The appearance of the superlative Sopwith Triplane in early 1917 (it actually arrived in France in June 1916, but squadron service began in Spring 1917) shocked the German high command into action. Idflieg immediately instructed the various manufacturers to come up with their own designs using the triplane formula. Some made it to frontline service, the most famous of these was that produced by Antony Fokker – the Fokker F.I/Dr.I. However, there were many unsuccessful designs that never made it past prototype stage – the aircraft featured here is one of those.
The SSW DDr.I was unique in that it was a push/pull design. It looked like an early war pusher, but was in fact designed in 1917 around the innovative Siemens-Halkse rotary engine. . this featured a geared propellor which revolved in the opposite direction to the engine. However aerodynamics were not totally understood at the time, and the DDr.I crashed on its first flight on 21 November 1917. The project was not continued.
The first thing one notices is the totally spurious boxtop painting showing a SSW DDr.I in frontline service downing a Sopwith Camel. Full marks for creativity there!
Cast in the usual light tan resin the various parts have a fair amount of flash, but this is easily cleaned up.
The nacelle has basic external detailing consisting of louvres behind the front engine and various locator marks for the wings and numerous struts. Interior details consist of a floor, seat, control colum and foot bar. There are two Spandau machine guns, two rotary engines, one four bladed and one two bladed propellor. . and struts, lots of struts.
The wings are packaged in a separate bag and are among the nicest I have yet come across. They have extremely thin sections and trailing edges. The ribs are very subtly rendered, and actually have the correct undersurface profile – sucked in, rather than raised.
Decals consist of unoutlined black crosses. The instruction sheet has full size drawings of the side view showing all struts in actual size as well as an exploded drawing showing the tail boom structure. There are also exploded drawings shoing the nacelle –externally and internally and wing attachment points.
It seems that rarities are becoming quite popular in the modelling community, and this little gem should fit right in. SPIN has come up with a unique model that will no doubt result in a very distinct conversation piece on any model shelf. I have my doubts about the strength of the resin struts, and the complex shape of some of them may prove a hinderance to builders. For that reason I would recommend this to experienced builders.
My thanks to Lubos Vinar of HOBBYSHOP.CZ for the review sample