The Meccano Model Library

Sopwith Camel F1


1. Motor Placement

In the model, the motor is obtrusive and takes up space in the cockpit itself. It is difficult to mount a motor in the compact space of the front fuselage. A possibility might be to have the motor in the rear fuselage, with a transmission rod extending under the fuel tank and pilot's chair to the engine. Small 15-tooth pinions could be used to keep the rod close to the floor.

However, this system would require very careful mounting of the motor in the rear fuselage, considering that the sides and base are not level, but narrow inwards and upwards to the tail. There is no strip or girder in the rear fuselage section which is square with the flat plates on which the engine is mounted.

This solution would probably therefore require a universal coupling which adds to the space requirements, although there should still be room to devise a mechanism that works.

A second approach might be to use a smaller motor, of course, if one can be found with sufficient power to drive the heavy engine, perhaps in conjunction with beveled gears for sideways placement.

John Stark has used rubber flexible rod connectors to carry the drive from a rear motor to the front of the aircraft. His solution, which also uses a pulley drive for the airscrew, is shown on the next page.

2. Stringing

Only the main wires were modelled. Single wires also criss-crossed between the two outer struts, and the two inner struts, on each side. It is not easy to loosen the forward inner struts where they bolt to the fuselage and then tighten them again when the cockpit and top wing are in place. If the modeller fastens the cords to these brackets at an earlier stage, the process would become easier.

In photographs of the original aircraft, these single wires are often only intermittently visible, being so thin. Care should be taken when modelling them not to make them too intrusive and detract from the overall feel of the model.

3. Rudder and Aileron Control

No attempt was made to have the aircraft rudder and ailerons work nor indeed to allow the motor to be 'blipped' from the cockpit. In the original aircraft, the pilot's feet rested on the rudder bar, from which wires led back to the tail section.

The top and bottom wing ailerons were connected by a wire so that the flaps moved together.

The main reason for not attempting to model the ailerons is that the aileron would consist of a flap 1 1/2" wide and 5 1/2" long - an enticing dimension - but alas, not rectangular, since at the outer edge there is the semi-circular plate and the triangular flexible plate to deal with. As it stands, the triangular flexible plate would have to be mutilated to allow the flap to operate.

4. Guns and Front Fuselage Canopy

Finally, the modelling of the twin Vickers guns and front fuselage canopy, while I hope it has a certain impressionist charm, is not very authentic. There is clearly scope here for improvement in rendering the detail. The pictures and drawings I consulted were extremely vague and hard to make out in this area, so eventually I settled for something which looked in keeping with the feel of the model and did not make life difficult.

An exceptionally cunning modeller might even be able to display the synchronised firing of the guns, perhaps by having a small rod protrude in and out of the gun barrels in time to the airscrew blades. While it should be easy to devise a gear train to do this the problem of course is in constructing a transmission linkage for the horizontal movement of the gun barrel rods in the very limited space provided. Of course the gun construction as it stands would have to be quite different to achieve this.

I'd be very grateful to hear from any modeller who solves these or any other problems with the Camel, or who has any problems constructing the model, and will try and include the solutions and corrections, in future updates of these instructions.

Chris Bourne
London, November 1998


CONSTRUCTION: Rotary Engine | Illingworth Rotary Engine | Engine Cowling | Undercarriage | Fuselage, Front Section I | Front Fuselage Canopy and Cockpit Details | Rear Fuselage Section | Front Fuselage Section II | Upper and Lower Front Wings | Tail Section | Wing Assembly and Stringing

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