Eduard 1/48 Pfalz D.IIIa 'weekend edition'

KIT: Eduard 1/48 Pfalz D.IIIa 'weekend edition'
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $10.50
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: Aftermarket decals used in build

HISTORY

Pfalz Flugzeugwerke von Speyer am Rhein built very good machines and never received the credit it was due. In fact at one time, Pfalz Aircraft constituted a full 25% of all front line fighters in service. The only real strike against Pfalz was it was not a Prussian company, being from the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz.  It fell more under the Bavarian sphere of influence and so Pfalz aircraft were commonly issued to Bavarian, Saxon and Wuerttemberg units.   

The idea that things not made in Prussia were of poor quality seems to have effected the Pfalz Company.  Pfalz aircraft never seemed to find favor with many German pilots. However reports from the front sight excellent maneuverability with very fast dive and pull out. This was because the Pfalz had a two spar lower wing so it didnít flap like the Albatros wing did.  The Pfalz wing was much less likely to snap off like the Albatros was prone to.  The Pfalz, in fact could not out turn the Albatros. However the margin between out turning the Pfalz and catastrophic failure was a slim one.  Even Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) stopped flying the Albatros after he experienced a cracked wing during a heated a dogfight. He was lucky enough to land the aircraft and flew the Halberstadt D.II for a time.  

At the time, the preferred German attack was made from above and in mass. After you positioned yourself you dove on the enemy guns blazing and escaped without getting entangled in a dogfight. The Pfalz was perfectly suited for this kind of tactic. The aircraft was strong and fast, you could put it in a very steep dive and hard pullout without fear of catastrophic failure. 

A fitting complement was made in Janeís All the Worlds Aircraft 1919, and can be read in the reprints of this publication (JANEíS Fighting Aircraft of World War I "page # 180"). In this publication itís stated "It answers to the controls, much better than does the Albatros D.5, but tends to turn to the left in flight. It is not tiring to fly, and is normally easy to land." It is important to note at this time, aircraft did not have trim tabs so they often wandered when power was applied or reduced. 

THE KIT

 Letís talk about the kit.  Well itís Eduard, The best all around manufacturer of World War One aircraft.  It is well done with no flash or ejector pin marks that will be seen after the kit is assembled.  I have yet to have a decal from Eduard give me a moment of trouble.  Everything fits together with little to no fiddling.  The only real problems Iíve had with fit were always self induced.  Finally, you always get a lot for your money.  No matter what you pay for an Eduard kit you will always get more for your money then any other manufacturer that I know of. 

 I was lucky with this kit because I got both the early triangular and later rounded tipped wings.  The kit is supposed to only have the triangular lower wing.  I donít know if this was a mistake or if Eduard is now giving you both wings but I hope they are giving you both wings in the kit.  Because of the after market decals both wings will give the modeler more options than the out of the box model will since so few of the D.IIIas had the triangular wings.

 Another advantage to this kit is for only $9.00 more you can get the Eduard Pfalz D.III photo-etch set and now you have a model that is every bit as good if not better than any comparable kit on the market.   If you are new to modeling or just want to build on a budget it still canít be beat. 

CONSTRUCTION

As with just about every kit Iíve built I start with all the innards.  No surprises here the whole thing fit together about as well as it gets.  Even though the engine will end up covered the detail is such that you could open up the cowlings to show it off in some kind of diorama.

 I painted the inside and cockpit area silvergray.  You donít have to paint it that way but the more pictures that I am able to find of the D.III the less I believe that the interior was varnished wood.  I have only one picture that shows anything that looks like varnished wood and that is on an instrument panel.  However the sides of that aircraft were definitely light gray.  Some pictures show a very dark cockpit with white instrument faces.  The darkness of these cockpits looks much darker than the light color of the varnished wood of the albatross and LVGs.  After seeing a Hannover fuselage and the Junkers J.I tub in Berlin I think the darker color seen in these pictures would have been more of a shade of graygreen. 

 Iíve built many Pfalz D.IIIs with wood interiors and I personally like the varnished wood look but I just donít think that it is correct for the Pfalz D.III.  I know that to some people this is an unforgivable blasphemy.  But oh well mark me and make me wander aimlessly through the cold and cruel world.

 After I got the fuselage together I added the lower wings.  This is the only place I used any putty and it was just to make the smooth fillet look a little better.  After the glue dried I put a thin coat of putty on the joint and then got a cotton ball with finger nail polish remover and softly rubbed the seem until it was smooth.  All this took me about fifteen minutes.

 The tail parts went on without a hitch and now I was ready to paint.  I painted the model Silvergray.  This shade is based on a German navy paint chip from 1898 called silbergrau.  It looks more like aluminum oxide than metallic to me.  I was use to metallic silver and I kind of liked it but I am getting use to this shade now.

 This was a somewhat simple model to rig since all the rigging runs inboard to out.  I used the same rigging method that I always use.

 I just drilled small holes (#80 drill bits) half way through the upper wing.  I drill the holes in the bottom wing all the way through.  I then anchor the monofilament thread in the top wing and after it has dried threaded it through the bottom wing and set it with a drop of super glue.  When this has dried I clip the thread and apply the decals.  Most of the time the decals cover up the holes that I used for rigging if not I apply some touch up paint to the model.

COLORS & MARKINGS

While I liked the decals supplied in the kit, I liked the old Aeromaster decals choice better.  They are part 48-185 Pfalz fighter collection part 1.  I used the decals to build the aircraft of Vzfx Max Holtzem of Jasta 16b (the b stood for the fact that this Jasta was under the Bavarian sphere of influence).  I like the comet and the story that goes with it.  Max Holtzen said ďMy symbol the comet was the guardian angel who flew with me.  It was my dear mother who I had lost when I was nine years old.  It was on my Pfalz D.IIIin 1917 at Verdun and in Flanders, 1918 at the Somme and later the Ypres offensives.Ē  Iíll save the kit decals and that makes for a very nice set of spares for the spare decal pile.

 The overall color of the model was silvergray.  The only other somewhat large use of color was the tail.  I masked it off and shot on black.  The decals did the rest.

CONCLUSIONS

This would be an excellent first biplane model.  You get simple construction with very nice detail.  If you want to stretch your skills just buy an after market set of decals and some PE and now you have an above average model for less than $30.00.  Like I said Quality, Quantity and Price, you just canít beat Eduard

REFERENCES

 "WWI Warplanes ĎGreat Warí classics in profile Vol. one" Windsock Albatros Productions LTD

"Pfalz D.IIIa Windsock Datafile 21" Albatros Productions LTD

"German Knights of the Air 1914-1918" By Terry C. Treadwell & Alan C. Wood

"JANEíS Fighting Aircraft of World War I"

Kyle Bodily

July 2008

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page