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Jasta 18 Vol. 1 Berthold's Boys - 1/48 Pheon Decals


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Jasta 18 Vol. 1 Berthold's Boys

1/48 Pheon Decals


As with much of aviation history, I find that the characters involved can be as interesting as the aircraft they flew. All types of personalitly can be found, and amongst the sternest of these was Rudolph Berthold. A slight looking man, he had joined the German infantry before the start of world war one, but by its outbreak was an observer with FFA 23. By January 1915 he had undergone pilot training and was back in FFA 23 flying twin engined AEGs, before moving on to the Fokker Eindecker. In February 1916 he scored his first victory, with four more by mid April. On the 25th he suffered the first of many severe injuries in his career, when he crashed in a Pfalz E.IV, suffering severe head injuries, a broken nose, thigh and pelvis. In what became his standard response, he returned to duty before he was full recovered.

Scoring three more victories by October, he was given command of Jasta 14. Here he put into practice the iron discipline and rigorous training that he became noted for. Anyone who did not measure up was quickly moved on, but those who made the grade were moulded into a fiercely loyal and effective fighting force. However on 23rd May 1917 he had another serious accident which sidelined him until August.

Returning to duty he took up command of Jasta 18 and he again applied his exacting standards to the men under his command. Here he introduced the Jasta 18 colour scheme of blue aircraft with red noses, based on his old infantry regiment colours of blue tunic with red collars and cuffs. Although obeying orders by transferring to the new Jasta, he clearly he regretted having to leave his comrades behind in Jasta 14 that he had trained so hard, and formed a mutual respect for. Fate (in the shape of 56 Sqn, RFC) intervened again on 10th October when Berthold was again severely wounded and put out of action for several months. Only skilful surgery saved his badly shattered right arm.

Returning to duty in late March 1918 with his arm in a sling, he was in no fit state to fly, but undoubtedly glad to back with 'his boys'. Almost immediately he was promoted to command JG II, consisting of Jastas 12, 13, 15, and 19. This of course would mean leaving Jasta 18 and the men he had formed into an effective fighting force. Quite how he managed it is not entirely clear, but what he did was transfer all the men and equipment out of Jasta 15 into Jasta 18. At the same moment all the men and equipment of 'his' Jasta 18 transferred to Jasta 15, thus coming with him to JG II. (There is another story here, as the 'new' Jasta 18 under Ltn. August Raben forms the subject of Pheon's next decal sheet Here ).
To complete Bertholds story, by sheer force of willpower and a refusal to let his injuries stop him from flying, he raised his score to 44 victories before another crash in August 1918 finally ended his flying career. He survived the war only to be murdered in 1920 at the hands of his own countrymen, in the turmoil that developed in Germany after the Armistice. A truly formidable and brave man who earned the unshakeable loyalty of those who served alongside him.

The decal set.
Pheon have produced probably the definitive decal sheet for 'Berthold's Boys' in their Jasta 18 guise with their blue and red colour scheme. No fewer than 24 individual aircraft can be completed from this set, covering the Albatros D.III, Albatros D.V, Pfalz D.III and D.IIIa. The set consists of a full colour overview of all 24 options, followed by 3 sets of more detailed profiles and 1 of plan views on thick glossy card in A4 size.

Also included is Pheons usual very informative instruction booklet, this one of 13 pages giving some interesting historical detail and notes on finishing options on the real aircraft. Pheon explain where there are doubts or 'grey' areas on actual colours used, and allow the modeller to make an informed choice on which way to go.


Notes are provided on each individual aircraft, most of which can be associated with an individual pilot or pilots. Reading through these is very interesting as well known names crop up regularly and will probably contribute to you deciding which options you want to go for.

Sealed in their own cellophane bag the decals themselves are on two A5 sheets printed by the Fantasy Printshop, which means quality is assured. The first sheet contains all the personal markings for each aircraft, which are pretty much the fuselage side markings. (Note: I have artificially darkened the background here to make the white decals stand out more)


The second sheet contains sets of Eisenkreutz for wings and fuselage, sectioned by the different aircraft types to which they apply. Both sheets are flawlessly printed with the white surrounds to the crosses being in perfect register.


The decals look to be nice and thin with good colour density and minimal carrier film. Technically these are as good as it gets.

The options;

1. Albatros D.III - serial unknown, Oblt. Rudolph Berthold, Harlebeke, Sept. 1917
2. Albatros D.III (OAW) - serial unknown, Oblt. Ernest Turck, Harlebeke, Summer 1917
3. Albatros D.III - pilot and serial unknown, Harlebeke, Autumn 1917
4. Albatros D.III - serial prob. 1970/16, Ltn. Paul Strahle, Aug./Sept. 1917
5. Albatros D.III (OAW) - pilot and serial unknown, prob. late Summer/Autumn 1917
6. Albatros D.III (OAW) - 479/17, Ltn. August Raben, Montingen, October 1918
7. Albatros D.V - Ltn. Walter Dingel, Sept. 1917
8. Albatros D.V - Ltn, Johannes Klein, Oct. 1917


9. Albatros D.V - Ltn. Arthur Rahn, Jasta 18 Nov. 1917
10. Albatros D.V - Ltn. Harald Auffarth and Oblt. Ernst Turck, Staffelfuhrer Jasta 18 Sept. 20- Oct. 1917 and Oct.- March 1918
11. Albatros D.V - pilot and serial unknown, March 1918
12. Albatros D.V - pilot and serial unknown, Winter 1917/18
13. Albatros D.V , 2171/17, Ltn. Oliver Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay, Dec. 1917
14. Albatros D.V - serial unknown, Ltn.d R Hugo Schafer, late 1917
15. Albatros D.V - serial unknown, Ltn. Josef Veltjens, Winter 1917/18
16. Albatros D.V - serial unknown, Ltn. Otto Schober, late Summer 1917


17. Albatros D.V - 4594/17, Ltn. Paul Strahle, Nov. 1917
18. Pfalz D.III - 4004/17, Oblt. Rudolph Berthold, Oct. 1917
19. Pfalz D.III - serial unknown, pilot possibly Walther Kleffel, Winter 1917/18
20. Pfalz D.III - Hans Burckhard von Buttlar, Avelin, Jan. 1918
21. Pfalz D.IIIa - Pilot and serial unknown, Winter 1917/18
22. Pfalz D.IIIa - Gefr. Max Hitschler, Avelin, Jan. 1918
23. Pfalz D.IIIa - Hans Burckhard von Buttlar, Avelin, Feb. 1918
24. Pfalz D.IIIa - Pilot and serial unknown, early 1918


The final sheet showing wing markings.



This is another extraordinary set by Pheon which just looking through it gives a great deal of pleasure (I am getting reasonably good at being able to identify the pilots from their fuselage markings, which is of course why they did them in real life). I doubt that many of us will want to make all 24 possible options, most will go for a selective line up of perhaps one or two of each aircaft type. However, this sheet is also avaialble in 1:72nd, so all 24 in the smaller scales might be a possibility and would make a spectacular line up. If fact a club display could be done if members commited to doing a few models each.

I have been building 1/48 WW.1 aircraft for at least 25 years now and rarely come across more comprehensive and beautifully produced sets of aftermarket decals than Pheon's. I can see this one and others becoming much sought after as 'classics' in future years, so if you have an interest - treat yourself and get them while you can.

Very highly recommended

Review sample courtesy of Pheon Decals


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