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Zeppelin L-59

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Zeppelin  L-59

A paper kit for wargaming with 28mm figures.

The Reviresco kit of the Zeppelin L-59 consists of 12 sheets and is designed for wargaming with 28mm figures.  The finished kit measures 26 x 4.5 x 6 inches;  truly impressive on the game table.  The kit is not our usual 1/64th scale it is more, what you might call, Toy Scale.   By combining a 1/64th scale Control Cabin and engines with a much reduced envelope we have produced a Zeppelin model which will look great hanging over your game table, but is much more convenient  than the 11.6 foot long monster which a full 1/64th scale kit would measure. 

 Zeppelin L 59, nicknamed Das Afrika-Schiff ("The Africa Ship"), was a World War I German  dirigible, famous for attempting a long-distance resupply mission to the beleaguered garrison of Germany's East Africa colony.

 The L 59 was a naval airship ordered to prepare for the resupply of  Generalmajor Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck’s troops.

Zeppelin L-59 in flight 

Because it would be impossible to resupply the airship with hydrogen gas upon its arrival in Africa, it was decided that no return trip would be made. Instead, it was planned that every part of the ship be cannibalized for use by Lettow-Vorbeck's bush army. The outer envelope would be used for tents, muslin linings would become bandages, the duralumin framework would be used for wireless towers, and so on. In addition to its own structure, L 59 carried 15 tons of supplies. The cargo included machine guns plus spares and ammunition, food, medical supplies, a medical team and Iron Cross medals.

 L 59's two initial attempts at starting the journey were foiled by weather in the Mediterranean, but on 21 November 1917 her third departure was successful. The ship made good time over Adrianople, the Sea of Marmara and the coast of Asia Minor. However, due to electrical storms over Crete, her wireless aerial was wound in and so the ship failed to receive messages from the German admiralty. She crossed over the African coast at 05:15 on 22 November near  Mersa Matruh  and, flying via the Dakhla Oasis set a dog-leg course up the Nile. That afternoon, an engine malfunctioned when a reduction gear housing cracked; the loss of this powerplant eliminated the prospect of radio transmission, although wireless messages could be received. The next morning she nearly crashed when heat turbulence from the dunes below and subsequent cooling reduced the buoyancy of her gas. The crew also suffered from headaches, hallucinations and general fatigue in the mid-day heat and freezing cold at night.

 Despite these difficulties, L 59 continued on over Sudan, only to be turned back on 23 November, with the ship 125 miles (201 km) due west of Khartoum when she received an "abort" message. L 59's volunteer crew implored the commander to continue, but he ordered the ship turned back and returned to Bulgaria after averting another potential disaster due to loss of buoyancy over Asia Minor. She returned to base the morning of 25 November 1917, having traveled over 4,200 miles (6,800 km) in 95 hours, or nearly four days in the air. When she nosed into her shed at Jamboli, the Zeppelin had enough fuel remaining for another 64 hours flight.  Many years passed before her record-setting flight was surpassed.

 Read more about the L-59 on Wikipedia


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File Last Updated:
December 26, 2015
This title was added to our catalog on December 26, 2015.