Halberstadt D.II by Pegasus

1/72 scale
Kit No. PGS 2022
Cost: $15.00
Decals: One version – unspecifed German Air Force aircraft
Comments: Short run kit; raised surface details; white metal parts; recommended for experienced modelers

History

The manufacturer of the Halberstadt D.II, Halberstadter Flugzeuwerke was originally a division of the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company of Bristol, know as the Deutsche Bristol-Werke Halberstadt, whose first German design included the Taube (Dove) monoplanes. Looking somewhat frail due to its slender lines and flimsy looking tail unit, the Halberstadt D.II was very maneuverable and deceptively strong, more respected by Allied opponents than its own pilots.  Halberstadt Scouts could withstand long, steep dives and tight maneuvers better than most aircraft at the time.  James Thomas Byford McCudden, of the RFC, wrote of the Halberstadt, “I have never in my experience seen a machine, under control, dive so steeply and so long.”

 

The D.1 was designed in 1915 was powered by a 100 hp Mercedes D.I engine. The upgraded D.II entered service in 1916, and was powered by the larger 120 hp D.II Mercedes engine.  The wings were of a two-bay staggered configuration, fabric covered, with wooden spar and ribs.  The top wing had an angular cut-out in the center-section trailing edge and the engine radiator was located on the top wing, offset to starboard.  Ailerons were of equal chord and located on the top wing only.  The fuselage was of wire braced, wooden box girder construction that tapered to a horizontal knife edge and was fabric covered except for plywood decking in front of the cockpit.  Steel tubing was used for the wire-braced struts, rudder support and a plain “V” undercarriage.

When the D.II first entered service in 1916, it was assigned to reconnaissance units for escort work and to the Kampfeinsitzerkommandos (roughly translated as intruder units), but from early Autumn it joined with the far superior Albatross Scouts in the early Jagdstaffeln (fighter squadrons). A refined version of the Halberstadt D.I, the D.II was soon followed by the D.III and D.IV models. As larger numbers of Albatros fighters began arriving at the front by late 1916, the D type Halberstadts were becoming obsolete and were withdrawn from combat for use as trainers. After a crack developed in his Albatros, Manfred Von Richthofen returned for a time back to the Halberstadt D.II.

Specifications Wingspan: 28 ft. 11 in. Length: 23 ft. 11 in. Height: 8 ft. 9 in. Maximum speed: 90 mph Rate of climb: 656 ft/minute to 9850 ft. Powerplant: Mercedes D.III six-cylinder in-line engine of 120 hp Armament: One sychronized, starboard-mounted 7.62mm Spandau 08 machine gun, firing through the propeller arc

The Kit

The best way to describe Pegasus aircraft kits is that they are the 1/72 scale version of Blue Max. Those familiar with the latter (also British) kit manufacturer know that they are not for novice modelers, requiring initiative, research, and scratchbuilding skills, and maybe a certain ability to think outside the box. Speaking of boxes, the Halberstadt D.II box, to Pegasus’ credit, bears a statement that it is for “the experienced modeler and collector only.”  To sum up, Pegasus kits offer a suggestion of a particular aircaft — but it’s really up to the modeler to fill in the inevitable blanks and make it happen.

 

Pegasus’ kit of the Halberstadt D. II is injection molded in grey plastic and consists of 10 plastic parts, including a single long spar which is to be cut into lengths for the interplane struts. An immediate point to note which speaks to the nature of these short-run kits, is that this part does not appear to be long enough to make the required eight interplane struts. So there is either a part missing, or the modeler is expected to “man up” and do a bit of scratchbuilding – most likely the latter. In addition, there are a dozen white metal (pewter) parts for the engine, wheels, “V” struts for the main landing gear, propeller, control column, seat, and machine gun.  Finally, there are two lengths of plastic wire which are to be cut to form a series of small cabane struts, tail skid, and support struts for the horizontal tail plane.

This color illustration shows the recommended paint scheme for the Pegasus Halberstadt D.II.

The major injection molded plastic parts are fairly detailed, considering the scale. The fuselage bears above average raised relief showing airframe details, including a stressed fabric effect along the dorsal surface aft of the cockpit. The cockpit floor features above average detail, including what is clearly intended to be wooden planking, and the instrument panel even contains raised details representing a predictable spartan array of dials. The upper wing in particular is noteworthy for its radiator detail in the right half of the wing center section, and its engraved detail representing the control surfaces. No attempt is made at a stressed fabric effect on either the upper or lower wing. There is a single exploded drawing to guide construction. This is a helpful tool, but by itself, it will not be sufficient without consulting additional reference photos to achieve precise placement of many of the parts. The kit box illustrations include a four-view schematic featuring a camouflage scheme of red brown and dark green, over doped fabric or unbleached linen, and the instructions identify Methuen, Federal Standard, and Xtracolor colors for each.

Decals

The kit markings consist of generic national markings for WWI German aircraft, a serial number for an unspecified aircraft, and an instrument panel decal. No details are provided as to the unit to which the aircraft belonged.

Conclusion

An interesting kit of a mid-war fighter of World War I that is sure to require scratchbuilding skill, particularly for the unusual tail assembly.

Reference

  • The Aviation History Online Museum ~ www.aviation-history.com

 

 

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