This is another superb kit by the the renowned Wingnut Wings company. The mouldings in this kit are brilliant with very crisp clean parts and excellent fine detail. The box is jammed packed with parts, it’s hard to believe that so many parts go into making just one model. The instruction book is to the usual very high standard we come to expect from Wingnuts with plenty of colour photos plus photos from the archives of this aeroplane, all excellent reference material. There are ten sprues moulded in a light grey plastic, a sprue of clear parts plus a PE set. There are three excellent decal sheets depicting five different schemes, decal printing is second to none. More decal options are being produced by Pheon Models.
This will be more or less an OOB build.
I have commenced work by base coating all the parts which will be a wood colour. The base coat is Gunze yellow and the timber work will be done using a combination of oil colours. The fuel tank has been painted using Humbrol No.95 Concrete. As per the instructions I have painted the aluminium parts using Humbrol 27001 Aluminium Metal cote.
The camera and radio are now made and decals applied, the decals on the camera are so small they can hardly be seen. I added carry straps to the camera, they are made from aluminium foil and super glued in place, there are three carry straps in total, I painted them with Humbrol sand. The radio decals went on very well but are pretty small so a bit difficult to work with. The aerial wire is 0.13mm copper wire wound around the spool and super glued in place. The locating holes in the floor for the camera mounting legs had to be drilled out to allow the legs to fit neatly. The PE parts protruding through the floor are a perfect fit, they need to be fitted from under the floor before the floor is fixed to the tub. A decal still needs to be added to the fuel tank gauge, also the rear bulk head, seats and seat belts.
These are all the components needed to complete the cockpit interior. The camera plate box, camera, radio and spool face have been painted with Gunze 339 Engine Grey. The oil tank and hand pump are painted with Gold Leaf craft paint, I used the same Gold Leaf to paint all other brass look parts. I painted the areas where decals were to be applied with Future floor polish, the instrument panel decal went on very well as did the decal on the starting magneto. The plumbing has been painted as per the instructions paint guide. All parts have been sprayed with a 50/50 mix of Humbrol Satin and Matt clear coat.
The front and rear bulkheads have now been fixed in position, make sure all traces of paint are removed from areas that need to be mated. Not the control wires are also fitted, this is 0.12mm monofilament painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless. The camera plates and box have been glued in position just behind the pilot seat on the floor. The whole assembly is now ready to be fitted to the fuselage half.
The cockpit assembly fitted extremely well into the fuselage, again, make sure all paint is removed from surfaces to be glued, any paint will cause the assembly to not sit properly. Once the cockpit assembly is fitted the hand pump then needs to be fixed in place.
The fuselage has now been buttoned up, and it went together beautifully. I ran a bead of plastic glue around the joint line then mated the two fuselage halves, Tamiya tape held them together while the glue dried. The join seams are near perfect, only the very smallest amount of filler will be need just to tidy a few spots up, Wingnuts have engineered this kit so well that joining the fuselage halves is extremely easy.. I have also added the engine bearers and support frame, these parts were quite easy to fit. As with most WW1 aircraft the cockpit details virtually disappear once the fuselage is closed up. Up to this stage there have been no major issues with this kit, everything fits very well and I have had no problems removing the small parts from the sprues.
I have commenced work on the engine, and what an engine it is. Wingnuts have done a superb job producing this Argus engine, the rocker assembly and valve springs are extremely well moulded and did not require further enhancement, the spark plugs are also very well moulded and only needed painting. I used 0.5mm brass tube for the push rods, these will be painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless the same as the rockers and springs. All the plumbing included with this engine is beautifully moulded and have very fine details. The engine slips in between the engine bearers very easily and locates perfectly with the cut out slots for the engine mounts, incredible engineering by the Wingnut team.
These are photos of the completed engine, this engine had been built OOB apart from the addition of the ignition leads. For the leads I used 0.13mm copper wire, I drill 0.3mm holes in the bottom of the lead tubes (the red tubes either side) to insert the ignition leads, a drop of CA holds them well. I drilled 0.3mm holes in the magneto terminals for the leads, these are also held with a small drop of CA. . I also drilled a 0.65mm hole into the end of the lead tube to take the leads coming from the magneto.
I hollowed the ends of the exhaust pipes by first drilling two 1.20mm holes close together, I then removed the excess plastic with my sharp scalpel blade. The exhausts are just sitting in situ for the photos and need to be painted before final fitment.
This is how the engine will look sitting in the airframe, it fits in between the engine bearers beautifully with no interference with any part of the aircraft fuselage. Most of the engine will be hidden under the engine cowls.
I wanted to steer away from the usual colours applied to the Hannover and do something completely different so I have decided to follow the colour scheme E in the Wingnut instruction booklet. This is Hannover Cl.II (Rol) 690/18, late 1918. This particular scheme was believed to be from the training unit FEA.8. Wingnuts painting guide calls for the light blue to be a mix of Humbrol 34 (X10) and Humbrol 96 (X1). As there are quite a few decals to be applied to the fuselage I swapped the 34 Matt White with 22 Gloss White, this has given me a good gloss surface for decal application. Once the decals are applied I will spray the entire model with a satin clear finish. I quite like the light blue, it contrasts well with the timber interior and the dark engine.
The tail plane is now assembled, this aircraft had the unusual feature of two tail planes, the idea was to reduce the tail area to allow a better field of fire for the gunner. The two tails went on very easy and once the glue was dry they are quite strong. There are two small support struts on either side under the top tail plane, they mount on the fin.
Fuselage decals are now applied. Even though the blue paint had a pretty good gloss finish I decided to give the fuselage a coat of Humbrol gloss varnish as an added safety measure. I let the varnish dry for 24 hours then applied the decals, I used Mr Mark Softer on the surface prior to the decals being applied. The decal along the length of the fuselage is one single decal so care must be exercised not to crease or fold the decal when sliding it off the carrier paper. The decals settled down beautifully and once they were patted dry with a soft tissue paper I hit them with the heat from a hair dryer, this really makes them hug the surface. These photos show the model still sporting its full gloss finish, this will be dulled off with a coat of satin clear.
All wings have now been sprayed and are ready for the decals, bottom wings are just sitting in position at this stage. I have sprayed the cabane struts, undercarriage legs, and all the engine cowls with Humbrol 95 Concrete, they have also been clear coated with a satin finish. The wing struts, hard to see here, are painted white, these still need to have some decals applied then they will be clear coated with the satin finish.
Wing decals have now been applied, they went on extremely well. The undercarriage is also fitted, be sure that all traces of paint are removed from the locating pins and holes, any paint will make fitment difficult. The wing struts and cabane struts are just sitting in position at this stage as are the bottom wings. The entire model will be sprayed with a coat of satin clear next, then I will start to assemble all the wings and struts
The bottom wings are now fitted as are the cabane struts, the wings have very good locating points and mount very easily. I have also fitted all the engine cowls, these went on very well and fitted perfectly, as per the instructions certain parts of the engine had to be removed so the left side cowl would fit correctly, they hide most of the engine detail though. I fitted all the little turnbuckles ready for the rigging connection, these are made from 0.5mm brass tube with an eyelet made from 0.13mm copper wire. These are only one ended turnbuckles so the tail of the eyelet which passes through the brass tube fits into a 0.4mm hole drilled in the wings and fuselage, they hold extremely well with a small drop of CA. The wheels are also fixed in position.
The top wing is now fitted, this would have to be the easiest wing I have ever mounted onto a WW1 aeroplane model, the engineering in this kit is superb with the struts and locating holes aligning perfectly. I placed the upside down top wing on my bench then inverting the model with the wing struts and cabanes already fitted I sat it onto the top wing, all the struts just fell into the holes on the top wing, even the water pipe from the engine fitted perfectly into the wing radiator. I will be commencing the rigging soon then all that is left is the observers machine gun and the correct propeller.
The rigging is now complete, I used 0.12mm monofilament. The turnbuckles are one ended with the tail being fixed into a 0.4mm hole drilled part way into the wing and fuselage, the turnbuckle body is 0.5mm brass tube and the eyelet is 0.13mm twisted copper wire, CA holds it all together. I fitted an Axial propeller, this is a hand made wood propeller by Doug Craner in the UK. I also mounted the observers machine gun, this was made totally OOB and makes up to be a good looking machine gun. Just forward of the machine gun are two rigging wires with turnbuckles, these fit into the fuselage then go up to the rear of the cabane struts under the top wing, these two wire were the most difficult to fit because of the limited space. All the other wing rigging was relatively easy to do and the two rudder control cables were also easy to fit.
This model was a complete joy to build, it virtually just falls together. The fit of parts is perfect with no work required at all to make any item fit, there is no flash and the only ejector pin marks are hidden very well so did not need to be filled. I would recommend this kit to anyone who has never built a WW1 aircraft model as it is so easy to build, and the limited rigging would make it quite a simple first rigging attempt.
Wingnut Wings supplies five different colour schemes with this kit, most are lozenge. Pheon Models are releasing a set of decals soon which will include a set with Polish markings, these will give quite a variation on schemes and should result in some very attractive models being built. I’m sure other decal manufacturers will also produce schemes to suit this model.