Author Topic: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic' conversion  (Read 5473 times)

Offline Mike Norris

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1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic' conversion
« on: January 20, 2022, 03:52:04 AM »
Hi all,
As The Salmson 2-A2 model will be finished in the next week, my mind turns to what model is next on the bench.
I have yet to build the many models in my stash, from such as Wingnut Wings, Copper State Models and the new releases from Lukgraph.
But I've fancied the idea of building the Sopwith 'Comic' night fighter conversion of the Camel.
However, there is no 1:32nd scale model of this aircraft.
So I've decided to use one of the Wingnut Wings Camel kits I have and attempt converting it to a 'Comic'.

The first attempt at converting an existing aircraft to a night fighter was carried out on the Sopwith 1 1/2 'Strutters.'
However when the aircraft were first used by No.78 Squadron, the poor performance and lack of fire power showed.
The pilot's referred to the aircraft as a night fighter as being comical.
Even though the Camel conversion proved more successful, the nickname stuck.
The design of the ‘Comic’ version of the Sopwith Camel involved replacing the standard twin Vickers machine guns on the fuselage to Lewis machine guns, located on the upper wing.
This was due to muzzle flash from the fuselage guns temporarily blinding the pilot when night flying.
Lewis machine guns mounted over the upper wing negated this.
Therefore, the forward fuselage Vickers machine guns and their famous ’hump’ were removed.
The forward decking 'hump' was eliminated and a lowered and rounded decking was extended from the cowling to the new cockpit position.
The new armament consisted of a pair of Lewis machine guns, which were fitted above the centre section of the upper wing and on ‘Foster’ type mounting.
This enabled the machine guns to be lowered for re-loading and removed the chances of muzzle flash affecting the pilot's sight.
Some ‘Comics’ had one of the Lewis guns, usually the starboard one, fixed to fire upward at 45 degrees.
Due to the location of the Lewis machine guns, the cockpit had to be moved rearwards by one bay, to allow the pilot to reach the weapons.
This modification required that the main pressure and gravity fuel tanks, which were behind the original cockpit, being removed and replaced by a smaller capacity fuel tank of 18 gallons.
This was the type fitted to the BE2e aircraft was fitted forward from the cockpit.
This tank held less fuel than the original standard fuel tank of 37 gallons and was located forward from the re-positioned cockpit.
The internal forward area of the fuselage, to the rear of the fuselage firewall, had the engine oil tank, then the main fuel tank and a smaller auxiliary tank, all located behind the instrument panel.
The conversion improved the aircraft's performance and the VI Brigade regarded it as the best of its night fighters.





No.44 Squadron (HD) was formed on the 24th of July, 1917 at Hainault Farm as Home Defence squadron for the London area.
This particular aircraft, Srial No.B2402, was flown by Capt. George Henry Hackwill, a former FE2b pilot with No.22 Sqn with two victories to his credit.
After time as a flight instructor he was assigned to No.44 (HD) Squadron as a flight commander.
On the night of 28th-29th of January 1918, Capt. Hackwill, flying ‘Comic’ B2402 and with Lt. Charles Chaplin Banks flying B3827, shot down Gotha GV, Serial No.938/16 at Wickford in Essex.
Hackwill, who was from Langtree in Devon, later flew more conventional Sopwith Camels in France as a flight leader in No.54 Squadron.
There he raised his victory count nine and received the Military Cross.

Mike

« Last Edit: March 08, 2022, 07:32:11 PM by Mike 'Sandbagger' Norris »


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

Offline gbrivio

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2022, 04:05:44 AM »
Very promising build, I'm taking a seat in the first row!
Ciao
Giuseppe

Bughunter

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2022, 05:01:32 AM »
Oh, another Camel! Have to hurry up to finish mine because this build here will be again ultra correct!

Eduard will release a 1/48 Comic this year based on their new tooled Camel. I think I need to buy it.

Cheers,
Frank

Offline RAGIII

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2022, 05:26:14 AM »
I am really looking forward to this conversion Mike. I am sure it will be superb!
RAGIII
"A man has to know his limitations": Harry Callahan

"Don't slop it on" Lynda Geisler

Bughunter

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2022, 05:41:28 AM »
All correct what you wrote Mike, but you have not mentioned the reason?

The forward fuselage Vickers machine guns and their famous ’hump’ were removed as the pilot would not have been unable to reach the weapons.
To remove the Vickers was the main reason to create the Comic because the muzzle flash blinded the pilot during night flights.

So they wanted to use guns on top of the wing so that the pilot is in the shadow of the wing. To be able to reload the Lewis the cockpit has to be moved, and the tank and all other changes followed as you wrote.

Cheers,
Frank

Offline Mike Norris

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2022, 08:58:48 AM »
Hi Frank,
Yes good point.
I missed the reasoning but what you say is correct.
I've amended the first post.
Thanks,

Mike


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

Offline Dave W

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2022, 09:33:41 AM »
The Comic is a favourite subject for me so I'm closely following this one Mike.

Incidentally for the 1/48 scale modellers Eduard are releasing a Sopwith Camel Comic nightfighter later this year.

Dave Wilson
Gold Coast
Australia
Owner and Administrator of ww1aircraftmodels.com and forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com

Online lcarroll

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2022, 12:00:06 PM »
Mike,
    This is a very interesting project, a Comic Camel conversion has been very near to the top of my list of future Builds for some time. I have a Wingnut Wings "Clerget" Kit and two of the older Hobby Craft  Kits laid aside for the purpose. I'll be following your project closely and I'm particularly interested in what References you've discovered, from my limited efforts there's not a lot of specific reference material out there.
Cheers,
Lance

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2022, 01:34:08 PM »
I'm fascinated to see and follow this as I know precious little about the Comic.

Such as: why were such aircraft labelled "Comic"?

Bughunter

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2022, 06:10:51 PM »
Zac, as far as I remember the nickname "Comic" was already used for converted Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter aircraft, also without Vickers and with at the beginning only one Lewis for the same reason, to intercept Zeppelins in night fighter duties. This reduced fire power caused the nick name Comic.
Later the Camel was introduced for the same task, but kept the nickname.

Cheers,
Frank

Offline PrzemoL

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2022, 06:28:25 PM »
That will be a show to watch. Waiting impatiently...
Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatuluk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

Offline Mike Norris

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2022, 08:41:16 PM »
I'm fascinated to see and follow this as I know precious little about the Comic.

Such as: why were such aircraft labelled "Comic"?

Hi Zac,
Frank is correct in that the first conversion was on the Sopwith 1 1/2 'Strutters'
However when the aircraft were first used by No.78 Squadron, the poor performance and lack of fire power showed.
The pilot's referred to the aircraft as a night fighter as being comical.
Even though the Camel conversion proved more successful, the nickname stuck,

Mike


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

Offline macsporran

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2022, 08:53:26 PM »
Ah you've got my interest now.
I've always been fascinated by the Comic Camel and have long thought of converting a WNW - only put off now by the rarity and value of the Wingnut Camels I've got left! Had thought of working on a Hobbycraft one but not got quite the enthusiasm for that kit!

Way back in the 90s I hacked a Blue Max F.1 into a Comic in 1/48 - another 44Sqdn Hainault machine, (I chose B4614, flown by LT WE Nicholson because it was painted in the curious shade of green (not PC10, or 12) developed by the family paint company of one of the pilots.)

But your 1/32 WNW conversion offers much more scope.
Avidly watching.
Sandy
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 09:04:35 PM by macsporran »

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2022, 04:09:16 AM »
Zac, as far as I remember the nickname "Comic" was already used for converted Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter aircraft, also without Vickers and with at the beginning only one Lewis for the same reason, to intercept Zeppelins in night fighter duties. This reduced fire power caused the nick name Comic.
Later the Camel was introduced for the same task, but kept the nickname.

Cheers,
Frank
Hi Zac,
Frank is correct in that the first conversion was on the Sopwith 1 1/2 'Strutters'
However when the aircraft were first used by No.78 Squadron, the poor performance and lack of fire power showed.
The pilot's referred to the aircraft as a night fighter as being comical.
Even though the Camel conversion proved more successful, the nickname stuck,

Mike
Frank and Mike, thank you: I have pondered the nickname's origin for many years and this seems a very reasonable explanatiob. You learn something new every day!

And now back to your regularly-scheduled Comic Channel News programming.  ;D

Offline Monty

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Re: 1:32nd scale Sopwith 'Comic'
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2022, 06:13:00 AM »
What a great project! I will be following closely... Regards, Marc.