The Mercedes D.III engine was a single overhead camshaft [SOHC], in a straight-six configuration. It was the standard powerplant fitted to the Fokker D.VII even with the introduction of the superior BMW IIIa late in the war. The first versions of the D.III were rated at 160hp and with development the output went up to 180hp towards the end of the war. A more radical development was the 180/200 hp D.IIIaü, introduced in late 1917. Though the later BMW.IIIa would eclipse the Mercedes D.III in power output, it could only be produced in limited numbers. So, the Mercedes D.III in all its forms would be the primary German fighter engine up to the last months of the war. The earliest production Fokker D.VIIs were equipped with 170–180 hp Mercedes D.IIIa and the intention was to re-engine them with the D.IIIaü.
The layout of Eduard 1/72 scale Mercedes D.III looks considerably different to the BMW IIIa engine [see my review here
] that was fitted the Fokker D.VIIF. This detail set allows you to model the power plant of the either the mid or late produced Fokker D.VII built by the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke [OAW]
The components for the Mercedes D.III are packed in a pretty sturdy box. The resin parts and photo etched parts are placed in resealable plastic bags. The instructions are folded to provide a little more cushioning for the contents. There are twelve resin parts including the two sets of removable panels for the upper nose. There is a spare part representing the water filler pipe. Extreme caution is need to remove some of the parts, though Eduard has tried their best to keep the attachment points on the casting blocks as small as possible. The small photo brass fret has the electrical wiring, two radiator faces, fuselage frame work for the inside of the engine bay, as well as the engine mounts and a couple of other small parts.
The crankcase and six cylinders are one piece. The carburetor, intake and split air manifold are also one piece. Where the manifold fits into the cylinders, there’s an indent in each cylinder that marks the attachment point. There are two sets of photo etched ignition cables for the dual spark plugs on each cylinder and harnesses for the Bosch magnetos. They need to be carefully manipulated to fit each cylinder and the ignition harness needs to be carefully formed around the magnetos. The resin magnetos and water pump are moulded together on the same block and attach to the rear of the engine. The one-piece resin exhaust manifold fits on the other opposite side of the air manifold. There’s an indentation at the end to suggest that its hollow.
You do have to fabricate some of the lines yourself, such as the carburetor and water hoses. The instructions provide the diameter, using the wire of your choice. The prop shaft is a separate resin part and there’s even a photo etched handle that was used to decompress the system. The photo etched radiator faces need to be gently bent with a straight edge to fit onto the kit’s plastic part. As mentioned both the mid and late Fokker D.VII can be modelled. The instructions suggest that you don’t need to remove the detail on the plastic part representing the radiator. The fire wall/bulkhead is another additional resin piece. All in all an amazing amount of detail for 1/72 scale.
To display the engine at its best the kit needs to be modified by cutting of the access panels from the nose of the fuselage. Eduard supply replacement resin parts so these can displayed detached as if the mechanics were accessing the engine. The instructions show which area of the plastic to remove. There are two photo etched parts representing the frame work inside the engine bay. The photo etched engine mounts are attached onto the frames.
The instructions are clear to help you get the best out of this detail set.
This is a superb looking detail set for anyone looking to show more detail around the engine bay particularly for the purposes of creating a diaroma. Looking at the Mercedes photos of the engine it looks spot on in accuracy. Make no mistake though there is some intricate work to do here, but you will be rewarded with an excellent scale representation of the Mercedes D.III engine.