Eduard 1/48 DH2 ProfiPACK
By Chris Cowx
The DH2 was Geoffrey DeHavilland's second design and it led to a long line of legendary aircraft. The DH4, DH9, Beaver, Otter and Mosquito don't need any introduction! Unfortunately, it seems that the DH2 does, despite the fact that it carried the ball for the RFC for all of 1916 and well into 1917. It was largely responsible for ending the "Fokker Scourge" when it proved capable of outperforming the far more famous Eindekker. It also was the backbone of the RFC Scout Squadrons during the battle of the Somme and it even played a significant role during "Bloody April" 1917. Some examples were even in service in out-of-the-way spots like the Middle East, until 1918. Many of the RFC's early aces cut their teeth on the DH2 and continued to score with it, even after the arrival of the Albatros and Halberstadt "D" types rendered it obsolete. The DH2's complex structure and relative obscurity has resulted in it's being largely ignored by kit manufacturers, who instead are more comfortable with the more modern looking tractor biplanes.
This kit reminds me of a modern take on the wonderfully complex kits that Eduard first did when they started out in the 1990's. It combines the modern molding technology that Eduard is so well known for, with their signature photoetch and Profipack extras. The result is a kit that captures the DH2's overall look very well and it has the million little details that aircraft designed after the discovery of aerodynamics don't seem to have!
The plastic is very nice and is probably the culmination of the string of WWI kits that Eduard did throughout the 90's and early 2000's. These would include the Fokker D.VII, Albatros and Pfalz fighters, Nieuports, Hanriots, Sopwith Camels and Fokker Dr.1. The molding is nice and the fabric detail is well done. There are some options for the propellors, ammo stowage and an unidentified (to me at least!) fairing on the underside.
There is no flash or sinkmarks, and the locating holes for struts are deep enough. The control surfaces are molded in place and some detail relief is a bit shallow, but these are very minor. In the past few years Eduard has gone a step further with such kits as the SSW D.III and their new WWII Spitfires and Bf109G's, but the improvements are incremental and not huge. The DH2 is one of, if not the nicest of the Eduard kits of it's generation. I was particularly impressed with how thin things such as struts and other minor parts were able to be molded. The main struts for the rear fuselage are particularly impressive, being all in one piece rather than 27 tiny butt joins to deal with! In a plane with such a plethora of struts that are so much a part of the flavour of the aircraft, this is a huge asset and really makes the model. Overall, Eduard has done a decent job of the details and an exceptional job of the critical elements of the airframe.
Now we come to the photoetch. What would an Eduard kit be without their signature product? In this case it does not disappoint and is exactly the right product for the aircraft in question. While the kit can be built without the p/e, it would definitely lose some of that delightful complexity that the really early birds have. The p/e includes a nicely done wicker seat, gun and windscreen mounts, pitot, control horns and various fittings and brackets for the cockpit and airframe. Several parts that will look especially nice are the ammo drums and their holders, mounted on the outside of the cockpit. There are three different styles for various markings which adds to the number of options that are possible with the kit. While photo etch is a fantastic addition to any kit, the complexity and delicacy of the details on this particular aircraft make it especially nice on this kit.
Masks are included in the kit also. At first glance it would seem to be a bit wasted on an aircraft that has effectively no canopy or much of anything else. However, there are a couple of unique features that make it nice. The most valuable part of the mask set is the one for the underside of the nacelle. Some of the schemes on the DH2 have a mix of PC10 and unbleached linen and the underside of the fuselage/nacelle is where the two colours come together in a jagged pattern where they are laced up. This would be a pain without the masks and this adds a nice visual touch when done right. Otherwise it is nice when painting the wheels and other details, though not critical.
The decal choices for the kit are quite nice, within the overall constraints of the fact that WWI British aircraft don't offer much for variety! There are 4 choices, and they cover a fair bit of variety, considering. They represent mostly 24 Squadron machines, with one 32 Squadron bird thrown in. All of these aircraft were flown by pilots with interesting histories and short bios on each are included. Some planes are in PC10, some are linen and some are a combination of the two. There are various minor differences in the planes such as windscreens, ammo stowage, propellors and other details. In addition to the major markings there are also various instruments and stencils which will work well with the p/e and be a nice final touch on such a finely detailed aircraft. I have not tried the decals but they look thin and in register, so I am sure they are up to the excellent standards of the rest of the kit.
My conclusion? This kit is a great kit overall with a very well engineered mix of plastic and p/e to truly capture the delicate look of an early warplane, without driving the builder insane with poorly engineered parts to render the build a nightmare. The solid engineering, deep locating holes and exceptionally thin struts make this a kit that will be enjoyable to build and yield great results. The fine photoetch and extensive decals make it a beautiful replica of a difficult prototype. I recommend this kit and I would like to thank Eduard for the review sample.