This aircraft type has been covered in detail on Aeroscale in the previous builds by Dimitris Agios and Stephen T. Lawson HERE
. I highly recommend that you see them as well.
A brief description of the aircraft may be found on Wikipedia
The 78 plastic parts are arranged over 3 sprues of Eduard's typical, olive coloured plastic and 1 clear sprue. The sprues are contained in a plastic bag with the clear parts in their own Ziploc bag for protection. A second bag contains the (small) instruction sheet and decals. The box is of the ‘end opening’ variety (I know this is important to some people) and depicts a striking, in-flight rendition of the enclosed, single colour profile,
The instructions are printed in black and white and are a cut down version of those found in Eduard's ‘Profipak’ boxing, foregoing the glossy finish for a cheaper matt paper. They are about half the size of the originals and sometimes this makes them hard to follow, a good example being the location of the rigging attachment points which are extremely vague, especially in the area of the undercarriage. Fortunately though, the rigging on these machines was fairly simple, which makes this kit a good choice for those who haven’t tackled a WWI subject before and are put off by the rigging. A quick look at some reference photos should put you right. Also, Eduard's instructions for the 'Profipak' version are available on their website and show things a bit clearer, the rigging being depicted in blue.
Surface detail consists of fine engraved panel lines, appropriate raised detail and appears to be up to Eduard's usual standard, but there is some flash to clean up, notably on the fuselage and propeller. There are 3 locating pins moulded to one of the fuselage halves but surprisingly, only one locating hole on the other, so care will have to be taken when lining up the two halves. The fabric effect looks well done and there is a good representation of the Mercedes D.III 160 hp engine, but some slight surgery will be required to get it to fit. It’s OK though, as this step is detailed in the instructions and is a very simple case of removing a small section of part C18.
The interior moulding of the fuselage, represents the construction of the type, which consisted of two layers of thin plywood strips at an angle to each other. This was known as a Wickelrumpf
, or "wrapped body" design. The instructions call for this to be painted in wood colour but some references state that this was covered in painted fabric. Something to bear in mind, but the final decision rests with the individual modeller and may depend on your confidence in tackling a natural wood finish. The 7.92mm Parabellum rear mounted machine gun, and the forward-firing, synchronized 7.92mm Spandau machine gun, are nicely represented and this detail will look good after some careful dry-brushing.
Dry fitting reveals that the lower wing to fuselage joint will be a bit tricky and will require some fettling and filling and one must exercise care in lining things up. Once this is correctly in place though, the upper wings should be a breeze to install, as they locate positively into the fuselage sides and onto the sturdy wing struts. The deck of the gunners’ position is a separate insert and also looks like it may need some work to get it looking right, although this shouldn’t be beyond the skills of the average modeller.
Colours are called out throughout and reference Gunze Mr Color and Aqueous paint, so if you are in North America and have trouble obtaining these paints you may have to seek alternatives. I found that a quick perusal of some of the instruction sheets on the Wingnut Wings site, gives an indication of the appropriate colour mixes for Tamiya paints.
The decals look to be well printed and in register. The colour scheme of green and mauve (which should be red brown), over light blue, is for a machine operating over the Western Front, summer 1917. There is a three-view colour illustration on the underside of the box which serves as a painting
and decaling guide. Decals are also provided for the various dials in and around the cockpit and there are two of each on the sheet, to cater for the terminally ham-fisted (like myself). There are even decals for the painted curtains for the side windows (reminded me of my old VW campervan, God rest her soul, another example of German engineering at its finest).
Despite the minor gripes, this looks to be a straightforward build and an ideal choice for a novice WWI builder. It also represents good value for money. Having said that, there is scope for more detail to be added should the more experienced modeller so choose. As a boy, I was able to build, paint and decal an Airfix 1:72 scale ‘baggie’ kit in a day. This kit will deliver a very attractive model once completed, but you might want to set aside more than a ‘weekend’ in order to do it justice.
I will be jumping straight into a OOB build review and will be documenting, on Aeroscale, my experiences as a WW1 newbie (rigging and natural wood finishes included).
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