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Special Hobby 1/48 scale Pfalz D.XII "late version"

Kit: No. 48024
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Special Hobby, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, 979-242-8663, www.squadron.com
Price: $32.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 63 parts (8 resin, 18 photoetched metal), decals
Pros: Good shapes, excellent decals
Cons: Some struts incompletely molded, no rib-tape decals
The Pfalz D.XII is a lesser-known, late WWI German fighter that despite its good performance, was overshadowed by the outstanding Fokker D.VII. One of four surviving Pfalzs is among the Champlin Fighter Collection in Seattle, Wash., and I was able to use my own photos of this aircraft for reference.

All of Special Hobby's plastic, resin, and photoetched parts are well-molded, and decals for two aircraft include topside five-color lozenge camouflage for both wings. No rib-tape decals are included, but I was delighted with the individual instrument face decals. Seat belts are on the photoetched sheet, but perforated machine gun jackets are not.

My sample kit's sprues had a landing-gear strut and one interplane strut incompletely molded. The instruction sheet is well-done but doesn't show the resin aileron actuator arms that go in the slots in the upper wing.

Internal and external detail is excellent; the completed cockpit fits nicely in the fuselage. I painted all the subassemblies with Polly Scale acrylics and applied decals before final assembly. The decals are among the best I've used and went on beautifully over an application of Microset. I used aftermarket light blue rib-tape decals.

I pinned the separate ailerons with fine wire to help position them. I had to enlarge the slot for the horizontal stabilizer, and the lower wing/fuselage joint needed some adjustment. The real problem with assembly came with the struts. The M-shaped cabanes didn't fit right. I had to bend the longer forward section a bit, and they are a bit too long. Rather than try to shorten them, I canted them about 1mm outboard on the upper wing.

I installed 2-pound monofilament line for the rigging and fine steel wire for the control wires and the X-brace between the fine landing gear struts.

Compared with my photos, the model appears accurate in dimension and shape. I was especially pleased with the project, even though I had to replace a couple of incomplete struts. I spent more than 40 hours on the model because of the additional rib-tape decals and strut problems. If you're an experienced builder, you'll fall for the Pfalz.

- Dr. Bill Funcke

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