Wingnut Wings 1/32 DFW C.V (late)

KIT #: 32057
PRICE: $99.00
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Otis Goodin
NOTES: Outstanding kit of this important aircraft. First of its kind in 1/32 scale.


          Deutsche Flugzeugwerke (DFW) was a German aircraft manufacturer established by Bernhard Meyer and Erich Thiele at Lindenthal in 1910. It initially produced Farman designs under license, and later the Etrich Taube. Eventually it moved to its own designs and the DFW CV was its most successful venture. Designed primarily by Heinrich Oelerich, the CV was a two seater biplane of mostly wooden construction. The aerodynamically improved fuselage consisted of a wooden frame covered by plywood. The wings were also of wooden frames but covered by canvas. The upper wing was of slightly greater size, with extended ends and ailerons. The size and length of the wings compared to the fuselage gave the aircraft excellent lift. Coupled with the Benz Bz. IV engine, the airplane demonstrated significantly better performance than earlier versions.

          The CV was a multi role aircraft used for reconnaissance, observation, and bombing. In the hands of a skilled pilot it could outmaneuver most allied fighters of the period. So popular was the design that nearly 4000 were produced, more than any other German aircraft during World War I. About half were manufactured by DFW, and the other half were produced under license by LVG, Halberstadt, and Aviatik. The aircraft appeared in early 1917 and was in service through the end of the war.

          Following the war, most CVs were scrapped under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles; however, a few survived and served Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Estonia. As late as 1925 seven copies were made by the Bulgarian state aircraft works, designated the DAR Uzunov-1 and used as a trainer for Bulgaria’s secret air force. Only a fuselage of an Aviatik built DFW CV remains today in the Polish Aviation Museum. 


 No information on what's in the box was provided. Ed 

The decals included with the kit are from Cartograf and give you a choice of five options:

(1)  Aircraft 799/17, manned by Albert Hahnel and Eugen Mann of FA 7, July 1917;

(2)   An LVG produced aircraft 2164/17, of FA 10, July 1917;

(3)   A Halberstadt version, 2523/17, flown from mid 1917 to early 1918;

(4)   DFW version with the names “Gretel” and “Lo” stenciled on the fuselage, mid 1918, and sporting an odd mix of green and distressed camouflage; and

(5)   The aircraft shown here, an Aviatik produced version, aircraft number 287/18, manned by Teisler and Weiss and sporting the distinctive Butterfly motif when it was captured in May 1918.


 The Wingnut Wings instructions are comprehensive and detailed, and that is a good thing, especially for this kit which offers aircraft built under license by several different manufacturers. In addition to DFW you have parts and decals provided for LVG, Aviatik and Halberstadt versions. There are minor differences among the various producers so pay close attention lest you fail to drill a small hole or use the wrong fuselage vents. Construction begins in the cockpit which is a fully detailed affair. The cockpit floorboard is divided into two sections by the addition of a bulkhead separating the pilot and observer’s sections. The observer’s seat can be installed in either the up or down position on the rear screen. Also included in the observer’s compartment are the Telefunken wireless set, a shelf for extra machine gun magazines and a rack for holding bombs which were dropped by hand.  On the other side of the center bulkhead is attached the pilot seat which is nothing more than a cushion on top of a 225 liter fuel tank. The instrument panel is a highly detailed part consisting of two panels glued back to back. The panel facing the pilot contains all the usual dials and instruments, a magazine, empty belt container, radiator shutter winder, and synchronizing gear, along with plenty of decals to heighten the detail. Unfortunately, once the top wing is installed, this part of the cockpit is not that visible. The other side of the panel faces the engine compartment and forms a well defined structure for placement of the engine. To this is also attached the engine bearers, which were wooden structures also containing a metal bar running lengthwise on one side. Presumably this was used to stabilize the engine

          There are highly detailed photo etch seat belts for both the pilot and observer. Anneal the belts prior to positioning them, making it easier to bend and fold them. Finish up the floorboard by attaching the foot pedal bar and adding the control column assembly. I found this part a little confusing as there is nowhere obvious to glue the brackets to the floorboard. Also be sure to drill small holes in the brackets with an 80 bit for rigging. The rigging is not difficult and it adds a lot to the completed space. Detailed instructions for painting the interior are also included

          To the completed floorboard assembly are added the side panel framework. Do a lot of test fitting here as there are specific points for attaching the framework. A few minor details are added to the side panels and when installed a bar will be fitted across the interior of the fuselage in front of the instrument panel. On this is mounted the pilot fired Spandau machine gun. I substituted a cooling jacket and barrel from Master for the kit supplied photo etch version of the Spandau. You don’t have to worry about rolling the jacket and more importantly, the Master jacket doesn’t bend and crush as easily as the kit supplied version. It’s expensive (@$17) but worth it to me.

          Once the interior is finished it’s time to move on to the engine. The DFW used a 230 hp Benz Bz. IV engine, the first time I have seen this engine in a kit. It’s actually a bit simpler than the usual Daimler Benz DIII engines used in most German aircraft. Take care when assembling the rocker assemblies as there are 3 sets and each is joined back to back to make a complete set. The instructions point this out but don’t do like some modelers I know and start gluing without paying attention to the instructions. I assembled the crankcase, cylinders, intake manifolds, and assorted details, painted it all and set it aside for installation later. The real thing has a few more wires and such, but the kit supplied version is pretty darn complete.

          Getting back to the fuselage, there are various modifications/removals required depending on which version you are building. Once this is done, then install the completed interior to one half of the fuselage. Once satisfied with the fit add the other half then the two bottom panels. (Again, depending on the version you are building…..). Add the cockpit coaming and the cabane struts. I added the observer’s platform after the fuselage was painted. Next the instructions call for you to add the cowlings, including the winter cowlings if desired. I chose not to add any cowlings to display the engine more clearly, which I added after the fuselage was assembled.

          Next step in the assembly process is to add the radiator to the front of the cabane struts. The radiator fits just in front of the top wing. Assembly is relatively simple, you just glue the radiator panels to the radiator body and then add the shutter control. I had a small problem in that there were gaps in various locations once I added the radiator panels so I had to fill and sand these. A drain hose leading to the engine is added to the left side of the radiator. Once completed add the radiator to the designated location on the cabane struts.  Then attach the radiator pipe from the radiator to the engine. The radiator pipe fits in one of two locations depending on the version you are building. Make sure the radiator sits level (mine doesn’t). There are some rigging wires that run from the fuselage to the radiator shutter. These are tricky to install. I drilled holes in the bottom of the shutter assembly, attached rigging lines using EZ Line to the small holes in the fuselage, then stretched the lines through the holes I had drilled in the shutter and glued them with super glue. A lot of work for something that doesn’t show that much, but at least I know they are there.

          Following all this, the tailplane assembly was attached, and the undercarriage assembly was added before the lower wings are added. I recommend assembling the entire undercarriage before attaching it to the fuselage. This is a solid assembly, although I managed to break one of the axle ends onto which a wheel is attached. Despite that I was able to repair the damage and attach the wheel in place.

          The lower wings are solidly connected with the correct dihedral. It’s really hard to mess this part up. Before attaching the upper wing I added rigging for the internal “X” rigging between the interplane struts to the bottom of the upper wing. If I had it to do over I would probably wait and add all the rigging at once, but I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to reach the rigging attachments on the inside of the struts. As it turned out it was not that difficult as the rigging attachment points are very prominent, just like they were on the real aircraft. Before attaching the top wing I added the windscreen with clear parts cement. I attached the top wing by gluing the center section to the prominent base on the cabane struts. Just be careful and don’t add too much glue or it will come oozing out the sides. After this assembly had set up, I began adding the individual interplane struts. Prior to adding the struts I drilled holes in them as needed for rigging the “X” rigging. Wingnut has done a marvelous engineering job here in that specific struts go in specific spots, and the struts are designed so that they will only fit where they are supposed to go. The holes in the bottom wing into which the struts are attached are specifically designed to accommodate the correct strut. The attachment holes on the bottom of the top wing are also very deep so the struts fit securely in their designated locations.

          I let the top wing set up before continuing with the rigging. I use EZ Line for rigging and I find it works quite well, even if a little “fine” in scale. For the DFW I used a method I had read about on the Wingnut website. Rather than drilling holes through the bottom wing and pulling the rigging through as I usually do, I attached one end of the EZ Line to the underside of the top wing. Once that had set up (a few minutes max), I then cut the line a bit shy of the bottom wing. I applied a tiny drop of super glue in the small attachment hole next to the strut on the bottom wing; then using a pair of crossgrip tweezers stretched the EZ Line to the attachment hole and held it in place until it had set up. Usually this took about 30 seconds but sometimes longer. Because stretched EZ Line doesn’t sag it is not necessary to stretch it too tight. In fact, overstretching it puts too much tension on the line and makes it difficult for the super glue to hold the line as it dries. Stretch it just enough to take the slack out. I finished the rigging over about three nights, and, despite numerous self-inflicted frustrations, was generally pleased with the result.

          Once rigging the wing was finished, I added the rigging to the undercarriage and the tailplane. Following that, I completed assembly by attaching the tailskid, the exhaust, the propeller, the wireless generator, and finally the observer’s Parabellum machine gun. Again I used the Master set to enhance the kit supplied version. Attaching the gun to the mounting fixture required some finesse.


          I painted the interior in a wood grain finish using a base coat of Model Master Tan then finished with a glaze of Griffin’s Burnt Umber Alkyd paint. Alkyd dries in 24 hours unlike traditional oils which can take weeks. The various instrument panel details were painted Model Master Gun Metal or Silver. The instrument dials were added, then decaled with kit supplied decals and given a drop of clear parts cement to represent the glass covers. The seat/fuel tank was painted Model Master Schwarzgrau with a few Brass details added. The seat cushion was painted MM Leather then weathered with Griffin’s Burnt Umber. The rudder bar and control stick assembly were painted MM RLM Grau. The rear screen for the observer’s space was painted MM Aged White then weathered with a wash of Burnt Umber. All the seat belts were painted Tan, details picked out in Silver, and weathered with a Burnt Umber wash. The observer’s seat was painted Leather and weathered as well. The bombs were painted MM Hellblau.

          The engine compartment was generally painted in the wood grain finish and heavily weathered with a Burnt Umber and Black wash. The engine itself had the crankcase painted Silver, the cylinders, manifolds and rocker assembly painted Gun Metal, with a few details picked out in MM Brass and Silver. The engine was then weathered with Tamiya Metallic Gray and a Burnt Umber and Black wash. The exhaust was painted with Gunze Burnt Iron, then weathered with MM Rust and Schwarzgrau. The pipe leading from the engine to the radiator was painted MM Aluminum with the connectors painted in Schwarzgrau. The radiator housing is painted Model Master Neutral Gray with the radiator panels painted Gunze Cowling Color. The drain hose is painted RLM Grau.

          The underside of the wings and tailplane are painted to represent bleached linen. I made up a shade by blending Model Master Aged White with 50% Flat White. The underside of the fuselage is Flat White. The underside of the wings and fuselage was given a light wash of Burnt Umber. The topside of the wings and tailplane is a three tone camouflage of MM Pale Green mixed with about 20% White to lighten and cool it down some; MM German Dark Green 82, and Polly Scale German Mauve. The area underneath the top wing insignias shows where the earlier applied eisernkreuz were crudely painted out with a darker green and replaced by the balkenkreuz. I used Tamiya JN Green for this. Oddly, the underside of the bottom wing shows no evidence of overpainting in another color, although the insignias are the later style.

The wing and tail struts as well as the undercarriage were all painted in RLM Grau. The brackets on the interplane struts were painted MM Gun Metal. The wireless generator was painted Schwarzgrun and the small prop was given a wood grain finish.

The fuselage featured a muddled camouflage of Dark Green 82 and German Mauve sprayed on over a base of the lightened Pale Green. This took several passes to get it the way I wanted it, but ultimately I was happy with it. Again, the fuselage shows where the eisernkreuz were painted over and replaced by the balkenkreuz. The cockpit coaming was painted with MM Leather, and the observer’s platform is RLM Grau. The rudder is painted White.

Following a few coats of Future, the fuselage decals were applied. The butterfly decal is applied asymmetrically on each side of the fuselage. There are decals for the rigging instructions, datum lines, various Aviatik logos in numerous places, and other miscellaneous markings. The Future was later toned down with some MM Satin finish.

The wheels were painted Schwarzgrau, highlighted with Neutral Gray and Dark Earth. The wheel covers were painted White and weathered with a Burnt Umber wash and some Dark Earth to represent mud/dirt, etc. The Parabellum gun was painted MM Gun Metal highlighted with a little Metallic Gray. The gun stock and handle were given a wood grain finish. The tail skid was first painted with a wood grain finish, the metal parts painted Gun Metal or RLM Grau, and when dry some masking fluid was randomly applied. The whole thing was then sprayed Flat White, the dried masking fluid removed, and the result is a distressed look on the tail skid. A little Burnt Umber and Dark Earth were applied for the finishing touches. Finally the propeller was painted with a base coat of MM Tan, and the lighter laminations masked off with thin strips of Tamiya masking tape cut to size. The darker laminations were painted with Gunze Red Brown. When dry the masking tape was removed and any imperfections corrected before the whole prop was given a glaze of Griffin’s Burnt Umber. When dry this was sealed with Future, the prop decals applied, and another coat of Future added.


Wingnut Wings has done it again with this superb kit of one of the most important aircraft of WWI. Building this model was challenging, skill advancing, and ultimately fun. Although the kits are designed to be built by both experienced and novice modelers, I would recommend those new to WWI to start with something a little simpler, like a Pfalz D III. Wingnut Wings has released over 45 kits since their first releases six years ago, and I get the feeling they are just getting warmed up. Their kits are getting more advanced, more ambitious, and yes, more expensive. But for lovers of WWI aviation, they are the ultimate in scale modeling.


 Windsock Datafile No. 53, DFW CV, Peter M. Grosz.

DFW CV, Wikipedia.

Wingnut Wings kit instructions.

Otis Goodin

March 2015

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