Thursday, 5 June 2014

WW1 Dogfighting - More from the Two Headed Eagle

My Austro-Hungarian collection for Wings of War currently looks like this

Hansa Brandenburg CI

Workhorse if the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen as an artillery spotter or reconnaissance plane, The Hansa Brandenburg was an utterly unremarkable two seater which served throughout the war. Mine is painted in the early war red & white combination which I think looks rather nice. The model is a 3D print from Shapeways, with a PeterPig pilot & gunner.

Next up chronologically is the Fokker AIII, which is basically a Fokker EIII in Austrian service. The model is an "official" Wings of Glory one.

Austria tried to design her own fighters, with mixed success. This is the Hansa Brandenburg KD1 (sometimes called a D1). It was a rather interesting design by a very young Ernest Heinkel who had the idea that by strengthening the struts he could do away with a lot of bracing wire and therefore reduce drag. In this sense he was years ahead of Anthony Fokker, who did the same thing with the Fokker DVII in 1918 and was called a genius.

Heinkel decided to do this by a rather strange arrangement of struts as shown on the model, which accounts for one of the KD1s knick names "Star Strutter". Sadly this innovation was overshadowed by a couple of design flaws. Firstly the rudder was a single piece and rather small. This gave the KD1 an unpleasant tendency to lose lateral control and err.....crash. The second problem was armament. Germany initially refused to allow Austria to produce licenced interrupter gear for the machine gun, so as a stop gap they mounted a Schwartzlose machine gun on a fairing over the top wing - in a similar fashion to the way many British planes has a Lewis gun mounted. Sadly the Schwartzlose has a couple of problems not least of which was it had a canvas belt feed system, which if it got damp or wet would either freeze at altitude and jam the gun, or the belt would stretch and jam the gun. Even with these two rather hefty handicaps (see the pun?) the D1 was still quite fast and sturdy, and proved a reasonable fighter, particularly as later models had a much enlarged tail surface and the final batches had true interrupter gear so they could mount the gun more efficiently. Model is again Shapeways, pilot PeterPig.

Far more conventional is the Aviatik (Berg) D1. The D1 is another home grown fighter, but unlike the KD1 this was a reasonably competent dogfighter from the start. This is a standard Wings of Glory model, clearly demonstrating why the pre painted aircraft models have a market as trying to paint that hex camouflage would put you off for good.

Last of my current fighters is the Phonix DIIa. The DIIa is the last of the Phonix fighters to see active service and was a fast and agile airplane capable of holding its own against all comers. This is another 3D print, and is in the colours of the Naval Aviation unit that was tasked with defending the fleet - something of a throwback to the red-white-red wing stripes seen at the start of the war.

My last aircraft is the UFAG C I, another Wings of War\Glory model, and again demonstrating the joy of pre-paints. The UFAG was a rather good general purpose 2 seater which served in the last year of the war

And a group shot

I'm hoping to add a Floatplane in the near future - once I get out of my painting rut



  1. Those "tiny hex" camo patterns are beautiful and something my brush cannot emulate :(

    Thanks for the AH air force review :)

  2. Hi M8. You can get decals if you are brave enough to try, but they are just sheets that you have to cut to shape. I bought some for a project but just could not raise the enthusiasm or bravery to give them a try :-(

  3. This is the best collection of 1/144 painting I've seen. Very well done.

    1. Thank you. thats very kind of you to say