1/48 Roden Junkers D.I

The Junkers all-metal, cantilevered wing from WWI was a technological breakthrough by a professor named Hugo Junkers. During Junker’s lifetime he amassed over 1000 patents in thermodynamics, aircraft structures, internal combustion engines and more.

I’ve always looked at WWI kits as something I would like to try, but never did because of their vast amounts of rigging. When the IPMS USA list of review kits came thru and no one had selected the Junkers D.I, I decided since this kit had minimal rigging that I would go ahead and offer to build this for a review. This kit comes with 3 sprues in a light olive color. Moldings were both crisp and clean on my copy with only a minimal amount of flash.

While this kit is not your typical box shaker kit, it is a well designed and constructed kit. Engine assembly was straight forward per the kit instructions. You are required to bend a corrugated seat backing around the curved bottom plate of the seat by applying a little heat and bending. I found this to be a little more challenging that just applying a little heat and gluing. But with a bit of patience and rolling the seat back using my hobby knife to bend it, the curved seat back was formed and glued into place.

The internal frame structure consists of 7 pieces that get glued into specific places eventually all locking together. The cockpit comes with a minimal amount of detail, but a skilled scratch builder could add to this open cockpit airplane and make it and even bigger jewel of a kit. I opted to leave the internal details to the box offerings and close up the fuselage.

The fuselage consists of 5 pieces with 1 of the pieces coming from the internal frame structure assembly. All the fuselages seams are hidden well by careful design layout by Roden. Once the fuselage was assembled, I went back with a triangle shaped file and recreated some of the corrugation that was destroyed while cleaning up the join lines. The triangle shaped file basically cut a groove back into the corrugation. Adding the wings to the fuselage gives you a clean join line with no clean up required. I did find the area involving the guns, engine and associated pieces a little tricky. Testing fitting all the pieces together in this area will help you with their final assembly.

Markings are provided for two aircraft 5185/18 and an unknown serial numbered aircraft. I chose to do the box top aircraft 5185/18 because it gave me an excuse to free hand some more camouflage. For the upper camouflage colors I used Tamiya Acrylic X-16 Purple and Model Master Enamel Field Green. For the underside I chose to use Model Master Enamel RLM 65.

The original set of decals I received in the box while in register had some issues with the black. The black on the crosses were not solid, they were kind of dithered (or a fine dot pattern). I contacted Roden about providing some additional decals for this kit. Upon receiving the new decals the black was solid, but a tad out of register. I figured with the corrugation, the out of registered black and white would be minimized.

I had problems getting the decals to settle over the corrugation. After much frustration I decided I was only going to be able to complete the cross by hand masking and painting. Using photocopied version of the decal sheet, I started by cutting out the copied cross from the paper. I then placed Tamiya Tape over the cut out cross and again cut out the center, leaving me a mask to lay over the fuselage or wings. This proved to be an effective method, with only a minimal amount of touch up required from paint bleeding under the tape. The only decals I used on this D.I was the wording of the fuselage sides. I found that once the decal was in place that using a Q-Tip soaked in Micro-Sol and using it as a rolling pin forced most the trapped air out allowing the decal to settle into the corrugation. Despite my best efforts of going back and doing some slicing/pricking then applying some Future, not all the air bubbles were gone.

I finished by adding rigging using monofilament fishing line that had a black Sharpie ran across it. I like using the monofilament because a little heat from a blown out match causes it to tighten up.

Overall I really enjoyed building this kit. The kit is beautifully engineered and assembles without any major difficulties. The Junkers D.I adds to a missing era in my collection. I would like to thank Roden for allowing me to build this kit.

Jim Fox

Other interests include; Woodworking and Photography

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