Among North Star Modelsí
extensive selection of resin and photo-etched models and upgrade sets is the first kit in a very promising range of 1:16 aero engines.
The Siemens-Halske Sh.III was an 11-cylinder rotary engine, producing around 160 h.p. that powered a number of late-war German fighter designs, most notably the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV that was was rated by some as the finest fighter of WW1 - albeit too late to have an impact on the outcome of the conflict.
kit arrives packed tightly in a resealable bag with the resin and etched parts further sealed in their own zip-lock bags.
The kit comprises
71 x grey resin parts
4 x etched brass parts
The casting in the sample kit is absolutely flawless - it honestly is among the best examples (if not the
very best example) of casting I've ever seen in a kit like this. There's no flash, and no trace of "fill-in" between the exquisitely fine cooling fins on the cylinders (a classic trouble-spot - but where I initially thought Iíd found a couple of instances, they turned out to be nothing more than loose particles that brushed away). There aren't even any casting lines, despite the complex shapes - so, having produced a fair number of resin parts myself over the years, Iím left scratching my head at just how North Star
Not surprisingly, the parts are attached to pretty substantial casting blocks, so there will be a bit of careful preparation required to remove them, but once that's out of the way it doesn't look as though any clean-up will be needed at all, beyond washing the pieces to ensure there's no trace of release agent left on them.
The detail is very impressive, with pin-sharp representations of the rockers, spark plugs and push rod attachments. Perfectionists could justify replacing the moulded springs with individual metal ones, but Iíll go with the parts as supplied and judge the results before reaching for the scalpel. The push rods aren't included (wisely, because there'd have been no point trying to cast them in resin) and North Star
provide dimensions to cut them from plastic rod. Similarly, it's up to the modeller to add ignition wires if desired - and one point that I note is missing in the kit is the anchors for these at the rear of the engine.
In fact, you could say the kit is very ďfront facingĒ, because there aren't any parts included for the accessories at the rear of the engine. Looking at photos of the real engine, they wouldn't be massively complicated to make from plastic rod etc. - but matching the superlative quality of the kit parts would be another matter.
The etched fret provides propeller hubs (again, you could add the retaining bolts if you wish) and a pair of flanges at the rear of the engine. It's at the point that I found the only real problem with the way the sample kit was packed; because the etched fret wasn't backed with a cardboard stiffener, it arrived slightly curved from being squeezed in with the resin pieces. It should flatten out OK (I already added a little TLC for the photo at right), but it's a shame it wasn't protected better. Thatís the only negative point I found in the kit.
Well, almost. The kit, as it stands, is superb - but it doesnít include any way to display it. The blank rear face of the crankcase is presumably intended as a surface for mounting the finished engine, but North Star
donít include a stand. If you scratch build a rear section for the engine, I guess the logical thing to do is to build a scale jig to go with it. I think Iíll go for a simple polished wood stand.
A neat set of instructions is included, breaking construction down into 4 stages. The illustrations are excellent, well-sized and clear to follow. Construction looks very straightforward - while 75 parts may sound a lot for an engine, remember that there are 6 pieces per cylinder (8 if you include the scratch-made pushrods) and repeating this sub- assembly 11 times accounts for the bulk of the kit.
No painting instructions are provided, but examination of photos online such as HERE
gives a good idea of the various metal tones to go for and where discolouration due to heating occurred on the real engine.
Sh.III looks to be an absolute gem of kit that will be a really refreshing build for anyone with experience working with resin and etched parts. In fact, the sheer quality of the casting would make this a good choice for somebody wanting to try a resin kit for the first time. The kit first appeared in 2017 and I really hope North Star
add further engines to the series. Highly recommended.
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