Phoenix Models 1/72 Otto Doppeldecker
KIT #: ?
REVIEWER: Carmel Attard
NOTES: Vacuformed plastic


The Otto Doppeldecker was a German WWI pusher biplane. It was designed by Gustav Otto and flown for the first time in 1913 and served with the Imperial German Air Service, during the early years of WWI. The Otto Aircraft Company of Munich produced several types of aircraft up until 1916. Unfortunately only scant intelligence seem to be available on the Otto firm. The instruction sheet that comes with the scale model produced by the Phoenix Models gives some important details of this aircraft. Other information is available in the Book ‘German Aircraft of the First World War produced by Peter Gray and Owen Thetford which is supplied by Putnam. On Page 499 of this book is a photo from the Otto series of pusher biplanes which is of a slight variation from the one featured in this article. 


The 1/72 scale vacform model of the Otto Doppeldecker supplied by phoenix Models is made of white plastic with prolific fabric. It is not however the sort of kit suitable for the beginner. In fact it is quite a challenge to undertake to build the kit even for the experienced modeler.  There is a multitude of rigging that needs to be attached to the kit wings and flimsy framework. It is therefore worth spending some time trying to figure out a method on how to produce a sturdy boom framework.


 A method that I have tried and found to work is as follows. Using the scale plans provided with the kit I have measured as accurately as possible the length of each segment on the boom construction and made a list of the pieces required which were in duplicate. These lengths were then worked out of steel surgical needles, thus forming the horizontal pieces. The vertical struts were measured and these were made out of Contrail plastic strips of the correct thickness and cut to the measured lengths. The figure shows how the whole arrangement is built up together and glued with super-glue. The whole assembly was secured with thin steel wire which puts the whole assembly together. Having applied this method to produce the tail booms and also the wheel assembly, the rest is a matter of applying rigging to each and every place shown using a 0.4 mm diameter pin drill and invisible thread or ultra thin fishing line for the rigging.

The end result is quite effective and pleasing at the same time. Patience and perseverance is a requirement but in the end you would want to build more of the  early birds with complex structures which is very rewarding. As for the colour details, the cockpit interior is buff with dark leather seat and cockpit coming. The instrument panel is dark natural wood or black with black-faced instruments with white numerals. All other cockpit parts were either natural wood or painted grey. The struts were dark varnished wood or painted grey on some aircraft. Tyres were dark grey.

Carmel Attard

April 2005 


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