Tuesday 3 March 2009

Camels and Dolphins

Bit of a Sopwith day today with six more 1/144th aeroplanes constructed...

First off are four of Skytrex's Sopwith Camels (two pictured), a nice little model that goes together simply enough. The Camel is one of the best know fighters of WWI, but also saw sterling service in the immediate post-war period in a variety of new air forces including the Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Soviet ones. I bought four as I decided that not only did I want some RFC ones, but also wanted to paint some up in either Estonian or Latvian markings (or maybe Soviet...) for some Russian Civil/Baltic War dogfights.

Talk of the Camel obviously leads to Biggles (!), and I have recently read the reprint of the first Biggles collection entitled The Camels Are Coming.

Unlike later books, Captain W. E. Johns draws on his own experiences (and others he knew) to write some wonderful short stories that paint a vivid picture of the air war above the Western Front. Whilst a "kids book" he doesn't shy away from the strain war places on young men and Biggles is clearly suffering from battle fatigue in the later stories and getting through the days with an increasing reliance on Scotch (usually for breakfast!). If you have never read Biggles, read The Camels Are Coming!

The second Sopwith of the day is the Dolphin with its distinctive rear swept wing assembly (the top wing is 18 inches behind the lower wing) which entered service in February 1918 but only with four squadrons. A very modern looking fighter (for its day), this model is the first Reviresco one I have made up. 

First off it has many more individual pieces than any of the Skytrex models and is a bit fiddly to construct but with a bit of effort makes a reasonable model. The ridge effect on the rear-swept wings looks very scratchy in bare metal but I am reserving judgement until I slap some paint on it. The Dolphin did see post-war service in the Polish Air Force against the Soviets in the 1920's and if I can find some 1/144th Polish national decals I might be tempted to fly the Dolphins over Warsaw rather than the Western Front...


  1. Never read Biggles. Being in the US, you don't hear of him. However, hanging around UK wargamers, you hear a lot about him, so I went ahead and picked this up. Thanks!

  2. I got my Lad copies of all the Biggles WW1 reprints for Christmas and he devoured them eagerly. Since then he has loved playing Wings of War (in Camels naturally), while making comments such as "Take that vile Boche" and "Yaa Boo Harry Hun". I proudly encourage such behaviour of course!