Sopwith CamelOne of several outstanding types produced by the Sopwith Aviation Company during WWI and probably one of the most iconic aircraft of its time. Not an easy machine to fly, but in the hands of an experienced pilot its outstanding agility could give it an edge over other fighters and the Camel had almost 1300 kills to its credit by the end of the war, the highest total for any allied fighter type. In any case, those of us of a certain age would have read all the Biggles books as youngsters and Biggles flew a Camel, so it must have been the best, naturally. For those of you wondering how this pugnacious looking, stubby little fighter came to be named after a creature that cannot fly and is normally associated with the desert, the answer is in the hump that covers the gun breeches. That makes it a dromedary, then.
Enough frivolity, this is actually a re-box of the Eduard tooled kit first released in 2003, so let's proceed with a look at what you get and see how well it stands up.
I have to say the box art on its own would not inspire to make a purchase, but...
...praise be, it's a proper box with a lid, not the regular end opening things that we all hate. The kit is moulded in the dark blue-grey plastic that you will be familiar with if you have bought any Eduard kits previously. The parts are moulded very cleanly in the main, there is a hint of flash to deal with on some of the smaller components, also the prop needs a little attention. Here's frame A with the fuselage plus the fin, rudder tailplane, elevators and ailerons (with options).
The fabric on the fuselage and flying surfaces have a hint of sag and the flying surfaces have rib tapes. These are both features that can easily be over-cooked on plastic kits, but given the limitations of injection moulding this is about as good as it can get with this kit. the parts also have delicate detail where required. Frame B has undercarriage, engine and various ancillary components.
Everything is very nicely moulded, only tiny amounts of flash to deal with on the tiddly bits. The wheels and engine cylinders look excellent, with the wiring harness, pushrods etc as scalish as you could possibly get in plastic. Frame C is the upper wing, cowlings, optional cockpit coamings, panel and cabane struts. There are two seats, one moulded solid which is meant to be painted and then decals applied to get the wicker effect. The other is designed such that you use parts off the Eduard PE set to get a wicker effect.
The wing has rib tapes and almost imperceptible fabric sag that gives a very realist effect, whilst the cowlings are beautifully moulded. The panel has bezels, with instrument faces on the decal sheet that can be applied. Frame D is the lower wing and an optional upper wing.
I really can't stress enough how well the combined fabric and rib tape detail has been captured, under paint it should look very realistic. The final bit of the plastic itself is a transparency frame.
These are for 'glazing' the wing inspection panels, a very neat touch that you wouldn't necessarily find in other kits, even at 1/48 scale. The decal sheet is 'printed in Italy' which I take to mean as done by Cartograf. Whatever the provenance it's very nicely done with good colours that look suitably opaque.
There is no historical background to the schemes that are offered on the decal sheet, other than identifying squadrons. The pierced heart motif is that of Major William Barker VC, whilst D9398 fell to the guns (probably) of Lothar von Richthofen on the 25th July 1918. You can find good photos of both machines by using Google search and whilst the paint guide appears to conform to the images you can find of D9398, those of Barker's machine are at variance, although it should be pointed out that Barker's Camel was somewhat evolutionary in appearance and went through a number of changes. The paint guide is also at variance with the cover picture of a completed Camel model on the instruction booklet, so you might want to do a bit of research before committing paint to the model. Whilst on the subject of instructions, here's a few pages to peruse, including the rigging diagram (which is more helpful than the diagram included with the original Eduard instructions).
To summarise, this is still a very worthy kit to consider adding to your stash or for building if you're a WWI/Sopwith Camel fan. Everything is cleanly and in the main beautifully moulded. You will need to follow the instructions carefully in respect of which optional parts apply to which scheme you want to use. Also the kit contains, I believe, the Clerget engine which might limit your options if you were looking for aftermarket decals, assuming that's the sort of thing that bothers you. What you get with this Revell release is the equivalent of an Eduard Weekend Edition, if you're buying - and I think I can offer a 'highly recommended' in this instance - you might consider the Eduard PE set EDFE432, it has a number of nice things to add, including seat harness, pushrods and wiring harness for the engine and a rather essential piece for Barker's machine - the little red devil mascot mounted to one of the machine guns. And if you've never read any Biggles books, get it sorted!
Review sample courtesy of Revell.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers.
For details visit:
PS: Want more Camel references? Visit Old Warden!