Planet Models 1/72 Lloyd FJ 40.05

By Jaroslaw Kierat


Recently, while browsing through piles of kits on a model show, something caught my eye. At first glance, I thought it was a spoof or one of those goofy cartoon revivals, such as when Disney meets Batman. Then no, I saw it was real, a prototype of an imperial Austro-Hungarian Kaiserliche und Konigliche (K.u.K.) biplane. I had to have it!


The odd shape has an explanation. Before synchronized guns that fired through the propeller were invented, there were a number of attempts to try and solve this problem. One solution was to have a gunner post that fired above the propeller. This provided an excellent field of fire and this concept worked nicely for many bombers and two-seaters. Unfortunately, the 1915 Lloyd FJ 40.05 design significantly restricted the pilot's field of view. While this type of problem never bothered Lindbergh, and was no show-stopper in crossing the Atlantic, it led to a quick demise of the FJ 40.05. In January 1916, some flight testing was performed with the prototype, which reconfirmed the concerns. Even a modified single-seat version of the plane with a pod mounted machine guns, didn't attract the K.u.K.’s attention, so no mass production was ever commenced.

In the Box

The kit—a multi-media kit, consisting of some 30 ivory-colored resin parts (except for the gray engine cover), a small photo-etch fret, two vacuformed canopies (Yes, one spare!) and a set of box decals. All are packed neatly in their own compartments of the plastic bag. The model is supposed to have a wingspan of some 16cm (6.5 inches).

The background description is in Czech and English. There are no text instructions: everything is explained based on photographs of a partially assembled kit. The construction steps are not laid out sequentially, so even though the plane is simple, you need to know what you're doing. The complex rigging is insufficiently detailed in the instruction, so additional sources of information (or at least the box top) are required.

The parts look well designed with a nicely shaped airfoil profiles of the wings. The Daimler engine and the cooler have good detail, but they look a little washed out—maybe the molds are starting to show wear. Still, with some wire and sanding, the parts can be brought to the desired condition. The parts show no bubbles, or other casting defects, and the trailing edges are razor-thin. If I could wish for something, it would be for some subtle wood grain effect. On the other hand, in this scale maybe not.




Just for the sake of its originality, this kit is highly recommended. While expensive (I paid 27 Euro at Premodel and that's practically direct from Czech Republic) I think it's worth it - the quality and level of detail are decent. I'm really looking forward to building this “Winged piano,” all in stained wood with linen covered flying surfaces. There was a 1/48th scale kit of this airplane on the market made by Legato, but apparently it's no longer available. For me, that's an indication to grab one when you can.

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