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New LEGO aircraft: LEGO Sopwith Camel

A new LEGO aircraft is coming soon that would greatly appeal to LEGO model builders and collectors; a second version of the LEGO Sopwith Camel. If you have been around LEGO you know there was a previous version; the #3451 LEGO Sopwith Camel, released in 2001 (see below).

The real Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult to handle, to an experienced pilot it provided unmatched maneuverability. A superlative fighter, the Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the war. It also served as a ground-attack aircraft, especially near the end of the conflict. You can read more about the Sopwith Camel on Wikipedia.

Now, the legendary Sopwith Camel, the aircraft flown by WWI aces and one of the most recognizable British aircraft to take to the skies, has been recreated as a LEGO Exclusive model; the #10226 LEGO Sopwith Camel.

The biplane that took on the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen and his flying circus has been turned into an authentic LEGO model with moving parts that captures the Sopwith Camel’s classic looks. “Getting to design it was a real treat”, says Jamie Berard, Lead Designer for LEGO Exclusives. “We made a Sopwith Camel in 2001, but that was more of a visual model, beautiful to look at but without any functionality.” Here is a video with Jamie explaining the new LEGO aircraft design:

Here are some of the unique features of this new version of the LEGO aircraft:

  • Just like the real aeroplane, the joystick in the cockpit can move the ailerons and elevators using string rather than gears or levers. “The string goes up over the wings and can operate the ailerons on both wings at the same time. It was a real challenge to work on”, says Jamie.
  • The powerful rotary engine that gave the Sopwith Camel its distinct look has also been recreated and features a rotating propeller and rotating engine-cylinders.
  • In addition the LEGO Sopwith Camel has many sought-after LEGO parts including some metallic parts on the cowling and new 1×1 round tiles. “We’re also introducing the 1×1 brick in dark tan, which was on our top ten list of elements that our fans want, and we give you quite a few of them”, adds Jamie.
  • “We have tried to avoid stickers wherever possible and have a LEGO brick-built rudder in the characteristic red, white and blue of the original aircraft. Also included are dark green 8×16 plates and 1×3 tiles in the same color.”
  • The scale of the LEGO aircraft was carefully chosen to take account of the size of the large, powerful engine that drove the plane and so that the string could function properly with ailerons. “That allowed us to make a bigger wingspan more true to the original aircraft and a wider body that makes it easy to hold as you fly it around.”
  • The LEGO aircraft model has 883 LEGO bricks and includes rare dark-green, dark-tan and metallic-silver elements. It measures over 15” (40cm) long and has a wingspan of over 19” (50 cm).

The #10226 LEGO Sopwith Camel is going to be available from June 1, via the Online LEGO Shop and LEGO Brand Retail Stores. Price will be: US $99.99, CA $129.99, DE 89.99 €, UK £79.99, DK 799DKK.

There is also going to be a mini version of the Sopwith Camel available as a freebie in the month of June.

I believe this new LEGO aircraft will appeal not just to LEGO fans but also model builders in general. I know modeling planes is a huge hobby, and this version of the Sopwith Camel seems to give enough realistic details to model builders to satisfy their hunger for realism and a good challenge. What do you think? How do you like this new LEGO aircraft? Share your thought in the comment section below. 😉

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Kings May 10, 2012, 10:39 AM

    Is it just me, or does the new version have more studs on the top?

    • admin May 10, 2012, 10:46 AM

      Kings, the wingspan is larger, if that’s what you mean. 😉

  • Kings May 11, 2012, 3:20 AM

    I actually meant that the original Sopwith had less studs on the wings and was more smooth 😀

    • admin May 11, 2012, 8:42 AM

      Oh, I see. Yes, the first version had a lot of large plates with studs only at the edges, whereas the second version uses regular plates, with some tiles on top to smooth them out at strategic locations. 🙂

  • Tydroid Ninja of Poison NINJAGONESS May 11, 2012, 8:04 AM

    I like studying History of WW1 and WW2, so this is a preety cool set,ESPECIALLY with those cool functions!

    • admin May 11, 2012, 8:54 AM

      Yeah, I thought the functionality was very nicely done! 😀

    • WW1 May 14, 2012, 5:04 PM

      I’m a historian

  • samuel May 11, 2012, 9:58 AM

    wow this plane looks amazing!

    I almost can’t wait for it to come out on June first

    • admin May 11, 2012, 10:03 AM

      Samuel, yeah, it is pretty spectacular! 🙂

      • lego chronicler May 11, 2012, 12:23 PM

        How much will it cost? I will probably have to mow more lawns to get LOTR LEGO and this…. so far I’m at 190 USD and counting!

        • admin May 11, 2012, 12:33 PM

          Chronicler, the price in various currencies is about half-way down the post, right above the box image. Good luck with the mowing! You are setting a great example by working for your money, reather then expecting your parents to just buy you whatever you want. 😉

          • lego chronicler May 14, 2012, 6:02 PM

            I do that too…

  • samuel May 11, 2012, 1:41 PM

    do you know if LEGO is going to come out with a red baron plane?

    • admin May 11, 2012, 5:30 PM

      Samuel, there has been some speculation going on about the Red Baron, but at this point is is pretty much just wishful thinking. No word from LEGO on it. At least not yet. 😉

  • admin May 12, 2012, 8:47 AM

    I was wondering if the new Sopwith wouldn’t look even better with the new olive-green color on the wings. I mean the color combination looks excellent right now, but looking at the original plane, olive-green wings might look more realistic. What do you guys think? 😉

  • WW1 May 14, 2012, 5:00 PM

    I would rather have a regular German plane than a red baron

  • lego chronicler May 14, 2012, 6:08 PM

    Will they come out with a minifig size model with Keith Thiele?

    • admin May 14, 2012, 7:55 PM

      Actually, a historical set like that would be quite nice. Keith could sign the model and make it a super-special collector’s item. Something similar to the Architecture line. Although I don’t know if LEGO would do that as they don’t like to get into politics. One country’s hero is always another’s enemy, and I don’t think LEGO wants to get into that. 😐

      • lego chronicler May 14, 2012, 8:31 PM

        He’s a ww1 pilot… Lol he is a skeleton right now! Good luck signing

        • lego chronicler May 14, 2012, 8:32 PM

          (only 3 ww1 survivors are alive right now, he’s not one of them!)


        • lego chronicler May 14, 2012, 8:37 PM

          my bad his name is keith caldwell

          • admin May 14, 2012, 10:30 PM

            Okay, that clarifies it because Keith Thiele is still alive. 😉

            • lego chronicler May 16, 2012, 5:44 PM

              Kieth theile was a spitfire not a sopwith, he was in the New Zealand royal air force

              • admin May 16, 2012, 9:30 PM

                I know, but since you mentioned him I just wanted to point out that he is not dead. 😉

  • Luca June 2, 2012, 10:03 PM

    I am reminded of Snoopy.

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