Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rising from the ashes…the Phönix C.I

All three models in line abreast. The game mat is the coastal mat from Nexus games.
In early 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Air Force - the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppe -  deployed a new two seat biplane – the Phönix C.I. Deployed to the Flik/D and Flik/K squadrons, the Phönix C.I was used in the reconnaissance and general-purpose (i.e. light bombing and escort duty) roles supporting their respective division or Army corps. 

With a production run of 110 aircraft, the C.I was never a dominant part of the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppe, being just 4% of the aircraft produced in 1918. It’s unique rudder and stabilizer structure gave the C.I an excellent field of fire to the rear (much like the Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 or W.29). 

The C.1’s were pressed into the air defense role as the imbalance in production rates saw the weight of numbers shifting in favor of the Italians. The Italian 1918 air offensive put the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppe mostly on the defensive, though limited tactical bombing and the occasional strategic mission still occurred.
One of the models done up in the gray and green colors that research indicates is more prototypical.

This C.I has the Italian right where he wants him.

These models are from the Shapeways shop of colinwe.  The listing for the Phonix C.I has several options for materials. All three of the models were done in White, Strong and Flexible. WSF does require a bit of prep work to get a good painting surface. As an aside - I recommend the Black Strong and Flexible as it’s an easier surface to prep (it still needs some work).  Yes, it costs slightly more, but the result is worth the investment.

Overhead shot of all three models.

Painting of the models were a case of a variation on a theme. Working from a Jack Herris plate, the first plane ended up with a brown and green pattern more reminiscent of the WWII Luftwaffe. Next was the same type of pattern but using colors the text indicates were more prototypical based on research of a museum aircraft. Lastly was a lighter palette choice that more closely matches the Herris artwork.
Decals help enhance these models. The national markings are a mix of I-94 and 1/144 Direct. The white stripe is from a set of S Gauge boxcar decals.

The C.I's in a loose V formation. The squadron leader has the classic Austro-Hugarian red-white=red stripes on the tail.

The one area that Shapeways designers are still working on is including crew figures for the planes. While the basic airframe is very nice, adding crew helps bring the plane ‘alive’. For these planes, I used crew figures from Riveresco. The pilots are mostly lost to view, but the gunners are very much on display. 

A Flik/D en route to bomb an Italian bridgehead. Prop discs and bases are from the Aerodrome store.

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