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Copper State models 1/48 scale Dornier D.I

Kit: No. 1001
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Copper State Models, 3245 E. Hillery Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85032, phone 602-867-8822
Price: $31.99
Comments: Cast resin, 42 parts (12 white metal), decals.

As World War I dragged on, aircraft designs kept improving. One way to increase speed was to eliminate drag-producing struts, and Dornier's D.I was a bold, but fatal, step toward a streamlined pursuit plane. The D.I had only cabane struts to hold the top wing.
Only six D.Is were built, the first flying on June 4, 1918. During a fighter-design competition a month later, a D.I crashed when the top wing broke away, killing the pilot, Hauptmann (Captain) Reinhard, Richtofen's replacement as commanding officer of JG I. As a result, the D.I was never ordered into production.

Copper State's castings are well done but suffer from numerous pinholes caused by air bubbles. The three-page instructions include an account of the Dornier's history, 1/48 scale five-view drawings, and assembly directions.

Assembly is straightforward. Installing the engine, cockpit floor, stick, and seat into one fuselage half, then closing the fuselage, went without problems. Drilling holes in the strut ends and adding wire pins (as mentioned in the instructions) eases mounting the wings to the fuselage. The builder must add engine louvers, a wire undercarriage axle, the tail skid, and control horns from scratch.

I followed the instructions' recommendation for Testor Model Master light ghost gray (FS 36375) for the overall color. As with any resin kit, wash the parts thoroughly before painting.

The delicate insignia and polygon lozenge decals go over the gray. I was intrigued by the drawing showing lozenge over only the rear halves of the wings, but could neither confirm nor condemn the scheme. This may be accurate because only the rear portions of the wings were fabric covered, and some of the fabric used on German aircraft was pre-printed with lozenge camouflage. The forward portions of the wings and the fuselage were clad in Duralumin. I used the old Harleyford Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War as my primary reference.

Overall, I'm happy with the model. It offers a break from endless Fokkers and Spads. With the investment of 30 hours, modelers with experience in multimedia kits will have an unusual addition to their World War I collections.

- Bill Gebhard

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