Author Topic: 4 Squadron AFC Sopwith Camel Side Panel Colours  (Read 297 times)

Offline Black Max 72

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4 Squadron AFC Sopwith Camel Side Panel Colours
« on: October 04, 2018, 12:27:44 PM »
G'day Forumites

I gathering resources for a 1/48 Revell (Eduard) Sopwith Camel that I am going to do in Aussie Ace Harry Cobby's 4 Squadron markings. I've just bought the Novascale decal set for his plane and have also downloaded the relevant WNW instructions for the Clerget Camel as well as the Camel/LVG Duelist kits both of which have markings for 4 Squadron aircraft just to get WNW's interpretations and I have come across a bit of a conundrum that I'm hoping the Camel experts might be able to help me with. Cobby's E1416 is a Ruston and Proctor built machine as are the camels depicted in the WNWs instructions. The Novascale Decals instructions, as well as a lot of the profiles on the net, seem to depict E1416's cockpit side panels and turtledeck as woodgrain yet the WNWs instructions show Watson's B7406, Kerr's E7190 and Thornton's E7241 as having those panels overpainted in PC10. In most of the images that I've seen it's impossible to tell the difference between dark varnished wood and PC10. Was this a Ruston & Proctor factory finish, a squadron level marking or WNWs interpretation of the grainy B&W pictures? Also the only photo that I've seen of Cobby's E1416 appears in Osprey's Air Vanguard on the Sopwith Camel, does anyone know of any other pictures of this aircraft? Any help would be much appreciated

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD

Offline lcarroll

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Re: 4 Squadron AFC Sopwith Camel Side Panel Colours
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 10:13:36 PM »
Dave,
    I'm no Camel expert however I happened to have all of my Camel references still neatly piled up on a sideboard from my recent Clerget Camel Build so a quick tour through them was pretty easy. The only photo I can find of E4616 is the one you reference. (There is one other however only a straight on front view) Based on the "shiny" finish on those two panels I'd guess they are varnished wood as opposed to the flat and grainy appearance of the fabric areas. The most Ruston and Proctor Camel photos are on pages 22 and 23 of Windsock Datafile #26 and 3 of 4 show the same contrast between the panels. Most graphic is a photo of B2428 taken at the Ruston Proctor & Co. works in which the woodgrain of the turtledeck is clearly visible and the "sheen" of the side panel appears to contrast with the fabric on the fuselage. As we know though field modifications to factory finishes were not uncommon.
   In the absence of anything more definitive if it were my project I'd go with the stained and varnished wood finish as being the more likely of the possible options. On the bright side the only thing we can be certain of is "we are not sure" so no one could call you wrong any more then right!
   Not much help I'm afraid but perhaps food for thought.
Cheers,
Lance

Offline Black Max 72

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Re: 4 Squadron AFC Sopwith Camel Side Panel Colours
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 11:04:36 AM »
Thanks for the reply Lance. I too am starting to lean towards varnished plywood for the finish. That being said I can understand why WNW went with PC10, it's so difficult to ascertain from the photos the tonal difference between PC10 and dark stained ply. I managed to find my copy of the Datafile (should've looked in there first! ::)) and they state in the colours section:

"The ply-covered areas behind the metal side shields and around the cockpit and rear decking were frequently coated with a glossy Copal varnish. This gave a slightly reddish, warm tinge to the natural ply and is easily distinguished from the adjacent PC10 on photographs."

As you said 'Shiny' or 'Glossy' is the operative word. Once I knew what to look for it kind of swung me back toward varnished ply. I kind of wanted to go that way anyway so as to break up the monochrome appearance of overall PC10, though I think Cobby's Charlie Chaplin 'nose art' would've definitely stood out more on PC10, it's always a balancing act insn't it!

Once again, thanks for the help

Dave Rickard
Rockhampton QLD

Offline lcarroll

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Re: 4 Squadron AFC Sopwith Camel Side Panel Colours
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 12:04:05 PM »
Dave,
   I had meant to include that quote from the Data File, it's a fairly definitive statement. This sort of "mystery" is more then half the fun of this Hobby and is what really makes every project complicated; there is really no hard answer to most of our questions!
Cheers,
Lance