The shark-like profile of the Pfalz D.III appeared on the Western Front in late summer / early autumn 1917. Manufactured by the Pfalz Werke in Bavaria it was saddled with the obsolete Mercedes D.III 170hp inline six. The Albatros Werke fighters had been using the Merc. D.IIIa 170hp motor since the beginning of 1917 and were now having their D.Va types installed with a D IIIaü 180hp. Several concerns arose as the Pfalz D.III began its service life. First, the guns could not be accessed in-flight to clear jams as they were buried beneath the forward turtle deck ahead of the cockpit and the access panels were impractical to remove in-flight to clear stoppages. Second, the tail surface was minimal in area for operational use. Thirdly, as mentioned previously the type was underpowered with its Mercedes D IIIa 170hp. Finally ‘greenwood’ was used in the Pfalz D.III manufacture. After some machines arrived at the front it was noticed that the tail unit would develop a definite twist to the left or right.
The defining visual difference between early and late versions for the purpose of this review is that the early Pfalz D.IIIa types had angled lower wing tips. The late Pfalz D.IIIa versions had rounded lower wing tips. Another variation in the early or late versions was the ends of the cabane struts either being rounded or at a point. While there were actually other differences some of the model companies did not represent these in their molds and expected the modeler to modify their own efforts accordingly.
Eduard has already issued the Pfalz kits #8005, 8044, 8045 & 8046, 8047 and now this Weekend Edition #8416. This was actually the first kit where Eduard began using its LED mold manufacture (computer guided lasers). The very first mold where Eduard stepped away from the early slush low pressure injected molding.
(History text courtesy of Stephen Lawson)
The Weekend Edition Pfalz D.IIIa kit comes in a small top opening cardboard box. Even the artwork on the cover is simplified in this "budget" serie of kits. Indeed, the boxart only consists of a painting of the aircraft on a white background. However, there are some nice color profiles on the sides of the box so, all in all, it is very effective as a painting guide which is the most important. The kit's content is the following:
- 2 sprues of light olive styrene parts.
- 1 sheet of decals.
- 1 instruction booklet.
The content seems a little bit sparse if you are used to the opulence of the Profipack kits by the same manufacturer. There are no photo etched parts, no masks, no multiple decal choice, no color instructions etc... But remember that these Weekend Boxings are meant to offer to the modeller a nice kit at a reduced price. So, if you are not after the extras usually provided in the Eduard boxes, this is indeed an alternative to consider. The absence of photo etched parts doesn't means that some parts will be missing in the kit. In fact, all the Eduard models are designed to be assembled with the plastic parts alone, the PE parts "only" providing additional details and the possibility to use pre-painted parts to make construction easier.
In the case of the Pfalz kit, except for the seatbelts, all the "vital" cockpit parts are present, like the seat, the instrument panel (with dials provided as decals), the cockpit floor, the rudder pedals, the control stick, a firewall etc... Even the structure of the fuselage is molded on the sidewalls. A nice representation of the engine is also present though the wing radiator to engine connection pipe has been forgotten. It is easy to replicate with some wire though and while we are at it we can also mention the absence of fuel lines to the gravity fuel tank on the port side and a hose from the wing radiator on the starboard side. These will be also easy to add using fine wire.
The quality of the injected plastic is good. There are no sink marks and almost no traces of flash in my sample. Two type of lower wings are provided but only one (B4) is to be used for the marking option proposed. Overall, it is a very nice kit which very much looks like a Pfalz once completed. If you want to see the final result by yourself, take a look at both review builds of the same subject by Terri Werner
and Mark Hamrick
The instructions are typically "Weekend like" beeing printed in black and white on one piece of A4 size paper folded in half. The front page shows you the part trees and the color table (for Gunze). The rest of the pages concern the building. There are no building steps as such but rather a serie of drawings you are supposed to follow in chronological order. The last step has a rigging guide built into the drawing, but some extra references will be probably needed. A painting and marking guide is present on the last page but, as mentionned above, you can also use the box side profiles which are in color.
The only marking option provided is for a Pfalz D.IIIa flown by Ltn. Hans Müller of Jasta 18 in April 1918. It's a red an white machine with aluminium-doped underwings. The decals are not spectacular but nice and in perfect register.
Eduard's Weekend Edition Pfalz D.IIIa is a simple, yet not basic kit. Out of the box, and with some careful painting, it will make into a very nice representation of the real aircraft. Some additions can be easily done with basic skills and materials. Given the price, it's a good base if you want to try some WWI rigging techniques for the first time without fearing to sacrifice an expensive kit.
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