When Wingnut Wings
announced their new Sopwith Camels last year there was added excitement because they also revealed their latest “The Duelists” double-kit comprising a “Clerget” Camel and an LVG C.VI. I’d missed the LVG the first time around and it had been out of production for some time and was already fetching elevated second hand prices, so the prospect of nabbing one of the remaining kits along with the new Camel was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.
Double-kits like this aren’t a new concept - UK modellers of my generation will probably have cut their modelling teeth on Airfix’s Dogfight Doubles, and I well remember building Frog’s Ju 88 and Spitfire that attached to a framed boxtop picture.
take a rather different approach by featuring aircraft that took part in an individual real-life engagement. Hence “The Duellists” - in this case the Camels flown by Harold Kerr and V.H. Thornton of 4 Sqn. AFC, who forced down and captured Sgt. Greyer and Lt. Köhnke in their Flieger Abteilung LVG 13 C.VI.
The inevitable minor compromise of "The Duellists" format for me is that it does offer more limited colour schemes than individual Wingnut Wings
releases (importantly, though, it's cheaper than buying two similar kits), so the icing on the cake for me would be markings for, say, two
alternative engagements instead of just one as featured.
The kit arrives in an enormous box. If anyone’s contemplating trying to sneak this into the house unseen… forget it! Lifting the lid reveals the kits packed basically side by side, with an internal divider to prevent the box being crushed in transit. The sprues and accessories are bagged individually and everything reached me perfectly intact. One of the first things you notice is that WNW have changed the colour of the styrene they use so, while the older sprues for the LVG are moulded in the familiar mid grey, the new Camel parts are a warm grey, with just the Clerget still the old colour.
“The Duellists” comprises:
111 x standard parts ( 31 not used)
6 x clear parts ( 9 unused)
10 x photo-etched parts, plus a nameplate
Decals for 2 x aircraft
148 x standard parts ( 96 not used)
1 x clear part
5 x photo-etched parts, plus a nameplate
Decals for 1 x aircraft
The high number of unused parts on the Camel is because the same sprues form the basis of four different versions, while the LVG contains WNW’s standard German accessories sprues - so you’ll get plenty of useful additions for the spares box or to dress up a diorama or vignette.
The moulding in both kits is exceptional, and the LVG sprues look every bit as good as the new Camel parts. One difference is the way the rib tapes and stitching is handled; they slightly more crisply defined on the Camel, but the LVG’s will be under two layers of decals (lozenges and rib tapes) by the time the kit is finished, so the fact they are slightly softer treated is probably no bad thing in ensuring that the decals snuggle down over them easily.
Please refer to Michael Satin’s excellent overview of the individual Camel boxings
when they first appeared in the USA a month or so ahead of their UK release.
The Camel comes first in “The Duellists” instruction book and work kicks off with the cockpit. The simplicity of the original is reflected in the kit, with only 15 parts needed to construct a very nicely fitted out “office”. The side frames have excellent integral details, while individual decals are included for each instrument on the crisply moulded panel. The pilot’s seat has a wicker-effect back to fit onto a padded bases which is moulded onto a base which also forms the bottom of the fuel tank. With that assembled, you’re ready for the pair of etched brass lap belts provided.
The instructions illustrate bracing wires and control cables in a colour-coded diagram - and once these are added, the completed cockpit will look very effective.
Each Vickers gun comprises 5 parts, with a moulded cocking handle and separate muzzle, plus an etched sight for the starboard weapon. The cockpit decking requires some minor surgery for this boxing of the Camel, ready to install 2 new cowl sections around the guns.
The lower wing is moulded full-span to provide a solid platform for the rest of the build, while the top wing is constructed from 3 panels. Separate ailerons are included, but the elevators and rudder are fixed. The wings are moulded solid, so the trailing edges are lovely and thin, and they include cut-outs for the clear inspection covers over the control runs.
Moulding the wings solid makes them the heaviest parts of the kit, but the undercarriage for this version uses the later faired legs and looks sufficiently strong for the task of supporting what will be, after all, quite a compact finished kit. The wheels feature maker’s logos, plus internal spokes which will be visible through the holes in the separate outer covers.
One of the most impressive pieces of moulding in the kit is the rack for the 20lb Cooper bombs. In most kits you’d expect it to be built up from multiple pieces or folded etched parts, but here it is a single, beautifully delicate item.
The Clerget rotary engine is constructed from 15 parts, with a choice of front plates for the 130 hp or 140 hp versions. With the cowl in place (make sure you use the correct one as 4 styles are included on the sprue) you can fit the nicely moulded propeller and its optional spinner.
The final stage of the instructions covers the rigging, which Wingnut Wings
illustrate with a pair of main colour-coded diagrams supported by additional info-views.
Andrew Beard first looked at the LVG C.VI
when it was released back in 2009, and it still looks just as impressive today.
Construction begins again with the cockpit, which is a bit more elaborate than the Camels – as you’d expect for a two-seater – with over 25 parts plus etched seatbelts. Again, there are decals for the instrument faces, along with placards for the side frames and radio set. Interestingly, the instructions suggest that the observer’s seat probably wasn’t installed, so the poor guy must have had an uncomfortable flight (there’s no sling seat to rest on as an alternative). I guess he must have just curled up in a ball on the floor if he grew tired of standing – but that’s hardly ideal for “observing” anything.
Next up is the 18-part 230 hp Benz in-line, which should look excellent with careful painting. It’s half-exposed, so you may well want to add ignition leads to the neatly moulded spark plugs.
The pilot’s “Spandau” can be built in two ways – with either a solid-moulded cooling jacket or an etched brass item that must be curled around a former. The latter version also includes an etched front sight, but you could always attach this to the solid barrel. The gunner’s Parabellum is has no etched parts but looks excellent.
The undercarriage looks quite straightforward to construct, but you’ll need to watch out for the attachments to the fuselage, because they are quite delicate. Hopefully, the struts will be sturdy once in place, because the LVG is going to be a heavier model. Like the Camel, the tyres include maker’s logos. I’ll also file slight “flats” on them to give an impression of the bulk of aircraft.
The construction of the wings differs from the Camel, with separate panels each side. The lower wings have long locating “spars” which slot through holes in the fuselage and meet inside. This is something I’d like to check before attaching the top decking, because it might be a good idea to reinforce the joints to help keep the completed wings rigid. The top wing is built up from 6 pieces, with separate upper and lower panels. The trailing edges of the panels look nice and delicate – but remember the wings are going to have lozenge decals added, so you’ll want to make sure the joints are as tight as possible. Unlike the Camel, all the control surfaces are separate.
Main construction ends with the propeller and exhaust stack. As with the Camel, make sure you pick the correct propeller, because this time there are no less than 6 on the sprues! With the exhaust, it will definitely be worth hollowing out the end for a better appearance.
accessories set includes a mass of optional extra parts, including three types of camera, a pair step ladders, a first aid kit and homing pigeon box – and, of course, the all essential teddy bear mascot.
Rounding everything off is the rigging, which is clearly illustrated again with a pair of diagrams.
Instructions & Decals
The assembly guide is produced in Wingnut Wing’s
classic “retro” style, as a very classy 30-page A4 booklet, printed in colour throughout. The diagrams are clear, and construction is broken down into easy to follow stages. What I always appreciate in Wingnut Wing’s
kits is that many of the parts are named, so you get more of a feel for what you’re building and how the original worked.
Comprehensive colour suggestions are included, with matches given for Tamiya and Humbrol paints, along with FS equivalents where possible.
Decals are included for three aircraft involved in the fateful encounter on October 9th, 1918:
A. Sopwith Camel F.1 flown by Harold Kerr of 4 Sqn. AFC
B. Sopwith Camel F.1 flown by V.H. Thornton of 4 Sqn. AFC
C. LVG C.VI, 7243/18, flown by Sgt. Greyer and Lt. Köhnke, Flieger Abteilung 13
The kit includes 4 impressive decal sheets printed by Cartograf. The quality is superb – as you’d expect from this source, with pin sharp registration and precise printing on even the smallest text. One sheet is shared between the Camel and LVG and includes national and individual markings, along with stencils, placards and instrument faces. The remaining three sheets provide lozenge fabric panels and rib tapes.
Camel & LVG C.VI “The Duellists” is a magnificent kit. It’s obviously not cheap (and the current low exchange rate for Sterling hardly helps UK modellers), but quality like this seldom is, and it does offer a worthwhile saving over buying individual kits – especially if you take the often inflated prices being asked recently for the long out-of-production LVG. Highly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE