Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

09 June 2017

Du Doch Nicht!! - an inbetweenie

The First World War was an interesting war in the sense that a whole lot of novelties were introduced in the battle theatre. It was the era in which a new kind of warrior rose: the flying ace. Every country involved had their own. When having downed five or more aircraft, you could consider yourself an ace, although others were to call you that. the term occurred in 1915, at the same time as aircraft started their dogfights in the airspace above the trenches.

The most famous ace of them all, of course, is Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron. But there were dozens of them. Some of them had aerial manoeuvres called after them, like Max Immelmann. Others had a tennis court named after them. (Yes, Roland Garros.)

According to Wikipedia the French started using the term Ace, while British pilots earned themselves the term Star Turns and the Germans called theirs Überkanonen (literally top Gun!). In the end the term Ace remained and lasted.

Now hobbywise, the late Fabrizio Prudenziati left us paper modelers a heritage of fantastic little aircraft, amongst them a lot of WW1 planes. I have made a couple of them last year and they really are thoroughly enjoyable to make. Get them while you can via the Wayback Machine here.
I got the idea to do a lot of the planes of the big aces of WW1, to eventually suspend them all in a large mobile in an everlasting big dogfight in a future house, hopefully having a high ceiling..

Here's an addition to the flying circus, Ernst Udet's Fokker D.VII. Story goes on below.

Fokker D.VII flown by Ernst Udet, model by Fabrizio Prudenziati, recolour by yours truly.

Now, although Zio made a lot of different planes, he didn't make them all, of course. So I took the liberty of recolouring one of his creations to the Fokker D.VII of the (in)famous Ernst Udet. His plane was, like most German planes from that era, a colourful happening. Red and white top wing, like a sugar cane, a lozenge- camo lower wing. Red fuselage with two white stripes over the top, splitting at the tailplane with the words "Du doch nicht!!" written across the stabilo's. "Certainly not you", aimed at the enemies who were lining up from the rear to take aim at his plane.

Udet originally was a happy figher jock, naming his planes "LO!" after his teenage sweetheart Eleonora, whom he eventually married. Once, while flying another plane, an Albatros D.III, he encountered the French top ace Georges Guynemer in his Spad S-VII. Guynemer at that time had 30 victories to his name. They circled around each other, trying to get an aim and Guynemer was able to shoot first, but to no effect. When, after almost 8 minutes, Udet was able to pull the trigger, his guns jammed. From his Spad, Guynemer saw Udet angrily hitting his guns with his fist. He circled towards the Fokker, waved, as if to say until next time and disappeared to his side of the border, leaving Udet baffled but impressed by Guynemer's chivalry. They never met again, Guynemer disappeared during a mission in 1917.

Ernst Udet on a coloured photo from the WW1 era. (source: Wikipedia)
Udet survived the war and in the interbellum he turned to stunt flying and performed all over the world. He was able to pick up a handkerchief from the runway with his wing tip. He was quite famous but also suffered from severe depressions. His marriage with Lo wasn't a success because of his womanising behaviour and they separated after two years. 
In the early stages of the rise of the NSDAP in Germany, he was approached by Göring to be an advisor to the new Luftwaffe. Udet apparently had his doubts with the national socialist movement but he also was an opportunist, so he accepted the offer anyway. Soon after WW2 began, he suffered more and more from his depressions and also was clearly very unhappy with the way the things went in and with Germany. Göring knew this and made Udet an addict to amphetamines and other drugs to cope with his depressions. Being dependent on those drugs as well as Göring being his dealer and seeing no other way to escape his misery, Ernst Udet took a gun and ended his life in 1942.

Now, on a more positive note, let's take a look at the model. Zio's D.VII is a pleasure to build. I used some aluminium coloured paper for the engine cowling and radiator. 

In this picture you just can discern the word "LO!" on the aircraft's side.
Some parts were scavenged from a previously made model of the D.VII, where I accidentally put the wings upside down. The engine was salvaged, because it has detailed cylinder heads, made from pinheads and an exhaust pipe made from a brass tube. I painted it with Tamiya gun metal acrylic.
The landing gear, propeller and the wooden matchstick strutting also was reused.

The visible ribbing in the wings was made by carefully carving the rib-lines over the wing (marked by the shadows in the print) and rolling the wing into two tight cylinders, from outer part to centre at both sides, print on the inside of the cylinder. After a while, unroll them and the wing will appear ribbed. Then, fold it over a knitting needle to keep the curved leading edge and glue the trailing edges.

The prop was a standalone kit made by Leiff Ohlsson and is a perfect working replica of a wooden propeller. I used it for almost all of my WW1 planes.

Just to think that only 30 years later these things were sleek pointy machines with a jet in the back.
In the end, the D.VII will be on a separate mobile segment together with Georges Guynemer's Spad, Vieux Charles. The D.VII and the Spad never met in real life but in my mobile they eventually will and keep circling each other for ever.

Okay, next time an update on the Zil 4906. Now it's time to say bye bye again. Thanks for stopping by!


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