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1:32 AEG G.IV Early

Wingnut Wings
Catalogue # 32034
Available from Wingnut Wings for $229.00 with FREE Worldwide Shipping

 

 

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An AEG G.IV has the significance of being the only two-engine WW1 German aircraft that survives in a museum today, having been on display in the Canada Aviation & Space Museum. First flown in 1916, the G.IV was a more refined version of its predecessor, the G.III, and was capable of carrying a heavier bomb load. This rugged machine differed in many aspects of its construction, being of an all metal, tubular welded frame (including metal inter-plane struts), with a moulded plywood nose, giving the machine a stubby, awkward appearance. Manned by three crew on typical operations (although often operated at night by two crew), the AEG.G.IV was very much liked by its pilots who praised her handling abilities over other large bombers such as the Gotha and Friedrichshafen machines. Ahead of its time in some respects, the AEG offered a power supplies for the crew’s electrically heated flight suits, and the type was also fitted with the very latest in modern radio technology. The rear gunner could also fend off aircraft pursuing from below, by means of a glazed hatchway through which he could fire his Parabellum machine gun. Bomb stores on this type were also carried internally, as well as on external racks.

 

 

The robust G.IV, which was powered by two 260hp Daimler-Mercedes D.Via engines, could carry over 800kg of PuW bombs, and had a maximum speed of just over 100mph. Landing accidents were common too, especially at night, with the aircraft frequently tipping on its nose and crushing the forward ‘pulpit’ position. Due to this, it was common for the commander to sit alongside the pilot on both take-off and landing. The improved G.V entered the war too late to make much of a difference on offensive operations, and by the Armistice, 320 AEG G.IV had been built.

 

As with a number of other releases over recent years, Wingnut Wings decided to surprise us with not one, but TWO versions of their AEG G.IV kit. Today, I will take a look at the ‘Early’ production variant, and Jeroen will follow this shortly with his review of the ‘Late’ release. If you’ve seen the box for the Gotha release, then this one is around that size, and like the Gotha, it’s brimming full of plastic sprues, and decal sheets. Both AEG releases have got starkly contrasting artwork, with this kit box being graced with a beautifully elegant Steve Anderson painting of two G.IVs being attacked by SE.5a aircraft.

 

There had been a little consternation about the price of this kit when WNW published it on their website. I’m sure we’ve all been real impressed with previous pricings, and the free delivery we’ve come to expect. The kit price was measured against the Gotha, being around $80 less than the new AEG. Comparisons were obviously drawn. Here’s what Richard Alexander actually said regarding the pricing for the AEG:

 

Because a direct comparison to the cost of our earlier model 32005 Gotha G.IV (currently priced at just US$149) is inevitable I encourage you to consider these significant differences;

  1. AEG G.IV tooling is 1.3x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.
  2. AEG G.IV plastic injection moulding is 2.3x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.
  3. AEG G.IV decal printing is 2.75x the cost of the Gotha G.IV.
  4. The Gotha G.IV is probably priced too low.

 

If you like high sprue count, then this is for you, with SEVENTEEN grey sprues, and a single clear one. Three sprues are duplicated twice though, and one sprue is included no less than three times. If you open this to have a look through, then intend to put it in your stash, then be careful as it’s difficult to get everything back it. You don’t want to exert any force either due to the frighteningly fragile-looking engine gondola frames. So full is the box, that a small number of small sprues have been tucked down the side. All that plastic is individually bagged too, and the FIVE decal sheets contained within are also in their own sleeve, along with the single PE fret. The manual is un-bagged, as we have tended to see since the release of the Fokker D.VII kits.

 

Here are some statistics from our pre-release info email, shared here so that you can see a summary of what this kit offers, before we go onto look at it in more detail.

 

  • 57cm wingspan.
  • 423 high quality injection moulded plastic parts.
  • 2 highly detailed Daimler-Mercedes D.IVa engines which can be displayed exposed or fully enclosed in their nacelles.
  • Optional bomb load of  12.5kg (x48), 50kg (x7) and 100kg (x2) bombs.
  • Optional front gun rings, propellers and weighted tyres.
  • Optional painted day or hexagon night camouflage.
  • 17 photo-etched metal detail parts.
  • Tail skid trolley for diorama display.
  • 36 page fully illustrated instruction manual.
  • 5 high quality Cartograf decals including 4 sheets of night hexagon camouflage and markings for 5 aircraft
     

SPRUE A

 

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As tends to be normal for WNW sprue nomenclature, the first one contains a good number of internal cockpit details. The first thing that strikes me is that the instrument panel is moulded with a separate rear face. To the front, detail consists of a reasonable number of instruments, and also toggle switches. These will be supplemented by a significant number of decals too. The read of the panel obviously contains the instrument bodies, plus wiring and plumbing, and it’s all very neatly moulded. No need for lead wire here. Wingnut Wings did actually make an error here with the instrumentation itself, and they acknowledge this in the manual. For some reason, a British instrument found its way onto the panel, and you will need to scrape this away.

 

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I have to say that the pilot and commander seats look seriously nice. Whilst the pilot’s seat has an appearance of grandeur with its flared arms and separate cushion, the commander’s throne is more spartan, but has some intricate strapping to the rear. Moulding this has necessitated the seat being angled on the sprue. There are a serious of internal bomb racks moulded here, but a number of these aren’t to be used, despite the options provided in this release.

 

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Other internal parts here include fuel pressurising hand pump, engine control rods, rear bulkhead to gunner, crawl-board, forward and rear bulkheads, Telefunken radio set, lower bomb bay panel etc. Also included are a number of external items, such as engine exhaust parts, yoke wheel, gravity fuel tank and the rather curvaceous ailerons with their beautifully thin trailing edges.

 

 

SPRUE B

 

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Whilst we’re on the subject of wings, both of the outer, main wing panels are moulded here. These are probably some of the finest wings I’ve yet seen in a WNW release, with very fine rib cap strips and rippled forward edge that hints at the ribs within. Along the leading edge are a series of small pads. These are meant to be there, despite them looking like tags. Again, the trailing edge is ultra-fine, with a neatly scalloped edge.

 

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Rigging points and strut placement points are sharp, with the latter being almost full depth of the wing. I would perhaps drill the rigging points a little deeper so you can insert your wire or whatever other rigging solution you use.

 

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Apart from the fin and rudder with their extremely subtle fabric finish, the only other part here is an internal fuel tank!

 

 

SPRUE C

 

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C again, stands for ‘clear’, and here we have the sprue containing the transparent parts. The largest and most obvious is the clear gunner trapdoor with its fine framework. Here’s something really neat. It appears that the glazing on the real aircraft must have been Cellon, or another plastic material. When installed, this had a ripple, and WNW have replicated that effect on this part!

 

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 Other parts here are the dual windscreens, and barograph. What the final clear part is actually eludes me. It must be on the instructions somewhere!

 

 

SPRUE D1 (x2) & SPRUE D2 (x2)

 

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These sprues contains parts for which there are multiples, such as wing struts, bombs, stabiliser & elevator (one side for sprue), and also wheels. Bombs are moulded as halves, with delicate fins. There are a number of these to construct, depending upon the specific bomb-load that you choose to depict.  Wingnut supplies alternative wheels too. One set are weighted, whilst the others aren’t. This is idea, dependent on how you’ll model your AEG (full or no bomb load etc). Those wheels also have GOTHANIA moulded neatly on them too. The outboard hub is moulded as a separate part, allowing the captive locking nut to be fitted to the axel first.

 

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Two of the engine gondola side panels can be found here, with their agricultural-looking panel fasteners. You can actually opt to build your machine without any covers whatsoever, with the filigree style frameworks supporting your finished engine. Three propeller options are also supplied on these sprues (Behrend, Wolff and Anker), with a fourth option on sprue ‘I’.

 

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SPRUE E (x2)

 

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As is tradition with WNW releases, this sprue contains the engine, and in this case, there are two identical sprues supplied, each of them containing the parts for one full 260hp Daimler-Mercedes D.Via. Compared with some of the other German aero-engines, this one appears to have fewer parts, and should assemble quite quickly. It essentially consists of upper and lower crankcase, left and right hand cylinder banks, rocker cover, manifold, magnetos, flywheel and water pipe.

 

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Of course, more parts will need to be added, to fit out the engines for installation, but as these parts are specific AEG parts, we will find these spread across numerous other sprues.

 

 

SPRUE F

 

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For the first time, we get to see the portly shape of the AEG, and get an idea of its size. Both fuselage halves are moulded here, and in full length. Externally, there aren’t too many features, except for some ribbing and lacing. Of course, the commander’s pulpit was a moulded plywood section, whilst the fuselage was a welded steel tubular structure, covered in taught, doped fabric. Internally, the AEG is almost devoid of detail due to the nature of the detailed interior module that fits within. There are a number of light ejector pin marks, but these will be totally hidden by the interior section.

 

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Both of the interior walls are moulded here, with some rather nice detail. Notice that these are slab sided, and not frameworks as commonly seen on many WW1 aircraft. These parts extend from the gunner position, through to the pilot, and onto the tubular frames that form the interior of the pulpit. Moulding is excellent, with some details provided for the commander. Detail is sparser for the pilot, as extra parts need to be fitted to the cockpit wall. Also note that the starboard side wall has a partial bomb rack moulded in situ, for the PuW bomb-load that is common to all machines within this release.

 

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Lastly, the interior floor, with integral dual fuel tanks/filler caps is included on this sprue. From the very beginning of assembly, you MUST decide which machine you will build, as there are two options which include extra bomb storage racks within the pulpit. Once you cut out the plastic for these, bases for these new racks will be installed from underneath. As one of the rear racks is common to all machines, you need to open up another cut-out to incorporate the dual bomb rack in the rear, as well as an optional hole into which the commander’s plug-in rudder bar would install. This is a very nice feature, and I would consider incorporating this myself.

 

 

SPRUE G (x3)

 

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This time, ‘G’ stands for GUNS, as not one, but THREE Parabellum sprues. About half of the parts on each sprue won’t be used for this release, but the LMG 14, and LMG 14/17 will be used in various options. The LMG 14 is provided with both a moulded cooling jacket, and as an option for a high detail version, with PE jacket. A former is included around which to roll the jacket.

 

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SPRUE H

 

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The AEG is so designed that both the upper and lower wings have the outboard main panels as separate parts. This of course makes construction far friendlier on a model of this size. Again, options dictate that you need to cut away a little plastic from the lower centre panel, for three of the scheme options. This needs to be done before you affix the individual upper panels of the lower wing mid-section. The centre upper wing is also moulded as upper and lower. External detail is beautifully refined, with a totally convincing fabric and rib representation, and positive locating positions for both cabane and lower fuse to lower wing strut assemblies.

 

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Other parts moulded here are for the separate pilot and gunner upper fuse coamings, negating any possible trouble in seam removal around these key areas. These two parts plug together before being fitted to the fuselage.

 

 

SPRUE I

 

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Here you will find the last of the largest kit parts, namely the outboard lower wing panels, with their beautiful rib and fabric finish. These parts, as with the upper, outboard wings, are relatively heavy, but of course I trust WNW to have engineered these so that they don’t sag over time.  As well as the last propeller option, which is actually a counter-clockwise Wolff, in case you opt to build a machine with whose propellers rotated in an opposite direction to each other. Lastly, a number of engine gondola parts are included here.

 

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SPRUE J

 

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This is the last of the large sprues, holding the more intricate fuselage – wing strut assemblies and also the last of the engine gondola frames. I really can’t stress how fragile the latter are. Please take care in replacing the sprues to the box if you take them out to fondle the plastic. In fact, I would remove this and both sprue D and put them safely somewhere else!

 

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WNW have also supplied a rather nice tail skid support trolley, of which you’ll find parts for here. This isn’t vital to your model, but would be good to build up anyway. For a diorama modeller, this is essential fayre!

 

 

SPRUE K

 

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Wingnut Wings love to supply the modeller with options, and with this sprue, we have a choice of either an early, or VERY early pulpit coaming. I suppose I’m torn here, as I like the very early version, but this isn’t applicable to the lozenge-finish machines…..decisions, decisions, decisions…..

 

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Other parts here include extra bombs, pulpit frames and seat etc.

 

 

SPRUE L

 

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This sprue is common to both the early and late releases of thea AEG, with another ‘late’ option for the pulpit coaming, but gun mounting ring. Parts not used are for the rear gunner coaming and MG mounting ring.

 

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PLASTIC SUMMARY
As with all WNW kits, parts are moulded without defect, and of course, there is a distinct lack of flash, pin marks in key areas, and seam lines. An absolute joy. No sink marks to be found on my sample. Just cut, remove gate remnant, and assemble. Certainly nothing negative to write about any plastic here.

 

PHOTO ETCH

 

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One fret is included for this release, and as well as the Parabellum cooling jackets and crew seatbelts, you will also find the pulleys and drive chains for the pilot’s yoke/wheel, plus bomb straps and locating points for the tail skid trolley.

 

Decals

 

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As mentioned in the first part of this review, this release contains FIVE sheets of Cartograf-printed decals, would undoubtedly add an extra premium to the cost of this release. All sheets are also substantial. The first of these contains the individual markings for each machine, separated on the sheet by a series of dividing lines for clarity. One set of markings also has the late cross with obliterated portions being printed as part of the main decal. One section of this also contains a set of stencil and instrument decals.

 

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Three of the five machines in this release have hexagonal night-lozenge, and the whole model, quite literally, will be covered in this. The remaining four sheets supply this in panel form, broken down where necessary, for ease of application. I’m quite interested in seeing how this will wrap around the forward commander’s pulpit nose section! I have faith in WNW that they will have broken this down in the best way possible. There are of course two other machines which have no lozenge needed, and you’ll need to be nifty with the airbrush to mimic those.

 

Decals are superbly printed, and are quite thin. Carrier film is minimal and all colours are solid. Registration is also perfect. The lozenge machines are a serious decal-o-rama, and I look forward to seeing these being built online.

The schemes offered in this release are:

 

  1. AEG G.IV 155/16, early to mid 1917
  2. AEG G.IV 157/16, Kagohl IV, August 1917
  3. AEG G.IV 1118/16 ‘V’, Bogohl IV?, 1917 to early 1918
  4. AEG G.IV 1125/16, Bogohl III?, Bosta 15?, December 1917
  5. AEG G.IV 1131/16 “III”, mid 1918

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Instructions

 

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As you would imagine, a release of this nature is going to merit a few extra pages in the instructions department. This booklet is a whopping 36 pages, and is printed in a classy, satin A4 format, in full colour. Containing a history on the front page, and paint references and parts plans over the next three pages, the following constructional sequences are shown in shaded greyscale format, with the use of blue colouring to denote parts and assemblies which have just been added. These sequences are punctuated by illustrations of subassemblies in full colour, helping further with painting information. All sequences also carry painting notes.

 

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The manual has a number of both period and contemporary images of the AEG for reference, with the sole Canadian survivor being the one we are treated to in colour photo format. A full rigging diagram is included, and the rear of the manual is taken over with the schemes, including the wonderful Ronny Bar profiles. Historical scheme notation is also included, and decal placement is easy to follow.

 

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Conclusion
It seems like we’ve been waiting an eternity for the AEG to be released, but was it worth it? Absolutely! There’s no doubt at all there. Despite WNW’s releases always being high quality, there is certainly a refinement in releases as time goes by, and this model is far more complex than the Gotha, if I’m to draw a comparison. The finesse of the AEG shows the upward trend that Wingnut still has in relation to their design and engineering approach, and the AEG is without doubt, one of their very finest releases. With over 400 parts and a wingspan in excess of 500mm, this is no small project either, and the ability to build the model with exposed engines will add plenty of visual interest to an already busy-looking aircraft. Rigging is mostly straightforward with this generally being cross brace wiring on the wing, and the same on the main gear struts. Certainly a project for those that like lots of detail, but not that difficult so as to be off-putting.

 

VERY highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

For hints and tips for building this and other Wingnut Wings kits, click THIS link.

 

James H

 

 

 

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