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Toko 1/72nd HB W.29

Building Toko's Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 in 1/72nd Scale

By Michael Kendix


According to the Windsock Datafile, encouraged by the success of the W.12 floatplane, Brandenburg progressed through the well-known W.18 flying boat and W.19 biplane. The W.29's monoplane design was an attempt to improve speed, manoeuvrabilty and firepower - it was successful in all three, rated highly by Axis and Allies alike with the latter referring to its "…formidable qualities…' (Windsock Datafile 55, page 7). It was a late war craft, first seeing action on July 4, 1918. The W.29 also enjoyed a post-war career in various countries outside Germany, including Denmark (one of the kit's decal choices) and Japan.

In the Box

This is one of Toko's early kits, released about 1998: mine was purchased shortly thereafter and sat upon the shelf for five years at which point, I decided that I should try to finish my stack of Toko kits and pulled out the W.29. In the box are two sprues of well-molded, light grey plastic parts. There is some flash but clean-up duty is very light. As with many World War One subjects, there are numerous small and delicate pieces, especially struts, which will have to be cut carefully from the sprue tree. There are three decal sheets. One containing Danish markings, a second with the navy hexagons and a third with the crosses and serial numbers for German aircraft 2521 and 2607: grey and pale green schemes, respectively. According to the Brandenburg W.29 Windosck Datafile, the kit's hexagons are too large and I was fortunate to acquire a set of hand-printed hexagons from a friend of mine.

Problems and Solutions

Although the molding on this kit is fine, there are certain accuracy issues; in particular, Toko have created a confused mix of prototype and later model features in this kit. The instructions show the possibility of an engine with its exhaust pointing either starboard (maybe a 160hp Mercedes D.IIIa) or port (one of the Benz engines). As far as I could tell, only the starboard-pointing version is possible for this kit, unless you perform major surgery on the engine and on the asymmetrically shaped fuselage opening in which the engine sits. Next, the kit's louver-vents on the sides where the engine sits are in a four-two formation, which can be seen on the prototype, rather than the later six-together formation. My solution, albeit imperfect, was to build prototype 2206, which according to the Datafile had a 160hp Mercedes D.IIIa engine. I did not modify the engine even though the kit's part does not exactly replicate the Mercedes.


The kit's fuselage and cockpit interior is sparse, providing thick sidewall detail, a pilot seat, control column, foot rudder, instrument panel and a gunner's seat. Further, there is no attempt to hide the fuselage seam that will run along the center of the floor. I used the Part photoetch set for the interior. The Part set is decent but you have to thin the fuselage walls before it will fit and then I chopped off the front section of the photoetch interior so it would not interfere with the engine's fit. I also glued some thin plastic card along the fuselage floor to hide the seam. One difficulty I experienced was getting the photoetch to stick to the side of the fuselage once the fuselage was closed. I sort of had to push a little glue underneath it and press it down against the fuselage sides, which did not produce an entirely satisfactory result. Eventually, I crammed the photoetch bits and the engine into the fuselage and glued the fuselage halves together, leaving off the engine exhausts until the end.

I glued the single piece wing onto the underside of the fuselage and sanded down the top of the center portion so that the interior pieces would not be squashed. I used a fair amount of putty to obscure the fuselage seam and the wing-to-fuselage join. At this point I painted the fuselage and wing sub-assembly. I used Humbrol 103, "Cream" for the underside of the flying surfaces and Model Master's RAF Interior Green lightened up with some pale grey for the fuselage. The lozenge decals contain only two of the three colours for the naval hexagons so I masked off and sprayed the upper surfaces with a mix of Model Master's Grauviolett mixed with red. In retrospect, I think this mixture came out a little too violet but the Grauviolett definitely needed to be moved away from the grey end of the spectrum. The only tricky bit was spraying the top part of the fuselage, which I did using the kit's decal as a template to cut out the correct shaped mask. My friend's homemade lozenge decals went on without any problems. At this point I completed the markings. The prototype used the earlier type "Eisern Kreuz" crosses but the kit contains only the later Balken Kreuz (straight edged) crosses. Fortunately, Lance "Felixstowe" Krieg came to my rescue and supplied me with the requisite "Family-sized" crosses made by Americal/Gryphon for the wing markings. I used dry-transfers for the serial numbers, although I think they are a little too big: fortunately or not, no pictures of 2206 exist, as far as I am aware.

Next came the most difficult part - the struts for the floats. Assembling the two floats was straightforward: a little putty applied filled the seams. I used a base of Testor's "Wood", followed by smearing Gouache watercolor paints (burnt umber, yellow ochre and dark brown) and a coat of Future, to give the wood grain effect. I glued the M-shaped struts to connect the two floats but the Z-shaped struts did not fit and I had to make my own from plastic rod. Not a disaster by any means but they did not look as good as the kit's parts. Once that was finished, I attached the various appendages, including the propeller, guns, aileron control horns (from the Part photoetch set) and engine exhaust.


In general, aside from the strut-fitting issue, this is an excellent kit. Those who are heavily accuracy-oriented may find this kit a little frustrating but it builds into an attractive model and is fairly inexpensive: having been re-released under the Eastern Express label, it can be procured for about US$10. Recommended.


My thanks to Lance Krieg for his advice and decals. Also, thanks to various members of the World War One Modeling list who helped with various bits of advice and information.


Peter M. Grosz. "Brandenburg W.29: Windsock Datafile 55," Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Great Britain. 1996.