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Halberstadt Cl.II (Early) - 1:32 Wingnut Wings (32049)

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Halberstadt Cl.II (Early)

1:32 Wingnut Wings (32049)

 

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Announced a couple of months ago, Wingnut Wings have now released two boxings of the Halberstadt CL.II, in ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ versions. Designed in 1917as two seat escort fighter and ground attack machine, the CL.II served from July 1917 until the end of the war in November 1918. Of all wood construction, the CL.II was smaller than existing two seaters (‘C’ types) and lighter (the ‘L’ part of its designation). Consequently is had a good rate of climb, top speed, and manoeuvrability, with excellent communication possible between the closely located pilot and gunner. It proved to be popular with its crews and very effective in its designated roles. Some 700 were built by Halberstadt and a further 200 by Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (BFW). They were often attached to specialised ‘Schutzstaffel’ Protection Squadrons, whose job was to fly escort to traditional two seat reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft. Following their transition to the ground attack and infantry support role, they were renamed ‘Schlaststaffel ‘ Battle Squadrons.

 

The Kit.

Presented in Wingnut Wings familiar silver edged box, the glorious Steve Anderson painting depicts the ‘flame’ decorated Schusta 26b machine (options C) over the lines, about to receive attention from an approaching Sopwith Camel. Lifting the lid reveals the plastic components on four large and one smaller sprue, with a further small one holding the clear parts. The decals fill two large A4 sized sheets covering all the individual markings for five options, with a full set of five colour lozenge in upper and lower colours. As always the ‘icing on the cake’ is the superb instruction booklet in full colour. This is more than just a set of construction drawings as it contains period photographs of CL.II’s, showing detailed close ups where these help to illustrate particular details. Further photographs show some of the actual aircraft offered as options.

 

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The assembly drawings are beautifully clear, explain every step with clarity, and pointing out many of the variations that must be made for the particular aircraft chosen to build. One thing I always appreciate is the full colour sub assembly drawings, showing how the completed cockpit area should look. Not only does this remove any doubts, but it helps to plan the painting sequence for all the components.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, filled with lovely details like the fuel tank upon which the pilots seat is affixed, the compass, the pressurising pump, wire reel etc, finished off with etched brass seat belts and numerous little placard decals. The Telefunken Type D wireless and amplifier set is a little gem that I expect most modellers will want to install. A small number of control wires run down the cockpit sides, and can be replicated with the rigging material of your choice. The illustrations show exactly where they go.

 

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The Daimler Mercedes D.III engine can be built as one of three versions, a standard 160hp D.III,  a 180hp D.IIIa, or a 200hp D.IIIau. The instructions make it very clear which parts are appropriate for which version, and are backed up with contemporary black & white photos, and full colour CAD drawings of the finished engine.

 

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A fixed LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun is fitted on the port side in front of the pilot. Wingnut Wing provide a choice of two, one as solid plastic moulding, and the others with and etched brass slotted cooling jacket for higher detail.  A similar choice is available for the observers LMG 14 Parabellum later on in the build.

 

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With the engine and interior built up, the two fuselage halves are joined together. Various ‘rivets’ and tabs need to be shaved off the exterior surface, as they are only appropriate to the ‘late’ version Halberstadt.  This is a simple task to do, and clearly pointed out in the instructions.  With the fuselage halves together, construction moves on to adding the lower wings and tailplanes, and that very distinctive gun ring over the observers cockpit.

 

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Very early machines (Options B & D) had a smaller rudder than later ones, and although the difference is subtle Wingnut Wings supply both.  All the parts for the 'Early' version are on sprue 'F'.

 

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One little detail that I particularly like about German aircraft of this period is that several of them had a compass mounted out on the port wing, away from magnetic interference.  This Halberstadt is one of them, and it makes an interesting and eye catching detail on the finished model, particularly as the decal for it is a little masterpiece that is fully readable under a magnifying glass. Struts and engine cowlings (complete with etched brass flash guard for scale thickness) are fitted next, in preparation for the multi-part upper wing being fitted. This comprises of upper and lower center sections halves, solid outer panels, and separate ailerons.  The radiator detail is moulded into the center section parts, with lovely sharp definition.

 

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  The fuel tank even gets a clear plastic sighting tube to fit on its top surface. 

 

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The wings themselves have rib and delicate fabric ‘sag’ detail, with ultra fine trailing edges.

 

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No doubt the top wing will fit on flawlessly with everything lining up to perfection. One thing I learned early on is not to use cyano on the struts, but slower setting glue such as Revell Contacta.  This gives you time to pop all struts fully into their sockets and check that everything is lining up as it should. Next up is the undercarriage, with the option of faired and unfaired axles. (I always use fine fishing line to rig the legs, and it is amazing how much strength this gives them, just like on the real thing). The kit supplies Neindorf, Garuda, and Axial propellers, with the instructions pointing out which one goes with each option. All are impressive mouldings with superb hub detail moulded in, and unlike many other manufacturers, there are no sink marks on the blade roots. The build is completed by fitting either an LMG 14 or LMG 14/17 machine gun for the observer, plus a choice of flare racks and cartridges to locate around the rear cockpit. There is even a choice of flare pistols to put inside. The rigging is at moderate level, as this is a single bay biplane. There are no double wires or awkward runs, so it should not present any difficulties using your preferred method of elastic line, fishing line, stretched sprue etc.

 

Options.

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A.    Halberstadt CL.II 5702/17 “3 Martha & Else”, Max Niemann & Rudolf Kolodzicj, Royal Prussian Schlasta 21, October 1918.

 

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B.    Halberstadt CL.II “4 Rosi” Royal Bavaraian Schusta 23b, Early 1918.

 

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C.    Halberstadt CL.II “4” Royal Bavaraian Schusta 26b, Early 1917.

 

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D.    Halberstadt CL.II “1”, Fridolin Redenbach, Royal Bavaraian Schusta 27b, September 1917.

 

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E.    Halberstadt CL.II “4 Dora”, Royal Bavaraian Schusta 27b, March 1918.


Decals.
Decals are printed by Cartograf, and are of the usual faultless quality. Everything is in perfect register with minimal carrier film and good colours. Two A4 sized sheets are provided, with the first covering all the different markings and detail items. It is always the little placards and instrument dials that impress me most, they are such perfect little miniatures and really add so much to the finished model. The ‘flame’ section for option C is wisely provided as the ‘fingers’ only, as it will be necessary to paint the forward section of the fuselage due to the compound curves.

 

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The second sheet contains a set of ‘upper’ and’ lower’ 5 colour lozenge in ‘cookie cutter’ format. This is a very helpful idea as the fabric on the CL.II was applied at 45 degrees, which would be a little awkward to do with strips of decal. Pay attention to the instructions, because only option E had the standard upper and lower lozenge fabric applied. C,D, and B had the ‘lower’ lozenge applied on the upper surfaces, with the lowers covered in bleached linen. Option A had yellow painted wings, but this would have been over the standard lozenge as per option E. Whether you want to do this or just omit the lozenge and go straight for yellow paint is your choice, but all of this is shown in the instructions.

 

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Halberstadt had an unusual method of painting the CL.II’s fuselage. Patches of greens, brown yellow and blue were covered with a ‘stipple’ effect. Wingnut Wings helpfully have a guide on their website showing how to achieve this with an airbrush set to low pressure. Both the ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ versions of this kit have an option in them that does not have this stipple finish, should you want to avoid it.

 

Conclusion.
Without a doubt, another masterpiece from Wingnut Wings. It has everything we have come to expect from them, attractive box art and packaging, flawless mouldings, superb decals, and instructions that are more like a detailed reference manual. This is a very good looking aeroplane with lots of interesting marking options. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that it quickly becomes one of their best sellers.

 

Very Highly recommended



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Review sample courtesy of

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Looks excellent, I can't wait for my stock to arrive. Great review as always, thanks for posting it.

 

Duncan B

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