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1/32 DH.9a 'Ninak' Post War


JeroenPeters
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1:32 DH.9a ‘Ninak’ Post War

Wingnut Wings

Catalogue # 32061

 

Available from Wingnut Wings for $119.00 with FREE worldwide delivery

 

ninak1.jpg

 

With this Post War Ninak the DH9 line is complete: Starting with the rather underpowered and somewhat ungainly AMC DH9 and followed by it’s impressive Liberty-engined DH.9a offspring. Actually the line-up would be even more complete if Wingnut Wings would release the earlier DH.4 as well. After all: many components (like the wings, fuselage structure, tail, etc..) comes from this predecessor. With it’s Rolls Royce engine and square nosejob it even looks more like the Dh.9a than the DH.9. One of the changes made between the DH.4 and DH.9 is moving the pilot more aft to enhance communication between the gunner and pilot. This was done by placing the oil tank in front of the pilot, giving the Ninak it’s long nose in the process. By the way: The word ‘Ninak’ comes from Nin = 9 and Ack = A.

 

DH.9a%20H3510%20L%208%20Sqn%20RAF%20in%2

 

I can recommend the Windsock datafile 141, volume 2 which features a lot of inspirational interwar photographs.

 

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(Windsock Datafile 139 also offers some nice Post War Ninak photo's)

 

In my reviews I like to compare releases when different versions of the same type are available, so when you are contemplating buying a DH.9, you’ll know where the differences can be found. Off course the differences between the DH.9 and DH.9a are obvious, but between the Wartime Ninak and Post War Ninak they are not.

 

What I won’t do in this review is marvel at the quality of the injection moulded parts and detail. We all know what to expect of these kits and are never let down.

 

First of all let’s take a look at the different release dates:

 

• AMC DH.9 (kit number 32035): December 5th 2013

• DH.9a ‘Ninak’ (kit number 32007): December 2010

• DH.9a ‘Ninak’ Post war (kit number 32061): November 27th 2016

 

All 3 years apart. So who knows? By 2019 we’ll see the DH.4? J

 

dh4a.jpg

 

Check this link to see this (the only) restored flying DH.4.

 

The kit

As always we get a rather small box cramped with sprues. No space is wasted. While laying them out it becomes apparent that many parts won’t be used or that we get a lot of options here. Different engine covers, radiators, fuselage sides, exhaust stacks, etc… And then there’s a huge sheet with decals and ofcourse some PE. I will cover the assembly of this kit step by step and compare it to the earlier DH.9a. This will help you decide (apart from the schemes) which version to choose. Since I have already built the wartime version, I know what’s coming and where to be cautious.

 

Sprue A (tail, fuselage frame, cockpit floor)

 

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Step 1 (Cockpit)

Here we construct the basic cockpit elements. Control column, rudder bar, firewall, cockpit sidewalls… This step shows the exact same parts as the early version.

 

 

Check this page from the Windsock Datafile 139 with a comparison of the Post war (top photo) and early Ninak cockpit arrangements:

 

windsock2_1.jpg

 

Step 2 (Cockpit continued)

This is where we spot the first differences. The wartime version had older compass type 5/17 installed in the middle of the control panel. The post war version has several different options. The later compass pattern 253 mounted horizontally on the right side and the engine ignition switch for the Liberty engine on the left (instead of the right with the wartime version). This is also the part that lets you install the PE seatbelts. I always recommend using the HGW version. As they are the same for both versions I guess you could get the set for the wartime version for this kit.

 

The next page shows a collection of walkaround photo’s from the cockpit and this page is the same for both versions.

 

The rigging diagram for the cockpit is what follows and yes, this is also identical for both versions.

 

Step 4 (Liberty V12 engine)

Since both versions were powered by the same engine, it’s no surprise that these steps and parts are again identical. What does strike is that the post war version instructions do not carry photo’s of the real engine. The wartime version does. So if you want to see these, check the WNW website for them. Find them on page 8.

 

Sprue E (Liberty Engine)

 

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ninak17.jpg

 

Step 5 (fuselage)

Here we go! What we see is that the post war version had upgraded stitchings on the side of the fuselage where linen is connected to the forward fuselage. Also: the footsteps on the right side of the fuselage need to be removed with a scalpel and are placed on the right side in the form of PE pieces.

 

Sprue G (Fuselage):

 

ninak22.jpg

 

ninak23.jpg

 

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Optional creased or smooth linen sides. Above and below.

 

ninak25.jpg

 

Step 6 (fuselage continued)

A few subtle changes can be found here. The first being the option for a few schemes to cut a hole in the upper rear deck for a storage locker, covered with PE. Another small detail is the option for the Aldis gunsight to be placed on the left side. This may have been on personal request by the pilot at hand. And last we see external cable fairings on the left side of the fuselage, whereas they run naked along the side on the wartime version.

 

Step 7 (Radiator & Engine cowlings)

There are a lot of different versions of the DH.9a cowlings. Those built by Mann and AMC on the early versions with their own small differences on the bulges on the radiator sides. And the ones’ built by Vulcan and Westland on the post war version. With the Vulcan built version showing black painted brackets, hinges and fairings. You can really tell a lot about the Ninak by just looking at it’s nose! When studying a Ninak photo, this is what to look at.

 

Step 8 (Tailplane)

Where the early version instruction really point out small differences in wire arrangements on the Mann and AMC version, the Post War version does not offer any options and keeps things simple!

 

Step 9 + 10 (Wings and Struts)

Where the lower wings and struts show no differences, the upper wings do. Scheme D (Berwick built Australian machine) features leading edge slats. These really add something to look at to the rather big, plain wings. Another interesting post war feature we see here is the auxiliary petrol tank. This would be a reason to opt for scheme A or B that wereflown over Iraq and had to cover great distances.

 

 

Sprue B (Ailerons, wings)

 

ninak6.jpg

 

ninak7.jpg

 

ninak8.jpg

 

Sprue F (lower wings, fuselage bottom and prop)

 

ninak18.jpg

 

ninak19.jpg

 

ninak20.jpg

 

ninak21.jpg

 

Step 11 (undercarriage)

When looking at these parts the Post War version clearly had a reinforced undercarriage with added metal brackets and a split axle, possibly for extra suspension during take off and landings. Some Westland machines even had extra rigging wires, so again: check your references carefully! There are a couple of wheel cover options. When I go through the Windsock book I see a couple of schemes without wheel covers, revealing the spokes. These are not included, so when you want to show them, you’ll have to contact Steven Robson. Actually I see many photo’s of post war machines without covers…

 

 

Sprue D x2 (wheels, struts, radiator)

 

ninak9.jpg

 

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Don't forget to hollow out the exhaust stacks!

 

ninak12.jpg

 

 

Sprue J (Gear legs and wheels, instrument panel)

 

ninak26.jpg

 

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These curly parts below are also not present on the early version. The are called 'screw down' and are connected to the wing end brackets. 

 

ninak29.jpg

 

Step 12 (Details)

Another striking addition to the post war machines is the huge auxiliary radiator. These were especially fitted on the middle eastern stationed machines and add a lot of character.

 

 

Sprue C (Clear parts)

 

ninak13.jpg

 

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Step 13 (Propellor and bombs)

The post war machines offer a bigger choice of ordnance. Where the early machines lets you choice between 4 x 20lb Cooper bombs or 1 x 112lb bombs, the post war version gives you:

• 4 x 20lb Cooper bombs

• 1 x 112lb bomb

• 2 x 112lb bombs

• 1 x 230lb Mk.1 bomb

• 2 x 230lb bombs

 

Most of the DH.9a’s had covered propeller blades in a mid grey color. This saves you buying a real wooden prop for replacement or getting artistic with oil paints. J

 

Sprue R x2 (Payload):

 

ninak34.jpg

 

ninak35.jpg

 

ninak36.jpg

 

Step 14 (Lewis Gun & Scarff Ring)

This being a post war machine, mainly used in a ground attack role, the post war version offers the choice between a single Lewis gun. This can be assembled with or without the cooling jacket as reference dictates. The early war time machine however has the option of installing the cool double Lewis arrangement.

 

 

The photo etch with the Scarff Ring and additional fuselage stitching:

 

ninak42.jpg

 

ninak44.jpg

 

Step 15 (Final Assembly)

The one detail I’d like to focus on here is the spare wheel. Where most (to no) early war time machines do not feature this, most post war machines (especially those operating in the middle east) do. You see them installed on the side of the nose or fuselage, on the underside (below the pilot or further to the rear).

 

Like so:

 

windsock1.jpg

 

Or so:

 

windsock3.jpg

 

The decals look sweet and superbly registered as always. The only thing WNW decals need is enough Micro Sol:

 

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Schemes:

 

A:  DH.9a E9939, 8 Sqn RAF, Iraq, mid 1920s. 

This would be my choice! The auxiliary fuel tank and radiator and spare wheel slung under the fuselage with a lot of scope for wear and weathering.

 

 

versionA.jpg

 

B:  DH.9a H3510 'L', AC Jones-Williams & Benson, B flight, 8 Sqn RAF, Iraq, 1923 to 1924.

Another cool option with a red tail, and like scheme A operated over Iraq, so with the same addition of cool details.

 

C:  DH.9a H3552, 39 Sqn RAF, UK, June-July 1923

This machine was used for flight training over Hendon.

 

 

versionB.jpg

 

D = DH.9a A1-17, E Flight, 1 FTS RAAF, Australia, 1922

Black struts and optional leading edge slats. Flown for flight instructions over Australia by the Australian Flight Corps. This plane suffered a crash, so if that’s the diorama you have in mind, this might be your choice!

 

 

VersionD.jpg

 

E: Polikarpov R-1 'AMYPA', 19th Special Aviation Group, USSR, 1929

This is the Russian license built version of the DH.9a which saw action in the Soviet-Chinese conflict. Where the paintjob might be a bit un-interesting to the eye, the decals make up for it. Again a lot of opportunity for weathering. The Polikarpov machine also differs in the unique gun synchronizing system and the addition of an empty belt chute on the side of the forward firing gun.

 

VersionE.jpg

 

Verdict

Post war (or interbellum) machines tend to be viewed as less sexy by modelers and I usually tend to agree. The schemes became more colorful, the weapons became less and the weathering options are narrow. However, in the case of the post war Ninak I think the machine became cooler. The middle eastern operations that demanded the most of the men and machines, the additions for long flights (radiator, fuel tank, reinforcements, bigger payload and extra fuel tank) add more character to the Ninak. Weathering may include the effects of superfluous sunlight, sand and drought. Having already built the earlier Ninak I can tell you that this seemingly complicated model is a breeze to build and stands on sturdy legs (not something you can say about every WW1 plane in 32nd scale). Yes, the quality of this kit is super, but this is no news. The RAF PC10 color has been replaced by Silver Dope, protecting the linen from sunlight. This is combination with the unpainted silver cowlings and black trimmings, make for quite an impressive plane that will stand out between the wartime subjects on your shelf. I love it.

 

The finished article:

 

fin.jpg

 

A solid 9 out of 10.

(This could have been a 10 if the Photo Etch included spoked discs for wheels without fabric cover.)

 

My sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for expanding the DH.9 family and for providing the review sample.

 

Get your Post War Ninak here, before it too is sold out!

 

 

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Kind regards,

 

Jeroen Peters

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