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HR Models Pfalz E. I and E. lll

27 Sep
2012

military models

As these machines are similar in many respects I decided to model them in tandem. They are Pfalz copies of the Morane-Saulnier H and L, respectively, with minor modifications. I know that I always seem to start reviews of World War I subjects with a mention of Windsock references, but in this case they are vital. I would find it extremely difficult to build either aircraft without good reference. To start with, the instruction sheet consists of a three-view drawing, some text in Czech and no colour information. The first job is therefore to get out your copies of Windsock Datafile 59: Pfalz E. 1-Е. IV and Windsock Datafile 16: Morane-Saulnier Type L. I started with the E. I, releasing the fuselage halves from their runners and preparing them for assembly. However, first I assembled the cockpit interior – this consists of a floor, a seat and etched-brass instrument panel and seat belts. The modeller has to scratch build a control column. Before fitting the cockpit I painted the interior. To be honest I am not sure of the correct colour, but I assume it was natural plywood. There is no actual position indicted for the cockpit floor, but you can use the seat as a guide when fitting the interior. After joining the fuselage halves, I removed the rudder from the moulding membrane and set it square with the fuselage. The all-flying horizontal tail surfaces are connected by a rod at the rear of the fuselage. Since there is no other way that they are connected, I super glued a small length of wire between them, but still left this assembly off the model until after painting.
My attention now turned to the wings. Each one is a single moulding and because of the colour scheme I decided to paint them before fixing. Prior to that it was necessary to mark out and drill holes for the bracing and wing-warp wires. It is believed that these aircraft were either covered in bleached linen or white dope and they adopted the Morane-Saulnier practice of edging the flying surfaces and the fuselage corners with black. On the outside of the linen, over the ribs, cane strips were fixed, these also being painted black. On the kit the cane strips are faithfully reproduced, the problem was painting them. I thought about using black decal strips but this would not have been easy, as they would be balanced on each raised portion. I decided to use Letraset lining tape, but first I had to sand down the raised sections. I sprayed the wings white and then added the strip.
Because the wings are a butt fit to the fuselage, I drilled two small holes in the end of each wing to insert a small wire pin. I marked the position of each wing on the fuselage and drilled two corresponding holes in each side. When. the pins were in place I could fit the wings in the correct position after painting. Putting the finished wings to one side, I completed the fuselage assembly.

This included fitting the undercarriage struts and the rigging pylon on the upper surfaces.
The half cowling is a separate piece, which has a backing plate in resin, but I found it easier to use a thin piece of plastic sheet for this part as it saved sanding down to the required thickness. The aircraft had side fairings behind the cowling, but I found the kit ones too thin, so I built them up with plastic card to match the outside of the cowling. Having fixed the tail-skid assembly I painted the fuselage. From the rear of the cockpit forward it is black, including the undercarriage, the rest is white. Next came the tricky job of executing the black lining. This was achieved using a black fibre-tip marking pen that I ran along the edges and over the rudder. I used the same method on the wings and horizontal stabilisers. While the models were still unassembled, I applied the decals. Crosses were applied to the upper and lower wings, the fuselage, the rudder and above and below the horizontal stabilisers. A number of serials are included on the decal sheet but beware, this is a composite sheet with markings for both aircraft, which means that only some apply to this mark. The only one that I could find that tallied with a photograph was Е.1. 479/15. If you do not want to use this it does not matter as many machines did not carry a fuselage serial and the small one on the rudder would be indecipherable in 1:72.
Decalling done, it was time to assemble the model and add the pre-painted engine and machine-gun. Also, two small strips were attached to the tailplane connecting rod to represent the control cable levers. The pre-painted wheels were added and the model was ready for rigging. Since the model looked rather stark in its all-white colours, I used some brown pastel chalk to add some weathering. Now to the rigging. Because of the acute angle at which the rigging wires entered the wings, I used Lycra thread for rigging, owing to its flexibility, and stretched sprue for the control wires. Having added the propeller, the model was complete, apart from the job that I always dread – making the minuscule windscreen.
Turning to the E. lll, the fuselage construction was similar to that of the E. I, although the E. lll did not have the cowling fairings. With the E. lll being a parasol monoplane, the wing is a single molding, which is supported on struts from the fuselage. I decided to replace the supporting struts with brass Strutz, using similar material for the rigging support struts on the wing uppersurface. Having fixed the struts in position, the wing was sprayed white and the black edging added. I then drilled for the rigging and decalled the wing and fuselage. Here again, I had to search for a real example that matched the decals. The information came from
Data file 16, which shows an E. lll with the serial A. I 25/15 on the fuselage, but no fuselage crosses. In fact, I could only find one photograph of this machine with fuselage crosses. Dropping the wing in place was quite easy, with just a spot of thick super glue on each strut. I added just a couple more struts at the forward end, cemented the machine-gun in place and, after weathering, it was time to rig. It took a while studying photographs to decide just where all the rigging went. The last parts to add are the propeller and windscreen.

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In conclusion I enjoyed making these models, they presented new challengers which gave me satisfaction when I overcame them. With many of the components moulded on composite membranes, you have to check your references to find the right part for each model. I am not quite sure about the engine. My photographs of the E. I show a seven-cylinder Oberursel engine but the kit has the nine-cylinder example used on the E. ll. However, the biggest problem is the decal sheet, since one of the serials does not match the aircraft, in fact they belonged to a Morane-Saulnier Type L. That said, I can recommend these kits to the resin basher and although these are the first HR kits I have built, I hope they are not the last.

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