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In-Box Review
de Havilland DH10 Amiens IIIA
DeHaviland DH-10A
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:

de Havilland DH-10A
Kit Numbers: 786 (1976 issue); 125 (1958 issue); 1125 (K&B issue)

Aurora released their big (16½ inch/41.91 cm wingspan) de Havilland DH10 Amiens IIIA model in 1958 as the “De Haviland DH-10 Bomber,” kit 125. (Curiously, although the Sopwith Tripe was released three years later, it was originally numbered 100.) It was the 13th kit of 20 in their “Famous Fighters of WW I” series. The DH10 was the Triple Entente / Allied ‘monster’ kit, Germany’s Gotha being the ‘monster’ representing the Central Powers.

In 1972 Aurora reworked some of the molds by adding fabric texture and removing raised insignia and data markings for subsidiary K&B as K&B 'Collectors Series.' Usually when model makers add "Collector" to a model it equals a junky kit at triple the price. Not K&B! These were packed in large square boxes with detailed art, and the square box held the beloved vacuformed diorama base! A few years later Aurora reworked more molds and issued the models as the 700-series kits. The de Havilland DH-10A [sic] was one of the kits reissued by K&B as kit no. 1125 and in the 700-series as Kit 786. Further kit history is courtesy of Mr. Alan Bussie of Old Model Kits;
    Kit History

    The early success of Aurora’s 1/48 WWI series from 1956 gave them the clear lead for this field. Realizing a good thing, Aurora expanded the line rapidly, adding a few new kits each year. The first DH-10 issue features stunning Jo Kotula artwork and a copyright date of 1958. The original kit number was 125-198. It was issued in the typical “hardbox”; a thick cardboard box top and bottom with the glued lithograph “slick” holding the box top together. The logo first used is the Aurora Sunburst Oval with “Famous Fighters” in the boarder. These boxes were generally not shrink wrap or cello sealed. Usually Aurora placed two pieces of tape across the box bottom and two long sides as a ’seal’. Inside, the main parts are molded in a beautiful high-gloss olive drab with the details in black. A ground wheel chock base and two ground crew are included. This issue is the most desirable kit for collectors and for those who do “Classic Builds” straight from the box with minimal painting. A variation of this kit exists with the “Parents Seal” logo and the same Aurora logo, hardbox, parts, plastic color and part number.

    It appears that while most of Aurora WWI series remained in production through the 1960s, the DH-10 and Gotha did not. For example, neither were listed in the 1965 annual catalog. The next boxed appearance was 1972. The K&B “Collectors Series” issue is perhaps the most deluxe of all issues and sports beautiful artwork by John Amendola. The part number is 1125-300 and features the revised molds and decals for two different aircraft as well as the first rigging diagram. This kit also includes the “Battle Terrain” base, which is a vacuformed diorama display for the aircraft and ground crew. The kit is usually found molded in tan and black plastic. Additionally, there is an Aurora Canada issue. which was similar to the K&B issue in appearance and issue date. The box is identical except for the origin, a part number of #1125 or 1125-350, and the Aurora logo instead of K&B. Inside, the kit parts are usually identical to the K&B issue with tan and black plastic and the vacuform base.

    The DH-10 appeared in the USA catalog in 1977, but we know that kit number 786 is dated 1976. To emphasize accuracy, Aurora used a photograph of the built model on the box top. This and the K&B kit are more in demand for accurate building but they are collected also. This is the improved molds kit reviewed in this article, but without the Terrain Base and two ground crew. This issue is in a “softbox”, a thin, two-piece cardboard box with the printing directly on the box. There is no lithographed slick.

    To date there have been no further reissues of this kit. It is rumored that this kit was damaged in the famous train accident. When Aurora closed out the model business, Monogram purchased the molds. Reportedly, the molds were put on a Chicago-bound train and the train derailed. The damage to the molds was extensive and many were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The DH-10 is suspected to be among those.

In the 1/1 world there were five variants of the DH10:
    Amiens I
    Prototype powered by two pusher Puma engines.
    Amiens II
    Prototype powered by two tractor Rolls Royce Eagle engines.
    Amiens III
    Main production variant, powered by Liberty 12 engines mounted midway between wings, 221 built.
    Amiens IIIA
    Modified Mark III with engines directly attached to lower wings, 32 built, also known as the DH.10A
    Amiens IIIC
    Version powered by Rolls Royce Eagle engines in case of shortages of Liberty engines, 5 built, also known as the DH.10C. *

Opening the hanger doors
This review is of a 1976 reworked ‘700-series’ model in a top & bottom box decorated with a photo of the built model. The 1958 issue was dramatically decorated by the great artist Jo Kotula and the K&B issue also had dramatic art. While Aurora changed their logo, box design or decoration many times, I haven’t found a box with art different until the K&B issue.

Inside are instructions, decals, two clear pieces and 68 parts injection molded in two colors, black and olive. One piece is an identification button bearing “DeHavilland DeH-10A Great Britain.” Molding is good with some flash, mold seam lines, a few sink holes, and typical of the era, some visible ejector marks. Too many are on the top of the bottom wings, wing struts, and fuselage halves. Struts and trailing edges are too thick. Figure detail is soft as though one passed them over a flame to round off the edges. The pilot has a small sink hole while the others have ejector circles and flash. The pilot is seated, a gunner is manning his machine gun, and the other is high-fiving something. Aurora did not include a base to pose the model and figures upon.

Test fitting reveals fair fit. Filler will be necessary along the fuselage, empennage, nacelles, wings and perhaps even for the clear parts. Where the cabanes and interstruts mate into the airframe will require care not for the big gaps of other Aurora kits but because each is a separate and probably delicate strut.

Happily all molded insignia and data were removed when this kit was injected. Expect raise insignia detail if you find the 1958 – 1960s model; removing it is a horrible exercise at best even on flat surfaces!

Accuracy? Aurora was one of – if not the - first to make models to a standard size. This quarter-scale model scales very close. With a top wing span of 66 feet their Amiens IIIA is too wide by 6 inches. I measured the fuselage from nose to rudder at 40 feet 3 inches, about 8 inches too long. I have no practical way of judging the model contours although it looks a lot like a DH.10 to me.

DH10 Walk-around
Surface detail includes raised lines representing access hatches, control horns, and control wire ports. There are several separate small parts for control pulleys, generators and other details. Aurora textured the fabric areas of the airframe components. It does not resemble woven fabric as much as a gritty non-slip material. It is also marred by ejector circles. Curiously the upper wings did not receive the texturing. They do have ugly leading edge ridges presumably for wing ribbing.

A partial pair of 400 hp Liberty 12A V-12 water-cooled engines are comprised of five parts – 10 with the nacelles and radiator and propeller.

Two .303 in. (7.7 mm) Lewis machine guns are recognizable but clumsy and marred with ejector circles. Both have Scarff rings to mount on.

The cockpit is almost nothing: floor, seat, slightly detailed instrument panel. The pilot blocks seeing most of it. There is nothing in the gunner's holes.

Instructions, decals, paint and rigging guide
Aurora did a good job with the instructions, the large sheet segmented into four assembly sequences for the 70 parts. Line art illustrates everything with all parts are identified. Painting guidance for seven colors is shown on the line art of the DH10.

Decals include six roundels with separate red dots, rudder stripes, and serial numbers. Two serial numbers are provided:
1. F 1869

2. F.8421

Finally, Aurora included a basic diagram for rigging the beast!

Chocks out!

Another great trip to memory-drome! Even today this kit is sought for building and collecting. Some collectors enjoy building the kit as they did in the 1960s - straight from the box. Those who wish to build it to current standards will find it ripe for detailing. No doubt you can make a respectable model with it, as evidenced by the many examples online. I would even buy and build one for more than nostalgia.

Our Thanks to Old Model Kits! This item was provided by OMK for the purpose of having it reviewed on Aeroscale.

History of the de Havilland DH10 Amiens III bomber (Aurora spelling and punctuation)
    The original de Havilland DH-10, a twin engine bomber, was based on the configuration of the D.G.3, It was powered by two 230 h.p. Sidley Puma engines installed as pushers— {the second prototype was changed to two Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines installed as tractors). Designed as a three seater, the pilot sat in line with the leading edge of the lower wings. The gunners' cockpits were in the nose and behind the wings, each equipped with two mountings for Lewis guns. Both gunners had dual control. The DH-10A made its first flight on March 4th, 1918.

    Subsequently, because of many short-comings, numerous changes and versions were made during the next eight years. The nacelles were modified to house two high-compression American Liberty engines that delivered 405 h.p, at 1,650 r.p.m. Because of production problems of the Liberty engines, later models were again fitted with the Rolls-Royce Eagle.

    Due to many difficulties, late production, and the advent of the Armistice the DH-10A saw slight service in World War I. Only eight planes were delivered to the R.A.F. After the Armistice it was used on a regular air-mail service to the British occupation forces in Germany. The DH-10A was, also, the first aircraft to carry air-mail by night-flying non-stop to Cologne form England.

    In 1919 DH-10As were taken to India and assigned to the No. 60 Squardon. They were initially used for bombing on the frontier of Waziristan. The extreme heat of this locale affected their performance which led to them being fitted with larger radiators for eastern and middle-east service.

    The DH-10A had an empty weight of 5,750 Lbs.; loaded, 9,000 Lbs. including 954 Lbs. military load; crew 540 Lbs.; fuel and oil 1,756 tbs. Loaded, its top speed was 126 m.p.h. at 6,500 feet. At 15,000 feet it dropped to 112 m.p.h. Its climb from take-off to 15,000 feet took 24 minutes and 30 seconds. Endurance was 5½ hours and a service ceiling of 17,500 feet.


    1. Royal Air Force Museum. de Havilland DH10 Amiens. [Web.] n.d.

    *. Wikipedia. Airco DH.10. [Web.] 23 July 2013.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Happily all molded insignia and data were removed when this 1976-issue kit was injected.
Lows: Some flash, mold seam lines, a few sink holes, visible ejector marks. Unconvincing fabric texture and detail.
Verdict: No doubt you can make a respectable model with it, as evidenced by the many examples online. I would even buy and build one for more than just nostalgia.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 786 (See text)
  Suggested Retail: $1.98 in 1958!
  Related Link: Old Model Kits Aurora Page
  PUBLISHED: Aug 23, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Old Model Kits!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Thank you for the review are you going to do a build review? 54% rating is generous,love those figures i did not know that Japan flew these AC! LOL
AUG 24, 2013 - 12:05 AM
Hi Richard; yeah, rating something always vexes me. I decided a long time ago to start everything at 50% just for trying, then add or subtract. I even made up a spreadsheet: ACCURACY Molding FIT EASE OF ASSEMBLY DECALS--thinness, register, color, selection, (application) CLEAR--clear, distortion, brittle, casting EXTRAS--versions, supplies, stores DETAILED INTERIORS DETAILS SURFACE PRICE COMPLEXITY Not rocket science but it makes me happy.
AUG 28, 2013 - 09:13 AM
Hi Fred I like the spread sheet idea and will try somthing like this in my review that I am about to do. FYI I am still reading the 9th Light Infantry for review!
AUG 28, 2013 - 10:35 AM
The DH-10 was built in the vast depths of the void of data. Aurora pulled together the best they knew, which were the old drawings from Model Airplane News,(Nye and Wylem)(I may have the spelling wrong) which drew mostly from photos or very old drawings from Flight or Aeroplane magazines (British). If you are going to do a review of a 1950s kit, review it in that context: 1. Does it LOOK like the airplane it says it is? 2. does it match drawings of that era (earlier to 191950s 1960s) 3. How does it match up to drawings now. 4. can you take the basic kit and improve it without a major rebuilt (not "based on"). I have this kit and it is not a bad kit. By my evaluation 1. Yes 2. Good I used the Flight drawings from January 3, 1919 3. Shape good, details rough or missing. 4. It can be improved especially the cockpit, and wing trailing edge. Captn Tommy
AUG 30, 2013 - 04:28 AM
I updated this review with more kit history.
SEP 17, 2013 - 12:51 PM
Excellent review BTW Fred.... Windsock Datafile 38 is on the DH-10 has an excellent drawing photos etc. It is still in stock at Albatros Publications. I personally am looking at mine as a potential What If. Or "Luft 19", (think "Luft 46") in 1919. Captn Tommy
SEP 18, 2013 - 08:11 AM

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