Pegasus' 1/72nd Halberstadt D.II

By: The Mad Norseman (a.k.a. Steve Hustad)

Pegasus Halberstadt D.II Stock Number: PEG2022
 Halberstadt Fighters from Albatros Productions Stock Number: ALBWC01



It's been awhile since Pegasus came out with a German WW I aircraft - having concentrated on the allied side of things for a while. So this kit was very welcome by yours truly.
Prior to this, the only other Halberstadt D.II that I can recall was a truly awful vacform kit in this same scale by "Airframe" (it sends a shiver up my back just thinking about that one!). That kit is no longer available. There may have been a 1/72nd Czechmaster's resin kit too (?), but I haven't seen that one and if it exists those are expensive and only sporadically available.

So let's welcome this little gem and move on to the review…

Background: The Halberstadt D.II is an early war crate that saw service primarily in 1916 along side the Fokker D.Is through D.IVs until the superior series of Albatros biplane fighters appeared in enough numbers to replace them all. If you've read my kit reviews before then you're aware of my aversion to canned histories of the type, as I think they're always boring and too often incorrect! - I direct your attention to the below listed reference for a far better recounting of the history than I could provide…

Reference used: I compared this kit to the wonderful Albatros Productions Ltd. publication - "Halberstadt Fighters", from their "Classics of WW I Aviation No.1" series. This volume was released in 1996 and is still available. It contains superb plans by I.R. Stair in 1/72nd scale (and also in "Braille Scale" ;-)) as well as numerous quality reproduced photographs, drawings and informative text. This is the best reference on the type extant.

First looks:
It comes in the usual Pegasus, end opening 'pre-crushed' box and is made up of 10 light gray, soft plastic limited run injection molded parts. Also included are 12 pieces in white metal and 2 sections of strut stock material and one of rod stock. The plastic and white metal parts are bagged separately along with a sharply printed 5" x 7" double-sided instruction sheet and decals for a single plane - Halb. D.II, 818/17.
 

The decals are in black and white only, but appear to be very well printed and correct for the specific plane depicted. Halberstadt D.II 818/17 is finished in dark green & dark reddish brown over CDL undersides and is depicted in color in the noted reference along with several clear black and white photographs of this same plane.
 

Raised and engraved surface detail is present on the plastic parts where appropriate and is rendered with finesse and amazing sharpness for a limited run effort.

The white metal parts are generally well cast, but some parts suffer from 'grainy' surfaces and thick casting gate attachment points, though those flaws are easily cleaned up. The white metal used is very soft and bends easily, but holds detail well.

Starting with the wing mainplanes:
You get an upper wing with integrally molded in ailerons and two lower wing halves that are all well molded for a limited run kit. The two lower wing halves are meant to 'butt-join' to the lower fuselage sides. Laying these atop Mr. Stair's plans they match up nearly perfectly. The only variations being too slight to even mention. Sooooo, I think I know the reference Pegasus used to design this kit from - and they chose correctly! The wing's rib positions are represented with thin, accurately positioned and sized straight raised lines. The tailplane surfaces and rudder employ this same type of rib representation.

The upper wing's flush radiator is neatly engraved and is fully 'usable' as is, top & bottom. It's not Tamiya quality, but is excellently rendered for a limited run kit. The lower wing sections contain molded in wing walk areas and the port wing half contains the compass position. Those are also well represented.

Strut positions holes are neatly marked out and lined up evenly (this is a detail not to be taken lightly because it's not always the case with such kits!).

Tail Surfaces:
This Halberstadt fighter had tail surfaces utilizing a flying system similar to the Fokker E series of monoplanes. In other words, no separate elevators and rudder - from the stabilizers I mean. These are well molded and match the plans exactly too. The tailskid is a white metal item - well cast, which is to be attached along with some of the strut stock provided for the support structure. The instruction sheet conveniently provides templates for these.

Machine Gun:
The white metal "Spandau" LMG 08/15 provided is a bit simplistic and is not a good representation of this classic German aircraft weapon. It's decently cast, but inaccurate. Best replaced with one from Aeroclub, etc. (This is really the only bad piece in the kit).

Wheels & Undercarriage:
Cast in white metal. The wheels will require some clean up, but the struts are actually nice for white metal. The softness of the metal may be a problem (with getting bent), but they're well done and very usable 'as is'.

Fuselage:
Molded in two halves, split vertically. These parts also lay over the plans perfectly. Just a bit of flash around the engine opening. The surface detail is impressive. The stitching and turtledeck's ribbing being especially well done. The tricky part is always preserving this detail when assembling the kit! The parts seem to fit & match up well during a 'dry-fit', so maybe a lot of putty and sanding will not be necessary(?).
Each fuselage half has a sink mark (due to the plastic thickness) at the rear near the tail. These will need to be filled.
Interior surfaces are smooth for the most part and are an improvement over some previous Pegasus kits. This is nice because with just a little bit of effort you can prepare the sides for some applied side wall structure detail (that to be provided by YOU of course!).
The engine mounting tabs molded into the nose interior are tiny and will need to be 'beefed up' in order to engage and hold the provided engine. Not a big deal.

Cockpit Interior:
This consists of a plastic floorboard with softly molded detail with integrally molded in rear bulkhead, oddly, no bulkhead is provided between the cockpit and engine compartment. A plastic instrument panel is also provided with spurious detail that doesn't quite match that shown in the reference's photos. Lastly, a white metal seat (nice) and a white metal control stick (very nice) round things out.

Engine & propeller:
Again, each is cast in white metal. The engine (a 120hp Mercedes D.II) is cast only giving us the upper half, but that's okay because that's all we'll see anyway. Its got sharp detail and has a separate exhaust stack with separate exhaust 'extender' (which is specific to the Halb. D.II, 818/17 and a few others).

The propeller is well done and includes a cast-in 'prop boss'. A bit of clean up will be needed here, as the casting gate attachment is heavy. It matches the type and dimension as shown on the plans (Heine brand?), so we're all set here.

So, that about covers it.
I give Pegasus high marks for kitting this neglected type and I hope it sells well for them, as it certainly deserves to.
My final overall grade (for a limited run effort)?  How does a B+ sound?  It's nice - go get a couple.

Now go build!