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Wingnut Wings Halberstadt CL.II

Review of the 1/32 scale aircraft kit with amazing fits
RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
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Armed with fore- and aft-firing machine guns and a plethora of grenades and other droppable weaponry, the Halberstadt CL.II was a nasty opponent. A two-seat combat aircraft, the CL.II performed what we would today call battlefield interdiction and escort duty for other two-seaters.

Wingnut Wings’ latest 1/32 scale release, the Halberstadt CL.II (Late) provides modelers with optional engines, weapons, radio, and generator positions. The kit includes five paint schemes, all of which use pre-sized lozenge decals for the upper and lower wings. Four of the five options require the modeler to apply stippled paint over the final camouflage colors — a technique explained in the Hints section of the Wingnut Wings website.

In true Wingnut fashion, the interior comes fully detailed, including optional photo-etched (PE) cooling jackets for the machine guns. Two engine options are provided along with multiple propeller choices; all include decal details. Pay close attention to the comprehensive instruction booklet, because there is a lot of information about parts and options.

Check fits and decide assembly sequences; some parts may seem to float in midair, but they all land somewhere later in the build. If you deviate from the build sequence, make sure you can still reach attachment points to install parts later. The cockpit includes some fragile framework — be careful removing parts from the sprues. This is especially true for the aileron linkages (G2).

Having built 20 Wingnut kits, I knew the fit would be tight enough to not require glue for fitting the interior into the fuselage. I also left out the engine until I’d finished painting and decaling the fuselage.

There’s a lot happening up front on the CL.II, so be careful with alignments and make sure all attachments are fully engaged. Trim all slots square and make sure all holes are fully opened after painting. There is a small step or gap where the lower fuselage plate attaches, but don’t worry, it’s invisible behind the wings.

After attaching the fin and stabilizer — but not the fragile rudder — I painted the wing center section and fuselage in a random pattern of the five colors mentioned in the instructions, mixing colors as directed. This was then covered with a “cloudy yellow” stipple effect by diluting the paint to a consistency appropriate for airbrushing and dialing the pressure back (about 5 psi) to achieve a consistent spatter pattern. The tail surfaces were masked and painted white.

After an undercoat of gloss black, I applied the lozenge decals to the wings using a hair dryer to shrink them to the underlying details. All other decals also went down well and wrapped details with a touch of setting solution.

The struts and wings attached easily. Be warned: the center struts require some careful manipulation. Luckily, the outer interplane struts are flexible enough to handle some bending during assembly.

I rigged the plane with E-Z Line following the included rigging plan. I waited until the rigging was almost complete before installing the completed landing gear. Once the glue was dry, I attached the last of the rigging. The rear gun, prop, exhaust, and other fragile details were added last, so I didn’t accidentally knock them off.

The easy rigging plan, comprehensive instructions, one-piece lozenge decals, and quality of engineering make this kit a possible first step into the world of Wingnut Wings. The most worrisome part for me was the unique stippled camouflage, and that turned out to be simple by following Wingnut Wings instructions.

I spent just under 45 hours on the CL.II, less than I expected. I’ve added an interesting airplane to my shelf with a unique paint job, and that’s saying something for a World War I aircraft!


Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2019 issue.

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