by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
History:The Halberstadt CL.IV prototype type was put through its paces in Feb. 1918. Its role was seen as a replacement for the heavier Halb. CL.II as an escort to the larger “C” class bombers and reconn aircraft of the time. In January 1917, four of the Kampfgeschwadern were disbanded and reformed into “Schutzstaffeln”( Protection Flights) each with six C Class aircraft. “Protection Flights” flew close escort with Fl.Abt or Fl.Abt.(A) they were assigned to. In March 1918 these “Schusta” units were redesignated as “Schlachtstaffel” ( Battle flight). The Schlachtstaffeln units usually had a maximum of six aircraft each and they machines were numbered 1- 6 along with whatever unit markings were assigned. They were additionally assigned to low level strafing and bombing missions. It was to initially use the same Mercedes D.IIIa 170hp but by late 1918 the Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp had replaced it as a standard.
Halberstadt CL.IV types reached the front in early summer of 1918. By the end of the war about 18 attack squadrons (Schlachtstaffel) completely or partly re-equipped with the type. Out of the 1,300 aircraft on order, about 840 aircraft were built by the end of the war: seven series production batches at the the parent factory and two batches under license by LFG Roland (about 250 aircraft). Halberstadt CL.IV produced by Roland had their fuselages extended by 0.4 m. This was done to stabilize the aircraft's level flight, because pilots reported that the short hull vibrated in flight
The Kit:In this instance I will discuss the new Mirage kit #481314. The plastic parts conform well with Windsock Datafile #43 drawings, even though the people at Mirage do their own research. This is a new mould and is not a reissue of any other kit. There are some ejector pin marks on the inside of the fuselage halves, that are in well-placed locations. These do not interfere with the detail moldings. Only the long fuselages are included in this kit.
Kit contents:a. Plastic 130 pcs.
b. Acetate Instrument faces 12 @
c. Decals for 04 profiles, but no wing camouflage lozenge decals are in this issue.
d. PE - 36 pcs.
e. Plastic parts not to be used for the CL.IV build - 36 pcs.
f. Instructions are a 12 page, 48 step booklet This set of instructions is not like their CL.II versions. The colour booklet was very small in the CL.II kits. Here it is in a much larger format and 90% is in black & gray tones with a white background.
Begin with a general clean up of all seams and a wash of all parts in a mild anti-bacterial soap. Pre-drill all rigging and strut locator holes. Check out page #9 for these locations.
The fuselage: The interior has finely moulded frame and longeron detail and the Duraluminum guard over the control wires present in the rear cockpit. I will replace all the interplane struts with cut extruded brass sections. The lower wings should be pinned in place using brass at fuselage attachments / unions have small facades in the fuselage and matching stubs on the wings. These stubs should be replaced with brass pins and the holes drilled through. The gun ring appears sufficient.
The engine: The fifteen piece plastic inline motor is a specific representation for the late production Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp. Check the references listed at the end of this article for some keynote differences in the types installed. The cylinder jackets were the color of “blued metal.” The immediate visual difference in the early Mercedes D.III 160hp / D.IIIa 170hp and its progeny the D.IIIaü 180hp or D.IIIav 200hp are in the rocker boxes above the cylinder jacket heads. On the D.III and D.IIIa motors the rocker springs are centered on the sides of the rocker box covers. On the D.IIIaü and D.IIIav motor the rocker springs are located on the forward leading edge of the same covers. The Mercedes D.III 160hp was outclassed by 1917. The Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp was the standard engine in both of the Halberstadt CL.II & IV types starting in late 1917 through 1918. Then in early 1918 came the Mercedes D.IIIav 200hp. Many, many older D. III and IIIa type motors were rebuilt to the D.IIIaü specs at the airparks as the war progressed. That is why some captured examples had motors with the i.d. designation of D.III 160hp cast into their crankcases. This has caused the misconception that the standard 160hp and 170 hp were used in 1918 at a time when they had become obsolete. Often these were referred to as “160hp over-compressed engines.
The armaments: Additionally there are PE detail sets for the guns (Spandau and Parabellum). There are three Parabellum drums / magazines. The forward bulkhead / fuselage station, both gun breaches, an optic sight for the observer’s gun. It tells you to delete the use of the flare cartridges on a belt for the observer. I would put these in the rear cockpit. There is also a simulated flare pistol. For the first production batch machines use the twin Spandau Maxims. For machines of the second production batch us only a single left side mounted Maxim.
The wings: Surfaces are finely designed and the wash-out at the tips both upper and lower wings are nicely represented. The typical up-turn (washout) to the root trailing edge of the lower wings is present. Trailing edges are commendably thin with decent rib representations. The center section of the upper wing is well done, representations of the radiator surfaces, fuel tank and leather edging on the trailing edge cut out.
The upper wing center section needs brass pins for joining to the wing panels which will certainly need drilling out.
Decals The Roland-license built version kit (#481314) has markings for four aircraft:
1. The first scheme is 8103/18 from the 1st production batch restored by the MVT in Berlin and is now displayed at the NASM in Washington D.C. USA.
(The English translation of this machine's is mismarked as 8171/18 on page 11).
2. The second set of markings are for 9407/18. It was an aircraft of the second production batch and is depicted as having a transmitter antenna.
3. The third profile is for 8171/18. It is similar to the first but not exactly the same in fuselage camouflage pattern.
4. 9455/18 "2" is from the second production batch. It was photographed with mechanics of the III Marine Brigade.
The Camouflage Kit #481313 only displays the wings in printed 4 colour Farbenflugstoff (commonly know as lozenge). But you will have to get 4 (& 5)colour from Microsculpt.com to get the best on the market for colours and application. The kit does not provide any. But Mirage does have 5 colour at this time. See Aeroscale for that decal set review. Note it is believed that the Halberstadt CL.IV lozenge application was chordwise not angled as on the CL.II.
References“Airforce Museum Rolls out. . .” by David Layton, Over the Front Vol. 10, #2, Pp.353 - 358.
“Albatros D.Va” by R. Mikesh, Smithsonian Inst. press 1980 (Excellent reference on the motor).
Aviation Awards of Saxony and the men that earned them (Vol.III of the series) by Neal O’ Connor. P.235.
Circus Colors #10 Schlachtsaffel Markings by G. VanWyngarden, Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 25 #3,
German Army Air Service by R. Rimell, Vintage Warbirds # 2, Osprey Pub.1985.
Halberstadt CL. II by Ray Rimell, The best of Windsock Vol. 2 1991.
Halberstadt CL. II by P. Grosz, Windsock Datafile # 27 .
Halberstadt CL. II article in Wingspan May 1989 Pp. 44 - 45.
Halberstadt CL. IV by P. Grosz, Windsock Datafile # 43. 1994.
Halberstadt CL. IV, Flight Magazine Report 10 Oct. 1918.
"Halberstadt CL.IV - In Detail" by A. Engels CD Rom -$10.00@
Halberstadt serial numbers by D. T. Pardee, Over the Front, Vol. X, #X Pp. 88 - 99.
Pictorial History of the German Army Air Service by A.Imrie, Allan Pub. 1971.
Sclachtflieger! by R. Duiven and Dan San Abbott, Schiffer Pub. 2007.
Sclachtstaffel Fighter, Halberstadt CL. II & CL. IV Aviation News, Pp 1152 - 1162 27 April - 10 to May 1990.
World War One in the Air by Rimell, Arms & Armour Press, Warbirds #9, 1988.
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