Hannover CL.II Part 1

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Company: Wingnut Wings, Ltd - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Wingnut Wings, Ltd - Website: Visit Site
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In 1917, the Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte issued an official requirement for a high performance, two-seat fighter needed primarily for low-level tactical support of ground troops, and that also would be capable of serving as a two-seat escort fighter for reconnaissance aircraft. Hannoversche Waggonfabrik AG responded with a novel design for a lightweight multi-purpose aircraft that eventually became known as the CL.II. The company was a respected manufacturer of railway wagons that had secured licenses after the war began to build aircraft for Aviatik, Halberstadt, and Rumpler. The CL.II was their first indigenous design and one that had a distinctive appearance when compared to its contemporaries. It proved to be a success in multiple rolls, not the least of which was outmaneuvering and besting some RFC fighters that it battled. In fact, it was sometimes referred to as a “Battleplane,” and was so successful in that role that it also subsequently was license built by Roland. A total of 646 CL.IIs were built (along with an additional 707 CL.III and CL.IIa models).

The German Army’s C classification identified the CL as a two-place biplane and the L designated it as a lightweight aircraft. And lightweight it was. Its framework was skinned with a very thin layer of plywood veneer (only 2mm thick), with fabric laminated over that. It featured a deep fuselage with crew positions placed high in the fuselage to give both pilot and gunner an excellent field of view. In addition to this, the tailplane was also a biplane with a shortened vertical fin, designed to give the gunner a nearly unobstructed field of fire rearward. It was a popular aircraft with the crews who flew in it.

The Hannover CL.II was powered by a six-cylinder 180hp Argus As.III liquid cooled inline engine. It was the same engine used in the Rumpler C.VII, Albatros C.VI, and the Roland D.II and D.III…and powerful enough to bring the CL.II’s top speed up to 96 mph.

The Wingnut Wings Hannover CL.II kit seemed to be something of a surprise when it was released amid a trio of Fokker D.VII kits and a Sopwith Triplane. And, it turns out to be a very pleasant surprise because everything about the kit promises that it will build into a beautiful 1/32 scale replica of an important WW I aircraft.

The kit follows in the footsteps established by previous Wingnut Wings kits. Everything comes in a sturdy two-piece, beautifully printed box (albeit a bit larger than the other regular fighter boxes) adorned with the now-familiar elements…a dramatic full-color painting by Steve Anderson, reproduced on top and ends within an embossed foil frame, and striking side panel graphics that include profiles of the kit’s markings options. The box is filled to the brim with parts and all of the contents are bagged separately. They include 10 sprues of gray, highly detailed injection molded parts (261 of them), a clear sprue with two parts, a fret containing16 photo etch parts (including safety belts, gun jackets, radiator shutter, and more), and three very large-sized decal sheets (by Cartograf) that provide unique markings and complete 4- and 5-color lozenges for five aircraft. Completing the package is the now-familiar 30-page glossy Wingnut Wings instruction manual featuring full-color renderings of the step-by-step construction, period photos of the actual aircraft (full views and details), historical and technical notes, rigging diagrams, and detailed painting instructions (with Tamiya, Humbrol, and Misterkit colors called out), illustrated with 3-view color profiles by Ronnie Bar. Add to this Wingnut Wings’ well-thought-out engineering, precise parts alignment, considerate ejection pin placement, recessed rigging points, variety of ordinance, and wealth of optional accessories…such as a step ladder, a boarding ladder, wheel chocks, cameras, radio sets, and a few more items to add to a diorama…and there is much to recommend it. It is, without a doubt, another high value kit from Wingnut Wings.

Since the original aircraft was a two-seater and was of ample size (with a wingspan of more than 39’), this kit builds into a model that appears substantial when compared to other WWI fighters in this scale. And, it is impressively detailed inside and out. The accuracy of the details is outstanding. In my opinion, modelers who build the Hannover CL.II will discover some of the best detail yet molded in a 1/32 scale WWI aircraft kit that will be further enhanced with some striking color scheme options. The five schemes provided in the kit are for:

  1. Hannover CL.II 9295/17, White 2, Ltn. Ruhr (?), FA A286b, in late 1917
  2. Hannover CL.II 9339/17, Red 5, FA 7, during the winter of 1917/1918
  3. Hannover CL.II 13189/17, FA 287b, in early 1918
  4. Hannover CL.II 13274/17, White 4, Schlasta 25, mid-1918
  5. Hannover CL.II (Rol) 690/18, FEA 8, in late 1918

As with most aircraft kits, construction begins in the cockpits…in this case, with extensive painting instructions for each and every part preceding most of the actual assembly steps. The colorful CAD drawings that describe the steps are very comprehensive and leave little to the imagination as the builder adds color to the 40 gray plastic and photo etch parts that make up the interior details. The two illustrations on page 7, showing the assembled cockpits from left and right side views, depict how the various colors of the many components come together. And, as the instructions indicate, it promises to build into a colorful model in itself.

Like previous Wingnut Wings kits, the fit of the components is very positive…almost like a snap kit. Modelers will find this to be a blessing if parts are painted with minimal amounts of paint, or a potential curse if too much paint is applied to each piece. I recommend that builders spray each color adequately but avoid any heavy buildup of paint at points where two parts fit together. Otherwise, it may be necessary to scrape away any paint buildup for a proper fit.

Below are photos of kit components. All parts are numbered and accurately called out in the instruction book. As noted above, everything is bagged separately. Note that some of the sprue attachment points around the rear of the fuselage parts are substantial enough that they will require some careful cleanup after removal. I am prepping, painting, and detailing the parts for the cockpits as I write this. The build will commence in part 2 of this review.

However, even at this early stage of the build, it is already obvious that this kit will be highly recommended. My thanks to Wingnut Wings and IPMS/USA for providing the kit. I appreciate the opportunity to build and review it.


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