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Kit No. 422*
1/4 SCALE 1/4 SCALE A E
JUNKERS D- 1 JUNKERS D- 1 K R D 1
Demeaning called “Blechesel” (Tin Donkey) at first because as everyone knows you can’t make an airplane out of metal it would be too heavy to fly, and besides
there’s no future for the monoplane anyway!
The Junkers D- 1 monoplane was the world’s first operational “all metal” fighter plane. A good 10 to 15 years ahead of anything the Allies had in the air or on the
drawing board at the end of WW- 1. Professor Hugo Junkers little Blechesel was rapidly growing up into the “Heavy Metal Warbird” of wars yet to come!
Constructed exclusively of Duralumin (an early aluminum-copper alloy of the 2000 series by today’s standards). The D- 1 featured an inner tubular nose section that
included the wing roots and supported engine mounts for the new high compression Mercedes 160 HP D-III.au engine. The wings featured nine main spars connected in a
Warren Truss fashion and covered with corrugated Duralumin. The pitch of the corrugations was 30mm or about 1-3/16 inches. The aft section of the fuselage and the tail
surfaces were also of tubular construction and covered by the same corrugated Duralumin sheeting. The aircraft also featured a “full flying” rudder and a one piece
In the air the Junkers D- 1 was nothing short of impressive! With a top speed of over 140 MPH and a climb rate of 23-1/2 feet a second (1410 feet a minute) Dr.
Hugo’s little Tin Donkey could simply out fly or just walk away from ANYTHING else in the air, Allied or German!
But despite the D- 1’s superior performance the top front-line pilots and aces of the day
didn’t like, or trust it. It was made of metal, and it was one of those monoplanes too. However
Hermann Goring and Bruno Loerzer both agreed that while the D- 1 was a “total failure” it may
have a place as a “Balloon Buster” because it’s all metal construction made it so much more
resistant to gun fire then a wood and fabric aircraft. Despite their objections the German Air
Service saw the advantages of an all metal aircraft and ordered 100 Junkers D- 1 to bedistributed
between the Army and Naval air services.
Arriving at the front in late October 1918 it’s unknown if any of the first 4 or 5 Junkers D-1s
saw action over the western front before the war ended, although several RAF pilots were sure
they had seen D-1s in air.
While the Armistice of November 11, 1918
brought the war to an end on the Western Front
fighting continued in the Baltic countries between invading
Bolshevik Red armies and the defending German Freikorps
mercenaries. And here both the Junkers D- 1 and it’s two seat
sister the Junkers CL- 1 did indeed see action and were highly
successful against the Nieuports, Camels, and DH-9s of the Red Air Service.
And in close air support missions against Bolshevik ground forces eventually
driving the communists out of Baltic States!
While the Balsa USA Junkers D- 1 is not made of tin or Duralumin it
certainly captures Professor Hugo Junkers idea of the performance potential of an
allmetalfighterplane! Thisisnotyour Daddy’s Sopwith Pup!
Wing Span: 88-1/2 inches
Fuselage: 63-3/4 inches
Flying Weight: 23-28 lbs.
Engine: 35-62 cc