The Maybach Mb.IVa was a six-cylinder, water-cooled, inline aircraft and airship engine developed in Germany during the First World War by Maybach Motorenbau GmbH, a subsidiary of the Zeppelin concern.
It was one of the world's first series-produced engines designed specifically for high-altitude use. It was quite different engine design than the Mb.IV, not just a simple modification. Like all engines of that time, the previous Maybach design, the Mb IV, lost at high altitude as much as half of the nominal power of 240 horsepower.
The new Maybach Mb IVa of 1916 was the first engine designed to overcome this limitation. It did not use a supercharger but a much more primitive solution. The engine had purposely "oversized" cylinders, and too high compression ratio. It was tested with a maximum out put of 245hp at 1800 meters altitude. This would normally and theoretically correspond to 300hp at sea level. But the engine was not designed to withstand such power and for best performance had 3 carburetors that needed to be physically adjusted in higher altitude flights.
The engine has been erroneously designated as 260 hp (190 kW) at sea level, so it would not appear inferior to the engines it was replacing.
Friedrichshafen G.V (one built)
Gotha G.VIII (one built)
LFG Roland G.I
Zeppelin airships, beginning with LZ 105 up to LZ 114
ContentsCopper State Models
has brought us a very detailed rendition of the Maybach Mb.IVa in 1/48 resin. This kit set contains 32 resin parts and about 8” of soft brass wire for various uses in the build. In my experience mounting individual cylinders on a crankcase needs careful attention. It begins with the first cylinder sitting plumb and square and all others must follow. If done with generous amounts of dry fitting it yields an impressive build.
I spent two evenings (about 2 hours each night) working on this project. Mostly because the parts are small and you need to keep a sharp focus on the build. The only change I would make in the build procedure is to add the pushrods immediately after the cylinders are set. If at all possible let as much of this motor be exposed in your display as you can. It is a fine jewel.
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