Airfix 1/72 deHavilland DH-4

KIT #: ?


            After settling 30 years ago into a serious modeling phase, I decided for no particular reason to chronicle every US military plane available in 1/72 scale. At the time it was a practicable project, but the blossoming of the limited edition industry, and particularly the recent resin explosion, have put more subjects on the shelves, or at least on the Web, than a single modeler can hope to build in several lifetimes; even if he devotes every waking hour to glue and paint, as some contributors to this site by their "prolificness" seem to do. The earliest American-built plane was this Airfix DH-4.

             During The War to End All Wars (Until the Next One Got Started) the US never fielded an airplane of its own design, but it did crank out nearly 5,000 copies of this British machine termed the “Liberty Plane”. Over 1,200 went to France and equipped bombing and observation squadrons of the AEF. It sported two fixed machine guns in the nose, two on a Scarf ring in the rear cockpit, and up to 220 lb of underwing bombs. Among the unknowledgeable the plane was referred to as a “flying coffin”, but it’s loss rate was similar to other types. The airplane proved so adaptable that it remained in US service to the end of the Twenties.


No information provided , but I assume it is similar to all their early kits with one-piece wings, Spartan cockpits and generally good shape. Ed


            Gee, what can you say about Airfix? Vintage late ‘50’s to early ‘60’s molds. Flash, ejector marks, simplifications, no doubt inaccuracies. At least the markings weren’t engraved in the plastic. Struts came in pairs joined by horizontal members that fit into slots in the wings. Made joining upper and lower a breeze. Rigging is a combo of monofilm thread and stretched sprue.


             The kit, of course, came with British wartime markings. I copied the postwar OD scheme with “meatball” roundels from some scratchy thumbnails. This one may have been brush painted. It’s collected an indelible coating of dust from sitting in the same room wherein airbrushing was applied. Attempts with various cleaners to remove the film  from “test” models were inauspicious, so it shall remain.  


             In recent years a fleet of “Jennies”, “Tommies”, and other contemporary WWI US planes has been made available by some of the short run kitters. They are duly being added to the collection.

In all fairness to Joel, this was one of his earliest articles. I used it because there was nothing else in queue and it does show that old kits are still worth building.

Joel Hamm

August 2008


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