by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
A lightened air-cooled version, the lMG 08, was developed by the Spandau arsenal as a rigidly mounted aircraft machine gun and went into production in 1915, in single-gun mounts, for use on the E.I through the E.III production versions of the Fokker Eindecker. A lower case letter "L" beginning the prefix meant luftgekühlt (air-cooled) rather than Luft (air). The lMG 08s were later used in pairs by the time of the introduction of the Fokker D.III and Albatros D.I biplane fighters in 1916, as fixed and synchronized cowling guns firing through the propeller. . . The initial model of the air-cooled "Spandau" lMG 08 front-firing cowling machine guns had lost the stocks, grips and bipods of the infantry MG08s, but the 103 mm diameter cylindrical sheet metal water jacket was initially over-lightened with cooling slots, and because the cooling jacket on the MG 08 series of guns was an important structural support for the barrel, the excessive slotting of the initial air-cooled lMG 08 rendered the gun as too fragile to the point of making it impossible to fit the muzzle booster that the water cooled infantry MG08 guns could be fitted with.
The later model of lMG 08 air-cooled machine gun had the slotting omitted at the extreme ends of the cooling jacket's cylindrical member, with a 13 cm wide area of solid sheet metal at the breech end, and a 5 cm wide solid area at the muzzle end, giving the resultant gun much more rigidity. It retained unchanged the rectangular rear receiver and breech assembly of the water cooled MG 08 infantry weapon, which would be "stepped down" at its upper rear and lower forward corners as the more developed and lighter weight LMG 08/15 version, always used for forward-aimed synchronized firing in dual mounts on German single-seat fighter aircraft, and singly on German armed two seat observation aircraft.[clarification needed] The LMG 08/15 version was created basing on lightened, water-cooled MG 08/15 version for infantry use, and soon found its way into aircraft with a slightly smaller 92 mm diameter slotted cooling jacket as standard synchronized armament on all German single-seat fighters. A round counter fitted to the rear of the late model LMG 08/15 guns at the backplate, told the pilot how much ammunition was left to fire. Later on a significant upgrade to the gun's aerial usability was the fitting of the Klingstrom device (spade grip) on the right side of the receiver, which allowed the gun to be cocked and loaded with one hand from the cockpit.
More than 23,000 examples of the LMG 08/15 and an unknown number of the lMG 08 were produced during World War I.
25 pcs Silver Nickel PE to represent two 08/15 machine guns.
1 @ page 3 step A5 instruction page.
The set is a lot like origami as most items have either compound curves or more than one crease needed to form the finished look. As always with this scale an Optivisor is a large plus to help with finishing these. This set does not include the spade grip cocking handle. If your build requires them (1918 Schwerin built Fokker D.VII, Roland D.VIa or b)you will have to scrounge them from a kit that includes them. There are the small version round counters included.
When contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE.
Click here for additional images for this review.