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Lonestar 1/48 Resin deHavilland DH5

By Bob Pearson

 

Introduction

The DH5 is an often under-rated aircraft, not suited for air-to-air combat, it found its true calling as a ground attack aircraft during the Cambrai offensive of November 1917. The layout of the DH5 was unique, featuring 'reverse-stagger' whereby the lower wing was further forward than the upper. This was done in an attempt to improve pilot visibility in the all-important sector above him, however it prevented decent visibility to the upper rear.

First entering service in mid 1917, the DH5 replaced the DH2 pusher in Nos 24 and 32 squadrons, as well as the newly formed Nos 41, 64 and 68 (Australian) squadrons. Employed as a fighter, the DH5 scored its first success on May 5 1917 when 2/Lt Cockerell downed an Albatros. However the DH5 was not a good dogfghter, being too slow and not maneuverable enough, and few pilots scored on the type. Having said that, the top-scoring pilot on the DH5 was Captain Arthur 'Mary' Conigham of No.32 Sqn with nine victories on the type. During WW2 he was AOC in the western desert and later OC of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The DH5 was a strong, well-built aircraft, capable of absorbing lots of punishment. Its best performnance was at low levels, and it was to exploit this trait that it began ground attack missions during the Cambrai Offensive. Two DH5s were attached to each division for ground support. These attacks were not all one-sided, the units involved suffered up to 30% casualties while undertaking this role.

In January 1918, the DH5 units had their remaining aircraft replaced by the infinitely superior SE5a.

The Kit

If the WW1 list is to be believed, than this is one of the most anticipated kits from any manufacturer – right up there with the Albatros D.III and Roland C.II – consistantly topping most-wanted lists. And Lonestar is to be congratulated for tackling this unheralded design.

Opening the box reveals lots of resin sticking out of styrofoam popcorn. Once the popcorn is removed we are left with 18 resin and 20 white metal parts. There is also stock for the struts and various structural members.

Starting with the fuselage. The fuselage is cast in one piece with a hollw section in front for the cockpit interior. Inside of this area the fretted detail of the sidewalls is nicely molded and will require minimal cleanup. There is a seperate piece that fits over this opening. The outside surfaces have a texture to them that is either representative of rippled fabric or will need to be sanded smooth - a coat of paint will reveal which it is. The underside of the fuselage will need filler to even out the mold seam, the top of the fuselage reveals no seam.

The wings are nicely cast and are commendably thin. there is no evidence of the old splitting and extra resin finding its way into the mold to creat out-of-scale thickness. The ribs are overdone, but it is easy enough to sand these down. The upper wing is cast in one piece and my sample shows no evidence of warping. the lower wing is cast in two pieces and are to be attached to tabs on the fuselage. Lonestar has included a heavy resin jig to ease this step. The jig is cast at the requires angle and the wings/fuselage are simply placed on it for correct alignment.

The remaining resin parts provide a seat, propellor, cowl, fuel tank, gravity tank, wheels. the seat is interesting in that it has the wicker detail molded into it and if lightly sanded from behind, the X pattern in the lower section will be exposed.

Metal parts include the undercarriage legs - these are handed, so take care in which side they are used on, Vickers gun, control horns, undercarriage spreader bar, heel tracks, control column and engine.

Instructions include a three view drawing (top, front, side) and an exploded drawing showing the cockpit. these are accompanied by text describing construction.

No decals are included as yet, but I have it on very reliable sources that they are forthcoming soon.

Conclusion

The Lonestar DH5 is not perfect, but it is close enough for me. I see nothing that a modeller of even basic skills could not accomplish with this kit. The solid fuselage and wing jig will ease assembly, while the detail parts are good enough to do a nice OOB build. My only disappointment is that I have promised it to anther modeler to build.

My thanks to Rosemont Hobby Shop for the review sample




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