Author Topic: Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 Airco DH-9A / Polikarpov R-1  (Read 146 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 Airco DH-9A / Polikarpov R-1
« on: November 20, 2022, 02:49:54 PM »
Kovozávody Prostějov (KP) 1/72 Airco DH-9A “At War” and Polikarpov R-1
Reviewed by Brad Cancian



Item: KPM0310 and KPM0313 (KPM0311 “RAF” and KPM0312 “Silver Wings” have also been produced, which are the same plastic with different markings).
Scale: 1/72
Price: 16.95 Euros each, direct from Kovozávody Prostějov

Review kit kindly provided by KP Models at https://www.kovozavody.cz/

The Airco DH-9A

The Airco DH-9A was a British single-engined light bomber, developed from the unsuccessful Airco DH-9 bomber. The DH-9A featured a strengthened structure, a crew orientation that assisted greatly with crew communication, and most importantly, replaced the under-powered and unreliable inline 6-cylinder Siddeley Puma engine of the DH-9 with the American V-12 Liberty engine.

Colloquially known as the "Ninak" (from the phonetic alphabet treatment of designation "nine-A"), it entered service on the western front in August 1918, serving four squadrons. It served on in large numbers for the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth nations following the end of the war, both at home and overseas, where it was used for colonial policing in the Middle East, finally being retired in 1931. Over 2,400 examples of an unlicensed version, the Polikarpov R-1, were built in the Soviet Union, the type serving as the standard Soviet light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft through the 1920s.

The DH-9A in 1/72

The DH-9A has been relatively well served by kit manufacturers in 1/72. Releases have been produced by Classic Plane, CMR, and Ardpol. These kits have been of varying quality, with the CMR kit in resin probably the best of that bunch. 2022 saw KP enter the fray with a suite of four releases of the DH-9A / Polikarpov R1. A company called Clear Prop will also be releasing a DH-9A and an R1, but these have not yet been released at time of writing.

The Bits and Bobs

Released in 2022, KP have produced four boxings of this kit; the two versions examined here, and two more; one in wartime RAF markings, and a second in postwar ‘silver wings’ markings. This continues KPs approach of releasing additional boxings with the same plastic and different marking themes.

The kit consists of a single sprue of plastic, but my, what a sprue. There are 76 parts all up on that single sprue. We also get a decal sheet, and an instruction leaflet. There is no etch or resin included. The plastic parts are the same for all four kits.



The kit is very well detailed for this scale. The plastic is consistent and smooth, with minimal flash, crisp detail and fine attachment points. KP have certainly come a very long way from their early releases in regards to the quality of their mouldings. KP have done a great job with the replication of the flying surfaces. Rib detail is subtle and consistent; perfect for this scale. Control surfaces are moulded into their respective flying surfaces, but the separations are crisp and consistent. Holes for mounting of the struts are also nice and deep.




The fuselage halves are equally crisply moulded, with fine and consistent panel lines, and crisp hatch and engine detail up front. KP have done a great job capturing the various louvres and panels. Crisp interior details are moulded onto the fuselage sides, with no signs of sink marks nor pin holes in inconvenient locations.





Interior detail is quite comprehensive, we get a nicely moulded and detailed instrument panel, floor, dual sticks, seats with seat cushions, camera, Lewis drums and parcel shelf for the observer. Again, these are crisply moulded. Seatbelts are provided as decals. A crisp nose radiator as well as the secondary radiator for under the nose is also provided; the moulding quality is great here so there will be no need to try and find replacement mesh. We get a full suite of armament as well, including a full bomb loadout (9 bombs), and Vickers and Lewis guns. The latter are quite nice as is but could benefit from some aftermarket parts if one so desired. Struts are solid and consistent in thickness. Wheels look excellent, and you even get a spare to strap under the fuselage if you so desire.





All in all, the plastic is fantastic.

Instructions


The instructions are the same for both kits. They are printed in a nice little folded 8-page leaflet, and are printed in black and red. The instructions contain a description of the aircraft’s history, some specs, a parts breakdown, and construction sequence consisting of 12 steps. A great inclusion is the provision of comprehensive rigging instructions; the DH-9A was a bit of a birdcage so this is a very useful inclusion. Paint callouts are in text, which will leave the modeller to work out the shades of “blue grey”, “dark green”, “linen” etc that they wish to use.







Colour schemes for three machines are provided in each boxing. Colours and decal placement are called out on the rear of the box. We get a nice mix of visually interesting aircraft (noting that the basic camo / colours are generally the same for each boxing):

KPM0310:
•   DH-9A E8553, 155 SQN, RAF October 1918
•   DH-9A F973, White 2, RAF September 1918
•   DH-9A F1019, 205SQN, Maugeuge, RAF 1918



KPM0327:
•   Polikarpov R-1, “Ilich” detachment, USSR Summer 1923
•   Polikarpov R-1 “Our Answer Chamberlain” Squadron, USSR, 1928
•   Polikarpov R-1 Amura, 19th Special Aviation Group, USSR 1928



Decals

The decals are produced in house and are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. The decal film looks nice and thin. No complaints here.




Accuracy

I compared the kit parts to the Great War Aircraft In Profile #6 “De Havilland Aircraft of World War 1 Volume 2: D.H.5 – D.H.15” by Colin Owers. The wings are good in chord and shape, but around 2mm longer than Ower’s plans on each side. There is no fuel tank detail on the top of the centre section, so this might need to be added from plastic card. Aileron control horns and wires are moulded as a single triangle on the wings; one may wish to trim these off and replace accordingly. Strut lengths look 1mm or so too long, you may wish to trim these back slightly, so the top wing doesn’t sit too high. Horizontal stabilisers are 1.5mm or so narrow in cord with good span. Their forward tips could be a little more rounded. Vertical stabilisers and fuselage dimensions and arrangement look good against the plans. These minor issues aside, the kit certainly captures the shape and look of the DH-9A very nicely.

Buildability

By its nature, this will be a tricky build. Care and patience will be needed to align the lower wings; thankfully these are a straight line alignment in plan, with about 3mm dihedral; take your dihedral guide from the top wing and you should be fine. If you get the cabane struts and lower wing properly aligned, you should be able to mount the top wing on the cabanes and then slot in each interplane strut. This may make rigging a little tricky also, depending on your preferred method. Sprue attachment points are quite fine so this should make separation and clean up of fine parts and struts relatively straight forward (though care is always needed with the fiddly bits). In short, this kit should build fine for those with a little experience under their belt, though some planning will be required.

Conclusions

This is an excellent kit, with plenty of potential for marking variations (personally, I have a RAAF “Imperial Gift” machine in mind). KP are to be applauded for putting out this kit. Again, they have done an excellent job in putting together a comprehensive and well detailed package, whilst keeping a modest parts count. Like any kit of a multi-bay biplane, care in construction will be needed, but should prove trouble free for those with a few biplane builds under their belt. Highly recommended for those fans of the slightly lesser well known yet important kites from the Great War.

Our very sincere thanks to KP for the review samples!


Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Kovozávody Prostějov 1/72 Airco DH-9A / Polikarpov R-1
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2022, 09:51:06 AM »
It looks like a lovely kit and another step up in moulding quality from the DH.5 (particularly looking at the sprue gates). I wish I had an excuse to build one!