1/32 Wingnut Wings PFALZ D-IIIA

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on July 16 2021

 

      

PFALZ D-IIIA with Pheon Decals for Jasta 30
In anearlier article (Oct. 11, 2016) I explained the development of the sleek Pfalz fighter. I figured I would add a little bit of what was left out in that article. The construction for the fuselage Pfalz Flugzeuwerke employed was known as the wickelrumpf technique. Thin narrow strips of plywood were glued around a mold of the fuselage. There were 2 molds used, one for the left side of the fuselage and one for the right side. The 2 sides were then glued together, resulting in a strong but light fuselage. I believe the woodenstrips were wrapped in fabric before gluing. This would usually result in a linen color interior. Since the kit shows the individual strips, I wanted them to stand out, so I painted them a reddish brown "wood".

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Not too much to add about building a Wingnut Wings that hasn't already been said. I again decided to use the Pheon decal sheet for Jasta 30. The black outlined orange diamond is a pretty cool looking squadron insignia.  In WW I  the RFC/RAF/RNAS used geometric shapes or bars to designate a particular squadron.  The French used distinctive insignias for their squadrons (Stork, Seminole/Sioux Indian Head, Greyhound, Grim Reaper, etc.), as did the Americans (Hat in the Ring, Rat Terrier, Old Dutch Cleaner logo, etc.). The Austro-Hungarians didn't seem to adopt anything like a squadron insignia, leaving it to individual pilots or their Flik leaders. The Germans also seemed to leave it to the individual Jasta leaders to decide how to decorate their airplanes. Many seemed to adopt the use of distinctive colors (Red nose, Blue fuselage for Jasta 15 , Red nose for Jasta 11, black tailplanes, striped tailplanes, etc.). I could only find 1 Jasta that used both color (Red nose, white fuselage) and an insignia (Ravens), Jasta 18 . 

Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 30 was created in December of 1916. By the end of the war, it was credited with 63 victories balanced against 12 killed, 2 wounded in action, and 5 POWs. It was initially led by Oblt. Hans Bethge( 20 victories) until his death in March of 1918. Other notable pilots in Jasta 30 were Blue Max recipient Ltn. Hans Buddecke, who achieved 1 of his 13 victories with Jasta 30 before being shot down and killed and Ltn. Otto Fuchs (3 victories. Insert link to Albatros build)

I think that Jasta 30 may be the only Jasta that used a geometric form as an insignia. Aside from the black bordered orange diamond, the pilots of Jasta 30 were left to their own devices to individualize their airplanes. Stripes (diagonal, horizontal vertical, etc.), and distinctive tailplane colors were common.

And then there was Lt. Hans-Georg von der Marwitz. Marwitz scored a total of 15 victories,14 with Jasta 30. He was named acting commander of Jasta 30 three times before the end of the war. In Aeronaut Books' excellent "Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 30 '' by Schmaling and Bock, it is noted that Marwitz painted the fuselage of his Pfalz DIIIa wine red. As Otto Fuchs recalls it:  " When Hans-Georg received the new crate, he disappeared the next day into the hangar with 2 bottles of red wine. Later I found him there together with his mechanics. He had tied on a green gardener's apron and in his right hand he held a big brush and in the left a glass of red wine. That was Hans-Georg all over." 

Marwitz added the light blue color to the spinner and cowling in recognition of the time he spent in the 6th Uhlan Regiment. The regimental color used by the 6th on the band on their field caps was sky blue.Initially only the fuselage was painted red. I chose Humbrol "wine" because, well, you know. The wings were left in their silver-gray color until Marwitz became Staffel leader in April of 1918. They were then painted the same wine-red color as the fuselage. I decided to go with the earlier scheme because of the contrast between the fuselage and wings. 

A quick word on the wonderful Pheon decals. The top wing diamond fits perfectly around the radiator. The fuselage diamonds fit all right on the fuselage, but need some Micro-Sol to properly conform. If you haven't tried Pheon decals they are well worth your money. Great service and in-depth research on their subjects make it a pleasure to deal with them.

After the war Marwitz became a civilian pilot. He died of a broken neck suffered in a crash during a test flight on May 12, 1925.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth