by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Eduard's Pfalz D.IIIa has been released several times over the years in different forms, originally as a basic styrene kit and then as a Profi Pack with added etched details and new decals. The latest version comes nicely presented in a sturdy top-opening box with parts for two complete aircraft, each comprising:
55 x beige styrene parts
42 x etched parts
A sheet of film for the windscreen and instruments
Decals are included for 5 x colour schemes, 4 of which are illustrated with full colour profiles in the instructions.
Despite the original kit being a few years old now, the moulding is still pin-sharp, with no signs of flash or other problems. The surface finish is very smooth, with a few embossed cowl lines and raised access panels on the fuselage, and precise rib effects on the wings and tail. The kit pre-dates Eduard's present way of handling fabric surfaces, so there are no rib tapes and the ribs are a bit more heavily depicted than they might do nowadays, but the finished kit should still look very good. Items like the wing radiator look very neat.
A few detailsThe Pfalz isn't overly complicated, so should make a good choice for newcomers to WW1 modelling, but still manages to include a useful amount of interior detail.
The kit instructions indicate that the cockpit is constructed from a mixture of 32 x styrene and etched parts, but anyone looking for a simpler build will find plastic alternatives for some of the metal parts marked as unused on the sprues. Unusually, for Eduard's recent models, the etched fret isn't pre-painted, and includes seat harnesses, a new instrument panel (plus printed film), plus a number of small levers and switches.
The engine is a straightforward 5-part affair that sits in a simple mount before closing the fuselage halves, with the exhaust added later.
The fuselage guns are moulded solid, fine for beginners, but etched cooling jackets are also provided, along cocking levers and ammunition feeds.
The inter-plane and undercarriage struts are crisply moulded, and the overall simple layout of the Pfalz makes it ideal for anyone inexperienced with biplane models. The instructions include a simple rigging diagram, and show the control cables and their small etched attachments (again, styrene versions are also on the sprues).
Instructions and paintingThe instructions take the form of an A-4 booklet, with the main colour schemes occupying the centre pages. The original assembly diagrams date back to a time when Eduard printed their instructions smaller, so they seem almost over sized in their new form, but they are certainly clear and modellers of all abilities should find few problems. Colour matches are included for Gunze Sangyo paints and keyed to all the details.
Four painting schemes are illustrated in colour:
A. Carl Degelow, Jasta 7, March 1918.
B. Rudolf Berthold, Commander of JG 2, 1918.
C. Jasta 5, Spring 1918, pilot unknown.
D. Joachim Buddecke, Jasta 30, early 1918.
A fifth "bonus" option for Hans-George von der Marwitz, Jasta 30, Spring 1918, is illustrated in B&W on the front cover of the instructions and a full profile is available online.
The decals are beautifully printed as glossy items on a large sheet, with precise registration and almost now excess carrier film at all. The colour schemes provided are very attractive, so it's something of a disappointment to note that, despite the large size of the decal sheet, only one set each is provided of the early- and late-style crosses, so you're limited in the schemes you can actually build and you'll need to find extra crosses if you want to model, say, schemes A and B together, and likewise C, D and the "bonus" scheme.
ConclusionEduard's Pfalz D.IIIa has always been a good kit and it's nice to see it given a fresh lease of life as a Dual Combo. Terri Werner and Mark Hamrick will be tackling the model as a joint-build, so watch out for our Dynamic Duo's progress in the Forum soon.
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