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Sopwith 'Swallow 1:32 scale


sandbagger
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Hi all,
I thought this time around I'd have a crack at building a 1:32 scale model of the Sopwith 'Swallow' monoplane prototype of 1918.

In June 1918, the Sopwith Aviation Company designed an unarmed parasol monoplane, based on the Sopwith ‘Camel’. The aircraft was known the Sopwith Monoplane No.1, but was also known as the Sopwith ‘Scooter’ (to scoot was to move around fast). The aircraft was built for the personal use of the ‘Sopwith’ test pilot Harry Hawker and was based on the their current Sopwith ‘Camel’, but with a single wing mounted just above the fuselage, but with limited space between the fuselage and the underside of the wing. The wing was not supported by the then conventional struts and instead was braced by RAF streamlined bracing wires, all of which were attached to the lower fuselage and a pyramid shaped strut assembly above the wing. The ‘Scooter’ was powered by a single 130 hp (97 kW) ‘Clerget’ 9B rotary engine. The ‘Scooter’ was used as a runabout and aerobatic aircraft by Harry Hawker and was able to demonstrate excellent maneuverability. Eventually it was used as the basis for a fighter design, originally known as the Monoplane No.2, and later named the Sopwith ‘Swallow’.
Like the ‘Scooter’, the ‘Swallow’ used the fuselage of a ‘Camel’, but it had a larger, slightly swept wing of greater wingspan and area. Like the ‘Scooter’ the wing was mounted above the fuselage, but higher, to allow the pilot to access the two synchronized Vickers machine guns, which were fitted further apart than normal, again to give the pilot better forward visibility. For the same reason the ‘hump’ in the forward cockpit decking (hence the name ‘Camel’) was not used. The engine was also changed to that of a 110 hp (82 kW) ‘Le Rhône’ engine. Also the traditional oval shaped access panels on each side of the forward fuselage were omitted. Twelve strengthening ribs were fitted across the centre section on the upper surface of the wing. 
The ‘Swallow’ made its maiden flight in October 1918, and was delivered to RAF Martlesham Heath on 28 October 1918 for official testing. One considered role for the ‘Swallow’ was as a shipboard fighter. Engine problems delayed testing of the ‘Swallow’, but even when the engine problems were resolved, the ‘Swallow’ proved to have a lower overall performance than the then ‘Le Rhône’ engine powered ‘Sopwith’ ‘Camel’. Testing of the ‘Swallow’ continued after the cessation of hostilities but by May 1919 all interest in the ‘Swallow’ was dropped. The fate of the ‘Swallow’ is not known, but presumably it was scrapped.
However the original ‘Scooter’ remained in use, and was given the civil registration K-135 and later to G-EACZ. In 1921, Harry Hawker purchased and flew the ‘Scooter’. Harry Hawker died on the 12th July 1921 in a flying accident at Hendon, after which the ‘Scooter’ was put into storage. It was refurbished in 1925 and was used for aerobatic displays and for racing until 1927 when it was scrapped.

Some time back I purchased the only 1:32 scale conversion set available, which is a resin set intended for the Hobby Craft/Academy Sopwith Camel F.1 kit.
However, that model kit left a lot to be desired, as does the resin set.
Therefore I'm going to try converting the 'Wingnut Wings' 'Clerget' Camel kit.
I know it's an expensive kit to convert but as I'd already had to rob the kit for another project, I thought I might as well use it.

It may be just the resin conversion set I received, but it has many problems. The wing halves are warped, the front cockpit decking (according to the instructions) is 7 mm too short in length, the upper support wing struts are not tb used, only as guides for making your own, and there's more flash and surface 'blow holes' the I care to mention.

Anyway it'll be another challenge I guess.

Here's a few shots to start off with,

Mike

swallow1.jpg 

swallow2.jpg 

swallow3.jpg 

swallow4.jpg 

swallow6.jpg 

resin1.jpg 

resin2.jpg

resinwing2.jpg  

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Good luck with this one Mike, seeing the resin parts it will be not the easiest kit, but seeing your other builds, I'm fully convinced it's in the best hands with you. It's good to see some objects a little bit apart from the mainstream like you did with the Floh.

Cheers Rob 

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Looks like a cool project. Can you use the Wingnut wing, or is the shape wrong?

another thought, if you can get the warp out, cut a small groove in the wing, then epoxy a brass rod in it to keep it from warping again. I don’t think the bubbles will be hard to deal with, brush paint some mr surfacer 1000 on it, then spray some 500 in a few layers, then sand it back. I believe Archer has some rib tape decals you can use to get detail in it.

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Hi all,
Well I've made a start on the resin wing assembly.
Needless to say it required filling and sanding.
I also strengthened the wing to wing joint, which is a basic 'butt' joint, with no strength.
I drilled two 1.0 mm diameter holes into the wing root of both wing halves and inserted 1 mm brass rod, held with CA.
The wings halves were then joined using two part epoxy adhesive.
I cut the aileron from the wing and profiled the leading edges.
The wing was drilled in three position for each aileron and 0.8 mm brass rods inserted with CA adhesive.
Corresponding holes were then drilled into the aileron leading edges.
Aileron control horns were made from spare photo etch and secured in slot cut into the aileron leading edges.
Each horn has a 0.3 mm diameter hole at each end for rigging.
Upper surface strengthening ribs, removed during sanding, were replaced with strips of 0.2 mm thick plastic card.
I filled the pre-moulded rigging points as they do not align vertically through the wing. These will be drilled later.

I still need to re-profile the forward edge of the wing cut-out above the cockpit, which needs to be straighter.

Mike

resin8.jpg 

resin9.jpg 

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Hi Gaz,

Actually this aircraft was constructed in mid 1918 and testing went on until May 1919.

The twin pitot tubes were similar to the Camel, except set horizontal in the wing leading edge, as opposed to vertically on a wing support strut,

pitottubes2.jpg 

Mike

 

 

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Hi all,
I've been looking into how the aileron control cables were connected between the cockpit control and wing.
It appears that there were two slots through the wing centre section, above the cockpit.
At first I thought these slots were for the aileron control cables, similar to the French Nieuport fighter controls (although they were rod, not cable).
However, it seems these slots were not for aileron cables and that in fact cables were routed vertically from the cockpit and into the underside of the wing, just outboard from the wing slots.
The resin conversion set has detail of an inspection window in the upper surface of the wing, but does state that there is no photographic evidence for this.
I think it's assumed to be there as for the other Sopwith types (Camel, Snipe etc),

Mike

ail1.jpg

ail2.jpg 

ail3.jpg 

ail4.jpg

ail5.jpg   

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Hi all,

The rear cockpit decking panel was tricky to do, but then I didn't expect it would be easy.
Once all of the flash and the mounting block was cut away, I sanded the bottom edges and rear face.
The 'Wingnut Wings' kit fuselage was temporarily joined with elastic bands and the shoulder at the rear sanded away as it stopped the resin decking panel from dropping down.
I soon found out that, no surprise, the resin decking panel was not wide enough to sit correctly on the fuselage.

reardeck.jpg 

So I cut the panel down the centre and rejoined them, but with a 1.0 mm thick plastic card insert.
Carefully sanded to the decking profile.

reardeck2.jpg

reardeck3.jpg  

The front decking panel  - that's another story!!

Mike    

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Hi all,
It seems the wing had an inspection window for the aileron control cable and pulley, similar to other Sopwith types, such as the Pup, Camel and Snipe.

inspection1.jpg

ail52.jpg

I've cut out the recess at two levels - one for the window and a lower level for the aileron pulley.

inspection2.jpg

The aileron pulley was made from the 'HGW Models' photo-etch set for the Sopwith Triplane.
The inspection window is a spare from a previous 'Wingnut Wings' Sopwith Pup build.

inspection3.jpg

inspection4.jpg

Mike

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Hi all,
Whilst 'working' on the resin front decking panel I spotted an error on both decking panels.
The rear decking panel has a pre-moulded fuel tank filler cap, which although in the correct position, is proud of the decking surface.
The actual aircraft had, like the Camel', an opening to gain access to the filler cap lower down inside the fuselage.
The front decking panel had a filler cap forward and between the gun troughs.
However on the resin panel this was just a stump of resin - not sure if it was a mis-mould?
Anyway I cut the filler cap from the rear decking panel and drilled out the location (the filler cap on the 'Wingnut Wings' tank will need to be moved to the other side to match).
I then drilled out the front decking panel location, filled the hole with modelling putty (from underneath) then inserted the filler cap from the rear panel.  
So two faults corrected with one filler cap!!

Mike

reardeck4.jpg

frontdeck1.jpg

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Hi all,
The resin set is intended for the Hobby Craft/Academy Camel kit, a'though I'm using a Wingnuts kit.
The sheets in the resin set state that due to differences in reference drawings, the front decking is too short (for the intended donor kit).
Now you can see just how short the length of the resin forward decking panel is, even on the Wingnut fuselage.
It's supposed to butt up against the rear decking panel.

Onward, upward,

Mike

primeddecking.jpg

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Hi all,
I looked further at the decking panels.
Missing is the rear of the front decking panel, which should join the rear decking panel.
However, this area is where the wing rear support strut should be located, which would account for half of that area.
I think this missing area can be filled with modelling putty, once the wing struts and decking panels are finally fitted, later in this build.

Mike

primeddecking.jpg

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Hi all,
Well I've been working away on modifying the various cockpit parts from the Wingnut 'Camel' kit to that of the 'Swallow' aircraft.
The whole cockpit was effectively moved rearwards to improve over wing visibility for the pilot.
For the better forward visibility the two machine guns were fitted farther apart than normal.
This basically entailed modifying the fuel tank filler cap to the left side, modifying the seat support frame and moving the throttle quadrant assembly rearwards.
The control column floor was slightly modified and an extra under shield (from the spares box) was added to bring the rudder bar rearwards.
The external fuselage sides are different on the 'Swallow' with the carburretor intakes located in a different position, no ammunition chutes (cut outs in the decking panel instead) and smooth side panels with no 'nail' lines.
The centre section of the kit lower wing was cut away to be used as infill under the fuselage (will need re-profiling after fuselage closure).
The next step is to modify the instrument panel and ammunition containers assembly so it's located farther back and to allow the two machine guns to locate correctly into it as well as the forward decking panel.

Mike  


trialfit1.jpg

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Hi all,
Well things are getting a bit cramped inside the cockpit now.
After a fair bit of cutting, sanding and modifying, all of the cockpit main assemblies are done.
The shot below shows it all loosely in place, including the two 'Gaspatch' machine guns (the decking still needs modifying to allow the guns to sit vertically).

I still have minor detail to add then obviously paint it all etc, as well as modify the outsides of the fuselage, which again are different from the 'Camel',

Mike  


checkcockpit.jpg

checkcockpit2.jpg

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