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1/48 Monogram Sopwith Camel F.1 WIP


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Awhile back, a friend of mine on another site proposed to do a buddy build with me of a pair of WWI Dogfight opponents. He wanted to build a Fokker Dr.I. So my entry into this buddy build is a Sopwith Camel. It only seems natural to oppose the Fokker Dr.I when he first proposed this buddy build of duelist biplanes awhile back.

 

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I have had the old Monogram issue of the classic Aurora kit in my stash and had been pondering building it for awhile. My friend’s idea of a buddy build was the kick in the pants needed to get this one from an abstract concept into something of an actual plan. The next step was to get other projects wrapped up so that I could give this build the attention that it deserves. 

 

I had the kit

 

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and a set of decals

 

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Off of the decal set I selected this particular subject aircraft.

 

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With a new year, and now all previous builds on my bench wrapped up, it was time to start.

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Last night I began construction. Actually though it was mostly just paint work.

 

First I took a razor saw along the seat to give it some texture to suggest that of the wicker seats actually used. Once painted and with a wash it should look more the part.

 

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Then I painted up other cockpit components, and the interior of the fuselage halves. Just getting the base colors on for now. I’m not gonna use the kit pilot, so behind the seat is a glaring empty space. I searched thru my spares/salvaged parts and came up with a fuel tank to fill the void. It somewhat resembles the real thing. I’m not going for 100% accuracy, just stuff to suggest what should be there. I’m sure that must sound like blasphemy to some modelers.

 

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I’ll get to work on detail painting and washes over the next few days, plus whatever mods I intend to scratch up for the cockpit. 

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Today’s update. Lots of painting and drilling and sanding and measuring & cutting... and not much gluing. So here we go.

First up, I was not happy with the filler points on the top deck behind the cockpit, so I drilled those out.

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Before and after

Then I repainted the cockpit floor based off some photos of preserved Camels. Different custom shade of wood that I mixed up compared to the sidewalls

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Then I modified the salvaged fuel tank into the piece affair that the real one had. Not to mention lots of sanding to get it to fit into the fuselage behind the pilot seat. I also painted the seat cushion and edging, again based off of photos of Museum Camels

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And lastly, base colors finished on the IP and control yoke, plus I scratch built up a rudder bar with control linkage rods, again based off of Museum Camels

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A bit more stuff to do like instrument decals, washes and perhaps an attempt at wood grain before I can put it all together.

Until the next update...

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Excellent start on that very old molding! I've been alternating building older Aurora biplanes and the newer Roden and Eduard kits....while the new ones have more detailing and are more to scale, their engineering SUCKS compared to the old kits! At least the struts will fit on that Sopwith you're building! Looking forward to more!

Gil :smiley16:

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Thanks Gil. I haven’t had the stones to try a new tool WWI kit yet. Although I do have several of those in my stash. I want more experience before I start working on the new tool kits.

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Today’s update: I took a shot at using oils for a wood grain appearance.
First step, I mixed up a brown shade and then applied it over the interior wood surface areas

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Next step I used a thinner moistened brush to remove much of the oil paint and leave a streaking that resembles wood grain

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The final look... any resemblance to actual wood grain is more luck than anything else. 

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This technique is actually going to take lots of practice to get a handle on it.

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One small update from yesterday’s work:
I forgot to get a better shot to show the sidewall wood grain effort

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and now that the oil wash on the engine has dried and I do not need to worry about it staining my photo booth, here’s a photo of the engine

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Today’s progress report: So today I completed my intended goals for yesterday. I added instrument decals to the IP, RAF WWII type, rather than the WWI type that I had planned to use but were invisible because they needed to be applied over a white background.

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Then I drybrushed and touched up the seat

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And lastly, I touched up the inside colors. 

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Next session I can install all the interior parts and close it all up.

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Thanks Gil. This kit has nowhere to go but up.

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In terms of it being  a simple, rock-bottom, 50s molding, you're correct. In fact, it even having a cockpit at all was a great step up from the kits that immediately preceded it, and was probably done only because it was in the larger 1/48 scale.

Referring back to the differences between this one and the "new tool" biplanes.....I believe you're going to be delighted with the detail parts provided and then very disappointed with the lack of engineering of the strut assemblies compared to the older Aurora and Lindberg biplanes.  Make note of those old struts that have angled locating pins, and you'll lament the newer kits with better "scale" to the struts, but no angle on the pins to help glue them on at the right angles.

The overall difference is that those old mold kits were targeted at kids who needed the construction sequences eased for them. The new tool biplanes  have much better fidelity, but are going to require a LOT of experience to overcome their lack engineering for ease of construction. You obviously have those skills, but I think you'll be surprisingly frustrated.....

None of my comments apply to the WNW 1/32 biplanes....those things are as near perfection as any kits ever made, even for novice builders!

Gil :smiley16:

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Thanks for the heads up Gil. Looking that the new tool Eduard and Roden kits in my stash, I know exactly what you speak of. I have plenty of model building experience. But none on new tool biplanes, and aside from one a few years ago, it’s been decades since I’ve built old biplane kits like this one. I training up to the new ones. Lol! 

Ive seen the Wingnuts Wings kits. They are gorgeous. But also outside of my preferred scales, build areas, and price range.

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I was out of town and away from my bench on Tuesday and Wednesday so no progress then. But yesterday I finally got the fuselage assembled.

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and unfortunately despite all the test fitting and sanding, I still have a bit of a gap behind the cockpit from the added fuel tank. But that should not be too difficult to fill.

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And what can be seen of all the added detail inside up front...

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Also I did a bit of grinding with my Dremel to thin outbthe cowling edges

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Next up... seam filling and clean up...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today, it was back to work on the Camel. 

First priority, clean up the seam gap on top of the fuselage

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Add some strip styrene shims

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sand smooth and paint...

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I also test fitted the cowling and guns... more in a couple of days

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I double DOG dare you to put a Snoopy by this thing when it's all said and done!!! Lookin' good Carlos!! 

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Nice work !

Your HvH technique is definitely making that kit look good!

I'll need to try the razor saw technique; a great idea that gives some texture for a wash application.

I have a B17 Formation box full of 1970s era Aurora re-pops including the Camel and Dr-1 kits that I need to dig into when I am able to finish the current projects.

Side note: I was unaware who did the art for that old Aurora Me-109. until today- but it convinced me to buy the model as a child.

I was really disappointed by the scarlet red kit inside when compared to even the old Monogram model.

 

 

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Joe, if I can find a snoopy to sit by this Camel when it’s all done, you’re on. 
 

Thanks Bob. That’s cool that you have the collection of old kits. They do have their own charms. I never had or saw the infamous red Aurora Me-109 myself. But I would love to see one someday.

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Well I finally have some progress work worth showing. To keep in the spirit of this old kit, I’ve been painting with a brush and enamel paints, mostly Humbrol, and some Xtracolor as well. And this is where is at now.

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Everything is pretty much just test fitted for this photo. I still want to work on the cockpit opening padded collar a bit, and that’s much easier to do with nothing yet attached.

I also drilled out the front of the guns

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I still need to do some more clean up work there. More to follow in a few days...

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I used bottled Testors paints back in the swinging '60s as that brand was the only paint sold at the local five and dime.

Didn't have an air brush until mid-high school.

I like the dry brushing on the engine detail.

Looking forward to see if you add rigging; I never did

I am not even certain the Aurora kit instructions showed rigging.

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Yeah, I could get Testors at the closest store, and Pactra at the big department store where my folks used to shop. It wasn’t until that I was in Jr High that I learned about fancier paints like Humbrol, Pactra International, and Polly S. Yes, I will be rigging this build up. Keep your fingers crossed, that’s pretty new to me... and I do believe that the later Aurora boxing’s of the kit had a rigging diagram on the instruction sheet.

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One step at a time. Today I finished up, cleaned up, and then painted the guns. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

During this week I’ve worked on the collar padding for the cockpit. First I added some strip styrene to the inner face then sanded it all to a more rounded profile.

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Once it had been sanded, I painted it in Humbrol Satin Black. I need to go back and touch up where the sanding damaged the paint on adjacent areas

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then lastly I attached the lower wing

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This is taking shape quite nicely! You may want to try using electrical insulation for cockpit coaming....

Slit a length of old electrical wire lengthwise with a new #11 blade and pull out the wiring, leaving the hollow plastic coating. IF your cockpit edges are thin enough, you can simply pry the insulation apart and slide it around the opening, trimming it to the length you need, and then anchoring each end with a dot of superglue. If the cockpit edge is not thin, then slit the insulation lengthwise parallel to the first cut, but a little over so that you can remove a length of one side of it. This will create a "gap" that can then be fit over the thicker cockpit edge.

This works best in 1/48 and (especially) larger scales. The hard part is making those parallel cuts the full length of the insulation. Taping down each end can help while doing this. Looking forward to you finishing out this Camel!

Gil :smiley16:

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Thanks for that tip Gil. I have several more 1/48 WWI aircraft in the my stash, so I’ll have to try that on the next one. It sounds much easier to do than what I did here, using several small lengths of strip styrene and then blending them all together.

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More progress... tail planes on... woohoo!

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