research. I will be following.

 

The first attempt at designing a night fighter was the conversion of the Sopwith 1 1/2 'Strutter'.

However, the handling and poor characteristics of that design, caused the pilot's of No.78 Squadron to refer to it as comical.

Hence it became the nickname for the more successful Sopwith Camel based design,

 

Mike

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Hi all,
The cockpit so far.
The details of what was done is a bit lengthy to post here.
However, it will all be in my build log once the model is finished.

Basically:
The cockpit decking panel was cut a the rear used to create the new panel.
Instrument panel cut and attached to a plastic card curved former.
A box of two forward former's was made and attached to the rear of the engine bulkhead.
The fuel tank and rudder bar attached to the lower wing.
Foot boards modified with the control column.
Seat frame cut and a 'Barracuda' resin seat attached.
False firewall added behind the pilots seat.
Left cockpit side frame - throttle assembly moved one bay rearwards - vertical and horizontal structure added with plastic rod and strip.
Right cockpit side frame - pressure pump moved one bay rearwards - vertical and horizontal structure added with plastic rod and strip.
Revised fuselage forward decking panel (x2) cut and shaped from 0.2 mm thick plastic card (will be be fitted over the added fuselage former's after closing the fuselage.

There's still other detail to add to the cockpit after painting (wires, cables and pipes etc)

Mike

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Sopwith 'Camel and Comic' overlay (side profiles).

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fit5.jpg

mod15.jpg

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1 hour ago, harv said:

You know you don't need a host site for pix here. You can load them directly....harv

Thanks but it's my website in my signature that I'm having problems with.

I need it back up for visitors and for them to download my PDF build logs,

 

Mike

 

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Hi all,
Just a quick update.
The fuselage has been closed with the modifications included.
All painted and decals applied.
Some pipes (lead wire) and control rods and rudder/elevator wires (blackened micro-tubes) added.
Now I need to blend the joints before fitting the scratch made forward decking panels,

Mike

joined3.jpg

joined4.jpg

joined5.jpg

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Hi all,
A few updates to the 'Comic'.
The front decking panels, made from 0.2 mm thick plastic card are fitted.
Added are the two tank filler caps, made from 0.5 mm thick plastic card and 0.4 mm diameter tube.
The pilots head rest is made with 'Milliput' with 0.8 mm thick plastic card padding piece.
Lastly the standard Rotary engine is complete.

Now it's onto fitting the navigation light to the starboard side of the head rest, windscreen, ring and bead gun sights,

Mike  

engine.jpg

headrest.jpg

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Hi all,
Just a few updates.
The spent rounds ejector chutes for the 'Camel' Vickers machine guns were removed and covered with blanking plates, as for the 'Comic'.
The ring and bead gun sights for the twin Lewis machine guns were made from photo-etch and Brass tube//Nickel-Silver rod.
The extra ventilation holes in the lower, left of the engine cowl has been created.
The navigation light for the starboard side of the pilots head rest had been made from spru and rod.
Finally 'GasPatch' late style resin turnbuckles and 'RB Productions' 2BA and 1/4 BSF aerodynamic (flat) wires have been tested for use on the model.

So now it's onto painting,

Mike

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sights.jpg

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navlight.jpg

navlight1.jpg

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Hi all,
The basic painted and wood finish for the the top surfaces is done.
I played around with the 'RB Productions' photo-etch flat streamlined rigging, but I chosen not to use it.
Although possibly easier to fit than mono-filament, it does not, as I thought, provide any structural strength to a finished model.
As this model is based on the Sopwith 'Camel', it has pretty flimsy and to scale struts and landing gear and so needs the support that rigging can give.

Anyway, on to the CDL underside surfaces,

Mike  

topcoat.jpg

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Good decision on the wires, Mike. Not only do these flat PE wires not provide any structural strength, but they also tend to react more to temperature than monofilament, and thus may sag under certain conditions.

Taut monofilament is still better, if not scale accurate, IMHO. For the fine gauge you are using, only the trained nitpcking eye will see the difference anyway.

I found some flat monofilament after a lengthy search, but its size make it only suitable for the largest wires of the Swordfish, and even then, it's probably toot big.

Keep the great work coming:popcorn:

Hubert

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Hi all, 
The basic underside CDL has been applied with rib tapes.
The primed surfaces were airbrushed with 'Tamiya' Buff (XF57).
The rib tapes were then masked and the surfaces then airbrushed with 'Tamiya' Dark Yellow (XF60).
The masking strips were then removed and the surfaces given a light dusting coat of Dark Yellow, to blend them slightly.

Mike

CDL.jpg

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23 hours ago, HubertB said:

Good decision on the wires, Mike. Not only do these flat PE wires not provide any structural strength, but they also tend to react more to temperature than monofilament, and thus may sag under certain conditions.

Taut monofilament is still better, if not scale accurate, IMHO. For the fine gauge you are using, only the trained nitpcking eye will see the difference anyway.

I found some flat monofilament after a lengthy search, but its size make it only suitable for the largest wires of the Swordfish, and even then, it's probably toot big.

Keep the great work coming:popcorn:

Hubert

Hi Hubert,
Another problem is that as far as I'm aware they're are few retailers of flat rigging.
'RB Productions' (if they're still operating) 'AIMS' for 1:32nd scale and 'Steel Works' for 1/72nd scale.
So obtaining the stuff could prove problematic,

Mike 

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Hi all,
I've added the fuselage navigation light and painted the two filler caps and pilots head rest.
Also added the padding around the cockpit opening.
This was ANYZ 0.5 mm diameter black braided line, secured in position with CA adhesive then painted.
Also the engine and cowl have been fitted.

So now it's onto applying the 'Aviattic' linen weave effect decals,

Mike

gloss.jpg

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Hi all,
It's always interesting to find facts when researching for a model.
For instance, the roundels and fuselage stripes on this particular 'Comic'.
The photograph of the actual aircraft was presumably used to create the following colour profile.

B2402.jpg

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Prior to the introduction of the Type B night roundel in 1918, aircraft used on night operations had the white of the roundels over painted with the prevailing camouflage colour.
This was done to reduce the visibility during night flying.
The most common film used during the period was Orthochromatic film, which produced a very pale colour for blue and very dark colour for red.
It seems during the the 1950s and 1960s, it was thought that the the roundel of home defence aircraft was a white ring roundel with an enlarged red centre disc.
The photograph of this particular aircraft appears to show white roundel rings and fuselage stripes, which I assume was the basis for the previous colour profile.
However, given the colour variation from the film I think it was more likely that what appears to be white was in fact blue and the dark centre disc was actually painted red.
If that is correct, then it would seem sensible to paint the wing roundels similarly, rather than the standard red/white/blue roundels shown in colour profiles.
My guess is the following colour profile is more accurate, apart from the wing roundels.

scheme.jpg

Mike

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Hi all,
The aircraft markings were airbrushed using masks I created on my PC then cut on my 'Cricut' craft cutter.
I sponged 'Tamiya' Weathering Master Set E (Green) over the engine cowl and forward panels to represent the smeared green dope that was applied.
Weathered using 'Flory Models' Dark Dirt clay wash.
The serial number was made from 'XtraDecal' white letter/numerals.

Now it's onto creating the twin Lewis machine gun mountings,

Mike

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  • sandbagger changed the title to 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic' conversion

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