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Sopwith Camel F.1

Hasegawa 1/16 Sopwith Camel F.1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2013 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Sopwith Camel F.1 Scale 1/16
Kit Number 50031 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, museum quality Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $269.99

First Look

Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1
Sopwith Camel F.1

The Sopwith Camel is probably the first aircraft the average person with name when soliciting aircraft types from World War I. Why? It was easily the most successful British-made fighter of the war, with over 1,290 kills credited to the type. 5,490 Camels were built, with some serving in Belgian and American Expeditionary Forces.

The single, most-remembered engagement from the Camel's logbook was when Canadian Captain Roy Brown encountered and attacked German ace Manfred von Richthofen. The Camel was retired from service shortly after the end of the war.

Hasegawa has produced several 'Museum Quality' kits over the years with their 1/8 scale multimedia masterpieces, mostly World War I subjects made from die-cut wood parts along with mixed media detail parts. I recall the Fokker Dr.I was released within the last few years and was gone before the shipping containers were fully opened.

Here is a new Museum Series released by Hasegawa which is far less intimidating to scale modelers than those wood masterpieces. This is a 1/16 Sopwith Camel that is finished with the same skeleton approach as the wooden releases, except there is no wood in these kits. According to the specifications, there are 293 parts in this box. The kit is molded styrene and presented on seven trees molded in brown, two trees of silver-plated styrene, three trees of black styrene, two trees of white styrene, and one tree of clear parts. In addition, a set of rubber tires are provided along with copper wire to rig the ignition and ample thread to rig the airframe.

In theory, you could assemble this kit straight out of the box with no painting and with the pre-colored parts, you'd have an impressive model. However, anyone wanting to build something like this kit will want to go all-out to replicate the look of the wooden structure. Look here at our photo gallery of World War I aircraft assembly. With a little effort and imagination, you can really give the brown portions of this model a look of real wood.

The plated parts will look fine as-is and the non-chrome finish will be easy enough to match with available paints to touch up the inevitable scars from removing parts from the sprue trees and cleaning seam lines. Personally, I'll be stripping off the plated finish and will use various shades of my favorite metalizers to replicate the non-uniform shades on the real aircraft.

Even with any special painting and detailing, this is not a complex model and won't take that much time to assemble. Rigging, on the other hand, might be more interesting. As mentioned above, there is an ample supply of rigging thread provided in the box and the instructions provide some good guidance on running the various structural and control cables around the airframe. In addition, the kit also comes with three sheets of plans rolled up in the box. These have five pages of color-printed rigging and detail instructions to supplement the instruction book and will make the job of rigging the airframe easier.

The kit also provides your choice of markings for the rudder as well as instrument faces for the instrument panel and the few stencils that would be visible on an airframe without its fabric skin. As set of decals are also provided for the rubber tires.

This is an impressive kit that has lots of details but doesn't require the modeler to be qualified in the assembly of wood parts (a radio-controlled aircraft modeler) as this is plastic kit with thread rigging. This model will look awesome on a display base and will be an eye-catcher at any IPMS convention. Despite its straightforward assembly, this kit is still recommended to experienced modelers given the delicate assemblies.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

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