Kit No. KLH 89 18
Decals: Two versions – German home defense fighter and Swiss Air Force
Comments: Re-issue of Eduard kit with resin and photo-etched details; engraved panel lines
The Siemens Schuckert D.III type fighter was the marriage of several great ideas. First the “monocoque” fuselage was a wooden frame with 3mm plywood panels as a skin. The rudder elevators and wings were fabric covered and conventionally built, and both the upper and lower wings had ailerons. The powerplant was a Siemens-Halske Sh III 160 hp, 11-cylinder counter rotary engine. A standard rotary turned cylinders and propeller on a stationary crankshaft, turning in one direction at 1800 rpm, but on the Seimens-Schuckert, the propeller and the cylinders turned at 900 rpm in one direction, while and the crankshaft turned 900 rpm in the opposite direction. This counteracted the torque inherent in the standard rotary and produced a maximum of 210hp.
Later a modified version, the Sh.IIIa put out a maximum of 240hp. Another company named “Rhemag” developed the reliable Sh.III(Rh). These rotaries were to be the first to be equipped with a true form of throttle control instead of a “blip” switch. Being highly maneuverable and fast climbing aircraft, the Siemens-Schuckert D.III became ideal for Germany’s Home Defense units known as KEST ( Kampf- einsitzer -staffeln). Several examples were flown successfully by pilots like Oblt. Ernst Udet and Ltn. Alfred Lenz. Though it looked like a barrel with wings, it was unequaled in maneuverability.
The Siemens-Schuckert D.III is a Flashback re-issue of an Eduard kit from the Czech manufacturer’s early days. The kit is correspondingly simple, with fine engraved panel lines, a good rendition of stressed fabric-over-wood-ribs effect on the wings and tail surfaces, and not much detail among the plastic parts otherwise. However, the kit also contains a resin cockpit with a molded in seat, engine, Spandau machine guns, and cockpit controls, and a sheet of photo-etched parts to dress up each of the aforementioned components. Among these are a seat, and controls for the cockpit, gunsights, perforated metal jackets for the Spandaus, and other detail parts for the engine.
The kit is molded in gray and consists of 32 injection molded plastic parts, 14 in resin, and 26 photo etched parts. There is s small amount of flash to the plastic parts and a simple radial engine in plastic, but this is probably best replaced with the resin example provided. The assembly instructions are very well illustrated and consist of four major steps with large and easy to follow pictures and in the case of the fuselage assembly, an exploded drawing.
Decals are for a D.III, 8356/17 of Kest 5 in Swiss markings and for a D.III 1611/18 of the Luftstreitkrafte’s Kest 8.
This is an interesting kit of one of Germany’s best but ironically less well-known fighters of World War I, in part because it did not arrive at the front until the summer of 1918. The resin and photo-etch detail parts combined with the lozenge decals provide the basis for transforming an average kit of yesteryear into a first-class model. Highly recommended.