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148
Sopwith Camel F.1

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History

The history of Polish Camel is not very long so I will try to tell you a brief background of my build. Camel no. F5234 was the only one which was used in the Polish Air Forces. In 1920 Poland was at war with the Bolshevik Russia. One of the units fighting in the air over western Ukraine (which belonged to Poland then) was the 7th “Tadeusz Kościuszko” Squadron. Most of it's flying crews were American volunteers recruited by Cedric Fauntleroy and Merian Cooper. At the end of the war, in September 1920, F5234 was brought to Poland. A month later, on 14th October 1920, it was attached to the 7th Squadron at Lwów, where the squadron was deployed at that moment. It is believed that the plane was the personal property of Lt. Kenneth Murray but some sources say that he only brought it from England. The plane did not fly much as the war faded and the winter was coming. In the mid may 1921, shortly before leave of the Americans from Poland, the plane was bought by the Polish Government. On 1st August 1921, during the orientation flight of major Ludomił Rayski (a former commander of the Polish Air Forces) at the high of ca.100m the engine suddenly stopped and Rayski made a forced landing which resulted in the crash of the airplane. The machine was not repaired after the accident (see the references).

The build
The building of this model, partially inspired by the story of the 7th Squadron, partially by the content of my stash, was started by the end of 2010. Although I got the Combo edition which was actually in the Profi Pack standard (including PE fret, painting masks and 8 painting options) I decided to upgrade the kit a bit more with some scratch made details.
The building process was not as easy and straightforward as I expected as the plastic parts had some imperfections and inaccuracies.
The pilots office was built more or less according to the instructions, I added just few pipes and cables made from the copper wire and fishing line.
Some work with putty was required at the upper and lower sides of the fuselage.
I decided to rework the engine. The push-rods were made of the injection needles cut to size and placed in the pre-drilled holes. It did not require much work but looks now a way better than the flat PE-parts, however the spark plugs cables were made using the PE part. Some putty and sanding was required here and there but I hope you see it on the attached pictures.
To improve all the joints I have drilled all struts and made small holes in the fuselage and wings for the attachment points. I used a copper wire to stiffen these joints.
For everyone who would like to build the Eduard's Camel I advice to do the same with the ailerons, elevators, rudder and vertical stabilizer – all these parts are glued to the major parts of the model just on few tiny points and you will never know if you break it, these parts simply peel off.
When the most important parts were glued I started the painting. I decided to preshade the model with the well known techniques. For the painting I used Gunzes Radome, Olive Green and Aluminum Metallic as the basic colours. Previous preshading and random application of each paint have changed the final colour of the paints.
Next step was the assembly of the struts and upper wing. Nothing special here as well, except that I got the feeling that some struts were too short for ca.1mm or so although it might be my fault due to drilling and sanding. Through the pre-drilled holes I threaded the fishing line which was previously blackened using the alcohol marker. When the one and of each line was glued I threaded on each line two tubes made of the needles cut to 2,5mm as the imitation of the attachments. Then the second end of the line was glued. If some lines were still loose I brought nearer to them a small nail heated in the candle fire. Under temperature the nylon fishing line simply stretched. You must be extremely careful not to burn a finger nor touch any line or the model part as the hot nail will burn the hole in the plastic and all your work will be wasted.
Placing decals was easy but very nervous. The decals were taken form the sheet added to one of the Kageros' publication. A fellow modeller from Poland, Mr. Michał Molka, gave me these decals for my build (I would like to thank again to Michal for the gift). At first I covered the model with the diluted future in few layers. I started the work with decals from the smallest chequers on the rudder, serial numbers and 7th Squadron emblem. I didn't use any agent but the decals placed and adjusted to the model perfectly. When I dipped the first wing chequer in water the paper has folded into small tube and the decal fall apart into hundred pieces. The next chequer was first glued to the table with the paper tape and then soaked with water. It also had the tendency to folding but thankfully the tape had prevented any damage. Then extremely carefully I applied the decal on the model and while setting position I noticed it have the tendency to tear apart. This way I made the chequers in the upper wing. On the lower wings chequers were painted using the self made masks from the Tamiya paper tape and painted with Gunze and Vallejo acrylics. The final effect is far from perfect but it had to go, otherwise I would never finish the model.
The last step was weathering. I randomly used dry pastels chalk and different acrylic washes, painted the fuel splits and other things like this.
The model was varnished with the Pactra matt lacquer very diluted with water and applied in two or three thin layers.
And so here it is. I know the model could be done much better and some details are still missing. It was my second biplane ever made and most of all I'm glad I have finished it and the Aeroscalers decided in the poll that it deserves the third place in the Model of Month July 2011 competition.
Michał Sindera
References:
1. “British airplanes in the Polish aviation 1918-1930” by Tomasz Kopański
2. “Flight of eagles. The story of American Kościuszko Squadron in the Polish-Russian war 1919-1920” by Robert Karovitz, Ross Fenn
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About the Author

About Mecenas
FROM: KATOWICE, POLAND


Comments

Nicely Done Michael! Thanks Andy for posting this for us.
SEP 02, 2011 - 11:40 PM
Looks great and I love the look of the Polish markings!
SEP 04, 2011 - 02:49 AM