Kit: Junkers D. l Scale: 1:72
Kit type: Injection moulded Decal options: one UK price: £7.50 Website: www. rodenplant. com
The last time I built a model of this aircraft it was a ‘limited edition’ Pegasus kit, so I was interested to see how the Roden version compared. It represents the ‘long-fuselage’ variant, whereas the Pegasus kit was modelled on an early ‘short-fuselage’ machine, complete with extra undercarriage bracing.
Before even removing the parts from the box I took my trusty Windsock Datafile from the shelf, in this case it is No. 33, as my constant companion throughout the build. If you are without this Datafile, 1:72 scale drawings from it can be found in Windsock International Vol. 20, No. 6.
Junkers never made it easy for the modeller with its corrugated skin system, but I must say that the surface of this Roden kit is superbly done. The kit is crisply moulded with little or no flash and the first task is to construct the various subassemblies. These consist of the engine, which is split vertically, with four more pieces to add (it’s a pity that this item is 90 percent hidden inside the cowling). The seat is fixed to a longitudinal spar, which also holds the rudder pedals and control column. The only other item supplied for the cockpit is the instrument panel which is a reasonable facsimile, because on the actual aircraft it mainly consisted of a horizontal spar with a few instruments fixed to it. The fuselage is a ‘box section’ consisting of two side panels, with a separate floor and top decking.
The instructions show the engine being trapped when the fuselage halves are joined. I found that getting it in the correct position was tricky, but I also found that it was possible to fit it after the fuselage had been assembled; it was a tight fit, but I was able to adjust its height and then secure it with a little PVA. But I am getting a little ahead of myself. First I cemented the seat assembly onto the cockpit floor having painted the inside of the cockpit area in an aluminium colour. To assemble the fuselage I initially cemented the two sides together, the only two contact points being just ahead of the cockpit and at the tail end. I then added the bottom section. There are small stops on which to locate it in the correct position and I found it best to cement it in place gradually, first fixing it at the rear and gradually moving towards the front, letting each section set before moving on. This task completed, the engine was fixed in place and the radiator front fitted. Next came the fuselage decking, followed by the tailplanes. moulding with separate elevators. I left the latter off until after the horizontal surface was in place. This latter item fits into a slot at the rear of the fuselage and I found that I had to trim it a little to allow the tail unit to sit square to the fuselage. I then cemented the elevator at a slight downward angle and added the one-piece vertical tail surface. It was now time to turn my attention to the wings.
Each wing is in two halves with separate ailerons. When the wings were assembled I fixed them to the fuselage, locating them with the moulded-in tabs. To get the correct angle I referred to the Datafile drawings and in doing so I found that there was a slight gap on the underside. I filled this with a section of stretched sprue and resisted the temptation to use filler because all the joints on this aircraft were quite basic (fairing in the corrugated metal was not a priority on the real machine). I set the ailerons at a realistic angle and added their actuating levers. As masking would not be a big problem with this model I added most of the extra detail at this stage. This included a flat section in front of the cockpit, grooved sections onto which the machine-guns would eventually rest, the cockpit crash bar, tailskid, footstep and grab handles. There was one last item to add before painting – the undercarriage; this was added minus the wheels. The model’s underside was spayed light blue, masked and then the upper-surface sprayed purple. Over this I sprayed a random pattern of dark green. It seems that there was no regulation placement for this latter colour, so really the camouflage drawing is just a guide. When the camouflage was dry I painted the details and added the pre-painted wheels. After a coat of gloss varnish the decals were applied. Roden supplies decals for two aircraft, though the only difference between them is in their serial. These went on well considering the impossible surface they had to contend with. With just the propeller, machine-guns and a couple of bracing wires on the undercarriage to add, the model was all but finished.
This was an easy model to build and I can see no problems for the average modeller. As to accuracy, it fits well on the Datafile drawings. The plain-metal leading edge strips supplied are a little too wide, but this is difficult to see after the model has been painted. I’m happy to add this Roden product to my World War I collection.
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