HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HALBERSTADT CL.IV, 4675/18 OF SCHLASTA 13, WESTERN FRONT, LATE 1918
by George Grasse
KARAYA 1:48 SCALE INJECTION KIT KA4101(short) of the HALBERSTADT CL.IV
KARAYA HALBERSTADT CL.IV BOX ART
There are actually two versions Halberstadt CL.IV offered by Karaya: the short fuselage version as originally built by Halberstadt (Kit KA4101) and the long fuselage version as license-built by LFG Roland (Kit KA4102). However, each kit contains both the short and long fuselage, the only difference between the two kits is the individual decal sheet and full-color painting guide. Both versions had a plywood covered fuselage and wood or metal-framed flying surfaces covered in 5-color printed camouflage fabric, the darker shade on upper surfaces and the lighter shade on under surfaces. I will build the original Halberstadt short fuselage version.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS No. 1a and 1b
14 June 2012
|FUSELAGE INTERIOR: The interior of the Halberstadt CL.IV is one of economy and reflects an aircraft assigned for ground attack duties. It does not have photo or wireless transmitting/receiving equipment. Additional Parabellum ammunition drums will be added internally plus two racks externally for more ammunition and hand grenades. The engine has been built-up to the point where additional piping for the intake manifold, exhaust, and water will be added at final assembly. The red pipe is the spark plug wire conduit.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 2
19 June 2012
|FUSELAGE "SEALED-UP": After gluing the fuselage halves together, all of the fuselage seams had to be filled with putty. When dry, the seams were lightly sanded with 180 grit sand paper, then 220 grit, and finally 600 grit. The horizontal tail was glued directly to the top rear of the fuselage. The vertical tail was glued to the forward top of the horizontal tail. There were no problems at this step.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 3
22 June 2012
|PRIMING AND APPLYING THE FUSELAGE BASE COAT:
After studying Windsock Datafile 43 (Halberstadt CL.IV), it would
appear that Halberstadt-built CL.IV ply-covered airframes were
stained as opposed to a clear varnish finish such as seen on earlier
ply-covered aircraft such as the LVG and Albatros two-seaters.
It was recognized in 1918 that the role for which the Halberstadt
CL.IV was built, that of a ground attack and infantry support
aircraft, required attention to camouflage and the relatively bright
yellowish finish of clear varnish defeated that purpose at low
operating levels. Previous versions of ground attack aircraft,
namely the Halberstadt CL.II and the Hannover CL.II/III/IIIa series,
had painted fuselage camouflage applications which were quite labor
intensive. So it would seem that the Halberstadt-built CL.IV
model which was the short-fuselage version, appears in the handful
of surviving photos as relatively evenly distributed coloration.
Later, the LFG Roland-built Halberstadt CL.IV aircraft and Pfalz
D.XII fighters had their fuselage camouflaged in a relatively simple
four-color scheme of equal bands fore to aft as shown in the photo
below of Halberstadt CL.IV (Rol) 8103/18 presently on exhibit at the
Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, and
is the "long" fuselage version.
Priming was by brush using a thin coat of Model Master Acrylic 4622 White Primer. When dry, I over-painted the fuselage with one coat of Vallejo acrylic VC0803 Rose Brown. Over that, I will use my Winsor-Newton oils to paint the simulated wood pattern.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 4
3 July 2012
|FUSELAGE RED-BROWN FINISH: To simulate my idea of the red-brown stained fuselage, I applied the finish coat using artist's oils. This was a simple palette mix of Winsor-Newton No. 2 Burnt Sienna with a little No. 23 Indian Red. On the palette, the two were mixed with a brush using gum turpentine for thinner. I simply painted the fuselage, one side at a time. The fine wood grain is simulated with brush strokes which were done doing nothing special - just brushing. I checked each side to be sure that brush strokes from one side did not "spill" over to its neighbor. Then, I bake the fuselage at low temperature (remember, it's plastic) of about 160° F in the warming drawer over night.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 5
3 July 2012
|CORRECTION TO THE RED-BROWN FUSELAGE FINISH:
It occurred to me after I painted the fuselage as shown in Photo #4
above, that the kit's fuselage sections did not have panel lines up
and down its length as seen on Albatros aircraft, for example.
How could the fuselage have been covered in one large plywood sheet?
Well, it wasn't; it was built of normal sheets in sections BUT the bare plywood
fuselage skin was NOT stained because the CL.IV, as with its
predecessors the CL.II and the Hannover CL series, had fabric
doped over the airframe. The hand-painted
camouflage schemes of the predecessor aircraft
were applied directly onto the doped fabric. The doped fabric
covered the fine panel lines giving a smooth surface.
Now why didn't I realize that before? When I studied the construction of the Halberstadt CL.IV in Gray & Thetford's German Aircraft of the First World War, no mention was made of fabric covering. I should have checked their construction paragraphs for the Halberstadt CL.II and the Hannover CL.IIIa because the fabric covering was described. Further, the meaning of the term, "As before. . ", in the Halberstadt CL.IV chapter referred to the same construction features as the CL.II specifically.
So what's the big deal, here! Well, for the Halberstadt-built (short fuselage) CL.IV version it means that the fuselage was probably DOPED with a colored tint or tints. Back to the CL.II: it was then covered in irregular patches using four or five colored tints. This proved not quite effective as a camouflage so an additional splatter spray of another color was applied over the pattern and this seemed effective. Here is a photo of the CL.II I finished with this pattern.
Why wasn't the Halberstadt CL.IV finished in this manner? First of all, most photos of the short fuselage version of the CL.IV seem to show a solid color with no apparent multi-color scheme visible. Second, it's possible that paint shortages, the additive weight to the aircraft of all that paint, and the nature of the labor-intensive application of a multi-color scheme were prohibitive. Third, it appears that just a single color was then thought to be sufficient; after all, the pre-printed camouflaged fabric on the flying surfaces already provided a most effective camouflage. All that was necessary was to somehow incorporate the fuselage in the scheme with minimal cost to performance, material, and labor.
So if we accept the idea that these early short fuselage CL.IV aircraft had a single, solid-colored fuselage, what was the color? If you have a copy of Ray Rimmel's LVG C.VI at War, Windsock Datafile 138, take a look at the "Colours and Markings" section starting on page 24, especially the verbatim account of an official German memo dated 20 September 1918. If the 1918 date is correct, the practice of "staining" ply-covered fuselages was widespread among certain manufacturers already. A fabric-covered fuselage could be easily doped even if the underlying structure was ply-covered. Again, what was the color used on the early CL.IV fuselages?
What about taking a brief look at another Halberstadt contemporary of the CL.IV: the Halberstadt C.V. This was a slightly enlarged version of the CL.IV but designed for the army cooperation role. In profile, it looks quite similar except it was, overall, slightly larger, had two-bay layout, and had separate cockpits for the pilot and observer. Take a look a Ray Rimmel's take on "Fabric - camouflage and markings" in Halberstadt C.V, Windsock Datafile 69, starting on page 27. The predominant "stain" of the ply-covered fuselage is some sort of green tint although brown is also suggested as is a possible two-color scheme. Was the CL.IV stained a brown shade or a green shade or both?
It seems to me that an army cooperation aircraft such as the Halberstadt C.V which operates at a higher altitude than a ground attack aircraft would warrant a green-shaded fuselage so that when seen from above it blends in with the green and brown shades of the terrain below. On the other hand, if a ground attack aircraft such as the Halberstadt CL.IV operates well under 1000 feet and it operates mostly over the fortified area of the lines, when seen from above its brown-shaded fuselage blends more with that type of terrain.
Because there is no definitive Idflieg directive outstanding or memos or diaries describing the fuselage color, I am at a loss as to the finish of the Halberstadt CL.IV fuselage.
|THIS PROJECT WAS PUT ON HOLD UNTIL 20 FEBRUARY 2013. I THEN HAD ROTATOR CUFF SURGERY 21 JANUARY 2013 AND, AFTER FOUR WEEKS INTO RECOVERY, DECIDED TO START BACK ON THE HALBERSTADT CL.IV WITH LIMITED ABILITY IN MY RIGHT ARM - PART OF A RECUPERATIVE PROCESS. I RE-EXAMINED ALL OF MY RESEARCH MATERIALS AND MADE A DECISION TO RE-ACTIVATE THE PROJECT AND CONTINUE ON.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 6
20 February 2012
reviewing my previous research, I
summarized the results to the finish
of the fuselage of the
CL.IV version which came to four
1) solid dark green overall
2) solid red-brown overall
3) vertical color bands front to rear (as on the Roland-built version)
4) the 2-color dark green and mauve per Idflieg's 1917 directive
I chose the solid dark green overall scheme because I simply could not identify any color changes on the fuselage of the few Halberstadt-built CL.IV photos. Color variations are obvious on Roland-built CL.IV aircraft but I saw no such thing on the version I am building. That eliminated possibilities 3) and 4), above. I rejected the solid red-brown scheme simply because Halberstadt covered their plywood-covered fuselage with one layer of doped fabric. This was done primarily to enclose the entire surface of the fuselage with a bonded material that reinforced the strength of the structure. It also permitted the direct application of fabric dopes that do not adhere well to a varnished wood surface. Also, the fabric overlay apparently causes the rippling seen on many early Halberstadt CL.IVs. I don't think the plywood is necessarily rippling but its fabric covering. At any rate, the deed is done as shown in the photo above. I used Misterkit MKGC05 Albatros Dark Green.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 7
23 February 2012
TAIL AND FUSELAGE WORK:
The next step is the tail
assembly which comes in two
pieces. I painted the
fin/rudder part in overall
Vallejo VC0951 Flat White.
It took two regular coats to
cover plus one watered-down coat
to get an clean finish. I
applied the Balkenkreuz, painted
the fin-rudder separation groove
in my dark brown-black liner,
and over-sprayed with satin
had to be covered in 5-color
pre-printed camouflage fabric
decals. I printed the
three-view drawing in Windsock
Data File 43 Halberstadt CL.IV
and cut out the plan view of the
horizontal stabilizer and
elevators. This was then
separated and used as templates
for the decals. Before
applying decals, I painted the
surfaces with two coats of
Misterkit MKGC03 German Clear
Doped Linen and over-sprayed
with satin poly. I used
Mirage Hobby's MRD003 "Day, Five
Color Dark & Light Pattern"
sheets plus their camouflage rib
tapes (wide version). The
surfaces were over-sprayed with
satin poly. The wheels
were covered in the dark (upper)
shade only. I was quite
pleased with the results.
The following fuselage items were completed at this stage: windshield (cut from the kit's film sheet), tailskid (painted Albatros Dark Green, the skid Vallejo VC0856 Ochre Brown, metal parts Vallejo VC0863 Gun Metal Grey), gun ring supports (two rear plastic kit parts and forward PE part), the PE grenade rack, and tail unit control lines for the rudder and elevator (PE covers, Eduard horns, .005 monofilament thread).
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 8
25 February 2013
The landing gear is made
entirely from brass tubing
for the struts (Griffon Models
GMBH05 Brass Tube 1.2mm OD,
.96mm ID) and brass rod for
I used the kit's landing
gear as a template and bent
a section of tubing to match
it. I made two "V"
struts this way. Next,
I inserted a section of
brass rod into each leg of
each "V" strut and pounded
the tube down to simulate
the proper cross section.
The brass rod serves as the
attachment pegs into the
fuselage and prevents the
brass tube from being
crushed flat in the
I went ahead and glued the "V" struts to the fuselage using nothing more than eyeball technology. Laying a length of brass rod into the notches at the bottom of each "V" strut and setting the model down on a flat surface, I could gauge the level of the temporary axle to the tail horizontal surfaces. I had used super glue to cement the "V" struts into position but that still allowed me to make a minor adjustment to get level. I used one piece of brass rod for the axle and, when dry, carefully wrapped fuse wire around the axle and struts to secure the assembly. Two smaller diameter pieces were used for the spreader bars, fore and aft of the main axle.
All struts and axle components were primed then painted in the Albatros Dark Green. Rigging was .005 monofilament thread with a new twist. I decided to try out Griffon Models GMBH02 Brass Tube .5mm OD, .33mm ID for turnbuckles. For each of the four "wires", I cut eight short pieces of brass tubing. I glued each of the four wires into pre-drilled #80 holes and secured with super glue. When dray, I slipped two each of the "turnbuckles" onto the thread and glued the other end to the bottom of the "V" struts. I slid each "turnbuckle into position and glued them. I painted them Vallejo VC0863 Gun Metal Gray. To me, from a slight distance, they are more convincing that PE turnbuckles which usually end up with unwanted globs of tied rigging and/or glue.
Note also in the photo some additions: forward firing Spandau, exhaust stack, gun ring side supports, flare pistol, flare cartridges, and the fuselage Balkenkreuz. PE parts were added to the underside of the fuselage: latches along the seam at front and along the bottom of the removable engine covers, sump pump cover, louvered drain cover, and wing reinforcing bands. The cockpit coaming is painted in Andrea ANAC42 Red Leather.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 9
28 February 2013
WINGS, UPPER SURFACE:
This panel shows the completed wings
in the 5-color upper day
pattern from the Mirage Hobby decal set.
At the top, the application of decals on the
center section of the op wing stopped at not
covering the gravity fuel tank (upper left),
the radiator (upper right), and the small
plywood section in the center near the
cut-out. Parts added to the upper wing
were the fuel expansion tank, radiator
expansion tank, and the two aileron crank
rods (in brass to be painted). Large
Balkenkreuz insignia applied as shown.
Note the angled application of the
camouflage sheets and the camouflage rib
tapes. Leading and trailing tapes have
yet to be applied. The underside of
the top wing had the plywood parts of the
center section painted in Albatros Dark
The bottom wing had the kit's film compass installed but a PE part representing the metal retainer has yet to be installed. The wing walk was covered in a piece of silver decal. I will paint this Albatros Dark Green and sand some areas to remove the paint showing scuff marks and wear.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 10
2 March 2013
|WINGS, UNDER SURFACE: The under surface of the wings and tail unit were covered in the 5-color day pattern at the same angle as for the upper surface. Mirage offer both a thick and a thin set of camouflage rib tapes and used the thick version as on the upper surface. Overall I was quite pleased with the effect of the decals in representing the pre-printed camouflage. It just looked right to me. The camouflaged rib tapes were a nice touch. Best of all, the decals were sturdy and went on and stayed on once patted down with a clean soft cloth. I over-sprayed the surfaces with satin poly. Taping to the edges of the wings will be painted later. Note the brass pins on the lower wing set for fuselage attachment. The dark circle on the lower wing to the right in the photo above is the underside of the compass housing. The dark spot on the upper wing in the center is a test touch-up spot that will be painted out with the correct shade. Here are the shades I mixed to touch-up the underside camouflage:
HOW TO PAINT PRE-PRINTED CAMOUFLAGE COLORS TO MATCH DECALS
Whenever I apply
pre-printed camouflage decals, chips occur
from mistakes with the paint brush or the
X-Acto knife. Additionally, I will not
go through the pain of applying flying
surface edging tape using decal rib tape
material. So, I am resolved in every
case to make repairs or paint edging tape.
For repairs, paint the whole lozenge, let it
dry, then match it against its neighbors;
adjust your mix to get a close match.
Remember that satin poly or your choice of
clear overcoat will generally cancel out
subtleties and matte finishes. Here's
how I paint the edging tape. Note that
I base the colors on the decal sheet already
applied; in this case, I used Mirage decals.
1) use only upper surface colors for the edges (see mixing formulas below).
2) using the darkest of the 4- or 5-color pallet, paint the edges in one solid color.
3) decide the repeat pattern, e.g., green, magenta, ochre, purple, etc.
4) start at a point on each flying surface that will abut the fuselage or center section.
5) keep your pallet wet so as to reduce the number of mixings you need to made.
6) paint each color no more than the length of each lozenge on the decal, or shorter.
7) keep the colors in sequence with an occasional mix of shorter and longer lozenges.
8) use dark gray/black to paint fine lines between each color on the edging.
UPPER SURFACE 5-COLOR PRE-PRINTED CAMOUFLAGE FOR REPAIRS AND FOR EDGING TAPE TO MATCH THE MIRAGE DECALS
DARK GREEN: Andrea ANAC01 Field
Gray (or equivalent)
LIGHT GREEN: Vallejo VC0857 Golden Olive plus VC0870 Medium Gray
PURPLE: Vallejo VC0959 Purple, VC0900 Mirage Blue, VC0870 Medium Gray
MAGENTA: Vallejo VC0859 Purple and VC0900 Mirage Blue (just a little)
OCHRE: Vallejo VC0856 Ochre Brown
UNDER SURFACE 5-COLOR PRE-PRINTED CAMOUFLAGE FOR REPAIRS TO MATCH THE MIRAGE DECALS
PALE GREEN: Andrea ANAC24 Light
Green, Vallejo VC0951 White, VC0870 Medium
OCHRE: Vallejo VC0856 Ochre Brown
BLUE: Vallejo VC0900 Mirage Blue and VC0951 White
PINK: Vallejo VC0944 Old Rose and Andrea ANAC42 Red Leather
MOUSE GRAY: Vallejo VC0874 Tan Earth and VC0870 Medium Sea Gray
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 11
14 March 2013
|LOWER WING ATTACHMENT: Before attaching the wings, I painted the edging tape as described in the above panels. I pre-drilled all of the strut and rigging holes. The lower wings had already been "dry fitted" several times so just a bit of super glue in the fuselage holes and on the brass pins secured them. Working quickly, I eyeballed the "no dihedral" alignment and let them sit with support until thoroughly dry.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 12
14 March 2013
|FINALIZING FUSELAGE DETAILS: This view shows the hand-painted camouflage edging tape on the lower wing and elevator. I added the small PE "step" to the upper foot hold (barely visible just below the middle of the cockpit coaming ), painted the flare rack, the late-war machine gun, and painted all panel lines with a brown/black liner. Note the scuffed up wing walk. On the other side of the cockpit (see above photo) the grenade rack, small flare rack, and flare pistol were finished.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 13
7 May 2013
ATTACHING THE TOP WING: The cabane struts are
individual struts made using my
brass tube and rod technique.
The forward and rear pairs carry the weight
of the top wing and each had to be trial
fitted to get the correct gap and maintain
level. The middle struts were simply
glued into their fuselage holes and glued up
against the forward strut.
The radiator line is brass rod that was cut, bent, and test fitted before gluing in place. The propeller was painted overall in Vallejo VC0912 Sand Yellow over which rough parallel lines in Andrea ANAC42 Brown Leather were painted to simulate the laminations. Over all of this (once dry), I applied four or five colored pencil shades which blended in and left a realistic wax finish.
The dangling monofilament wires were glued to the bottom wing first. I'm trying a new technique which will incorporate fine brass tubing in short pieces to simulate the turnbuckles. Each corresponding location on the underside of the top wing already have small end-pieces of Eduard turnbuckles with a hole through which the monofilament will be tied. I have to make sure that I slide two brass tube turnbuckle pieces on each line to be secured with a drop of super glue.
These can be seen on the landing gear. I used, specifically, Griffon Model's GMBH02 brass tube (OD .50mm, ID .33mm). Additional items added under the wing and connecting to the fuselage (but not visible in this photo) are the gravity tank's fuel line which runs down the port side middle cabane strut and the rear radiator circulation pipe that runs from the back of the engine to the gravity radiator.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 14
7 May 2013
MAKING THE "V" AIRCRAFT DECAL: The
interpretation of the Roman numeral "V" is
taken from the color interpretation by
Dan-San Abbott that appears in
Schlacht-Flieger!. I had to
decide whether the decal would by white
over-painted in red or red out-lined in
white. To me, it is easier to paint
the red. To make the white decal, I
used strips cut from a white decal sheet.
Each "V" is made of two pieces that overlap
at the bottom of the "V". When dry, I
hand-painted the inside of the "V" with Vallejo
VC0946 Dark Red.
The white aileron cranks on the top wing are primed. Leather work around the cockpit and the top wing was painted with one coat of Andrea's ANAC42 Brown Leather, stained with ANAC48 Dark Leather, and washed with clear semi-gloss. The latter is a mix of either Andrea's or Vallejo's clear gloss with 50% distilled water to tone it down.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 15
15 May 2013
RIGGING: My original
plan was to attach eyelets cut from Eduard
PE turnbuckles to the underside of the top
wing. With the monofilament rigging
thread already glued to the upper side of
the bottom wing in place, I would slide two
small brass tube pieces then attach the
monofilament to the eyelets with a simple
knot and a spot of super glue. Each
brass tube turnbuckle would then be located
at each end of the line abutting a strut and
That's not the way it worked out. I knew I would have problems with the eyelets. As it turned out, I abandoned them and decided to revert to the old "tie it around the strut" system. Actually, this worked out better than it sounds. The thread is so fine, you can see the attachment knot under the top wing. Plus, the brass tube turnbuckles hide that area pretty well.
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 16
15 May 2013
|FINISHED MODEL - RIGHT SIDE PROFILE
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 17
15 May 2013
|FINISHED MODEL - LEFT SIDE PROFILE
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 18
15 May 2013
|FINISHED MODEL - LEFT FRONT VIEW
CONSTRUCTION PHOTO No. 19
15 May 2013
|FINISHED MODEL - RIGHT REAR VIEW
Duiven, Rick and Dan-San Abbott. Schlacht-Flieger! Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2006.
Gray, Peter and Owen Thetford. German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam & Company Limited, 1962.
Grosz, P. M. Halberstadt CL.IV, Windsock Datafile 43, "Colours and Markings" section by Ray Rimmel, color profiles by Ray Rimmel, scale drawings by Ian R. Stair, cover art Brian Knight, Albatros Publications Ltd, Berkhamsted, UK, revised second edition 1994.
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