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The kit contains markings for six different aircraft, and also includes a full set of 4-color lozenge camouflage decals. Unfortunately, the color of the lozenge is somewhat questionable, and since most SSW used 5-color lozenge, a more accurate kit can be built using aftermarket lozenge decals. As with most aircraft kits, construction begins in the cockpit, and this one was no exception. I began by smoothing out the inside of the fuselage halves, as they were extremely thick and contained some injection molding protrusions that would interfere with the cockpit parts.


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The Eduard SSW cockpit is almost exclusively photo-etch, containing a frame, bulkhead, dashboard, control stick, seat, seatbelts, and various gauges. The floorboard, rear bulkhead, and frame are all one piece, and assembly of it consisted of folding, bending and gluing the flat photo-etch until it is transformed into a three-dimensional frame. From there, I simply glued the various cockpit components to their respective positions on the frame, taking care to insure that I had them in their correct positions.

The instructions are a bit difficult to follow at some points in the process, so reference to the Datafile photos were invaluable to insure the correct placement of the parts. The SSW cockpit was a combination of wood and metal, and the fuselage interior and respective parts were painted as such.

The completed effect is quite convincing, especially in this scale. I supplemented the kit compass and gauges with the Copper State Models German gauge kit. The seat assembly and seat belts were painted and set aside for insertion in the cockpit later. Once the cockpit assembly was complete, I glued the two fuselage halves together to create a receptacle for the cockpit. The fuselage comes in two halves; however, the bottom of the fuselage is contained in the lower wing assembly, so the two fuselage halves glued together only represent about two-thirds of the total fuselage area, with the front and bottom to be added later.

I inserted the cockpit assembly into the fuselage and secured it with Zap-a-Gap. I then glued the fuselage bottom with the attached lower wings to the fuselage assembly. Here, quite a bit of grinding, sanding and puttying was required to obtain a decent fit. To finish off the fuselage assembly, the upper forward fuselage panel was added, as was the engine firewall, which I painted Gunze Burnt Iron. The kit comes with a white metal Siemens-Haske engine and some photo-etch pushrods.

Siemens-Schuckert D.IV

These were assembled and painted a combination of Steel, Burnt Iron, and highlighted with a thinned wash of Leather to convey the effect of burnt oil. I then mounted the engine to the firewall, and added the cowling. Again, I ran into fit problems. Once glued, considerable filling was done with Zap-a-Gap and stretched sprue. I was now ready to paint the fuselage assembly, which will be discussed in the Painting section of this review.

Fighter Siemens-Schuckert DIII/DIV, Eastern Express (x)

The Spandau guns are made of plastic, to which are added steel tube barrels and bits of photo-etch, including the cooling jackets. Heating the jackets in a flame prior to rolling them helps them to bend easily and maintain their shape. The wheels and struts were cleaned up and set aside for painting and final assembly.

To add realism, I typically remove the various flaps and reposition them.

In this case, I also wanted to represent the hinge attachments, so after removing the ailerons, stabilizer and rudder flaps, I cut notches in each hinge location and glued pieces of strip styrene to represent the hinges. I then applied the lozenge camouflage to the flaps as described in the Painting and Decaling section below before reattaching them. Final assembly of the kit was relatively easy. I glued the interplane and cabane struts in place, and allowed them to dry overnight. I use invisible monofilament thread and attach it with Zap-a-Gap.

Siemens Schuckert DIII

If left to dry overnight, it can be pulled taut without fear of it pulling loose from its attachment point. The top wing attached to the cabane and interplane struts with little trouble. I also added the stabilizer and rudder that were separated previously. Once dry, I then proceeded to complete the rigging by attaching the other end of the various lines to their respective attachment points. The key to a neat rigging job is not to use too much glue.

I like gap-filling glue because it dries slowly enough to work with, but quickly enough so that you can keep going with the process. The SSW has a relatively simple rigging scheme so it was accomplished fairly quickly and without much difficulty. Once the rigging was finished, I attached the wheels and the propeller.

I chose Copper State 5-color lozenge for this kit because 1 I liked the colors, and 2 they were printed at the degree angle of application generally used on these aircraft. The upper wings of SSW were typically covered at a degree angle while the narrower lower wings were usually covered spanwise. The degree angle added strength to the larger upper wing, while the lower wings were amply protected with the one-piece spanwise application.

I then applied a light coat of Future to both surfaces to prepare for the lozenge decals. The lozenge was then applied to the wings in the previously mentioned fashion, while all flaps were covered spanwise horizontally. The lozenge decals generally went on pretty well with the aid of Micro-Sol and Solvaset. I had to decide if the rib tapes should be the normal pink and blue or whether they should be of the same lozenge material as used on the wings.

Research was inconclusive as photos indicate both types were used. However, I needed another challenge for this kit, so I opted to go with the lozenge material for the rib tapes. Besides, I had never finished a kit like that before and I wanted to see if I could do it.

Siemens-Schuckert D.III

Udet graciously hosted all three at his home in Germany to discuss aviation progress in the s - he and Doolittle had some wild times! Udet was by all accounts a bit of a reckless character, quite a partier, and a talented stunt pilot, traveling extensively in North and South America.

He attended the Cleveland Air Races, and flew in several movies. When the Nazis took power in , Udet was forced by Goering to become the director of aviation procurement, and was responsible for development of the Ju 87 Stuka and the Bf , which he personally test flew. However, he was never a Nazi, and Goering used him as a scapegoat for the Luftwaffe's early failures, leading to Udet's suicide in November A sad end for a great flyer.

It was powerful, highly maneuverable, and had excellent performance at higher altitudes. The Sh III had an internal gearing in which the cylinders and crankcase moved in an opposite direction from the crankshaft, which greatly reduced the effects of inertia on the aircraft.

Some sources confuse this with "counter-rotation" of the propeller, but this is not the case as the prop is fixed to the crankcase. Although inventive, the Siemens Halske design used mineral oil for lubrication due to a shortage of castor oil, and the Sh III engine tended to overheat, shortening it's service life to about 10 hours. The new Sh IIIa engine and cowling increased engine life to about 40 hours.

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German and Allied pilots that test flew them describe them as the best fighter to emerge from WWI. It comes with a complete cockpit, nice engine detail, a one piece upper wing with appropriately thin trailing edges, separate ailerons, rudder, horizontal stabilizers, a full decal sheet with lozenge wings and markings for four different SSWs. However, the moldings have a bit of flash and there are some heavy sprue gates.