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Eduard 1/48 scale SSW D.III

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit:8256 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$34.95
Manufacturer:
Eduard
Pros:
Well-engineered for ease of assembly; good selection of markings; terrific molding
Cons:
Lozenge decals come up short; exaggerated rib detail complicates decal application
Comments:
Injection-molded, 168 parts (78 photoetched metal, 2 film), decals
FSM-NP0415_40
FSM-WB0515_SSW_DIII_02
FSM-WB0515_SSW_DIII_03
FSM-WB0515_SSW_DIII_04
FSM-WB0515_SSW_DIII_05
FSM-WB0515_SSW_DIII_06
Many years ago, Eduard decided to make model kits instead of just supplying accessories for them. The first kit was a 1/48 scale Siemens-Schuckert SSW D.III, the quick-climbing, pugnacious World War I German fighter.  A lot of kits later, Eduard returns to its roots with an all-new tooling of the SSW D.III in 1/48 scale. This new kit shares only subject matter and Eduard’s name with its predecessor.

The initial ProfiPack boxing consists of 78 injection-molded plastic parts, 78 photoetched-metal parts, two pieces of film, a set of masks for the wheels, and four decal sheets. Markings include five very colorful options, all using the supplied pre-cut lozenge decals.

Unlike the original kit, the interior is mostly injection-molded parts with a handful of photoetched metal, including pre-painted belts and an optional seat back. The detail on this is nice, but the wood grain is unconvincing to my eye; I repainted mine.

Much of the interior is assembled on top of the lower wing. This fits the fuselage exceptionally well despite the complex shapes, and the incorporated lower cowl panel features open cooling slots — very impressive!

Eduard provides two options for the guns — fully injection-molded guns, or plastic breeches and barrels detailed with photoetched-metal cooling jackets and replacements for plastic levers. I decided the 3-D plastic parts looked fine. I used the photoetched-metal jackets after annealing them. Be aware the gun barrels need to be thinned to accept the metal front and back plates (parts PE12 and PE19).

The engine, firewall, and engine bay details look wonderful, but none of the details behind the engine can be seen. The fit was so good, I left the firewall and engine off until after painting and finishing.

Large gaps around the horizontal stabilizer surprised me, but I eliminated them with Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty smoothed with a wet finger.

The control surfaces, landing gear, and struts fit fine.

I sprayed Tamiya gloss black (X-1) as a base for the lozenge decals to hedge against minor rips or tears showing. You might want to use a different color; the lozenge decals are too small to wrap around the parts, so the black shows at the edges. For example, the upper-wing lozenge has no overlap to cover the wingtips. Eduard provides extra lozenge decal sheet, but the pattern is not printed in the same direction as the pre-cut lozenge and the colors are very different. I cut small pieces to cover both upper and lower wingtips as well as the center cutout in the upper wing. I couldn’t bring myself to cut thin sections for the front and rear of the interplane struts; that would have been eight individual strips to match with the corresponding pattern.

The prominent wing ribs and their sharp stitching caused another decaling problem, piercing the decals during placement. I had a hard time draping the rib-tape decals to lay down over the stitching. On the bright side, the remaining decals behaved once in place and settled with some setting solution.

After struggling with the lozenge and rib tapes, it was almost a relief to start rigging the biplane. Eduard’s photoetched-metal turnbuckles worked well, but the instructions don’t show which type goes where. I used the simple “ring” type (No. PE24) on the upper ends only. The attachment points are actually on the struts and not the wing, so I was able to begin rigging without the upper wing in place.

I used medical suture for rigging, looped through the buckles and then back through small sections of stretched plastic cotton-swab shafts.

After attaching the upper wing to the struts — perfect fit — I tensioned the wires. I used elastic thread from Uschi for the tail control wires, and to rig the center section and landing gear.

I finished the little black barrel in 25 hours. Despite the great fit and wonderful details, this kit requires a bit more work than it should. The poor fit of the lozenge decals, exacerbated by the over-defined ribs, bears most of the blame. New decals would make this kit a winner.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2015 FineScale Modeler.

Some tools of the trade for working with photoetched-metal gun jackets — a butane torch for annealing, insulated tweezers, a pin of the proper size to wrap the jacket around, a knife, and a file. And a big hunk of glass to work on — this one is a former bathroom scale I found at a resale shop!

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