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Toko 1/72 scale Siemens-Schuckert D.III/D.IV

Kit: No. 116
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Toko (Ukraine), available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Dr., Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-242-8663
Price: $9.98
Comments: Injection molded, 35 parts, decals.

The Siemens-Schuckert single-seat fighter was not one of the most well-known nor popular aircraft of the German Air Service in World War I. The D.I resembled the Nieuport 11, but the design of the D.III and D.IV was entirely new. The planes' rounded-plywood fuselages gracefully tapered back from the 11-cylinder rotary engine. The upper and lower wings had the same span and featured counterbalanced ailerons.

Toko's kit shows excellent molding and features different wings, rudders, and struts for either a D.III or D.IV version. Decals for two machines include lozenge coverings for the wings, but the lower lozenge color scheme is provided for both upper and lower surfaces. (I darkened the upper-surface lozenge with an olive-tinted clear coat.)

I built Ernst Udet's D.III version. Assembly was straightforward, following the well-illustrated, seven-step instructions. Only a seat, stick, and rudder pedals are included in the cockpit. Take your time mounting the lower wing to the fuselage. I filled gaps with putty to improve the fit. I also had to shorten the D.III's interplane struts by about 1/32".

As I usually do with biplanes, I painted the fuselage and struts separately, then applied the lozenge decals to the wings before joining the subassemblies. Stretched sprue was used for rigging.

The finished model is a small-carat jewel - less than 4 1/2" in span. It measures up to the Harry Woodson drawings in the July 1981 issue of Scale Models.

While there is nothing complex about Toko's Siemens-Schuckert, beginners may find biplanes in general difficult to build. I spent 25 hours on this one, and if you have experience with tiny biplane models, you should be able to add this one to your collection over a weekend.

- Bill Gebhard

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