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Built Review
Maybach Mb.IVa
Another promising under-achiever.
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

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)
Gotha G.IX
Gotha WD.8
Hansa-Brandenburg W.29
LFG Roland G.I
Rumpler C.VII
Zeppelin airships, beginning with LZ 105 up to LZ 114
Zeppelin-Lindau Rs.III
Zeppelin-Lindau Rs.IV
Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI
Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIV
Zeppelin-Staaken R.XV

Copper 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.

Purchase and methods of payment are listed on their website. At this time you must contact them through their website for prices and delivery schedules.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
Highs: High level of details. Unique subject matter applicable to some modern kits. Instructions are fairly clear.
Lows: Cylinders need attention and serious dry fitting against each other fore and aft.
Verdict: A fine scale motor and historically accurate. I will use mine to alter a Rumpler C.IV to a C.VII high altitude reconn bird.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: # A 48-203
  Suggested Retail: Contact Manufacturer
  Related Link: Website
  PUBLISHED: Dec 29, 2014

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright 2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Thanks for posting Ms. Jessica. As always you never fail to amaze me.
DEC 28, 2014 - 10:06 PM

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