HR Model 1/72 Scale Pfalz E.V

Model, Text and Photos by: Steve Cox

Introduction:

The Pfalz E series aircraft began with license-built copies of the Morane Saulnier H and L Types. The E.I was the MoS H, fitted with an 80h.p. rotary engine and synchronising gear. In the E.II the engine was uprated to 100h.p. The E.IV had a strengthened airframe to take the Oberursel 160h.p. twin-row rotary engine. The E.V departed from the sequence of rotary engined aeroplanes, as an in-line 100h.p. Mercedes engine was installed. About twenty of this variant were built.

The Kit:
The E.V kit was sent to me by Brent through contact on the wwi-models.org mailing list. Included with the kit was a Part photoetch sheet for the ICM kit of the Pfalz E.IV, a small HR sheet , and an even smaller Extratech brass sheet for the Fokker E.IV. A quick comparison showed the etch brass fuselage frame of the Part sheet would not fit inside the resin, so it was set aside for an E.IV kit in the stash. This E.V is the first resin kit I have built, so I didn't know whether I could open up the interior enough for the etch to fit inside.

 

My First Resin Build:

I started with the resin, cutting off the moulding gates and removing the flash with a knife. It was at this point I discovered lots of little holes in the resin, some of them went right through the thinner parts of the wings, all were filled with milliput. The wings are a little thick compared to some RVHP and Airkit models I have in my stash.

The wing ribs are quite pronounced, so I sanded them down so they could hardly be felt, and can just be seen if the light reflects in the right direction. The same treatment was given to the elevators.

The interior of the fuselage was painted with Games Workshop 'Bleached Bone', then the longerons and framing drawn in in brown crayon. The cockpit floor and seat were then sanded to fit, painted and fitted in the port fuselage half. The instrument panel was taken from the Extratech brass sheet, painted aluminum, and the instrument bezels picked out in black and brass. The control column was made from steel wire, with a loop of copper wire on the end. Two blobs of brown paint on the copper wire made the handgrips. Seat straps were taken from the brass sheet, and finished in dirty white with the buckles left bare metal.

 

I closed the fuselage, using the same slow setting superglue I had used for the cockpit interior. This stuff is so slow it's like watching oil paint dry. But when I touched the fuselage halves together the glue stuck instantly. Thank goodness I had been fairly careful in aligning the two halves, but there was still a ridge behind the cockpit down to the tail. Out with the sanding sticks again, till the ridge was smooth. That done I then squared up the front ready for the nose. This time the superglue gave me enough time to line everything up before it set. A shame then that the nosepiece was about 2mm wider than the fuselage, but another sanding session fixed that. 

The radiator and cooling vents in the kit fuselage are crude outlines scratched in the casting. The radiator area was carefully scraped out to about a millimetre depth with a scalpel, then I cut a piece of embossed foil and inset it into the nose. The foil was then washed with black. For the side vents I scraped vent slots wth a pointed blade, painted the whole vent silver, then washed over in black to give depth to the slots.

 

Inspecting the wings I found that there were still holes not filled properly so I did a little more filling, this time using correction fluid. Time then for the first coat of paint, white undercoat on the wings, fuselage and tail parts. This showed that there were still holes in the wing surfaces. Out with the filler again. "I'm beginning to dislike resin."

The undercarriage was made from a mixture of the kit parts for the axle and outer struts, and some brass Strutz strip for the inner 'V'. I chose to use covered wheels - I have a method for building wire wheels, but I wasn't in the frame of mind at this time to make the extra effort. The kit axle is quite chunky, so the stubs had to be thinned down before the wheels were attached.

The tailskid assembly was built up from brass rod and steel guitar wire. The kit tailskid was used, with a short length of fishing line to represent the bungee cord shock absorber.

The elevators were attached to the end of the fuselage with a short length of guitar wire glued across the flat end. I drilled a 0.25mm hole into the elevators to make a mounting hole, then superglued the elevators onto the ends of the wire. There is no obvious method of mounting the rudder. I ended up inserting a tiny length of wire into the rear of the slot in the rudder to make a rudder post, then gluing the post to the elevator wire, strengthening the joint by gluing the bottom of the rudder to the tailskid frame.

All finishing was done with acrylic paints, mixed with a little Future/Klear to add a sheen. The leather padding around the cockpit was done with acrylic paint mixed with white glue to make a thick paint that can be built up. The prop has an undercoat of pale fawn, with burnt sienna oil paint to create the wood pattern. Oil paint gives plenty of time to get the look right, but also needs days to dry. Once dry, I overcoated it with Klear to protect the finish.

The wings were butt jointed to the fuselage sides, aligned by eye. The first went on perfectly, but it took two attempts for the other, then I broke the first off by dropping the thing whilst measuring up the tailskid frame parts. I'm not totally happy with the wings, one has slightly different chord to the other, and they droop slightly more than looks natural.

I rigged the wings with one length of nylon fishing hook-tie, starting at the top of one undercarriage leg, looping round and round the wings till I ended back at the opposite leg. I normally drill the holes for the rigging with a piece of guitar string in a pin drill, but this didn't go through the resin, so I used a 0.25mm drill. All the holes in the wings were sealed with a drop of superglue, as were the tops of the pylons. Here's where I should have paid more attention to the construction of the undercarriage, the centre 'V' is actually more of a 'Y', and some of the bracing wires should attach at the branch of the 'Y', so my rigging touches the wheels. "D**n, I should have put the decals on first."

Picture of Nose 

The decals with the kit are not the best so I used decals from the spares file. Some very careful cutting and positioning was needed to get the wing crosses on under the rigging.

The Slowest Internet Build in History:

The kit arrived in December 2001, in the middle of the time when anthrax was being posted in the U.S. mail.  I wrote back to Brent to say that I had microwaved the parcel before opening it to make sure it was safe. I don't know whether he believed me or not.

I started the kit early in 2002, and began to learn of the problems with bubbles in resin.  In March my eldest son Chris died, (not from anthrax) and modelling took a back seat for a long time.  I took the Pfalz out once in a while and fiddled with it, but progress was dreadfully slow.  I got back into modelling gradually, first finishing off an A4 Skyhawk that Chris had started.  So now, nearly four years later the model is finished.  Like the curate's egg, it's good in parts.  I'm quite pleased with the cockpit, not so happy with the wings.  I don't think resin is my medium, though I do have a few in my stash.  

So here it is, in a little display I sometimes put on the table at a model show J.

"All First World War Aeroplanes were Biplanes and Triplanes"
  Image of monoplanes  

It raises the odd eyebrow and gets the conversation going!

 


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