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Airco DH-2. Eduard 1:48 Weekend Edition


Shar2

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Airco DH-2



1:48

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The Airco DH.2 was a single-seat biplane pusher aircraft which operated as a fighter during the First World War. It was the second pusher design by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco, based on his earlier DH.1 two-seater. The DH.2 was the first effectively armed British single-seat fighter and enabled Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilots to counter the "Fokker Scourge" that had given the Germans the advantage in the air in late 1915. Until the British developed an interrupter gear to match the German system, pushers such as the DH.2 and the F.E.2b carried the burden of fighting and escort duties. The D.H.2 first flew in July 1915.

The D.H.2 was armed with a single .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun which was originally able to be positioned on one of three flexible mountings in the cockpit, with the pilot transferring the gun between mountings in flight at the same time as flying the aircraft. Once pilots learned that the best method of achieving a kill was to aim the aircraft rather than the gun, the machine gun was fixed in the forward-facing centre mount, although this was initially banned by higher authorities until a clip which fixed the gun in place but could be released if required was approved. Major Lanoe Hawker devised the clip. He also improved the gunsights, adding a ring sight and an "aiming off model" that helped the gunner allow for leading a target.

The majority of D.H.2s were fitted with the 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, but later models received the 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J.

The arrival at the front of more powerful German tractor biplane fighters such as the Halberstadt D.II and the Albatross D.I, which appeared in September 1916, meant that the DH.2 was outclassed in turn. It remained in first line service in France, however, until No. 24 and No. 32 Squadron RFC completed re-equipment with Airco DH 5s in June 1917, and a few remained in service on the Macedonian front and in Palestine until late autumn of that year. By this time the type was totally obsolete as a fighter, although it was used as an advanced trainer into 1918. A total of 453 D.H.2s were produced by Airco.

The Model

The model comes in Eduards usual, colourful blue, white and yellow box with a depiction of a DH-2 apparently in flight on the front. Upon opening the kit is well wrapped in a poly bag with the decals and instructions loose. The model is produced on three sprues in the standard beige styrene. Being a weekend edition, there are no resin or etched parts. All the parts are nicely moulded with no visible imperfections and only a few moulding pips. Due to the nature of the aircraft, some of the parts look pretty fragile and will need to be carefully removed from the sprues and some gentle cleaning up, particularly the tail booms.

The build starts with the cockpit, the floor of which is attached to the lower wings. Onto the floor plate the seat supports, seat, joystick and compass, (with decal compass card), are fitted. Onto one half of the fuselage the rear bulkhead, rudder bar and support, oil tank, engine mount and rear lower fuselage panel are attached. Before closing the fuselage up, the instructions show you have an option on the style of instrument panel which attaches to the machine gun mount, but no information about which would be correct for this particular aircraft, so a bit of research will need to be carried out to determine the correct arrangement. With the fuselage sides glued together, this assembly is then attached to the lower fuselage/wing structure. Onto this the rear upper deck is added. In the next step, the main undercarriage is built up with the aerofoil centre section/axle is attached to the double struts each side along with the one piece wheels. This assembly can be rigged off model and put aside for fitting later.

At this point the wings can be built up. The fuel tank halves are joined and will probably be best painted before fitting, once the model is complete. There are four pairs of main struts and two pairs of wing/fuselage struts to be fitted before the single piece upper wing is attached, being careful to get everything lined up and square with the lower wing. Rigging is a personal thing, but it may be an idea to rig the complete structure before continuing with the rest of the model. The engine can now be built up with its separate ignition harness and the four bladed prop before attaching to the rear of the main aircraft structure. At this point the undercarriage assembly can also be fitted. The trickiest part of the build is the tailplane and its fragile support booms. The tailplane consists of a single piece vertical section to which the single piece vertical tailplane, rudder and tailskid is attached. The booms are then fitted to the main assembly with a spreader bar attached to the rear, just forward of the tailplane, which is fitted the four attachment points on the rear of the booms. Alignment is critical to keep everything square in both the vertical and horizontal plane. The tail booms can then be rigged in accordance to research photos, as there is no detail in the instructions for this section. The final part of the build is the fitting of the machine gun in the forward fuselage along with the magazine racks on the port side and the external rudder cable attachment. Now whilst the painting guide and box cover show it, there is no clear windscreen included in the box, so one may have to be scratched from clear plasticard.

Engine.jpg

Misc2.jpg

Wings.jpg

Decals

The single option given on the decal sheet is for aircraft 5967, flown by Robert H.M.S Saundby of No 24 squadron RFC, A Flight, France July 1916. There are also decals for the instrument panels, struts and even the tyre markings. The decals are well printed, in good register appearing quite opaque, even in the white areas.

Decals.jpg

Conclusion

This is a lovely looking model of an aircraft from bygone times showing an interesting way of getting around the lack of fitting forward firing machine guns. The rigging will be a challenge for beginners, but with plenty of care and patience it should end up a really good looking model. Shame about the missing windscreen though. Recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of

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