Tom-M 1/72 Resin UFAG C.I
By Bob Pearson
The Brandenburg D.I was the first fighter built in Austria-Hungary, its most distinguishing feature was the arrangment of the interplane struts which gave rise to the name of 'star-strutter'. Other designs made use of this concept, one of whcih was the two-seater Brandenburg C.II. The Austro-Hungarian aviation industry was deeply entwined and both Hansa-Brandenburg and UFAG were owned by the industrialist Castiglione. Therefore it was little surprise that UFAG was directed to build the Brandenburg C.II(u). Unfortunately the design never lived up to its hopes and was cancelled.
This wasn't to be the end for the sound features of the design though, in fact the basic fuselage design was to be used in both the UFAG C.I and Phönix C.I designs, although they both made use of different wing structures - the UFAG originally had a single 'plank' interplane strut, later replaced by conventional struts. The UFAG C.I arrived at the front in April 1918 and by August a maximum of 76 were in operational use.
Postwar the Hungarian Red Airborne Corps made use of at least 17 UFAG C.Is.
As is expected of Czech resin kits this one is a nice addition to any collection. The kit contains two bags of light tan resin parts which are well cast and, with one exception, are free of air bubbles. The fuselage is extremely thin and has tabs inside for locating the floor and engine. External detail has engraved panel lines and raised access panels. No internal structure is molded into the fuselge, but the thinness will allow the AMS afflicted to go to work.
Actually, the AMS afflicted are helped along with the supplied interior bits. . these consist of extremely well detailed seats .. with cushions molded in, joystick and engine.
The wings are where the only air bubbles in my sample appear. The leading edge of the top wing has five bubbles in it all are easily filled. Strut locating holes are provided, which is a definite plus.
Tail surfaces can stand to be thinned a tad, but are also nice. Drawings show how to modify the supplied fin/rudder into an earlier variant. The instructions are very well done, and are in both Czech and English. They are aided by an expolded drawing of all the parts, a three view drawing and a camouflage pattern for the type.
The interplane struts are cast in pairs on a common runner. . this seems to be a good idea and should eliminate any breakage in transit.
Rounding out the parts are a Schwarzlose machine gun, gunring and wheels.
My first thought upon opening the box was "Man, oh man, but this is a nice kit". A week later I still think the same.
My thanks to Lubos Vinar of VAMP Mail Order for the review sample
Italeri 1/35 SWS