by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Described generically as an all-purpose reconnaissance biplane the Rumpler Werke AG’s C.IV was the development of its earlier C.I - III machines. It came to be used as a high altitude long range reconnaissance machine. The first operational examples arrived for dispersal at Armee Flug depots in February and March 1917. Initially there was a noted weakness in the rear and front of the long fuselage. This was later reinforced with plywood veneer panels and thicker struts. Two types of engines were factory installed at 245 - 260hp. In the end 1151 airframes of the C.IV were manufactured through July 1918. Typical war load equipment included radio transmitter, bombs, electrical wiring for heating flight suits, Parabellum machine gun reels, various cameras, liquid oxygen cells and bladders. By July 1917 the C.IV was regarded widely in the Fliegertruppe as the best performing C type. Yet she was known as a handful to fly and not the meat for less experienced crews. The common theme of performance reports read, “...she could stall in turns very easily but in a shallow dive or climb there was nothing faster...” Eventually she became the backbone, ribs, and legs of the two-seater operations. Aircraft began being assigned specific designations for the engine and permanent equipment assigned to the airframe. The Rumpler C.IV - IX were look-alike aircraft with specific operation capabilities. The remaining kissing cousins were sold to fledgling air forces and wore many and varied national markings. All total there were about 2201 airframes manufactured.
An elegant profile makes this kit a real joy to have on your shelves. As far back as February 1975 when a conversion article appeared in the old “Scale Models” magazine, this kit has been envisioned. Concerning 1/48 scale it was the late 1990's that Jager, the Scotland based resin kit manufacturer produced a 1/48 scale kit of the late production Rumpler C.IV. It was beautiful but cost a hard $75.00 USD. Jager closed its doors in 2003 and we believed that these kits were just a memory. Yet in 2006 Planet Models announced their contribution of a late production Rumpler C.IV in1/48. It is definitely a new mold and extremely well detailed. Its cost is roughly $53.07 USD. Then in December 2011 the well-known model manufacturer Wingnut Wings of New Zealand blessed us with two 1:32 production versions of this great aircraft. This review will deal with the Wingnut Wings “early production” kit. Plastic parts will be referred to as PP. Photoetch will be referred to as PE items.
The kit.Wingnut Wings' Rumpler comes in their typical top-opening box.
11 sprues with:
221 grey styrene parts (plus another 31 spare)
02 clear styrene parts (plus 1 unused)
12 etched brass parts
05 specific colour schemes
26 page instruction book A4 booklet
The instruction makes great reference to the aircraft type. Something no kit manufacturer has been able to provide before. There are highlighted diagrams noting placement of subassembly additions. Reference images of the fine details. Captions accompany the diagrams and images, with parts specifically named serving to inform you about the build and the original aircraft as you move from page to page. Colour matches are for Tamiya, Humbrol and some MisterkitUSA paints and noted in every step.
The mould details are all that we have come to expect from WNW. It is sink mark free and light mould edges & seams to clean up. There are some ejector pin marks, but the computer wizards have kept them clear of the cockpit sides and reasonably out of sight. The surface finish is very clean, with engraved panel lines, with a good representation of the fabric surfaces. The simulated fabric on the wings is broken only by the finely cut rib tapes and stitching. No starved cow ribs at all.
Checking the fit.
The fuselage is moulded as thin as tolerances will allow and by design adding the basic interior it becomes completely solid. Modeler Keith Graveson provides the following. “I found the kit just slipped together great. Detail could be a little better in some tiny areas but that is worse than nitpicking (manual fuel pressure pump handle, missing fuel control levers and some PE foot straps to the rudder bar would have been nice).”
Overall, dry fitting some of the main components only produced one issue. On my sample kit the spine fuselage joint has a slight step to it. This is easily fixed by slightly flexing the plastic in this area. Then add an overlapping strip of “.030 thou” styrene to the inside to support the joint. Several modelers have recently noted this in their builds.
The locating tabs for the lower wings sandwich tightly between the cockpit floor and the separate belly panel, and with ample area for glue should be very solid. The tailplane is designed to fit in one way.
The upper wing is moulded in two halves and builds up straight with thin trailing edges. To join the halves there's a separate center "section" or plate that fit to the undersurface in its niche. It ensures the correct dihedral. The fit is good and the small joint to erase is easy enough. As an all plastic kit it is a needed step to give a solid base to the center pylon struts.
Read and re-read and re-re-read through the instructions studying each page from start to finish. There are so many options to the profile you may want to build it may take you scribing some notes to yourself to keep it all straight. Just doing this review I have gone through it seven times.
Steps 1. As with any good aircraft kit you begin with the cockpit and interior structures. There's a choice of flooring sections (I 5, H 4) wireless amplifier (G 50) or FK camera (C 3, G87 & 88). There are decals for the faces and data plaques. The Goerz bombsight (A 4) is provided with a decal gauge and data plate.
Step 2. The bomb rack holds four 12.5 Kg PuW bombs (A 12, & 13, G23 X4), and an optional auxiliary fuel tank (A22 & 24). Typically for two-man German aircraft the pilot’s seat (A 27) is located directly on top of the main fuel cell (A 28 & 30). Internal rigging locations are noted as well.
Step 3.The instrument panel(A 41) has detailed bezels and controls as part of the mould. There are decals for the faces and data plaques here too. The rear of each instrument and the associated wiring is moulded on the reverse of the panel. If you leave the cowling panels off for display consider adding individual wires. The observer is provided with either a pedestal stool (A37 & 42) or a PE sling with a seat cushion (P5, A 40).
The skeletal side framing (A 14 & 60) interlocks with the floor and bulkheads to form the crew’s “office” areas. And due to the fine computer programs they use this unit fits well in the fuselage shells.
Step 4. As with all WNW engines they come on the kit’s “E” sprue and the 260hp Mercedes D.VIa engine has 18 finely detailed parts ( E 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9 – 12, 14 -18 & A 61, B1, D 2 X 2). The completed unit will sit in the compartment with the oil tank and generator at an angle. One could add levers to the fuel valves, WNW does not include them, it would be a nice touch (use afv catches made by Bronco.)Drill out the exhaust end for a more inscale look.
Page 7. is an internal painting guide.
Step 5. In the engine compartment you add the large oil tank (A 35) and electric generator (A 53 & 54). For forward facing armament there is the early IMG 08 "Spandau" (A 7, 8 & 15). It is provided with or without PE (P4, 7 & 10). Note, WNW has given us their variation of the old DML / Dragon PE machine gun jacket stem (G 64) for rolling PE items.
Step 6. The variations in specific equipment used by an aircraft require a few holes be drilled, depending on the profile being modeled. With the “Early Production” version you must remove some of the moulded lacing on the fuselage (B 6 & 10)exterior. Later versions had plywood reinforced rear sections, hence the lacing. Early versions were simply fabric covered. Note the reversed “swastika” mentioned in the image provided is actually a “female hakenkreuz”. This ancient symbol predates modern renditions and is indeed a good luck symbol.
Step 7. The version WNW gives us for the observer's pulpit (B 16) was the standard for the early types. The horizontal stabilizers, elevator & rudder (B 13, 14, 17 - D 7, 10 X 2, 4 X 3) are fitted at this stage, and as previously noted the stabilizer features the inverted airfoil (seen on some Pfalz aircraft). As has been noted earlier “. . .Wingnut Wings have moulded it with subtle ribs on the underside and quite plain on top, with no rib-tapes on either. . .” This is because of the method of attachment. Most aircraft manufacturers did not want any interference with the airflow over the tail unit so the structures (usually metal) were wrapped with fabric strips and the fabric cover (envelope of upper & lower sections) was slipped over the structure then sewn in place over these fabric wrapped ribs. Then doped and varnished. Add the upper surface tail struts.
Steps 8. The basic fuselage is completed by the belly panel and a choice of engine cowls ( H2, 3 or I 1, 8) under the nose. The latter are yet more evidence of Wingnut Wing's moulding skill, as the louvres are actually open, not the usual wedges seen in most kits. The lower pair of tail unit struts (D 13 X 2) have saw-tooth edges to keep any of the ground crew from using them in lifting the aircraft to move from one place to another. The tail skid (A 58) is added now.
Step 9. The 2-bay wing design may seem intimidating but goes together well with patience. Add the interplane struts D 8 X 2, 9 X 2, D 14 X 2, D 15 X2). The center support trestle (B 4 X 9)seems to be the lynch pin for a good over-all fit.
Steps 10 and 11. Fit the upper engine cowlings (A 44, 45, 51, 52) if you don’t want to display the engine compartment details. Do not install the clear windscreen (C 1) yet. Other external details include tower mounted fuel gauge (G 63), Eisfeld (G 84)and optional flares (G 81)and the previously little noted pilot’s Spandau Maxim machine gun extended cocking lever (A 6).
Step 11. Next before adding the top wing (F 2, 3, B 2 X 2, 5) in place, note the various rigging and wire routes to the underside.
Step 12. Next detailing the Windhoff radiator ( A 33, B 11 & 12)and water pipe can be attached with a choice of parts for three different types of shutters (A 1, 10, 11). Both short (A 57) and tall (A 59) exhausts are provided, along with an anti vibration strut (A 50). NOTE! One thing for anyone building this kit, do not fit the exhaust stay/support till later if you are fitting the upper wing without the radiator.
Step 13. The undercarriage (A 38, 39, G 20 X 2, D 12 X 2, is typical. The wheel covers (D 11 X 2, D 16 X 2, D 17 X2) have moulded lacing, while the tires (D 12 X 2) feature raised letters. Keith Graveson comments here as well. “My main concern, which I have not seen anyone else pick up on is the undercarriage, from pictures it appears the unit is one complete structure with a floating axle, I modified mine to suit, another point with that is it appears to my eye at least that the actual axle is sitting too low, like in the museum example making the whole undercarriage too deep.
Step 14. Next the we deal with the cowling ring (A 29, H 7), air intakes (D 5 X 2), generator (A 63, G 74 & 76), spinner (h 5 & 6) and propeller . There are four types of propellers. Heine (G 71), Axial (G 69), Astra (G 70) and Wolff ()G 72) . The propellers only have minor mould-lines to clean up.
Step 15. The observer's gun (G 2 & 3)comes as the Parabellum model LMG 14 with either all plastic mould, or As the modified gun (G 7) to be used with PE gun jacket (P 2) and sight (P 1). There is one type of gun mount offered seen on most German 2 seater aircraft. There is a “trim vane” (A 36) offered for the typical Rumpler gun ring (A 16).
Step 16. Next we come to a set of optional accessories. Represented there are four types of cameras FK= Foto Kameras.
1.FK stab (C 3, G46, 55 & 67) Stab in this case meaning personnel or crew camera. Short focal plane.
2.FK.III (C 3, G 46, 90 & 91) long focal plane type.
3.FK.II (C 3, G 46, 56 & 68) medium focal plane type.
4.Hand held (G 92, 93) 25cm lens.
5.There is a box for the photographic plates (G 24).
6.There is an emergency field first aid kit (G 52). Gauze, rolls of field dressing bandages and a small booklet on tourniquets.
7.There is a homing pigeon carrying box (G 53).
8.There is a barograph to record height & flight durations (G 54).
9.There is an anemometer to show air speeds in flight (G 40 & 73).
10.There is a pair of liquid oxygen bottles (G 26 X 2, 27 X 2, 31 X 2)for in use higher altitude missions. You need to simulate the air bag and hoses for the crew’s mouths and a metal clip each for the notrils.
11.Two wheel chocks (G28 X 2).
12.Two long barrel flare pistols (G78 & 86).
13.Eisenfeld flare pistol with external flare attached (G 95).
14.Also a trestle / saw horse for the tail skid when ground testing equipment in simulated level flight (G 29 X 2 & 30 X 4).
15.There is two types of step ladders for maintenance and mounting the aircraft (G 83, 85 & 86).
16.Finally on this sprue you get a typical good luck talisman in the form of a teddy bear / mascot (G62).
Page 21. Construction concludes with a full-page reference for rigging.
Six colour schemes are offered:
A.Rumpler C.IV 6689/16, FA (A)276, Metz-Frescaty in middle of 1917.
B.Rumpler C.IV 6758/16, Grossenhain(?) early 1917.
C.Rumpler C.IV 8424/16, “Dalila”, early 1917.
D.Rumpler C.IV 8455/16, MFA (Marine Feld Jasta), early to middle 1917.
E.Rumpler C.IV 8518/16, FA 209, early to middle of 1917.
F.Rumpler C.IV serial unknown, Varsenaere Flanders, August 1917. This was a naval land unit (MFA) airfield.
The decals are on one large sheet and a small correction sheet. The large sheet carries national and individual markings, stencils and instrument faces. The decals are typical WNW quality – thin and glossy, and printed in perfect register in the sample kit.
Datafile #35 Rumpler C.IV by Peter M. Grosz, 1992.
Datafile #149 – Rumpler C.IV at War, by Ray Rimell, Albatros Productions, 2011.
Eisernes Kreuz und Balkenkreuz by Nowarra, Hoffmann Pub 1968.
Flight Magazine February 1918 – Sept. 1918.
Pictorial History of the German Army Air Service by A.Imrie, Allan Pub. 1971.
Rumpler C.IV by Peter M. Grosz, Windsock Datafile 35 1992.
Rumpler C.IV by R. Rimell, Scale Models Feb. 1975. Pp. 72 -75.
Rumpler C.IV by R. Rimell, Best of Windsock 1988.
The German Army Air Service in WWI by Rimell, Arms & Armour Press, Vintage Warbirds #2, 1985.
The German Naval Nachrichtenblatt 1917-1918. (Bi-weekly reports).
World War One in the Air by R. Rimell, Arms & Armour Press, Warbirds #9, 1988.
WNW Rumpler C.IV is a high quality kit and makes a good build for either the enthusiast or the average builder. The accessories sprue gives one a sense that the figures are not too far behind. Then we will see some dioramas that may excite us even further. Let’s face it folks WNW has done in a few years what other companies have taken many years to attempt.
Special thanks to Aeroscale members Keith Graveson and Mark Hamrick for allowing me to use their inprogress build images here!!
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