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Wingnut Wings Sopwith F.1 Camel 'Le Rhône'


JeroenPeters
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1:32 Sopwith F.1 Camel “Le Rhône”

Wingnut Wings

Kit No. 32071

Available from Wingnut Wings for $79,-

 

Camel_Rhone_1.jpg 

 

Introduction

Today we look at our fourth Sopwith Camel, being the Le Rhône engine version. Now you may think: big deal. It’s the Camel sprues with a Le Rhône engine thrown in for variation. Yes and no. But in order to really assess this is to take a look at our other reviews too:

 

F.1 Camel ‘BR.1’

 

F1 Camel ‘Clerget’

 

2F.1 ‘Ship’s Camel’

 

Stay tuned for the USAS Camel review on LSM soon.

 

As I have done with the Ship’s Camel review, I will try to help you choose from 5 equally great Sopwith Camel kits.

 

Why should I choose the Sopwith F.1 Camel “Le Rhône”?

To the untrained eye the WW1 era rotary engines are pretty hard to discern. But when you look closely you start to spot a lot of obvious differences. Even between this Le Rhône 9J 110HP and it’s predecessor the Le Rhône 9C 80HP. The 9J has round copper intake manifold tubing on the back of the engine, whereas the 9C has square shaped manifolds which are seen from the front.

This French origin little engine (100cm in diameter) was pretty interesting. It was built under license in Britain and Germany. The latter being named the Overursel UR.II.

 

The 110HP addition to the name ofcourse indicates the amount of power it could whip up, but this engine was known to produce higher output depending on make, circumstances and ‘tuning’. Is this why you should choose this kit? Nah… I mean: the Clerget and Bentley engines had nominated output of 140HP and 150HP.

 

The Le Rhône engine. Not the round shaped copper manifolds running to the back:

 

Le_Rhone_Model_9J_1.jpg

 

One of the pro’s the Le Rhône engines had was the hydraulic Constantinesco interrupter gear for the guns, while the Clerget Camels had the less efficient Sopwith-Kauper No. 3 mechanical synchronizing gear. The hydraulic system was way more reliable and used impulses transmitted by a column of liquid to enable the gun trigger. Quite intricate for the day! This is all cool, but not visible on your model, so still no real good reason to choose this kit :)

 

So let’s take a look at the schemes included in this kit (I usually do this at the end of my review). The Le Rhône Camels were used pretty late in the war, which means you can beat them up a little and you’ll find some colourful schemes.

 

A_Sopwith%20F.1%20Camel%20B5417.jpg

Scheme A gives you Camel B5417 ‘11’, flown by GAC Manley. “B” Flight 54 Squadron RFC, February 1918. This plane was forced to land behind enemy lines during an offensive patrol flight and photo’s were taken while it was on the ground. No cowling, stressed skin, broken tail skid. This could be a cool dio…

 

Here it is on the ground. This is a different photo than shown in the booklet. Here the ailerons are still up and the fuselage looks less damaged: 

 

Sw-C-B5417.jpg

 

 

B_Sopwith%20F.1%20Camel%20B5423.jpg

Scheme B shows Camel B5423 “6”, flown by FM Ohrt. “A” Flight 54 Squadron RFC, January 1918. Another Camel that was forced to land behind enemy lines while on offensive patrol after being hit by ground fire. The photo’s in the booklet show a pretty battered Camel. Chipped paint on the wheel covers. Even one cover missing (so you can replace it with a spoked wheel from Steven Robson). Both scheme A and B give you a chance to build a captured Camel that went through a rough landing.

 

C_Sopwith%20F.1%20Camel%20C1555.jpg

Scheme C is F.1 Camel C1555, dubbed “Suds”, flown by Francis L Luxmoore & Sydney P Gamon. 78(Home Defense) Squadron RFC, January-February 1918.

Now here is a colourful scheme! It was equipped for night flying missions in the form of Holt lights and flares. The fuselage and wheel covers are thought to be light blue, but this however is not 100% certain. Still it would make for a nice change of all the green fabric!

 

D_Sopwith%20F.1%20Camel%20F2137.jpg

Scheme D shows F.1 Camel F2137 “U”, flown by Donald R MacLaren. “C” Flight 46 Squadron RAF, September-October 1918.

We’ve got a real Ace on our hands here! The Canadian Donald Roderick MacLaren had 54 victories on his name. His last 9 victories were achieved in this particular plane. Red wheel covers, red pointy spinner and red/white stripes along the fuselage. When celebrating his last victory he broke his leg, after which he was sent back to the UK from the battlefields in France. After the war he assisted in setting up the Royal Canadian Air Force. He died at the age of 95 in 1988. You can find his medals today in the Canadian War Museum. So in short: if you’re from Canada… you HAVE to build this scheme!

 

Take a look at MacLaren in wartime:

maclaren.jpg

 

And here later on in his life, after making a name in the Canadian Air Force and civilian aviation:

maclarenhof.jpg

 

 

E_Sopwith%20F.1%20Camel%20F2141.jpg

Scheme E shows F.1 Camel F2141 “L”, flown by H Burdick. “B” Flight 17th Aero Squadron USAS, August – October 1918.

This is a tricky one. This United States unit flew under the command of the RAF. Therefor you see RAF markings (like the white dumbbell on the fuselage). To make things more confusing this white dumbbell was also used by 45 Sqn in Italy at about the same time…

Howard Burdick was born in Brooklyn, New York and had 8 victories to his name. Pretty cool detail: Howard’s son became a P-51 Ace in ww2. Howard died in 1975. Why you should build his plane? He was awarded the DSC (Distinguished Service Cross). Here’s why:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Howard Burdick, Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action northwest of Cambrai, France, September 28, 1918. Attacked by two Fokker biplanes, Lieutenant Burdick outmaneuvered both machines, shot one into flames and routed the other one. Later, seeing three Fokkers attacking an American aviator, he at once dove into the combat to his assistance, shooting down one and driving off the other two. His quick and unhesitating attack, single-handed, on the three Fokkers save the life of his fellow pilot.

 

And here's the man himself:

Howard_Burdick.jpg

 

 Survivors

As far as I could trace there is only one ‘air worthy’ Sopwith F.1 Camel with a Le Rhone engine left today. It changed hands a couple of times and is now for sale. It’s over 90 years old, has it’s original data plate and is overall original. If you want it, you can own it. For a mere 2.8 million dollars on the Vintage Aviation website: Link.

All in all there are about 8 original Camels left in Museums worldwide, but many are restored and have many parts reproduction parts, new fabric and non original engines.

 

Here's the B6291 as it was in 1993. Beautiful.

survivor.jpg

 

The kit

The kit itself is pretty comprehensible when you open the box. Five plastic sprues, some photo etch and decals. The A, B, C and D sprues are the same for the Clerget, Bentley and USAS kits. You can tell this by the four cowlings included on the A sprues and the separate engine sprue E. Sprue D shows a bit of warping in the sprue itself. The parts however are not affected. I have seen this on both my kits and read about it on some forums, but don’t sweat it: the parts are fine.

 

The kit consists of:

• 165 plastic parts

• 17 plastic parts that make up the Le Rhone 9J 110HP engine

• Optional cut down cockpit section (for scheme E), Holt Lights & Flares (for scheme C), Cooper bombs and optional small and large cut out top wing sections.

• 10 photo etched parts

• Cartograf decals

 

Sprue A (containing cowlings, cockpit, wheels, struts...)

 

Camel_rhone_A_1.jpg

 

Vickers guns:

Camel_rhone_A_2.jpg

 

The middle cowling in this pic. That's the one you need...

Camel_rhone_A_3.jpg 

 

Camel_rhone_A_8.jpg

 

Sprue B. Wings parts, fuselage, instrument panel...

Camel_rhone_B_1.jpg

 

Cockpit combing:

Camel_rhone_B_2.jpg

 

Delicate fuselage surface detail:

Camel_rhone_B_3.jpg

 

Inside fuselage. Ejector marks well out of way:

Camel_rhone_B_4.jpg

 

Instrument panel with nice depth and detail:

Camel_rhone_B_5.jpg

 

Lower wing detail. Not the control pulley and stitching detail:

Camel_rhone_B_6.jpg

 

Upper wing with small cut out. A version with large cut out opening is included as well.

Camel_rhone_B_7.jpg

 

C Sprue (transparencies):

Camel_rhone_D_2.jpg

 

 

D Sprue (with wings, tail, rudder, prop, etc..) 

Camel_rhone_C_1.jpg

 

This is the only prop you'll need for this kit:

Camel_rhone_C_2.jpg

 

Control stick and rudder controls:

Camel_rhone_C_3.jpg

 

Looks at the delicate fabric over the ribs. Not overdone. just right:

Camel_rhone_C_4.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_C_5.jpg

 

Sprue E. The Le Rhone 9J engine! Only 17 parts but a gem once assembled:

Camel_rhone_E_1.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_E_2.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_E_3.jpg

 

Manifolds and push rods:

Camel_rhone_E_4.jpg

 

Photo etch parts:

Camel_rhone_PE1.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_PE2.jpg

 

Cartograf decals. Thin. 100% Registered. Great colours and detail. As always.

Camel_rhone_decals.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_decals2.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_decals3.jpg

 

Camel_rhone_decals4.jpg

 

Verdict

Yes. This is the perfect kit of a great plane. Nothing more you can wish for. 5 late war schemes of the Le Rhone powered version. Really well researched as we have come to expect from Wingnut Wings. Superbly detailed and complete. The little Le Rhone engine is crisp and delicate. Really nothing more you could wish for…

 

VERY highly recommended.

 

My sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for this review sample.

 

Jeroen Peters

 

wnwlogo2.jpg

 

 

 

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Very nice review Jeroen, something learned about the Camel, again. I don't know how they do it but Wingnuts have delivered again, and again and.....

WWI enthusiasts are spoiled rotten these days.:)

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