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In-Box Review
Mercedes D.IIIa Intake
A late war manifold
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]


The 180/200hp D.IIIaü was introduced in late 1917, the D.IIIaü was a standardized refinement of the D.III and D.IIIa design and the ü designation was never official. This engine changed the pistons again, this time to a domed profile that further increased the maximum compression – the ü was for "über", meaning "overcompressed". Additionally, a new altitude-compensating carburetor was added, which improved performance at higher altitudes. To support operations at these altitudes, water from the radiator was used to heat the air intake and prevent icing in the carburetor. The aü model, which included upgraded D.III and D.IIIa engine blocks, was the most prolific German fighter engine of 1918 and designed into most fighter designs from late 1917 on. This included most of the entries in the First Fighter Competition at Adlershof in January 1918, notably the Fokker D.VII. In British post war evaluation the D.IIIaü demonstrated 200hp according to the British standards.

The increased use of Benzol / Benzine in German aviation fuel helped this upgrade of power, its higher octane rating being better suited for the higher compression ratio. As mentioned the late war developments allowed that the carburetor system became water cooled and thus the reason the induction pipes leading to the cylinders appear thicker.

Barracuda Studios has also added representations for the asbestos wrappings that kept the induction pipes from absorbing the heat from the engine. Water became a vital component for the late war high performance Daimler. While the cylinders had always employed water jackets it was found that if you wanted to avoid vapor lock (where the liquid water vaporizes and causes heat to rise) then insulation was just as important. This came in the form of asbestos fabric in either chords or wraps. These items were usually dipped in a liquid tar then wound around the induction pipes and an addition all metal half shell was strapped to the horizontal arms of the induction pipes where they enter the tops of the cylinder jackets. This half shell was a guard against sparks or flash from the pilot’s left side machine gun. Remember the function of the induction pipes was to carry the fuel / air mixture to the spark chambers.

The Kit

This simple two part resin upgrade set replaces the kit intake manifolds for the following kits:
•Roland D.VIa
•Late Pfalz D.III
•Pfalz D.IIIa
•Late Albatros D.V and all D.Va
•Pfalz D.XII
•Fokker D.VII
The parts are designed specifically for the above listed WNW kits in 1:32nd scale, but will work with Roden and others with a small amount of modification. The manifold has been detailed to include the asbestos fabric insulation wrapped around the intake pipes. The sheet metal shielding has also been modelled and the mounting clamps are petitely reproduced. Casted couplings, and additional details round out this simple upgrade. Once removed from its casting block, it is a drop fit for the original kit part. A quick and easy upgrade that will add a lot of detail to the already beautiful engine in these amazing kits.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
Highs: High level of exposed details
Lows: Detail a little soft on the backside.
Verdict: Decent price great details and good quality resin.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: #BR32020
  Suggested Retail: $7.95
  Related Link: website
  PUBLISHED: May 16, 2012

Our Thanks to Barracuda Studios!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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.


It looks a lovely drop-in upgrade, saves those that are going to insulate the manifold lots of work. Only one tiny downer for me is that they didnt bother with the six C-nuts that connect manifold to the barrels as they made a point of reworking the manifold to carb ones so nicely. I now these were missed by WNW and Roden and all probably due to casting constraints and most builders miss them too. It just would have been the icing on the cake to have them represented. Even so this seems a worthy addition to any build needing it. Oh and nice review too. Keith
MAY 16, 2012 - 11:10 AM
Our good man Keith is talking about the notched screw conectors (hence the "C" nut reference) that surround the mouths of the 6 intake pipes that enter the top of the cylinders. These can be seen plainly in bare metal in the last image I use in the review. (Mr. Dave Watts early model Mercedes D.IIIaü). These are items that I too would like to see replicated separately.
MAY 16, 2012 - 12:59 PM
Here is a bit more from Barracuda Studios.
MAY 16, 2012 - 01:16 PM
MAY 16, 2012 - 06:40 PM

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