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Viking

Hannover Cl.II (Early) (32079) - 1/32 Wingnut Wings.

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Hannover Cl.II (Early)
1/32 Wingnut Wings. (32079).

 

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The Hannover CL.II was designed in 1917 as a two seat escort fighter to protect other two seat reconnaissance aircraft.Hannoversch Waggonfabrik AG were actually manufacturers of railway waggons who had branched out into license building Halberstadt, Rumpler and Aviatik aircraft.

 

Their first indigenous design was the CL.II, which first flew in July 1917 and entered service in August 1917. Like the Roland CL.II the fuselage was a lightweight structure formed of thin plywood layers covered with fabric and doped, as were the wing centre sections. It makes an interesting comparison with the Bristol F.2b fighter as some of the design aims were the same. Most obvious was the need to give the gunner as wide a field of fire as possible. Frank Barnwell did this on the Bristol aircraft by placing the fin and rudder pretty much half and half above and below the fuselage. The CL.II achieved it by shortening the span of the tailplane but maintaining the surface area by making it a biplane unit, and locating the gunner very high in the fuselage.

Also similar to the F.2b the top wing is at the crews eye level, giving them an excellent view above and below.

 

Unlike the Bristol with its lower wing mounted below the fuselage on short struts, the Hannover simply has a much deeper fuselage to maintain the gap between the two wings.

In service it was very well liked, being strong, fast, highly maneuverable and generally versatile. It also had the advantage of being smaller that most two seaters, leading allied pilots to think it was a single seater that could be sneaked up on from behind. Any pilot who did so would place himself at the mercy of the rear gunner. As the war progressed into 1918 the Hannover was also used in the ground attack role, and continued in front line service up until the November armistice.


The kit.
As always the artwork is beautiful, this time showing a Cl.II in the escort role fending off an SE.5a attempting to attack an Albatros C.X. Inside are eleven individually bagged sprues, three large decal sheets, a small etched brass fret, and a set of the outstanding Wingnut Wings instructions. The plastic parts are pretty much the same as in the previous release (32024), but the decal sheets are all new. 

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Sprue A.
This mostly holds the interior and tailplane parts. The main cockpit part is A42 which is the floor and fuel tank, forming the core around which much of the rest of the detail is built. It is a sobering thought that the pilot sat above the petrol tank, when the risk of fire through enemy action or accident was high. One of the interesting 'bonuses' of building Wingnut Wings kits is that they are so accurate, you get a real insight into what these machines were like. When building up an interior I can't help but drift into thoughts of what it must have been like to have been aircrew on machines like this. Great stuff! I guess it why we all enjoy this hobby so much.

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Enough daydreaming, and back to reality. The Observers cockpit for options B and E has the choice of fitting a '50cm Flieger Kammer' Camera, and a Telefunken Type D wireless (found on sprue G3). These are such lovely parts, that it really is very tempting to use the, both even have their own miniature decals to further detail them, the wireless alone has eight of them. Also worth mentioning here is that the etched brass fret has some bracket work that is used to further detail the Observers cockpit.

The parts are beautifully moulded, with delicate frameworks, bulkheads, levers and switched that go to make up the pilots and observers cockpits. There are also the distinctive biplane tailplane, elevators and ailerons. As expected all are moulded to perfection with fine trailing edges and delicate rib detail.
Also exhibiting superfine moulding are the wing mounted radiators, a choice of either a Mercedes-Daimler or a Teeves & Braun unit depending upon which of the  marking options you choose. They come as upper and lower inserts that are fixed into recesses in the wing centre section. Further items are the pilots LMG 08/15 Spandau in both 'solid' or 'High detail' etched jacket form, Undercarriage legs, Observers gun ring, and engine bearers.

 

The following 4 photos are from my build of the previous release of this kit, taken a few years ago. the give a good idea of how well this all assembles.

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Sprue B.
The wings are moulded with beautifully sharp, lightly scalloped trailing edges. There is fine rib stitching detail and a lovely aerofoil section that cambers gently but definitely across the top and bottom. Substantial locating tabs on each wing will make their fixing very strong. Always impressive is the standard of moulding that Wingnut Wings achieve on large parts such as these. There are never any flaws such as sink marks or short shots, just precise, clean, and perfect mouldings.

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Sprue C.
Traditionally the smallest sprue in a Wingnut Wings kit (because there isn't much glazing on aircraft from this era), the parts are still to the same uncompromising standard as the rest of the kit. Crystal clear, the pilots windshield even his tiny rivet detail along its bottom edge, where it is fixed to the fuselage. Also on this sprue is a camera lens for the observers 50cm 'Flieger Kammer'.

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Sprue D.
There are two of these, sensibly each supplies parts that need to be duplicated, such as the main wheels.In addition to the wheels are various fine struts and brackets for the tailplanes, some tiny flares, and inspection covers for the forward lower fuselage. The inspection covers are moulded with real open louvers, and it is much appreciated that they are provided as separate parts rather than being moudled into the fuselage halves, when they would sit on the seam line and be impossible to clean up. Another smart move by Wingnut Wings.

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Sprue E.
The Argus As.III engine is moulded with separate sump/crankcase and cylinder units, to which is added all the necessary pipework and anciliaries. Pushrods run from the crankcase to the rocker arms on the cylinder head on the left side of the engine. There area three types of propellers to choose from, Niendorf, Germania, or Reshke.

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You are given the option of using a set of cylinder halves with the pushrods moulded in (E14) but where moulding limitations mean that there is no gap between the rods and the cylinders, or cylinder halves with no pushrods moulded on (E13), and you provide your own 0.5mm wire to create them.

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Sprue F.
The fuselage halves are most prominent here, along with the upper wing centre section, cabane struts, ailerons, and engine cowlings. The fuselage captures the shape of the real thing to perfection, and has very neat detail both inside and out. There are some light ejector pin circles, but they have cleverly been located in areas that will be hidden once the fuselage halves have been joined. The engine cowlings are amazing. All four of them feature delicate 'D' shaped cooling louvers, part F7 alone has thirty one of them within a small area, all perfectly formed. Alternate nose caps are provided with different cooling hole patterns, again depending upon which marking option you have chosen. One of them will require you to open a flashed over hole (part F10) for options A and B.
The Upper wing centre section is made from upper and lower units, with big slots to locate the big tabs on the outer wing panels from sprue B. This will make for a very strong upper wing assembly.

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Three 'G' Sprues carry generic items that are applicable to several aircraft, so not all parts will be required for this kit.


Sprue G1 carries the Observers armaments, a choice between a Parabellum LMG/14 or a Parabellum LMG 14/17. The main difference is in the cooling jacket for the gun barrel. The /14 has the familiar large fretted jacket (and there is the choice of a 'solid' moulded barrel, or an etched brass one), while the 14/17 was fitted with a much thinner air cooled jacket barely any wider than the barrel.

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Sprue G2.
There two G" sprues which contain half a tail trestle each, that can be joined to make the complete article. Also present are some Granatenwerfer grenades and two types of flares, along with external racks to fit on the outside of the Observers cockpit. Wheel chocks complete the parts for use with this kit, but there are also some handy parts for the spares box such as oxygen flasks and 12.5Kg PuW bombs.

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Sprue G3.
This is a real treasure trove of diorama accessories, with four types of reconnaissance cameras, three types of flare pistols, first aid kit, homing pigeon box, box of photographic plates, step ladder, barograph, and even a mascot Teddy bear! There are also propellers from Axial, Astra, Heine, and Wolff, which are not required for the model, but would be useful in any workshop diorama.

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Photo Etch
As mentioned previously the etch fret holds air cooling jackets for the 'High detail' LMG 08/15 Spandau, and Parabellum LMG 14. The pilot and Observer are supplied with seat belts, there are the bracket assemblies for the Observers cockpit, and the shutter mechanism for the wing mounted radiator. A nice touch is the little embossed name plate for the aircraft, with the Wingnut Wings logo on.

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Decals.
Three very large sheets are found in the box, only just fitting the length and width. Printed by Cartograf the first sheet covers all the individual markings for options A to E. There are also a mass of instrument, placard, stencil and other details, including those for the cameras and other diorama accessories.

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Two further sheets provide the lozenge decals. There are complicated combinations explained for the options, with four and/or five colour lozenge being used, sometimes with four colour on the mainplanes and five colour on the ailerons. Lozenge is also given for the tail group, up to where it  blends with the fuselage.

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Options
Hannovers often featured irregular hand painted lozenge shapes on the fuselage often over painted with a dark glaze, which is the case for options A to D here. It is not difficult to do, but in case any modeller is unsure Option D is given as simpler alternative of a pale blue machine with clear doped linen wings.
There are a few minor variations within the given options, (A) can be finished as (A1) without the wing stripes and upper fuselage chevron, or (A2) with them. Likewise (B) can be done without the red comet on the side as (B1), or with it as (B2).

 

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A. Hannover Cl.II 9276/17 “White 5", H Bronner, Royal Bavarian Schusta 27b, late 1917 to early 1918

 

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B. Hannover Cl.II 9280/17 “Comet", Grönhagen? & J Gfrör, FA (A) 282, November 1917

 

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C. Hannover Cl.II 9301/17 “White 4", J Missfelder, Royal Prussian Schusta 12, March 1918

 

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D. Hannover Cl.II 9398/17 “2", JKH Müller & A Zitzelsberger, Royal Bavarian Schusta 24b, March 1918

 

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E. Hannover Cl.II (Rol) 622/18 “White 2", Bayerische-Fliegerschule 5, mid to late 1918

 

Conclusion.
This is a welcome return of a kit that sold out rapidly in its initial release (Kit 32024) and then began to fetch large prices on the second hand market. It has all the hallmarks of Wingnut Wings kits, beautiful mouldings, excellent fit, exquisite detail, fabulous instructions, and high quality decals. It is also a very good looking aeroplane, having a tough sturdy look that was possessed by few of these early biplanes.
I am able to confirm that it is a trouble free build with absolutely no pitfalls or things to watch out for, as I built the previous release when it came out a few years ago. Get one while you can, it was one of the fastest sellers last time it was available, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case again.

 

Highly Reccomended.

 

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Footnote: As mentioned earlier, I have already built the previous kit of the Hannover Cl.II a few years ago, finished with markings from the aftermarket Pheon Decal sheet. I have a few photos of the completed model, showing some of the diorama ccessories that come with it.

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A tremendous kit review and accompanying pictures - thank you!

Gary

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