The Meccano Model Library

Sopwith Camel F1

by Chris Bourne

Meccano model of the Sopwith Camel Original photograph of a Sopwith Camel


This is my first attempt at a model even remotely to scale, so it is rather lacking in some mechanisms, such as ailerons and steering controls!

It is approximately 1:12 scale, somewhat hampered by a limited parts selection (mostly within a 1962-70 Set 9, apart from a surfeit of worms) but does include a 9-cylinder Rotary Engine which rotates with the airscrew, and the extraordinary 'elastic cord' suspension which really did consist of two independent axles held in place by rubber bands.

The Camel was the most successful Allied fighter of W.W.I. 5,734 were built, and it was first introduced late in 1916. The Canadian Air Force was still flying Camels as late as 1929. Its nickname was due to the 'hump' over the twin Vickers machine guns, which were synchronised to fire through the airscrew blades without hitting them.

Three engines were typically used - the Le Rhone Rotary xi, the Clerget 9B, and the Bentley BR1. They were all 9-cylinder rotary engines, which rotated around a fixed crankshaft. In the model, the engine, airscrew and crankshaft all rotate together, powered by a modern French MO motor, so we will assume the nine worms represent a Clerget engine.

The torque from these engines was massive, and unbalanced, so that the Camel got a reputation as a dangerous aircraft for novice pilots. If you took your hands off the controls, it would tend to slew round and even go into a dive. 385 Camel pilots died in accidents.

However, in the hands of experienced airmen it was quick, could make a right turn almost on its axis, thanks to the engine torque, and claimed 1,294 'kills', including the 'Red Baron', Manfred von Richthofen - the highest score of any Allied fighter.








HTML web pages plus illustrations (, 835K, updated 31.1.99)

Click on the link to download the file "". Save the ZIP file in a new directory, and use your favourite "unzip" program to extract the files, then open the file "index.htm" in your browser to view these web pages offline. These download pages have been set to black text on a white background to make printing them easier.

Text file plus JPG image files (, 723K, updated 31.1.99)

Click on the link to download the file "", which contains a single text file (camel.txt) plus all of the JPG files containing the illustrations used in these pages. Save the ZIP file in a new directory and use your favourite "unzip" program to extract the files. You can then print out the text file which contains these instructions, and view/print the images using your browser or your favourite graphics program.

Update 1: John Stark's Rear Mounted Motor

[For those who have already downloaded the earlier version of one of the main download files] (210K) - ZIP file

ZIP file contains the following files:


These instructions and the accompanying pictures are copyright material, and all rights are reserved. They are made freely available to Meccano modellers on condition that they are not copied and distributed in any form for sale, whether or not the sale is for profit or merely 'at cost'. Nor may they be distributed in incomplete form. Printed copies may however be made freely for personal use.

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