Camel with a Difference

Sopwith Camel & ‘’Brownie’’

Suyata, Ref. SK002

Following the release of their chibi-style Fokker Triplane, Honk Kong-based Suyata have brought us a follow-up Sopwith Camel kit, also featuring a caricaturised figure, namely the pilot sometimes still credited for downing the Red Baron, Roy Brown.

The caricaturised look of the aircraft is very good, better than that of the Fokker Dr.I, but of course that’s my opinion. The kit is made up of 10 sprues moulded in no less than 6 different colours, plus two almost complete fuselage halves and separate interior structure to which we can also add one clear plastic sprue and two, complete this time, clear fuselage halves.

An instruction booklet and a small decal sheet complete the offering. All those goodies are (barely!) fitting into a fairly large and attractively designed box.

Another feature of this series of kit is the provision of a very comprehensive interior, obviously including a pretty good representation of the cockpit but also, as indicated earlier, the structure of the fuselage. Most of this will be invisible once the model is assembled and painted, unless of course the clear fuselage option is used. One issue with this option will be very large and visible locating plugs in the bottom of the fuselage.

The engine is made up of four parts, including, a bit annoyingly, two main halves with the cylinders. However the joint between the two parts is very good and all in all, largely invisible once the cowling has been installed.

The fit of the parts is in general excellent, reminding us of how Gundam kits are designed. The ‘metal’ parts (moulded in red plastic) of the front fuselage (if using the non-clear option) will however be tricky to add to the rest of the fuselage, because there are a number of ‘interior detail bits’ that need to stick out of the fuselage skinning. It may be an easier option to use the complete clear fuselage halves, though of course those would require some paint all over their insides in order to avoid any see-through phenomenon later.

The instructions show the parts to be added next into their actual plastic colour, which is actually quite helpful, even for an ‘old hand’.

The wings are each made up of top and bottom halves, with separate ailerons (also each made up of two parts). The whole affair, including the red cowling bits, the green fuselage,.. is obviously designed so that newcomers in the hobby do not need any painting to complete the build. The kit’s price and to be honest the relative high number of parts may however be better suited to modellers with at least a little bit of experience.

The figure is made up of 10 parts in hard plastic (the Fokker’s figure included some softer plastic bits), including a cat’s head sticking out of the pilot’s breast pocket. Not sure if Roy Brown had a soft spot for cats, or if this just a Suyata’s Public Relations gimmick (a Chinese-speaking feline does feature in the instruction booklet).

The decal sheet only offers the markings of Roy Brown’s aircraft. Alternative markings will need to be found in the spare box. It is a pity that Suyata did not include the instrument faces as decals: their size will make it hard for most of us to find suitable spare ones.. Suyata could also have provided some seat belts, the only other thing missing from the cockpit.

Nevertheless, this is an impressive kit, building up into an impressive chibi model. Suyata have just released a third opus in this series, the SPAD XIII (with Eddie Rickenbacker); let’s hope they do not stop at that!

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

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