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Wingnut Wings Junkers D.1

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/32 scale aircraft kit with a detailed cockpit
The Junkers D.1 is an unusual aircraft given the time it was conceived. The original design goes back to 1912, but the D.1 didn’t enter service till late 1918. With its single cantilever wing and all-metal construction, the D.1 looks more the part of an inter-war aircraft than a WWI fighter. 
I had never built a Wingnut Wings kit before, but I’d heard amazing things and had high expectations. I was not let down. 

The box contains four gray spruces, a small fret of photo-etch (PE), and gorgeous Cartograf decals. There’s also an exceptional booklet, with colored instructions, photos of the real aircraft, and an illustrative history of Junkers aircraft leading up to the D.1. Five variants can be built — they are all displayed on the box side. I chose to build the box art variant, which served in Hombeek, Belgium in 1918. 

Construction starts with the cockpit. And what a cockpit it is! Every bit was detailed and all the separate parts fit perfectly. There is too much to list here, but I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. There is even a diagram to wire and plumb the cockpit as well. Color call-outs are provided with Tamiya, Humbrol, and the Federal Standard paint numbers. (Most of the colors called for are questionable since no color photos exist.)

Then comes engine assembly. Five color photos of the Mercedes D.IIIa in rough condition and six color photos of a fully restored engine are provided; these help immensely with painting. You can build either the D.IIIa or the D.IIIaü. Pay attention to the instructions for which version you are making because there are small differences between the two. The engine is a little gem. Fully plumbed, it has most everything the real one has.

A great feature of this kit is that it follows the production of the real duralumin, meaning no filling or sanding has to be done. The four-sided fuselage fits perfectly.

You can build the kit with wings on or off. I played with the idea of leaving them off to save shelf space but decided against it. Beautiful trusses detail the fuselage, but no details are given for the inside of the wings. 

The wings fit great, but the duralumin wraps around the leading edge. Meticulous sanding is required to blend the ridges together. I could not produce a seamless fit. 

Otherwise, the kit falls together; even the little bits up front, such as the guns, which have PE cooling jackets. I left the cowling doors off to show the engine. 

The Cartograf decals lay down well everywhere except in the valleys and peaks of the duralumin. I was using Microscale decal solution, so maybe something harsher would work better. 

The only rigging is the two support wires for the landing gear.

Wingnut Wings’ D.1 is a truly fantastic kit. It’s an easy build — just pay close attention to the notes in the instructions and you’ll be fine.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2018 issue.


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