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In-Box Review
German Lozenge 1917-1918
A slight variation in the breed.
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

WWI Development of the original fabrics,

To help streamline aircraft production, the Idflieg (the bureau of the German War Office that oversaw Military Aviation) developed Flugstoff — aircraft linen with a dye printed camouflage pattern. This reduced the man-hours and materials otherwise used painting the camouflage patterns. And, because the dyes used to print the fabric weighed less than paint, Flugstoff had the added benefit of reducing weight — thereby contributing to improved aircraft performance.

The colour concept says when two different spots of color are placed next to one another, and viewed at a distance, the eye visually mixes them to produce a third color. This optical “blending” could be influenced by environmental lighting and thereby change the resulting third color. So practically speaking, the camouflage looked different under different lighting and blended with the surroundings. Simple yet effective. It also made the aircraft difficult to view. A pilot had to decide whether an enemy aircraft was coming at him or going away. This indecision made it possible for the German pilot to see his enemy at the earliest possible moment and plot his tactics as well.

The original five color fabric was 1350mm plus or minus 10mm wide. This amounted to six panels in most cases for the top wing of a single seat fighter. These dimensions are based on accepted information provided in Albatros publications and cited by knowlegable sources. These finished dimensions are approximately 4' 6" for the five color pattern.

About the WNW 5 colour Flugzeugfarbenstoff,

These decals simulate in 1:32 the camouflage fabric applied to German aircraft during the First World War. While usually referred to as "lozenge" by modelers today. The German term for the material was "Flugzeugstoff" or literally aircraft covering stock. However, for their marketing purposes WNW decided to use the familiar (though inaccurate) term "lozenge", simply for ease of recognition by the general public. This description is based on a British intelligence report from 1918.

Their first releases (#30001, #32002) depict the five-color pattern. And though in the same overall pattern come in a different color scheme applications for use on the upper (#30001) and lower (#32002) surfaces of aircraft. The decal strips represent bolts of printed polygon fabric as it would appear ready for application to airframes, with the edges trimmed and sewn.

A. The over all effect of the WNW lozenge upper surface (#30001) decals has a green hue. Colours on the upper surface lozenge are too intense but can be worked with. And I think this is where WNW wanted to go with this set. Giving the modeler a choice as to their favorite method of texturing.

B. The over all effect of the WNW lozenge lower surface (#30002) decals has a pink hue. Truthfully the difference here in the colours I know and what WNW has done is just too close to call.

To examine the accuracy of these decals we look specifically at the colours use for the polygons. Generally speaking - they are very intense but good representations of the basic colours. Though on the upper surface I might have changed one colour. But this is my opinion based on examples I have seen. Let me be the first to say, while I have seen many original fabric cuttings and samples, I have not seen them all. The letter attached to this review from Mr. Richard Alexander explains their stance.

When printed dyes were added to fabric, the visual texture resulted in a more muted colour range. After doping and even varnishing the result was often quite subdued from the pigmentations that were started with. In my opinion the modeler should consider using a method of texturing ( either overspraying or a texture decal) when using these lozenge decals. Wingnut wings has give us the basic decal and its up to us to make it look like a fabric covering on a flying surface.

We know that some colours varied due to dye stocks available in the last months of the war. Many of these variations have been well documented and we have a data base on these colour changes that is pretty reasonable. WNW created their decals based on real examples that were available to them. What the modeler has to do is either over spray thinly a darker colour (Black, brown or slate grey) or use a decal texture of similar colouring to bring a closer realism to their efforts. Since I am a large proponent for scale realism and texturing it is easy for me to make this call.

Application to the wings & flying surfaces, (#30001 & #30002 )

These are typical for good quality water slide decals A detailed description of application methods used by the manufacturers is beyond the scope of this article. Put simply, several methods were used to apply the original printed fabric to the airframe. All methods involved the assembly of various pieces of fabric to form an envelope covering large enough to fit the intended area. The pieces were always factory butt joined and sewn along the selvage edges in what is called a "French stitch" seen today on the seams of denim blue jeans. These coverings were then attached to the airframe by stitching them to the cotton batting on the wing ribs and edges.

The most common application method for single seat fighters by far was chordwise, with the fabric running parallel to the wing ribs or “chord” of the wing.

An alternate and least used application was spanwise. Here the fabric was applied perpendicular to the ribs, parallel to the leading edge. This was the simplest method since a single run of fabric could cover most of the wing with only a single seam needed to add any additional material. It was seen widely on narrow winged aircraft Like the Seimens Schuckert types. It was also used in some repair work.

The method used on wider wing surfaces was diagonal, with the fabric being applied at a 45 degree angle to the line of flight. Again this meant multiple panels to cover the wing. Due to the increased area of the fabric joints this was the strongest method.

Ailerons, stabilizers and elevators were usually covered spanwise. This simplified application by minimizing the number of seams needed. No rib tapes were used here.

Application to the fuselage, (#30001 & #30002)

For the fuselage; The application of lozenge panels was done differently between the three licence builders of the Fokker D.VII. That is The factory edges were not applied to the same longerons. Because of their factory assembly lines layout patterns of lozenge were not the same between Fokker Schwerin, Albatros Johannistahl and East Albatros Works Schneidemuhl. Note Longerons are the long corner edges of the fuselage two upper, two lower.

Consult references for the correct pattern and method for your subject. It was not uncommon for airframes to have mixed patterns (i.e. four color fuselage with five color wings, etc.). But these were usually due to "in - the- field" repair situations.

rib tapes, #30005

These were strips of fabric generally applied over each full rib, leading and trailing edges of the wings to protect and reinforce hand stitching. They were approximately one inch wide. The tapes could be created from camouflage fabric, or strips of solid blue or salmon pink fabric. Tapes were not applied to elevators, stabilizers or ailerons.

There are different opinions as to whether rib tapes were applied as a single/continous piece wrapped around the entire rib profile (both the upper and lower wing surfaces), or as individual strips for each surface. If they were single/continuous pieces, then in instances where camouflage tape was used, the continuous tape would contrast against one of the wing surface coverings (i.e. Upper scheme tapes would contrast against lower surface coverings and visa versa.). If they were separate camouflage strips for upper and lower surfaces it was still a continous tape of one type or another over the whole rib profile. Usually upper surface lozenge from the factory.

Machines built by Albatros received salmon pink or camouflage rib tapes. OAW machines received light blue or camouflage rib tapes. Fokker-built machines only used camouflage tapes.

decal texture,

The texture is a separate step that overlays the finished lozenge decal. Large areas of solid color, or repeating patterns on models can look a little too pristine or uniform. This can make a scale replica look toy-like. There are many ways to alter the appearance of these areas including pre-shading, glazing, dry brushing and powders. Here is another choice to add to your arsenal. Fabric texture decals. The idea is to make a fabric area look like fabric! The imitation of printed lozenge fabric on WWI models has always been an effect that has tested modeler's skills. The challenge is depicting the colors accurately without making them look too garish on such a small scale. These decals have been developed to add a subtle irregular cloth texture and tone down the lozenge patterns by about 5% without causing a large shift in colors.

How to use,

1. These decals represent printed bolts of camouflage fabric with edges trimmed and sewn for application to airframes.

2. Study the reference material on your chosen subject. If possible, determine the patterns used for both fuselage and wings (they may differ) and the application method (see Fabric Orientation).

3. A copy of a scale drawing of the aircraft will be helpful to plan the decal layout.

4. It is essential that these decals be applied to a gloss finish. This provides the best surface for the decals to adhere. I recommend khaki or olive as a base color to help conceal any possible gaps.

5. Take your time applying the decals. Allow each piece to set before working on the next. Do one surface at a time.

6. Begin with the lower surfaces. Carefully measure the intended area (dividers are useful for transferring measurements), being sure to add a little extra at the ends—this will be trimmed later. Cut the piece of decal you need from the sheet.

7. Using tweezers dip it in the hot - very warm water for no more than five seconds. Submersing the decal for a longer period of time can dilute the adhesive and interfere with the adhesive qualities. Place it on a nonporous surface and wait for it to loosen from the paper backing.

8. When loosened, gently slide the decal from the backing into place. You can use a moist finger or a Q-tip.

9. Exact position can be achieved by moving the decal with a Q-tip. Carefully blot up the excess moisture with a soft cloth. Then, gently press the decal to the surface, starting at one corner and working over the entire surface of the decal. Try not to shift its position. Difficult areas (compound curves, extremely detailed areas) may require the sparing use of MicroSol.

10. When set repeat the process for the next panel. When the lower surfaces are done and thoroughly dry, clean up the edges with an Xacto, trimming excess material. Repeat this process for the upper surfaces.

11. When all the decal panels have been added to both upper and lower surfaces, the rib tapes can be applied. These cover all full rib (not riblet) locations of the wings. They were not applied to elevators or ailerons. Camouflage tapes can be created by cutting strips (length wise) from the decal material. I recommend texture decals be used with the Wing nut Wings lozenge.

12. When applying "Microsculpt" texture decal to a piece it should be over sized and minimal sliding will be a requirement. These are little more than some strands of colour on a clear carrier film. The decal edges will disappear very quickly.

When contacting manufacturers and publishers PLEASE mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: This a good representation of lozenge pattern as far as colour accuracy and layout. As decals go they are easy to apply. Some of the best surface sealed decals on the market.
Lows: Colours on the upper surface lozenge are too intense but can be worked with.
Verdict: Good over all effect and easy to work with. Worth the cost in my book.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: #300 - 01, 02 & 05
  Suggested Retail: [email protected]
  Related Link: website
  PUBLISHED: Apr 10, 2011

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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, Stephen, for a very good review. Question: for someone like myself who isn't going to build a lot of string bags, what is the best option for these markings? WNW or one of the smaller AM guys?
APR 11, 2011 - 04:16 AM
Good review Stephen, full of gems of info too. Like I pointed out on my Roland Build the colours are vivid but easily toned to what each of us desires. Everyones opinion differs as to what looks right for them. Thank you. Keith
APR 11, 2011 - 06:02 AM
Its a decision I have pondered as well. While I have done reviews on WNW and one other in this scale I have tried to be conservative in my judgements. The rating was close based on what you had to do to give the best impression of a fabric covered wing. The truth is it is going to have to be the modeler's choice.
APR 11, 2011 - 10:12 AM
I have been waiting for this review to come out . Sure gives the reader some thinking to do on colours and how light and distance can effect things . Not brought up much, nice to have that as a refreasher . Also a frist that any one has said their veiws on the top colours ( I don't like them at all ....too eduard ) , But like you said this is open to peoples taste on textureing and how they want the finish which is kinda cool to see different results . Thanks for the excellent review Stephen
APR 11, 2011 - 12:01 PM
My thanks to all for your kind words. I am currently on the track of a large cut / section of 4 colour fabric that I have personally viewed (in another private collection). The purple was absolutely vivid. Cataloging these differences is a natural progression to this field of study. Its great to have a standard but to be realistic its best to know what was used and what was not. As the "German Lozenge 101 & 201" threads try to discuss, it helps everyone share more info about the how's, where's and why's of a subject.
APR 11, 2011 - 02:30 PM
Excellent review Stephen – I do like your approach to the colour and texturing issue, leaving it to the modeler to decide which way to go. Food for thought and some very useful tips indeed! Colours are a very subjective (and touchy) issue (as I well know through my trade as a designer). I have often thought statements too dogamtic that "absolutely for sure" nails a certain historic shade as "this or that" – rejecting all other interpretations. Even though there are samples and we have knowledge of the official pigments used – there are very many variables to take into consideration, as you indeed point out here. Very interesting to read that dyes of the lozenge varied towards the end of the war, and also the effects caused when applying the dope. Thank You very much for posting Mikael
APR 11, 2011 - 10:21 PM

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