Austro-Hungarian aircraft
by Chris Savaglio


Aviatik C.I

Kit: Copper State Models (1:48)

Here's a couple shots of the Copper State Models Aviatik C.I in 1/48 scale. I started this kit as a sort of test run for the unique CSM box type fuselage, where the sides, top and bottom are seperate pieces. It turns out that my fears were unfounded and the assembly was actually easier than i had expected. The parts could be detailed seperately, then assembled, instead of trying to get everything to line up and sealing up two halves. What works really well is mounting one sidewall to the bottom which gives plenty of space to install the interior. Then install the other sidewall and finish up the interior before mounting the top.

Basically out of box, with the exception of the internal rigging lines and the struts. That says a lot for a limited run resin kit, that nearly nothing had to be scratched. 8 guage guitar string was straightened with heat and each piece cut to fit, crossing between each pair of ribs in the fuselage. The seat belts are strips of masking tape with the kit's etched buckles

The struts included were white metal, and, although not bad, my attempts to clean them up were not great being that they are very thin. I scratched them out of basswood strip, roughly shaped on a belt sander to give me strut stock. Then I cut the size, shaped the tips and coated them with thin CA. They were then sanded smooth and painted. I still can't get the hang of using bamboo for struts.

A great build, taking only 12 days from the first cut of resin. This was done to get it built for a regional competition. I should know better than to rush through a project. I did have some issues with the decals and Eric sent me another set which went on better, but still not great. If I wasn't trying to get it done so fast, I would have stripped the surfaces and started over. For some reason, I must've had some sort of contamination on the surface. Maybe my decal solution went bad. I've got a couple new bottles and I'm going to try them out.

A big thanks to Eric for the second set of decals and the advice. The detail molded into the fabric fuselage surfaces has to really be seen to be appreciated. The fuselage parts are so thin you could see the rigging lines through them after they were installed. This is another outstanding kit from CSM.


Aviatik-Berg DI

Kit: Flashback (1:48)

This is Flashback's 1/48 Aviatik-Berg DI. This is the series 138 version. The only change to the kit was the omission of the claw brake. I couldn't find any photos in the datafile or in the 3-view of this series having the claw brake.

Nothing too special here, just straight out of the box. The paint job is the only thing unique about this model. The "autumn leaf" camo was done by first painting the entire aircraft the base colors. The flying surfaces were done in cdl and the fuselage in natural wood with light grey metal areas. I did this because I didn't know how much of the base was going to show through the camo. When it was all said and done, nothing did. The first color laid down on top was a dark yellow, done with a slightly moist sponge. When this was dry, red-brown and finally the green was done in the same way. With pieces of sponge about 1/2" square, I was able to get a pretty random, but consistent pattern. I used a smaller piece, maybe about 1/8" or 1/4" in size held with a pair of tweezers to get into the crevices like the wing and tail roots.

Touch up, while blending easily, was a bit of a pain because all three colors had to be used to keep the pattern.

This kit went together pretty easily and I had no real issues, except some trimming of the motor mount to get it to sit in the right place. The kit has it sitting too far aft by at least an 1/8". This normall wouldn't be a big deal, but the exhaust tubes would have interfered with the cabane struts if it wasn't fixed.

I chickened out on the spoke wheels, saving them for another project. It is a nice addition to the kit though. I had plenty of fun doing the spoke wheels on the Taube, and I really didn't want to get into it on this one.


Etrich Taube

Kit: Copper State Models (1:48)

It's finally done. This was one of those projects that no matter how frustrated I got, I still couldn't put it aside for more than a day.

Copper State put out an incredible kit with great surface detail and as easy to build as you could can make a Taube kit. I thought the rigging would be the only issue with the build, but I was wrong. Nothing at all CSM's fault, just my own clumsy tendancies, mostly.

The wing to fuse joints are extremely delicate, even pinned. There just isn't much surface area for the glue. I broke each wing off several times, each time resulting in re-gluing, re-sanding, re-primering, and re-painting. Not an easy task because of the 4 different colors associated, bare aluminum, cdl, white and red. Eventually, I ripped the wings off, dry fit them to the fuselage and painted it all seperate.

Rigging was a pain, as expected, but I just took it one piece at a time and plugged on. It was done in 10 major sittings, 2-5 hours each. By my count, there are 144 pieces of rigging. Don't let that put you off though, if you're considering building the kit. It only feels like 125 pieces.

My usualy techniques were used here. Mostly acrylics for base coats, oils for weathering as well as a few pastels here and there. Alclad was used for the bare aluminum areas. 4lb monofilament line for rigging.

Mostly kit parts were used. About half of the white metal parts were replaced with brass and styrene stock. Everything but the propeller, tires, wing skids, landing gear skids, radiators, and main A-shaped rigging post was scratched. Eduard wheel discs were used in conjuction with the CSM tire halves provided. A CSM prop boss and nuts were used.

This was a very challenging kit, mostly because of the rigging and delicate nature of the kit. It was not my cleanest build and it probably won't win any contests, but it'll probably draw a lot of attention on the table.


Lloyd C.V

Kit: Special Hobby (1:48)

This is Special Hobby's Lloyd C.V. This thing was a lot of fun to build. I had no major problems with the kit at all. Everything seemed to fall together. Oddly enough, even with its distint strut layout, the upper wing went on without any problem and even lined up without me even trying. The resin cockpit fit with only very slight trimming. The map is a period aviator's map, printed off extremely small on my home printer, then trimmed down to a suitable size. The edges are folded behind it, so it appears to be a folded map.

The fabric and metal areas are finished with Poly-S acrylics and overcoated with Future. The wood areas were finished by laying a base of acrylic light tan, then Futuring until it was highly glossy. The grain was made using artist's oil paint, thinned a touch with Japan Drier, and applied with a raked fan style brush. This was dried under a halogen desk lamp. I use the lamp since it normally takes several days for the oil paint to dry, even longer if the drier isn't used. Most of the parts were touchable within a few hours under the lamp. It's a 50 watt lamp, but I wouldn't put a resin part under it, since it may warp. Then it was overcoated with Future. I used no tinted clear coats on this finish.

After a bit of research (thanks, Karen Rychlewski for the great info), I decided that the autumn leaf camo wasn't applied until after the aircraft reached its Flik. I had wanted an aircraft with the thin style crosses and the tank above the wing instead of the coffin mg mount. In the instructions, only one aircraft met the criteria, Lloyd C.V 46.04. So, I did this aircraft, in its pre-camo'ed state, even if this aircraft only existed like this for a short time.

Not much weathering was done, except for a little bit of yellowing to the fabric surfaces and some washes, all done with oils.

Great kit and a good way to get out of the rut with it's different finish.


PKZ-2 Austro-Hungarian Helicopter

Kit: Eduard (1:48)

This is something a little different. It's Eduard's old PKZ-2 helicopter kit. For those that haven't heard of this crazy looking thing, it was the first functional flying helicopter. It was designed to replace the vulnerable observation balloons. It was never flown manned, but there were provisions to have an observer in a bucket sort of thing mounted above the rotors. The project made 36 test flights up to 50 meters high.

After seeing the very well built models on this site, I searched on Ebay to get this kit, which has been out of production for some time. I found it and it sat in the stash for only 2 or 3 months. This thing turned out to be a weekend slammer, started on a Friday and finished Sunday evening. I decided early on to build the model without the basket since that's how it's seen in most of the photographs available in the mini Datafile and on the internet.

This thing went together easily, although getting the 3 piece chassis trued up was a challenge. It was also difficult getting the whole thing to sit straight on the center buffer balloon. I used a simple jig made of stacks of sanding sticks to support the outrigger buffers while it all dried.

The fuel lines(I think that's what they are) were a question mark shaped piece of plastic. I snapped 2 of the 3 of these getting them off the sprue and decided it would be easier to make new ones from brass rod.

The rigging is 8 gauge guitar string. There was a deceptive amount of rigging. I started the project not realizing just how much there is. Most of it comes from the fact that everything is done 3x. That fact does rear it's head especially when preparing the motors. They were molded as well as any rotary, but there's always that mold line to clean up. The photoetch cylinder heads/intake tubes/pushrods/crank plate were clever and worked well. They look very nice, especially since they're so visible.

Weathering, just washes, really, were done with oils. Faux turnbuckles were added with dabs of dark metallic paint, just to keep Jim Landon off my back ;-)


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