Classic Biplane Duelists

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Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby speedgraflex » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:41 pm

All the best cowboys have daddy issues...

This is the title of one of my favorite episodes of the television series Lost and also (for me) a great way to introduce this project, which features both an Aurora kit rebranded by Smer which I am building and an Aurora kit rebranded by Monogram which Carlos is building.

It is important to include Carlos, a fellow vintage builder here as partial catalyst and also Carlotta who said, “You have everything you need to put aside the past,” and indeed I do have everything; I have eBay, the internet, the will to do it...

I have SPAM.

You.

The best group of rangers around.


Once Upon A Time...

To recap: as a wee lad my Dad stopped me from buying this kit because of the subject. “Don’t you think you ought to build an American plane?” Well, I chose British in the end. Aurora’s Sopwith Camel. But I never forgave him, I never spoke up either, which is the real reason I held a grudge. He had a point. But I had a point, too. And I should have articulated it.

As I edge closer to 10,000 posts here on SPAM, I am at a crossroads. Enter Carlos. He is as good a man at a crossroads as any I know, and he has a cracking 1:48 Monogram Camel, ex-Aurora vintage, gorgeous in dark green gloss plastic waiting to be built, and I have Smer’s repop Aurora in gloss gray plastic waiting since 1972 to have someone crack the seal.

And he said, “Yes, let’s build them together.”

And do you realize that all the parts fit into a ziploc sandwich bag?

Mind blowing!

So let’s articulate the reasons why this aircraft should be built together. And let’s honor my father and all fathers and even the all-father.


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Part One: Subject

Fokker Dr.I 426/17, w/n 2010

Flown by Offizierstellvertreter Otto Esswein (12 victories) of Jasta 26. Unit markings (black and white) earned Jasta 26 the nickname of “The Checkerboards.” Esswein’s personal marking was his initial.



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Part Two: Kit

Smer kit (ex Aurora), Scale 1:48

I am such an Ian Fleming fan I think “SMERSH!” each time I see “Smer.” Certainly not the same nefarious outfit. At least, I hope not.

Inside are instructions, decals, and 33 parts injection molded in gray. One oddity is a streamlined air scoop shown to attach between the machine guns.

Aurora originally boxed the parts on sprues, so these were removed by the factory. Molding is impressive for the era with no airframe flash (a wisp of flash on the seat, moderate flash on manifold induction pipes of the Oberursel UR-2 rotary engine). Mold seam lines are basically limited to struts with almost no sinks.

Typical of the era, there are visible ejector circles. Most are on the underside of parts except for those on the top of the bottom and middle wings and wing struts. The worst sink I found is a shallow dogbone shaped depression on the fuselage portion of the middle wing. I filled that with Milliput.

The cowl is wrong as the lower cut out is too shallow. Part thickness is out of scale for struts yet impressively thin for trailing edges, the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder. Certainly not what I expected!  Test fitting reveals good fit. A pass of sandpaper along the fuselage should permit glue to seal the slight gaps. Where the cabanes and interstruts mate into wing surfaces would require filler.

As was the fashion of the era, all insignia and data is molded onto the airframe; and I shaved off everything, and I do mean everything, resulting in a nice clean airframe.

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Part Three: Aftermarket

Guns

Oh, yes. Of course.


The next post will be devoted to the Sopwith Camel.
Bruce / SPEEDGRAFLEX
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby Floki » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:26 am

Sounds like you've had a plan in the making for a long time Bruce
March as one, Don't look back
Odin's sons... Attack!
Unleash hell! Do not repent! Warfare grants us no lament
Let your weapons slash and tear This is no place for fear
Hold the lines! Move as one! In unity our victory's won
Our shields will form a mighty wall
United we shall never fall
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby jeaton01 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:10 pm

I think the SMERSH is a play on Smert, or смерть, the russian for death. The e is pronounced as a long a. Another possibility is смерч, smerch, tornado. I think I prefer the death option, much more Bondish!
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby speedgraflex » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:05 pm

Very interesting. I checked Wikipedia and this is what I found: “Joseph Stalin coined the name СМЕРШ ('SMERSH') as a portmanteau of the Russian-language phrase Смерть шпионам (SMERt' SHpionam, ‘Death to Spies’). Originally focused on combating German spies infiltrating the Soviet military, the organization quickly expanded its mandate: to find and eliminate any subversive elements—hence Stalin's inclusive name for it.” I don’t know if this is how SMERSH is used in the works of Fleming.
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby speedgraflex » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:06 pm

Floki wrote:Sounds like you've had a plan in the making for a long time Bruce


Very true. Very true.
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby Stikpusher » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:14 pm

speedgraflex wrote:
jeaton01 wrote:I think the SMERSH is a play on Smert, or смерть, the russian for death. The e is pronounced as a long a. Another possibility is смерч, smerch, tornado. I think I prefer the death option, much more Bondish!


Very interesting. I checked Wikipedia and this is what I found: “Joseph Stalin coined the name СМЕРШ ('SMERSH') as a portmanteau of the Russian-language phrase Смерть шпионам (SMERt' SHpionam, ‘Death to Spies’). Originally focused on combating German spies infiltrating the Soviet military, the organization quickly expanded its mandate: to find and eliminate any subversive elements—hence Stalin's inclusive name for it.” I don’t know if this is how SMERSH is used in the works of Fleming.


That is how Smersh is used in Casino Royale, the only Fleming Bond novel that I have read.
"Surely I have made my meaning plain? I intend to avenge myself upon you, Admiral. I have deprived your ship of power, and when I swing 'round, I intend to deprive you of your life."

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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby speedgraflex » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:19 pm

Sopwith Camel

By Stikpusher

Part One

Squadron History

No 45 Squadron was formed at Gosport on March 1, 1916 as a fighter unit. In October No 45 moved to France. In November 1917 it was sent as reinforcements to Italy. It returned to France in September of the following year and joined the Independent Force. At the end of the war the unit claimed 164 enemy aircraft destroyed, the highest total of any Sopwith equipped squadron.

Sopwith F.1 Camel B2407

Lieutenant CM Masters
No 45 Squadron
Istrana, Italy, 1918

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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby Stikpusher » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:28 pm

So my entry into this buddy build is a Sopwith Camel. It only seems natural to oppose the Fokker Dr.I when Bruce first propsosed this buddy build of duelist biplanes awhile back.

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I have had the old Monogram issue of the classic Aurora kit in my stash and had been pondering building it for awhile. Bruce’s idea of a buddy build was the kick in the pants needed to get this one from an abstract concept into something of an actual plan. The next step was to get other projects wrapped up so that I could give this build the attention that it deserves.

I had the 1/48 scale kit

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and a set of decals

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Off of the decal set I selected this particular subject aircraft.

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With a new year, and now all previous builds on my bench wrapped up, it was time to start.
"Surely I have made my meaning plain? I intend to avenge myself upon you, Admiral. I have deprived your ship of power, and when I swing 'round, I intend to deprive you of your life."

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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby BlackSheep214 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:38 pm

Good choice on the Gas Patch aftermarket MG. They have the best WW1 selections of aftermarket parts. I do have the 1/32 scale Sopwith Camel in my stash. Don't forget to get the wicker seats. They're way batter than the kit's seats.
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Re: Classic Biplane Duelists

Postby Stikpusher » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:47 pm

Sprue shots... like my A-7 from last year, Monogram acquired these molds when Aurora Models folded in the late 70’s. Monogram revamped them a bit and brought the molds up to a then current level of detail.

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It’s not like today’s Eduard or Roden kits, but a good enough starting point.

I won’t be using any AM aside from decals, but I will be making mods here and there, and using stuff from my spares & salvage parts.
"Surely I have made my meaning plain? I intend to avenge myself upon you, Admiral. I have deprived your ship of power, and when I swing 'round, I intend to deprive you of your life."

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