WnW Pfalz D.XII

Wingnut Wings have added to their ever increasing range of WW1 aircraft kits with this new addition, the Pfalz D.XII. The kit is presented in a well illustrated sturdy box with each sprue wrapped individually for protection, the decals and instruction booklet are also wrapped in separate plastic bags with the decals being placed on the bottom of the box protected by the instruction book.

The instruction book is to Wingnuts usual high standards with glossy colour photos plus a lot of period photos depicting this aircraft. From past experiences with Wingnut instruction books, it is advisable to read the entire book before work commences on the model as some of the instructions can be misleading.

The lozenge decals are made to size so fitment should be very easy, rib tapes are also an integral part of the lozenge decals which eliminates the need to apply them separately. The five colour pattern appears correct, but there will always be controversy over what the actual colours where or should be.

There is a good choice of schemes to choose from and are all clearly illustrated in the instruction booklet. There is the option to do an early version D.XII or the late version, parts and decals are supplied to suit both versions.

There is one small fret of PE parts which cover the seat belt and machine gun enhancements. This is one area where Wingnuts could improve, supplying extra PE parts to detail the engine and cockpit areas would be very beneficial to the builder.

The injection moulded parts are done with a light grey plastic and are well moulded with very crisp detail and sharp edges, All parts are clearly numbered for ease of location and are easily removed from the sprues. There are options for various versions so there are four propellers, two sets of engine cowls plus other parts suitable for the particular version you decide to build. There is also a small clear sprue with four parts attached, the plastic parts are crystal clear. The plastic is a little on the soft side but it very easy to work and there is no evidence as yet of flashing, sink holes or ejector pin marks. Detail on most parts is excellent.


The fuselage interior has been painted with Humbrol No.87 tinted with about 5% flat white. The only visible timber on this model is the cockpit floor which has been done with a base coat of Gunze Yellow H313 then over painted with oil paints, all the parts shown here still need a coat of Humbrol Matt Cote. The brass is done with Mr Metal Color Brass.

The rudder bar has been enhanced with the addition of foot straps. I added a small metal ring to the end of each foot hold by using 0.1mm wire looped through a 0.3mm hole. I cut narrow strips of paper and fitted it through the wire loops and glued it back on itself to form the foot straps, they have been painted with Gunze hemp. The rudder bat is painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless. I have also drilled two 0.3mm holes to take the rudder control cables.

The seat back has had added leather panel lines, I did this by using a sharp pointed scriber after first drawing the lines with a propelling pencil, I applied the same groove around the entire inside top edge of the seat. The seat was base coated with Gunze H336 Hemp then painted with oil paints, it is still wet in this photo and when dry when receive a coat of Humbrol Satin Cote. The buttons and creases are moulded into the seat by Wingnuts, the creases are a little too uniform for my liking and would look better as random creasing.

I added the plumbing to the fuel control board by using 0.35mm copper wire, it is bent to the correct shape then CA’d in place, there are also two pipes running from the fuel tank directly below the fuel control board. I added selection levers to the board, I used single sided wingnuts from the Bronco Models range (1:35 scale AB3501) modifying the wings to be more in keeping with what was used, I also added three of these wing nuts to the instrument panel, they are painted with Mr Metal Color Dark Iron. The rudder control cables and the elevator cables are 0.12mm monofilament painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless. The fuel control panel is a very tight fit and requires filing where it fits around the fuselage frame, tolerances are far too tight in this area. Also, the moulded platform onto which the panel sits was removed to allow easier installation of the fuel plumbing pipes. The seat mounted very well and is quite solid but the frame running above the seat with the head rest is flimsy. All the decals used in this part of the assembly went on very well, the only alteration I did was to separate the two fuel control indication plates and fitted them as separate items just like the third one, the clear film between the two plates could have cause silvering.

These three photos give a better and clearer view of the fuel pipes connected to the control board and down to the fuel tank mounted under the floor. Again, all traces of paint have to be removed from the fuselage frame and the locating points on the bulk heads before they will fit neatly. The two elevator cables pass through the two pre drilled holes under the seat, the two rudder cables run either side of the seat support, I cut a small groove in each side of the seat support and ran the cables into the groove and held them in place with CA.

The fuselage frame has now been fitted on both sides. The ammo box and spent shell container have been painted with Humbrol 27001 Aluminium and the fuel tank with Mr Metal Color Brass, this has to be fitted before the second side of the fuselage frame is fitted because of the locating lugs. The rear bulk head is also fitted along with the control cables which run through the bulk head. The engine firewall and engine bearers are also fitted but be a little wary here, there is a pin on the fuel tank which

protrudes forward and locates into a half round moulded piece on the back of the firewall, when I fitted the firewall the pin was way too long and held the firewall well away from the fuselage frames, so I had to file quite a bit off the pin to allow the firewall to be flush with the fuselage frame work. The two small locating pins, one either side of the fuselage frame which locate into a small square hole in the side of the fuselage, have to be filed down in size to allow them to fit the holes neatly, if not done the frame will not sit properly in the fuselage sides restricting the fuselage halves from joining neatly.

I used the kit supplied PE seat belt, I annealed it first then painted it with Gunze Hemp. The belt fitted quite well and being annealed was easy to bend. The fuselage frame and cockpit assembly is now fixed to one side of the fuselage. Every thing lined up well and fitted with ease, the only issue was the engine bearers, they needed a little coaxing to fit into their required positions. A trial fit of the other fuselage side revealed a very good fit and should pose no problems when it comes time to be fitted permanently. As with most of these bi-planes, once the fuselage is buttoned up very little is seen of the detailed work in the cockpit. I have had verification from a WW1 aircraft historian that the colour I used to paint the fuselage interior is very accurate.

The fuselage has been closed up, the fit of the second half of the fuselage is so good that no filler is needed at all along the join lines, it is a perfect match, just a small amount of sanding was needed to tidy it up. As you can see, not much of the cockpit interior is visible, typical of these WW1 bi-planes. The machine gun mounting platform in front of the cockpit is just sitting loose for photo purposes, you will notice on the last photo that Wingnuts have done a superb job moulding the machine gun/propeller synchronizing tubing, this is a great addition which enhances this area beautifully. I have started work on the engine, the first row of valve springs have been added using 0.98mm wound guitar string inserted into a 1.0mm hole drilled in the top of each cylinder, super glue holds them well in place.   

I removed the moulded valve springs and drilled a 1.0mm hole in the top of each cylinder in the same position. I cut short lengths of 0.98mm wound guitar string and inserted them into each of the holes, CA holds them in place. I very carefully used my Dremel to grind each spring down until it was at a height where the rockers just sat on top of the spring neatly. Be very careful when grinding these guitar strings, they get hot very quickly and can melt the plastic they are sitting in, I just ground each spring for about a second then moved on the the next one, I continued to do this until all springs were thee same height, I finished off with a fine file to get a smooth surface. Once completed the rocker assembly should fit neatly on top of the cylinders and springs.

The crank case has been air brushed with Humbrol 27001 Aluminium and left as it came out of the gun, no buffing. The cylinder block has been painted using H77 Hobby Color Tire Black, the valve springs have been highlighted with Mr Metal Color Stainless and lightly buffed. The rocker assembly has been painted with the tire black then the top cover of the rocker boxes are painted with Humbrol 27003 Polished Steel then highly buffed, the rocker arms are painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless and the rocker box bolts/nuts are done with a mix of Humbrol Polished Steel and Humbrol Polished Aluminium. These photos show the cylinder block just sitting on the crank case just for the purpose of the photos.

Spark plugs are made from 0.4mm brass tube cut to about 3.0mm long, one of rbmotion brass nuts are placed over the brass tube and CA’d in place, leave 1.0mm of tube above the nut. Insert a short length of 0.23mm copper wire into the top end of the brass tube, this is where the ignition leads will attach, a small drop of CA will hold it in place. Paint the plug insulator gloss white and allow to dry. Drill 0.4mm holes into each cylinder where each plug goes (12)m then insert a plug into each hole, again, CA holds them in place. The ignition lead tubes are painted with Humbrol No. 73. I have added extra plumbing to the air pump mounted at the front of the engine, Wingnuts have given the wrong part number for the air pump, they have it as E27 where it should read E37. I used 0.35mm copper wire for the plumbing and add the small rbmotion brass nuts. I will not be going overboard with the engine detailing as very little of it will be seen once mounted and all the engine covers on.

A little more progress on the engine, the inlet manifold is nearly done, it will be removed so I can fit the ignition leads which are the next job. This is a beautifully detailed engine even if built OOB, I can’t understand why Wingnuts did not have moulded spark plugs, not all modelers can make spark plugs so it is an omission that needs to be rectified.

The engine is now completed and fixed in position. I used 0.13mm copper wire for the ignition leads, once fixed in position they were painted with Humbrol No. 94. The magneto was painted with Humbrol 27001 aluminium and the cover with Humbrol No.133, a very small drop of CA holds the leads in place. The rocker covers are painted with Humbrol 27003 polished steel, they have been buffed with a soft brush. The bolts on the rocker covers are painted with Mr Metal Colour aluminium, the rocker arms are done with Mr Metal Color Stainless then buffed.

I used the PE machine gun enhancement set which comes with the kit. I wrapped the cooling jackets around a 2.5mm drill bit after first annealing them, a drop of CA holds them together. I needed to reduce the size of the round section on the guns to allow the cooling jacket to fit properly, also the front section which also has the sight needed to be filed larger to fit the barrel. Be very careful with the cooling jackets, they are very thin and weak, they can crush easily. The Spandau  LMG 08/15 Machine /gun set from Master Model is a far better option with much better detail and a far stronger set with their turned one piece cooling jackets. I have a full review of the Master machine gun sets in the product review section, they are definitely well worth the little extra expense.

As this will be the early version the fin and rudder is as seen in these photos. Wingnuts call for the tail to be painted with Humbrol No.25 Blue, I find this to be different from what I have seen so I added Humbrol No.89 Purple to the blue, I used about 25% purple, this gives a more ‘royal’ blue colour which I feel is more appropriate. The fuselage will be painted a silver-grey.

The rudder has been painted with Humbrol Full gloss white, this, along with the rest of the tail, will be sprayed with Humbrol Matt Cote once the decals are fitted. The fin and the two horizontal stabilizers witted extremely well once all traces of paint were removed from the joining surfaces.

The bottom wing is now fitted, a little bit of fine tuning was needed so the wing fitted neatly into the fuselage, just a matter of a little bit of sanding on the inside sections of the wing so that it would sit snugly. Only a tiny amount of filler was needed to fill some very small gaps, apart from that the wing fitted beautifully. I have also applied the decals to the rudder, as per Wingnuts usual high quality decals, the decals went on extremely well settling down perfectly. The use of Mr Mark Softer allows some movement of the decal to make sure it is in the correct position, then patted down with toilet tissue. I use toilet paper to pat down the decals and to absorb excess water as toilet paper is dust free, not like facial tissue and paper towel. The machine guns have been painted with Humbrol 27004 Gun Metal, once dry it was lightly buffed with a soft brush.


I intended painting the fuselage today and decided to follow Wingnuts colour guide, as I primarily use Humbrol paints I went with their Humbrol colour mix guide. Now, my gut feeling told me that the two paints they recommend would not work together, but I went ahead anyway. I mixed 2 tins of 27001 and 1 tin of 64, as directed. After a thorough mixing I noticed that the 27001 Metal Cote was separating from the 64 enamel, undeterred I continued, again against my gut instinct and experience, I then sprayed the model. The paint went on very grainy and the metal cote dried way too quick, so I added more thinners, it sprayed better but still did not go on right. I now have to wait 24 hours, sand the paint back and start all over again, this time using a different mix of paints. Wingnuts obviously have not tried using this mix of paint, if they had they would know that a Metal Cote will NOT mix with an enamel standard colour. I’m now down 3 tins of paint and have a lot of work ahead of me.

I sprayed the radiator with Humbrol 27001 aluminium, once dry I painted the cap and the pipe with Mr Metal Color Brass, I also used the brass to paint the radiator core, when that was dry I dry bushed the radiator core with Humbrol No.56 aluminium. Wait till everything is dry then give it all a light buff.

The machine guns are glued to their mounting plate but not fixed to the aircraft yet, the tacho, just behind the guns has also been fitted. The fuselage has been painted and gloss clear coated ready for the decals. The radiator and flash guards are temporarily fitted.

The fuselage decals went on extremely well, I soaked them in very warm water for around 20 seconds then slid them onto the gloss surface which has been brushed with Mr Mark softer. Once the decal was in position I patted it down with soft toilet paper making sure all the water and bubbles are removed. Once all the decals were applied to one side I heat them with a hair dryer then patted them down again. The tail planes, fin and rudder are now also fixed in position. After the decals are fully dry, about 4 hours, I will spray the entire fuselage and tail with Humbrol Matt Cote, this will give me the required finish I am after plus it will protect the decals.

The struts have been painted and the decals applied, then they were clear coated. The entire aircraft has also been clear coated with Humbrol Matt Cote, the cockpit padding will be coated with a Satin Cote. The struts are only dry fitted, I will fit the turnbuckles to the wing before fixing the struts in position. I have drilled the rigging holes to ¾ the depth of the wing using a 0.4mm drill bit.


The struts lean outward but for some reason Wingnuts moulded the strut pins straight. If the struts are fitted straight it takes a fair bit of pressure to bend them outward to fit the top wing, this results in bowed struts, not a good look. I bent the bottom pins one way then the top pins the opposite way, this allows the struts to sit in the bottom wing and line up perfectly with the top wing without having to force fit them. I bent the pins by holding each pin in the jaws of a flat smooth jaw pliers, I bent them and trial fitted until I had the angle correct, same applied with the top pins. It is also necessary to remove all traces of paint from the pins, I needed to sand a small amount off the length of each pin to allow them to sit fully home, this applied to the Cabane struts as well.

The lozenge decals applied very well conforming to any shape and adhering extremely well. They are supposed to be to size but trimming is still required at both leading and trailing edges of the wings, also at the wing tips. There are holes in the decals to line up with the strut locating points, which fit well, but with these lined up it throws other parts of the decal off where they should be. In my honest opinion, Pheon Models sized decals are a much better fit as like the ones I used on my Albatros build. Numerous small decals have also been applied on top of the lozenge decal, these also applied extremely well.

I made a radiator stay and fitted it to the back of the radiator and on to the rocker box. I have fitted all the struts and also the turnbuckles in the bottom wing ready for the rigging lines. The exhaust has been painted with Mr Metal Color Burnt Iron.

The elevator and rudder control wires have been added to the top of the tail plane, I added turnbuckles which are made from 0.5mm brass tube and the eyelets from twisted 0.13mm copper wire. I drilled a 0.3mm hole through the control horns and inserted the tail of the eyelet through the hole, CA holds them in place. I used 0.12mm monofilament for the rigging lines and painted them with Mr Metal Color Stainless.

The undercarriage fitted very well with very good locating pins, even when the glue had set the assembly is very weak, the rigging will tighten things up. The top wing was a little difficult to fit, lining up all the struts is somewhat awkward. Before assembling the struts I checked and doubles checked making sure the struts were in the correct location, but when fitting the top wing the inboard struts appeared a little too short and pressure was needed to force the top wing down onto the struts. This has resulted in the top wing having a slight bow between the outboard struts and the cabane struts. Running a straight edge along the top wing shows that the cabane struts are a little too long forcing the centre section of the wing up, the dihedral on the bottom wing has remained unaltered. With the struts leaning out and the top wing fitted it is a very strong assembly even without the rigging.

I am using 0.12mm monofilament for the rigging, once each line is fitted I paint it with Mr. Metal Color Stainless. I fitted turnbuckles directly to the top of the bottom wing and for the connections on the top wing I fitted eyelets. These photos show the rigging completed on the trailing side of the wings.

Photos showing the completed rigging. This is not a complicated rigging system on this aircraft, the two bays just mean double the number of rigging wires, there are only the two drag wires and the cables going to the ailerons. There is a wire which connects to the top of the forward cabane strut, travels behind the engine and under the machine guns, this is the first line I fitted, you will notice that the windscreen is also fitted.

Comparison between the Albatros DVa and the Pfalz D.XII
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