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Corgi Aviation Archive Collector Series AA38110
Sopwith Camel Diecast Model
RAF No.209 Sqn, D3326, Wilfred May, April 21st 1918

Limited Edition

1:48 Scale   Length   Width
Sopwith Camel   4.75"   7"

As he climbed into the cockpit of his Sopwith Camel fighter at Bertangles aerodrome on 21st April 1918, Canadian Wilfred Reid 'Wop' May had no idea that this would be the most significant day in his life. Embarking on only his second mission over the Western Front, he had been instructed by his Flight Commander, the ace pilot Captain Roy Brown, to avoid combat if they encountered the enemy, simply to gain height and make for home. Over the River Somme, No.209 Sqn encountered several Fokker Dr.1s of von Richthofen's Flying Circus and dived to attack - as instructed, May stayed at altitude, but when an enemy Triplane passed close by, he saw the chance of an easy victory. Misjudging his attack,he overshot the enemy aircraft and by the time he had regained his bearings, his Camel began taking bullet strikes on its wings - the novice hunter had become the hunted. His opponent was clearly an experienced pilot and May could not shake him from his tail - his only chance of survival was to dive for the ground and try to make it over Allied lines, hoping his enemy would not follow.

What he did not know was that he was being chased by the distinctive red Fokker Triplane of Manfred von Richthofen, the greatest air ace the world had ever known. Failing in his attempt to gain his first aerial victory, Wilfred 'Wop' May was now in a fight for his life, as he unwittingly struggled to avoid becoming the 81st victory of Manfred von Richthofen. With his guns jammed and unable to shake the German airman off his tail, May flew at tree-top height, almost hitting the steeple of Vaux-sur-Somme church, as he attempted to reach the potential safety of Allied lines. Displaying exceptional airmanship, his pursuer stayed on his tail, however, despite firing off the odd round, appeared to be having gun problems of his own. The chase had attracted the attention of Allied ace Roy Brown, who attacked the Triplane, but due to the speed and low altitude of the chase, was only able to fire a few bursts of deflection shot. Just as it seemed as if May would either hit the ground or appear large in the Triplane's gunsight, the German aircraft reared up and immediately attempted to make a forced landing in a nearby beet field, ripping the undercarriage off on the rough ground. Mortally wounded, Manfred von Richthofen shut down the engine of his machine and cut off the fuel, before dying at the controls of his aircraft, the result of a single bullet wound. This historic victory was initially attributed (although not claimed) to Captain Roy Brown, however, subsequent research revealed that the fatal shot to von Richthofen's chest was most likely fired from an Australian machine gun position on the Morlancourt Ridge.

Sopwith Camel

Designed as a heavier, more powerful refinement of the Sopwith Pup, the Camel was first flown in 1917. Earning its name from the distinctive humped fairing surrounding its twin .303 Vickers machine guns, the Camel's unforgiving flight characteristics claimed the lives of many students in flight training. In the hands of a skilled pilot though, it was an extreme dogfighter that could out-maneuver any contemporary with the possible exception of the Fokker Dr.I. Common for airplanes of that era, a fixed crankshaft configuration allowed the entire engine to spin with the propeller, creating strong gyroscopic forces that adversely affected the airplane's handling under power. Together with the S.E.5a, the Camel helped gain superiority over the German Albatros and is credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter.

Copyright 2003-2020 The Flying Mule, Inc.

Corgi's 1:48 scale Camels are some of the most historically significant aircraft included in their WWI aircraft series. WWI fighters were relatively small in comparison to their WWII counterparts and 1:48 scale captures significant details that would be lost in smaller scales. The model uses fine gauge wire to represent the structurally significant bracing wires found on the actual aircraft. Additionally, the mold faithfully replicates the complex contours of the entire aircraft, simulating a stretched fabric covering. A detailed pilot figure sits behind the twin Vickers machine guns while the top wing includes the inboard cut-outs, so essential to the pilot's forward visibility in a dogfight. Up front, the propeller and engine are nicely detailed and free to rotate in unison behind the cowling, just as with the real aircraft. The model rests on rolling rubber tires that accurately reproduce the gray color vulcanized natural rubber takes on after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

© Copyright 2003-2020 The Flying Mule, Inc.

Corgi Aviation Archive Collector Series

The Corgi "Aviation Archive" range presents highly-detailed, ready-made diecast models of military and civilian aircraft. The vast Aviation Archive range has become the standard by which all other diecast airplane ranges are judged. Each Corgi model is based on a specific aircraft from an important historical or modern era of flight, and has been authentically detailed from original documents and archival library material. Famous airplanes and aviators from both military and commercial airline aviation are all honored.

Corgi "Aviation Archive" diecast airplanes feature:

  • Diecast metal construction with some plastic components.
  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable extended/retracted landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Detailed, hand-painted pilot and crew member figures.
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards.
  • Selected interchangeable features such as speed-brakes, opened canopies and access panels.
  • Selected moving parts such as gun turrets, control surfaces and swing-wings.

Copyright 2003-2020 The Flying Mule, Inc.

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