Author Topic: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter  (Read 338 times)

Offline Mike 'Sandbagger' Norris

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Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« on: August 05, 2019, 06:47:28 AM »
Hi all,
This thread was started between Lance and me concerning information of the Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter.

Mike


Served in the RAF for 27 years - now a retired Military Aerospace Technical Author

Offline Mike 'Sandbagger' Norris

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Re: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2019, 06:48:54 AM »
Really enjoying following your progress here Mike. I peeked at it earlier this morning and it motivated a several hour long journey into researching Comic Camels, a project requiring a mod. of Cockpit positioning like this little gem from which I'm learning a lot. Great Build and it will definitely be one of a kind.
Cheers,
Lance

Lance,
I've not researched the 'Comic', but looking at profiles it looks to be a cross between a 'Ships Camel' and 'Swallow'.

Do you think sacrificing a WNW 'Ships Camel' and using the 'Swallow' conversion set could be a good basis for your 'Comic'?
That said it would only be the resin decking panels that could be used as the rest is not applicable. Maybe scratching the decking panels might prove less expensive than using the resin set.


Mike

Mike,
    At this very early stage of the (Maybe) project I'm thinking scratch built mods to a WNW Camel kit however you remind me of a good point with your reference to a Ship's Camel. Based on the Serial Numbers of the Comics I've got photos of (like B2402) they were initial production batch airframes from Ruston Proctor, definitely not  Ship's Camels which fell into the "N" Series of Tail Numbers. Some on-line refs though illustrate the Comics with the external control cables per the Ship's version, very confusing! Not to steal your excellent thread here but can you help with this seeming contradiction??
Cheers,
Lance

Hi Lance,
I have a copy of the rare Windsock International Volume 14, No.2 (1988) which has a special on the 'Comic'.
I'll see if I can dig it up and I'll get back to you.

Bud 'Coyotemagic' was involved in a 'Comic' back in 2009 - not sure if he completed it but he did have some data for it.
Brad Cancian might be able to help with information to.

Here's a few snippets I picked up from posts at the 'Aerodrome' forum:

The name Comic was originally applied to the Sopwith Strutter conversions made by 78 Sqn. The Comic version of the Camel involved moving the pilot's seat one bay rearward and its substitution with a 15 gallon tank from a BE2e (the standard Camel tank held 37 gallons). The Vickers guns were removed (they'd have been out of reach anyway) and a pair of Lewis guns were fitted above the centre section, on Foster mountings that enabled them to be lowered for re-loading. Some F1 Comics had one of the Lewis guns, usually the starboard one, fixed to fire upward at 45 degrees. The conversion did wonders for the Camel's performance and VI Brigade regarded it as the best of its nightfighters.

The main pressure and gravity tanks were removed and the place taken by the cockpit. A B.E.2e main tank, of approximately half (18 gallons/ 82 litres) the capacity of the ones removed was placed in the former cockpit position. The forward decking 'hump' was eliminated and a lowered and rounded decking was extended from the cowling to the new cockpit position.

Aft of the "firewall" was the oil tank, then the main tank from a BE 2e and a smaller auxillary tank, conveniently obscured by the instrument panel.


As you probably know there was the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter 'Comic' as well although not as successful as the Camel version.



Here's a link to Sopwith production at the Kingston plant in the UK.  It has lots of 'day by day' information throughout the war.

https://www.kingstonaviation.org/sopwith-day-by-day.html

Mike

Haven't located my data file yet, but it seems the elevator control lines were either as for the Camel or ala-RE,8 style.
I guess it depended of who modified the aircraft as to which method was used.

Mike

B9287 has the bell-crank 'RE.8' style. Note the stripes on the wings, tail plane/elevator and the fin marking?


B#### has a more traditional Camel style


B2402 has the same.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 10:57:18 PM by sandbagger »


Served in the RAF for 27 years - now a retired Military Aerospace Technical Author

Offline Rob_Owens

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Re: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2019, 12:11:31 PM »
Hats Off to whoever achieves the conversion in 1/32. I looked at trying with the WnW Ship's Camel and rapidly decided it was beyond my skills. . .

Offline Mike 'Sandbagger' Norris

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Re: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 07:12:39 PM »
Hi Rob,
Yes that's what my initial thoughts were - conversion of the ships Camel.
I'm busy with the 'Swallow' right now, but it'll be interesting to see what Lance may come up with,

Mike


Served in the RAF for 27 years - now a retired Military Aerospace Technical Author

Offline lcarroll

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Re: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 10:48:08 PM »
   From what I've gathered thus far I'm thinking the Clerget Camel Kit would be my choice as a basis for the conversion. As you've noted, Mike, the configuration of the elevator controls depended on where or who did the conversion. The "traditional Camel style" as on B2402 appears most common in the available photos however I'm hoping for some more definitive information to surface.
Cheers,
Lance

Offline Mike 'Sandbagger' Norris

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Re: Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 11:13:05 PM »
Hi Lance,
I found my copy of Windsock International  Vol. 14, No.2.
There's not a lot of technical data but some interesting photographs and a good multi-view drawing.
The drawing shows Camel style elevator controls.
The photographs show various weapon fits - twin over wing Lewis, sometimes with one fixed forward and the other angled at 45 degrees.
Also standard twin Vickers and a single wing mounted Lewis at 45 degrees, although I think this is essentially a modified Camel.
Interesting to see they had fuselage mounted 'navigation' lights and the under wing flare mountings.
It seems 'true Comics' were flown by at least HD Squadron No.44 and No.78
It may be the photograph of B9287 in the previous post may have been taken post war.
A point of interest is that the shot of B2402 shows a pendant (blue with white diamonds) fitted to the rudder.
Apparently some 'Comics' had a cut-out at the trailing edge of the lower wing roots, presumably for downward visibility.

If I can be of any help, if you decide to go for it, drop me a PM or post here,

Mike
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 04:08:45 AM by sandbagger »


Served in the RAF for 27 years - now a retired Military Aerospace Technical Author