Author Topic: Special Hobby 1/48 Phönix D.I “K.u.K. Kriegsmarine”  (Read 315 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Special Hobby 1/48 Phönix D.I “K.u.K. Kriegsmarine”
« on: May 26, 2024, 05:46:12 PM »
Special Hobby 1/48 Phönix D.I “K.u.K. Kriegsmarine”
Reviewed by Brad Cancian

Item: SH48059
scale: 1/48
Price: 28.89 Euros, direct from Special Hobby

Review kit kindly provided by Special Hobby at

The Phönix D.I

The Phönix D.I was the second design developed by the Phönix Flugzeug-Werke based on Hansa-Brandenburg D.I design which it has produced under licence. A prototype was first flown in 1917 and proved to have reasonable flying characteristics, but not particularly fast, nimble, nor quick to climb. Due to the urgent need for fighters the D.I entered production. It was generally favourably received, despite its shortcomings, as it was a relative improvement over the types previously fielded.

The D.I was powered by a Herio 200hp inline engine and mounted two 8mm Schwarzlose machine guns in the fuselage, synchronised to fire through the propeller arc. To improve the handling problems a modified variant, the D.II, was introduced with balanced elevators and balanced ailerons on the upper wings. A further development was the D.III which had balanced ailerons on both wings and a more powerful 230 hp (170 kW) Hiero 6 in-line engine.

Introduced into service in October 1917, 20 if the eventual 150-odd D.I’s produced were delivered to the Austro-Hungarian navy (K.u.K. Kriegsmarine), for coastal operations. The type remained in service until the end of the war.

The Kit

Special Hobby’s Phönix D.I was released around 2004, and despite its age, it is still available to purchase today. It shares some common parts with the later 2005 release of the Phönix D.II, which we previously reviewed, here –

This kit was produced in the years where Special Hobby was still very much a limited run manufacturer, and those of you familiar with Special Hobby’s products of the time will know what to expect. The plastic is well done; crisp yet easily workable, if not a little thick, with a little bit of flash. You also get some resin, and some etch. Even though the plastic is limited run, with some large sprue gates, they parts are none the less crisp and well moulded. The kit has a low parts count; 34 plastic parts, 11 resin parts (including alternate exhausts), 17 etched parts, and two clear film windscreens and a clear film instrument panel.

The plastic comes on two sprues. Sprue A contains the detail parts; engine, wheels, struts, and cockpit, as well as the fuselage halves and vertical stabiliser.

Parts are nicely moulded, but their limited run origins show a little; there is some flash, and some blobby plastic between some of the engine cylinders which will need to be cleaned up. Nothing that can’t be relatively easily dealt with. Exterior hatch and fastener detail on the fuselage halves is very nicely executed.

There is minimal interior detailing on the fuselage side pieces; detail here is limited to some relatively soft internal framing detailing. There are also ejector pins to deal with, as these will be prominent if left in place.

Sprue B contains wings (upper and lower), tail planes, propeller and tail skid.

The wings are thankfully moulded in one piece, which will make alignment a breeze. Surface detail on the wings and tailplane is nicely restrained but present, with subtle impressions of ribs which look wonderful in this scale and compare nicely to overdone offerings of other kits. The ailerons and elevators are crisply moulded.

The only downside with the wings is that the wing sprue is ‘bowed’’; this is probably due to the sprue being removed from the mould before the plastic had fully cooled. Though it is only slight, it is obvious once you see it. You could live with it, but if you wanted to be accurate, this will need to be corrected as the leading edge of the wings should be straight from tip to tip. There is some flash around the parts, but again, nothing that can’t be dealt with. The propeller boss detail is a little blobby, but present. Some care will be needed to clean up the prop and retain the detail due to the location of the attachment points.

Resin parts consist of a lovely radiator, gun blast tubes and exhaust stacks.

Etched parts consist of seat belts, tailplane struts, gun sights, an etched instrument panel, and other bits and bobs. These will spruce up the kit nicely.

Instructions are provided in a small ten-page paper booklet, which presents in black and white but with colour printed pages for the marking profiles. The booklet contains a short history of the aircraft and technical specifications on the first page, and an illustrated parts breakdown on the second page. Thankfully, a rigging guide is provided. Markings are provided for three aircraft. Construction is quite standard, beginning with the interior, then engine, and major construction. Paint callouts are Gunze, as is usual for Special Hobby.

Colour schemes for the three machines are broadly similar, which is not surprising given the Navy focus of this boxing. All options include brown mottled fuselage, clear doped linen wings with large red and white stripes. Marking options are:

•   Phönix D.I A.114, K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, Altura, Spring / Summer 1918
•   Phönix D.I J.12, K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, Altura, August 1918
•   Phönix D.I A.97, K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, Altura, Summer 1918, flown by Fregattenleutnant Stephen Wollerman, who scored a victory over a Macchi M.5 in this machine on 21 August 1918.


The decals are done by Dead Design; though I am not familiar with this brand of decal, the decals do look very nicely printed, with crisp printing, and excellent detail, density, and register. The carrier film is glossy and thin. I expect that these will go down without problems.

Accuracy and Buildability:

I used the Windsock Datafile on the Phönix as my primary reference. The Phönix was big for a fighter, and the overall dimensions and panels accord to the datafile, which was clearly used as the primary reference. As noted, the wings are slightly bowed and will need to be corrected by those inclined by bending in some hot water.

Not surprisingly, for such a low parts count, detail is a little sparse in places. The cockpit, for example, consists of a floor, bulkhead, seat, seatbelts, stick, rudder bar, instrument panel and shelf, and nothing else. There are no fittings such as a throttle, or any other detail. This is slightly disappointing given the cockpit opening is quite large; detailers could go to town here. The engine is also a little simple, but most of it will be hidden under the cowlings, so not much to worry about here. I also note that there is no cut out in the starboard nose cowl for the engine induction pipes (Part A14); these will clash with the cowl if left as is, not allowing the fuselage halves to come together; one to watch for when you build this kit. Otherwise, if this kit build like it’s D.II cousin, there should not be any major issues with construction.


This is another nicely done kit from Special Hobby of an interesting and not oft seen subject. Construction should be straight forward, simplified by the low parts count and single piece wings. There is room for improvement in areas such as the cockpit, but the kit provides a very solid foundation. There is no other competition in this scale, and the model’s size, combined with the striking Kriegsmarine red and white markings, will provide something unique and eye-catching in the display cabinet or competition table. This is another lovely package from Special Hobby!

Our thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample! Please support those that support our forum!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2024, 05:56:05 PM by Brad Cancian »
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