1/32 Wingnut Wings Hansa-Branderburg W.29

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on May 10 2019



The Imperial German Navy, the Marine Fliegerabteilung, had a seaplane base at Zebrugge, to try and defend the Belgian coast and the North Sea from attacks by British flying boats and bombers. The German Navy was pretty well equipped with float planes manufactured by Albatros, Friedrichshafen and Hansa-Brandenburg to accomplish this task. Initially Hansa-Brandenburg's Chief Engineer, Ernst Heinkel designed and built a bi-plane float plane, the W.12.and the improved W.19. The W.29 was designed by engineer Hanns Klemm; a low winged monoplane, it is the direct descendant of these earlier floatplanes. The W.29 eliminated the top wing and the improved performance allowed it to attack the newer Felixstowe and Curtiss flying boats used by the Allies. The W.29 and W.19 often were flown together by the German Naval pilots from Flanders sea stations. The W.29 was armed with either 1 or 2 forward firing machine guns and one flexible gun on a ring mount for the observer. By the end of the war, 199 W.29s were delivered. The floatplane was used after the war in Denmark, Finland, Latvia Norway, Hungary, and Japan.

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While the W.29 was powered by 3 different engines during its production, the kit provides the one most commonly used, the 150hp Benz Bz.III. The rather large wings are held in place by a metal spar that should keep them from drooping. The huge expanse of the wings is covered by a lozenge pattern decal on the top of the wings and clear doped linen underneath.

This Naval lozenge was different in shape as well as color from the lozenge used on land based German airplanes. Naval lozenges were hexagonal in shape and consisted of a 3-color pattern of either grey-blue, purple and brown or light violet, grey-blue and either light blue or mid-blue.  The lozenge supplied in the kit seems to be of the first combination.

The lozenge decals went on without any major hitch; just remember to provide a gloss base paint before applying them. I usually use a dark gloss blue from a rattle can, let it dry, and then apply the decals. You can use some light solvent like Microset, but anything stronger may harm the decals. The floats either had the tops covered in lozenge or had the tops and sides covered in a black tar based coating to help protect them from the effects of salt water.

I built this kit awhile ago but I don't remember any particular problem with it. I chose option C "Anne" flown by an unknown crew from the Zeebrugge station in August-September, 1918. I pretty much went with the color selections suggested by WNW in their instructions, using primarily Tamiya paints. The engine and machine guns were painted with Model Master's metallics. Aligning the exhaust pipes on the engine is made easy by the inclusion of a disposable plastic template supplied in the kit to keep them straight when gluing them to the engine. There is a choice for which tailplane to use: straight edged or rounded, depending on your choice of subject. There is really nothing to add about the construction of the kit since the fit is perfect. As with all WNW kits, all you have to do is make the sure the mating surfaces are free of paint and everything almost clicks together.

WNW released this kit in December, 2010 and it sold out in May of 2012. It can still be purchased as part of their "Duellists" series combined with the Felixstowe F.2a. The Felixstowe makes up in rigging what the W.29 lacks! If you don't like rigging and have to have this kit, find someone who wants the challenge of rigging the Felixstowe to share the $349.00 price tag for the kit. Most of the information contained in this article is either from the WNW instructions (always a great source of info and photos) or Datafile #55, Brandenburg W 29.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth