Wingnut Wings | #32071: Sopwith F.1 Camel "Le Rhône"
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
WWI aircraft modellers have been begging New Zealand firm Wingnut Wings to add the iconic Sopwith Camel to its range of 1/32 scale WWI aircraft kits since the company's inception. The official response has always been that suitable kits already exist, and that the company had no desire to duplicate existing kit subjects. In early 2016, that policy was quietly brushed aside with the announcement that Wingnut Wings was indeed developing a Sopwith Camel kit, and modellers the world over rejoiced.
Fast forward to 2017, and now we have not one Sopwith Camel from Wingnut Wings, but six! Here we look at the "Le Rhône" boxing (kit #32071). Quoting from the Wingnut Wings website:
High quality Cartograf decals for 5 aircraft -165 high quality injection moulded plastic parts - Optional cut down cockpit decking,small & large cut out top wing centre sections, Holt lights and flares - 20lb Cooper bombs & carrier - Highly detailed 17 part highly detailed 110hp LeRhone 9J engine - 10 photo-etched metal detail parts - Fine in scale rib tape detail - Full rigging diagram.
This is a rather modest release compared to some of the company's more elaborate kits, with only four major sprues in grey plastic. The full contents breakdown is as follows:
- 4 grey plastic sprues;
- 1 clear plastic sprues;
- 1 small photo-etched fret;
- 1 large decal sheet;
- 1 instruction booklet.
The Plastic Parts
The plastic parts are comprised of only four sprues, moulded in the familiar mid-grey plastic. This is the fewest I've seen in a Wingnut Wings kit. Nevertheless, the level and crispness of detail is well up to the expected standard from this company, which is among the best in the business.
There's no sign of flash or moulding flaws anywhere, and no ejector pin marks in obvious or awkward places.
Sprue E is dedicated to the Le Rhône that is a feature of this boxing.
The parts map on page 2 of the instructions indicates a surprising number of parts marked not for use. These are clearly intended for the other available releases of the kit, so you'll need to pay attention when removing parts from the sprue, lest you choose the wrong one.
Note that the kit includes two types of centre sections for the upper wing. Both of these are applicable to this kit, depending on which scheme you're intending to finish your model in. Again, take care and plan your build so that you don't snooker yourself.
The fabric effect on the wings is very well done, along with the associated rib tape detail. Note the incredible moulded-in recessed detail:
The moulding is so good that you can even read the writing on the tyres:
Note how the ejector pin marks are cleverly positioned to be hidden by the wheel covers. This level of thoughtfulness in kit design is a hallmark of the Wingnut Wings approach.
The quality of the parts in this kit is further evidenced in the close-up photos below:
While examining these close-up photos, it suddenly occurred to me that there's one element to Wingnut Wings kits that typifies the company's attention to detail and thoughtful approach to kit design, but also something that I'm sure we all take for granted. I'm referring to the large, clearly-moulded part number tabs. This is a small, almost trivial detail, and yet I've battled kits from other manufacturers where these same tabs were so small, and their moulded-on numbers so faintly-moulded, that I could barely use them to identify parts. A small detail, certainly, but my fading eyesight appreciates it!
The Clear Parts
The clear parts are furnished on one small sprue:
Two of these are marked not for use in the parts map, but all are crisply moulded and free of any visible flaws. In a departure from previous releases I've seen, the clear parts sprue in this kit is housed in a resealable plastic bag, rather the more standard vacuum-sealed type seen in previous releases. This is a small but positive improvement, I think.
Housed inside the plastic bag that contains the decals is a small photo-etched fret:
This consists mainly of seat belts and sundry cockpit details.
Decals and Markings
The decals are contained on a single large sheet:
These are exquisitely printed by Cartograf in Italy, and exhibit perfect registration, finely-printed details and no obvious signs of translucence.
The sheet features markings for five aircraft:
- Sopwith F.1 Camel B5417 ’11’, GAC Manley, "B" Flight 54 Sqn RFC, February 1918
- Sopwith F.1 Camel B5423 '6', FM Ohrt, "A" Flight 54 Sqn RFC, January 1918
- Sopwith F.1 Camel C1555 ’Suds’, FL Luxmoore (3 victories) & SP Gamon, 78(HD) Sqn RFC, January-February 1918
- Sopwith F.1 Camel F2137 ’U’, DR MacLaren (54 victories), "C" Flight 46 Sqn RAF, September-October 1918
- Sopwith F.1 Camel F2141 'L', H Burdick (8 victories), "B" Flight 17th Aero Sqn USAS, August-October 1918
The instruction booklets supplied in Wingnut Wings kits have become legendary, and with good reason. The production values are equivalent to a glossy magazine, and to refer to them as mere instruction booklets does them a grave disservice.
The cover features a potted history of the type, and a specifications table at the bottom. This material is also available on the Wingnut Wings webpage for the kit.
The content features colourful and highly-detailed annotated assembly drawings, complemented by captioned reference photographs and painting instructions.
This long-anticipated release from Wingnut Wings represents everything we've come to expect from their kits: exceptional moulding quality, excellent detail, superb decals and industry-leading documentation. What more could you ask for? Any modeller wishing to build a 1/32 Sopwith Camel will be well satisfied with this kit, and I highly recommended it.
Thanks to Wingnut Wings for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2017
This review was published on Thursday, April 27 2017; Last modified on Thursday, April 27 2017