Luedemann Modellbau 1/72 Resin Lloyd 40.05 "Flugzeugjaeger"
Already before WW I, a number of developments took place to transform the aircraft into a weapon. Most of these were centered on the pusher typer aircraft, which could easily mount a gun pointing and firing the direction of flight. However, when it came to mounting such a gun in the aerodynamically and strengthwise more sensible tractor aircraft, the problem of avoiding the propeller existed. This was a problem that was not solved until the advent of machine gun synchronisation. Before that moment, some strange and bizarre aircraft were created to create an aircraft to chase other aircraft - a "Flugzeugjaeger" in German. The Lloyd 40.05 is a prime example of such a creature.
The Ungarische Lloyd Fklugzeug- und Motorenfabrik in Aszod, Hungary, a Austro-Hungarian subsidary of the Deutsche Flugzeugwerke (DFW) of Germany, build this strange aircraft. Like most of the Lloyd aircraft, it used veneer covered wings instead of fabric covered ones. This obviously helped to reduce drag, but resulted in numerous problems in the field, ranging from problematic repair to rapid deterioration due to the build up of moisture.
The 40.05 "Flugzeugjaeger" was built in early 1916 and flew for the first time in late spring 1916. At that time, the Fokker (and Pfalz) monoplanes with synchronized machine guns were already in widespread use on the western front, and had also arrived in Austria-Hungary. Therefore the strange Lloyd design was already obsolete before it ever flew, a fact contributing to its rapid disappearance.
Designwise, the Lloyd was a comparatively conventional biplane, with the exception of the veneer covered wings already mentioned. Its main design feature was the position of the gunner, who was positioned above and behind the engine in the upper wing centre section. While this gave him a all round view and potentially field of fire, the pilot, hidden behind the small "tower" holding the gunner, had no forward view at all. Besides the practical problems of communication between the occupants, take off and landing would have been extremely hazardous, to say the very least.
It seems the gunner was given some auxiliary means of steering control, which he could have used in combat. However, there could be no doubt about the fact that the aircraft was a dangerous misconception, which also possessed an uninspiring performance. Lloyd tried to change the design to a single seat configuration, but to no avail.
Alltogether, the Lloyd 40.05, with its unfortunate veneer wings, dangerous pilot position and low performance must be rated as one of the true failures of WWI. However, the design definitely looks bizarre enough to appeal modellers.
One of the newest Luedemann Modellbau resin kits, the Lloyd 40.05 belongs to that manufacturers "k.u.k. Kuriositaeten Kabinett" series - I don't think I have to translate that.