KIT: Roden 1/72 Sopwith 2F1 Camel (Ship's Camel)
KIT #: 044
PRICE: $8.98 (7.96 at Squadron)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

At the end of 1916 the prototype of the Sopwith F1 Camel fighter successfully passed its flight tests and was ordered in quantity for RFC and RNAS requirements. At the same time, separate experiments were being conducted with the famous Sopwith Pup, flying off and landing on the deck of a destroyer (the 'Ship's Pup').

Seeing that the Camel improved on the Pup in every respect, it was decided to develop a version which could be operated at sea. In the spring and summer of 1917 the fifth prototype, adapted from the normal F1, underwent tests on the Isle of Grain.
There were some essential differences from the standard Camel: first of all, the rear fuselage was detachable, at a point behind the pilot's position, in order to facilitate the stowage of planes on the hangar decks of ships.

Another difference was in armament - there was a single Vickers gun ahead of the pilot, and in the center section cut out a Lewis gun was fitted, which could be lowered for reloading (the so-called Admiralty Top Plane Mounting). Inflatable air bags were mounted in the rear of the fuselage to serve as flotation gear. A further change involved the control column, which now had external control levers for the elevator cables.

The plane had narrower wings in comparison with the standard F1 Camel, by some 13 inches (0.33m). 2F1 Camel was official name of the plane, but quite often it was simply called the 'Ship's Camel'. Orders from Sopwith were followed by orders from a variety of other manufacturers: - Beardmore, Johnston, Hooper, and Clayton & Shuttleworth.

In October 1917 the production 2F1 started to appear in the fleet. Planes were transferred to the decks of cruisers such as HMS Manxman, and also the specially designed aircraft carrier HMS Furious, formerly a light battlecruiser; and some were based in coastal air stations around Britain. Overall, up to the end of the war 275 2F1 Camels were built-a small number in comparison with F1 Camel production.

Nevertheless, they featured in many notable scenes in the history of air combat in the First World War. On July 19th, 1918 seven 2F1 carried out the first successful carrier based air strike: having taken off from the deck of aircraft carrier HMS Furious they destroyed German Zeppelins L54 and L60 in their sheds at Tondern. Three weeks later on August 11th, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Stuart Culley shot down Zeppelin L53. After the end of the war the 2F1 very quickly disappeared from the decks of ships at sea. Some were presented to Canada, three more went to Latvia and one to Estonia where they were used until early 1920.

Thanks to for the historical background.


This is the first of the small scale Camels from Roden so we can expect there to be a number of other boxings in the future; each portraying different variants. Molded on three sprues of nicely molded plastic, Roden seems to have figured out the proper way to portray fabric coverings and has, to my opinion, one of the best representations in today's market. Typical of Roden kits, it relies on basic sprues to which they add whatever additional bits are needed to do the variant in question. In this regard, the sprue on the right of the image is the one with the specific bits for the 2F1 variant.

The molding of the parts is generally very good. I found almost no sink marks, flash or ejector pin marks to mar the plastic and add to the construction time. Thanks to the relative simplicity of the Camel, construction won't be a difficult task and the addition of rigging will make it even more sturdy.

Instructions are very good and offer well done construction drawings, a good parts diagram, and color references in both Humbrol and generic colors. Markings are included for four aircraft and are all basically in Matte WWI Green over Linen with 'Natural Wood' and Aluminum fore sections. The decal sheet is a pretty good size and provides some neat geometric designs for the different variants. A color painting guide for the box art aircraft is on the back of the box. The markings are for:

  1. Sopwith 2F1 Camel, N6603, HMS Pegasus, 1918.
  2. Sopwith 2F1 Camel, N6602, HMS Furious, 1918.
  3. Sopwith 2F1 Camel, N7149, Turnhouse Naval School, 1918.
  4. Sopwith 2F1 Camel, N7120, HMS Queen Elizabeth, 1918.

These appear very much to be the newer Roden decals so should go on with no problems at all.


It seems that we have a series of new Camel kits coming our way and the 2F1 is a great way to start things off. I fully expect these to sell very well as they are priced right and offer great detailing for the money.

July 2005

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