Eduard 1/48 Sopwith Camel 2F1

By Will Hendriks

Background

During the latter part of the Great War, the Royal Navy recognized the virtues of the Sopwith Camel fighter. The Camel 2F1, also known as the "Ship's Camel" or "Split Camel" grew from a desire by the Royal Navy to replace the Sopwith Baby seaplane and the Pup. The Camel 2F1 had several features distinguishing it from her landlocked F1 cousin, including a removable tail for ease of stowage aboard ship, an inflatable bladder in the tail to aid in recovery after ditching, and a top-wing mounted Lewis gun. The type usually carried a single Vickers as standard armament as well. The 2F1 was powered by either the 130 hp Clerget rotary or the 150 hp Bentley B.R. I.

As well as being allocated to the Royal Navy's first operational carriers, the 2F1 Camels were launched from platforms on the turrets of battleships and cruisers. Another interesting method of launching the aircraft while at sea was to have them take off from a lighter (basically a boat with a platform) while being towed behind a destroyer bounding along at upwards of thirty knots into wind: a hair-raising prospect!

Nevertheless, the type was very successful, especially against Germany's zeppelins and seaplanes that prowled the North Sea. In 1918 2F1 Camels were involved in the first carrier strike in history, against the Zeppelin base at Tondern, launched from HMS Furious.

2F1 Camels served after the Great War in Russia against the Bolsheviks and a few were flown by Estonia and Latvia. The longest serving 2F1's were in Canada, where they flew on until 1928 at Camp Borden, Ontario.

The Kit

The kit I received for review is a pre-production example that came in a bag without box art, instructions, decals, or the photoetch seatbelts that are standard with Eduard's Camel kits. What I got was three sprues in tan colored plastic and one small clear sprue. Two of the sprues included are common with the Camel F1 kit, as is the clear sprue. All parts appear to be very cleanly and crisply molded, as we have come to expect from Eduard.

The kit has one different sprue for the 2F1, which includes the shorter span wings, a single Lewis gun with an Admiralty Top Plane Mounting, metal cabane struts (one with the Rotherham pump attached), elevator external bellcranks and best of all, the upper decking and cowling for the Bentley engine installation. By cross-kitting with the F1, the inclusion of the Bently cowling configuration now makes it possible to build nearly any Camel variant.

The fuselage is the same as the F1 though, so this means the modeler will have to scribe the characteristic joint line where the tail separates and add the attachment hardware. One shall also have to fill in the foot-step on the left side and move it forward. The engine itself is the same Clerget that comes with the F1, but this will not be difficult to convert to a Bentley for those who wish to do so, or replace with an aftermarket item.

The wing detail is similar to the F1 as regards rib tape detail. While some have found this to be a little on the heavy side, photos of the original show these to be quite prominent, so personally I do not have a problem with it. A little sanding can knock them down, if desired.

Of notable absence as with the F1 kits are a windscreen and the pitot tube on the outboard strut. These can easily be added from scratchbuilt items, though. Perhaps these details and more will be included if the kit comes out as a Profipack offering.

Conclusion

This is an exciting addition to Eduard's stable of Camels. The 2F1 flew in some very colorful markings. I look forward eagerly to see what decal options Eduard will include when the kit becomes commercially available, no doubt very soon. Meanwhile, look for a complete build of the model in next month's Internet Modeler.

My sincerest thanks to Eduard for the review sample!

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