Model features Released on 9 December 2019 - Limited Edition - 29cm x 21cm - Relatively simple rigging - High quality Cartograf decal sheets for 6 aircraft including lozenge - 147 high quality injection moulded plastic parts - Optional early and late production lower wings and struts - Optional instrument panels, propellers and flares - Highly detailed Daimler-Mercedes D.IIIa/D.IIIaü engine -11 photo-etched metal detail parts including LMG 08/15 Spandau cooling jackets - Fine in scale rib tape detail. Full rigging diagrams.
Often overshadowed by its more famous contemporaries Fokker and Albatros, Pfalz Flugzeugwerke GmbH was nevertheless responsible for manufacturing what was possibly the most elegant of all Great War aircraft, the Pfalz D.III and D.IIIa fighters. After spending the first few years of the war essentially building aircraft designed by other manufacturers, in 1917 Pflaz became serious about entering the competitive German fighter market with one of their own designs.
The Pfalz D.III incorporated many design features and construction techniques learned while manufacturing Roland aircraft, the most obvious of which was the extremely streamlined fuselage and their innovative construction method. Each fuselage half was created from 2 layers of long plywood strips of between 70mm to 100mm wide, each layer applied at an opposing angle and formed over a buck. Once completed each half of the fuselage was glued and tacked onto the internal framework, the centerline seams were taped and then the whole fuselage was finally covered with doped on fabric. This technique allowed the lightweight construction of a sleek fuselage featuring many compound curves without resorting to the many small panels of the Albatros D.V. The 2 LMG 08/15 ‘Spandau’ machine guns were positioned inside the fuselage contributing to the very sleek lines of the aircraft.
Despite all this the Pfalz D.III was received with mixed reactions from the Jasta pilots when it entered front line service in August-September 1917. The maneuverability was excellent but performance in other areas was lacking when compared to its contemporary the Albatros D.V. One area which raised much concern was the internal gun arrangement which made clearing a jam particularly inconvenient during combat. Part way through the initial production run of the D.III the specifications were altered to include raising the guns so they were mounted externally and lengthening the chord of the horizontal tailplane to reset the centre of gravity, thereby creating the improved D.IIIa. Future updates included additional fuselage strengthening, rounded bottom wing tips and pointed strut end brackets. Unfortunately not a single Pfalz D.III or D.IIIa survives to this day. Any history of this important aircraft here is of necessity very brief, therefore we encourage you to seek out the references mentioned below for a more thorough understanding.
WW1 colour schemes are contentious at the best of times and we have done our best to provide what we consider to be accurate painting information for this model. The colourful unit and personal markings applied to the various German fighters of the Great War have attracted more than their fair share of debate over the years and, while we have been as meticulous as we could be, I’m sure some will not find our choices to their liking. Pfalz D.IIIa fuselages left the factory painted with silver exteriors while the interior walls and framework of the fuselage were painted in medium blue-grey, similar to that found on surviving Pfalz D.XII 2600/18, or possibly light grey-green. The fabric covered wings and tailplane on early D.IIIa were doped in a similar silver colour which could appear slightly darker than the silver paint used on the fuselage due to the different reflective qualities between the dope and paint. Later production D.IIIa had their wings and tailplane covered in 5 colour pre-printed ‘lozenge’ camouflage material. The spinner and larger exterior metal panels were usually left in their unpainted aluminium finish. Metal strut fittings were usually painted in a colour closely matching the interior, as were the undercarriage struts and other metal parts. Additionally, many colourful unit and personal markings were applied in Jasta service, as well as in the field repairs, all of which remain amongst the liveliest of topics for modellers to debate.