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Thread: "Your Immelman is smaller than mine."

  1. #1

    Default "Your Immelman is smaller than mine."

    So,

    I played a Dr.I for the first time in a long time last night at the monthly Wings of Glory night. Fourth Mondays, game store in Annapolis. See you there. I used to love the Dr.I. The maneuverability is remarkable, and on a small table it's a great fly. The Dr.I is the Jack Dempsey of WWI airplanes. You heard it here first.

    Lately I've been playing late war planes with a little more oomph to them, the Hanriot, the Bristol F.2B, the D.VII. These planes have some zoomy-zoom and still have a solid dose of maneuverability. You can chase somebody if you get the chance and duck out of tough spots. You have options.

    The Dr.I is a late war plane sure, and let's face it -- it turns on a wing tip. But damn it's slow. At one point a guy in a Bristol just drove away from me, his sights set on an Aviatik in front of him and well aware that he didn't need to worry about me pressing the attack from behind. His tail gunner took the opportunity to refill his tea cup from the pot wedged between the two cockpits. He lifted it to me and nodded as they pulled away. I wasn't a threat. I even tried an overdive and, frankly, it only moves DR.Is about four inches. The plane doesn't even fall fast. It's really pitiful.

    So, it became obvious that if I wanted to participate with these faster planes I needed to sit in the middle of the field and act more or less like a fixed gun mount, using the Fokker's super-tight non-steep right turn cards to get guns pointed in the right direction as enemies approached. Kind of like playing Loopin' Louie but you're the airplane, not the chickens. Keep spinning, keep firing.

    At one point with my new-found approach I needed to turn a 180, and naturally reached for the Immelman card. Great idea! I use them all the time!

    But let's face it, Immelman's take longer to complete than just turning right in this plane! Two hard-right cards make for a 180 turn. More or less you do a pirouette on your right wing tip. It's super tight and only takes two cards instead of the Immelman's three. So it became clear to me that the Immelman card in the Dr.I deck is just a tease. It calls out to you because you've used it with so many other planes, but when you thumb through your deck and find it with its teeny-tiny-little-line in front of the backwards arrow you almost don't want to put it down on the table for fear of mockery from the other players flying the big-boy planes. "Dude, how do you play a card and not go anywhere? That violates some law of physics." Sure you can shoot as big as the rest of them, but you better get your timing right on that three-card Immelman maneuver because your target is gonna be gone one card later!

    After using it just once and having a 50 year-old woman at the table say "your Immelman is smaller than mine" I set it to one side. Lothar's bright yellow paint job lost it's luster right quick. My son asked me why the card wasn't in my deck a few turns later and I told him to take it from me so I wouldn't be tempted to play it again.

    But it's a pretty card. It has a train track going into a tunnel on it, so I can use it for scenarios where planes are supposed to destroy a train as it crosses the landscape. But as it stands I have no intention of using it to turn my Dr.I around. It's pointless, and a little embarrassing.

    S.

  2. #2

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    The more I listen to the experienced and analytical players of this game, the more I appreciate the game design and that I have to look closer at All my planes in order to maximize my in air opportunities.

  3. #3

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    A shorter Immel can be the advantage as you don't travel so far from the target before the turn is made ?
    But, yeah, a machine probably best employed by a pilot with some ace skills - bit like the real thing !

    "He is wise who watches"

  4. #4

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    The Fokker Dr. I shows it's best abilities with altitude rules. (Climb rate: 2)

    Last year we teached a group of Sopwith Camels a bitter lesson.

    http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/ent...n-2016-Part-II



    ...and don't be worried about the smaller Immel. It's all about the handling.
    Voilą le soleil d'Austerlitz!

  5. #5

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    Linking the Immel with Acrobatic I or I+II is a neat combination for the Dr1.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  6. #6

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    Here's the thing about the Immelmann card in the Dr.1's deck: since everything you say is absolutely true, the Immelmann becomes a wild card you can use to play when least expected.

    For example: the Dr.1 always turns right, right? So let's say you've got someone coming up behind you, and expecting you to whip around to the right and face them. They plan a right turn to pull lead on you through your turn, and blast you to pieces.

    Instead.. play your left bank, then a straight, and an Immelmann... surprise, I'm on your six! (And probably at close range, because my Immelmann is so short... )

    I agree that it's not a card played often with the Dr.1, but it is sure is nice to have in the toolbox. It's a joyous little plane to dogfight with, for sure.

  7. #7

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    Interesting point about the two 90 degree turns being faster than an Immelmann. I hadn't thought of that.

    It seems to me that the Dr.1 was already a bit behind the technology by the time it was introduced, so although it was introduced and used late in the war, it is outclassed by other late war planes. Of the four in series 1 (Dr.1, Camel, Spad XIII & Alb D.Va), it is the slowest and most fragile. I've learned to compete with it somewhat against the other series 1 planes, but among those I usually play with, the Dr.1 is a clear disadvantage and almost never sees the table. Nowadays I usually pit the Dr.1 against earlier & mid-war aircraft such as the Nieuport 17.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by brdavis View Post
    It seems to me that the Dr.1 was already a bit behind the technology by the time it was introduced, so although it was introduced and used late in the war, it is outclassed by other late war planes.
    My understanding - rough and loose as it may be to a true expert - of the Great War air superiority tug-of-war is as follows:

    1914 - Airplanes mainly used in observation and recon roles. Some ad hoc experiments with air-to-air combat but nothing proven yet.

    Early 1915 - Various experiments on both sides to produce armed scouts capable of bringing down the enemy's observation and recon planes. Roland Garros and the Morane Saulnier N and the whole "fire through the prop / don't worry there's a deflector plate / LOLWUT!" thing.

    Summer 1915 - Fokker Eindecker, the first true fighter plane produced in any numbers, most likely directly inspired by Garros's plane. Gun synchronized mechanically with engine. Germany in the lead, the "Fokker Scourge" ensues.

    Spring 1916 - Nieuport 11, Airco DH2 and Farman FE2 level the playing field, ending the "scourge." Germany hangs on with the Halberstadt as the Eindecker falls further and further behind.

    Early Fall 1916 - The first Albatros appears. Two guns become a thing, but it's not quite enough to beat the Nieuport 17 and 23 comprehensively. The first SPAD VIIs take flight, but in limited numbers.

    Early 1917 - The Albatros D.III, incorporating the Nieuport's sesquiplane wing layout, rules the roost. It's fast, powerful, maneuverable and eats the Allies for lunch. Germany in the lead again, "Bloody April"

    Mid 1917 - New Allied types including the Sopwith Triplane, the SE5, and SPAD VII finally appear in sufficient numbers to allow the Allies begin to wrest back dominance from the Albatros. Flying higher and faster and in greater and greater numbers becomes the new normal.

    Late 1917 - Impressed by the Sopwith Triplane, with the Red Baron's encouragement the Germans rush production of an astounding variety of triplane designs. The Fokker Dr.1 becomes the best known example - but only about 340 are produced in total, with minimal overall impact on the war (though eternal fame thanks to the Red Baron being killed while flying one). Poor construction quality and slow speed are not enough to compensate for the advantages of climb and maneuverability. Werner Voss takes on six SE5as in his Dr.1, damaging them all before being killed. The Sopwith Camel, introduced around the same time as the Dr.1, manages comparable maneuverability with a touch more speed, but both are the last significant gasps of the rotary engine fighter. The writing is on the wall for slow planes - they will be "boom and zoomed" to death by their faster contemporaries. The rotaries simply cannot be made large enough to compete with the newer inline engine designs that are now producing upwards of 200hp, without making an aircraft so tricky to handle that it is as lethal (if not more so) to its own pilots as to the enemy. The Sopwith Camel kills more British Camel pilots than the Germans do, despite being the most successful Entente scout of the war in terms of victory claims. The inline engines allow aircraft to fly higher, faster, further and longer than the increasingly obsolescent rotaries.

    Early 1918 - New German designs like the Fokker D.VII prove excellent and are produced in quantity, but there simply aren't enough of them to stem the huge flow of SPAD XIIIs, SE5as, Camels, DH4s and other successful Allied designs that flood the skies. 1918 alone sees more aircraft in the air, and more aircraft shot down, than in all the prior years of the war combined. Older designs like the Camel are relegated to ground attack duties as they can't fly high enough to partake. The Nieuport 28 shows promise - indeed it was probably one of the better rotaries produced by the Allies during the war - but it is passed over by the French in favor of SPADs and more SPADs. The Americans make due with the N.28 until replacing it with SPADs of their own.

    Late 1918 - Designs like the excellent Fokker D.VIII and Sopwith Snipe show promise, but the Great War ends before they can make a significant impact. Success in the air was proven, over the course of the war, to consist of flying higher and faster than your opponent, and seeing them first. Maneuverability is good, but cannot beat speed for dictating the terms of the engagement. These same facts are born out again and again in WWII, Korea and onwards.

    EDIT: It should go without saying that I am not an expert, and that the above was written from memory. I have tried not to exaggerate but my own understanding is surely flawed and almost certainly biased by the primarily English-language sources I have read. So take it with a grain of salt!! I will happily defer and learn from those with far greater expertise in this area than me.
    Last edited by surfimp; 02-28-2017 at 13:40.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by brdavis View Post
    Interesting point about the two 90 degree turns being faster than an Immelmann. I hadn't thought of that.

    It seems to me that the Dr.1 was already a bit behind the technology by the time it was introduced, so although it was introduced and used late in the war, it is outclassed by other late war planes. Of the four in series 1 (Dr.1, Camel, Spad XIII & Alb D.Va), it is the slowest and most fragile. I've learned to compete with it somewhat against the other series 1 planes, but among those I usually play with, the Dr.1 is a clear disadvantage and almost never sees the table. Nowadays I usually pit the Dr.1 against earlier & mid-war aircraft such as the Nieuport 17.
    I too seem to leave my Dr1s in their boxes nowadays. I've always preferred the Pfalz and the Albatri on looks anyway and unless your using altitude rules the Dreidecker is in real trouble against most of its contemporaries. Even the RE8s have the legs to get off the table unscathed if you get to come on at the short edge.

  10. #10

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    "IT'S NOT THE SIZE OF YOUR IMMELMANN WHICH COUNTS -- IT'S HOW YOU *USE* IT!"

    >;)

  11. #11

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    Remember seeing a clip somewhere (you Tube?) stating that the Dr1 Prop was pitched for climb rather then speed. It climbed like a bat out of Heck but at the cost of speed on a level field. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they had reversed it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcat View Post
    Remember seeing a clip somewhere (you Tube?) stating that the Dr1 Prop was pitched for climb rather then speed. It climbed like a bat out of Heck but at the cost of speed on a level field. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they had reversed it.
    It would have taken them longer to climb up and intercept the British & French coming over the lines, possibly putting them at a serious disadvantage?

  13. #13

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    But added speed on a level field allowing them to run?

  14. #14

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    We're talking about the pitch of the crank shaft? It seems to me the blade's pitch either generates thrust or it doesn't.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcat View Post
    But added speed on a level field allowing them to run?
    Certainly, it'd add some speed - but probably not enough to make a meaningful difference, considering the level flight speed at 10,000ft was reported to be around 93mph.

    But let's generously say the "speed" prop would give the Dr.1 a 5mph top speed boost, to 98mph at 10,000ft.

    At that same altitude...
    The SPAD VII (180HP) was 109mph
    The SPAD XIII was 112mph
    The SE5a was 113mph

    ...all of which would now easily outclimb the Dr.1, as the "speed" prop would have reduced its climbing and low speed capabilities. Such a prop could also have negative impacts on its dogfighting capabilities, for much the same reason - less low(er) speed power (the same thing used in climbing) means it would tend to lose energy in sustained turning fight, and would be slower to regain it.

    Did I mention the SPADs and SE5as had a 1,000m+ higher service ceilings too?

    I mean, I think if there was any way that the Dr.1 could have been better, they'd had made more than 340 of them. Instead they had their brief moment in the sun, and then were promptly eclipsed in favor of (much) more competitive aircraft like the Fokker D.VII. They are remembered mainly (IMHO) because MvR and a couple other famous Germans aces died in them... not exactly an endorsement of fitness!

    The Dr.1 is still one of my favorite WWI planes - but (again IMHO) it's important to understand it in context. How many Entente planes were designed to counter the Dr.1 threat? None, because the existing planes' capabilities - when combined with the newly developing "boom and zoom" tactics, rather than turnfighting - were already neutralizing it, and planes like it, as a significant threat.

    Opinion: the Sopwith Triplane was arguably much more important, if only because it sent the Germans down the triplane rabbit-hole rather than focusing their efforts more immediately on counters to the SPAD and SE5a.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagrilarus View Post
    We're talking about the pitch of the crank shaft? It seems to me the blade's pitch either generates thrust or it doesn't.
    The pitch of the prop.

    Finer pitch = like a car's "low gear" - blades more vertical, taking smaller "bites" of air, and allowing a given engine to generate a higher RPM. Offers greater acceleration but is limited in its ability to produce top speed.

    Coarser pitch = a car's "high gear" - the blades more horizontal, taking larger "bites" of air, tend to allow a given engine to have a lower RPM and less acceleration but higher ultimate speed for a given horsepower.

    Most modern propeller-driven aircraft have variable pitch props that allow the pitch angle to be adjusted in flight. WWI fighters had fixed pitch props which could not be adjusted in flight.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marechallannes View Post
    The Fokker Dr. I shows it's best abilities with altitude rules. (Climb rate: 2)
    Precisely. There are some points where one wants the short Immelmann, though indeed, with the maneuvers in question (Immelmann vs two turns), you have more options if you choose the two turns (no steeps involved, no pre- and post-requisites.)

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcat View Post
    Remember seeing a clip somewhere (you Tube?) stating that the Dr1 Prop was pitched for climb rather then speed. It climbed like a bat out of Heck but at the cost of speed on a level field. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they had reversed it.
    Probably would have still been a slow airplane. The amount of drag produced from 3 wings eventually cancels out any advantage you'd gain in thrust from a different prop. More lift = more induced drag. There's a reason fast aircraft have higher wing loading than slow ones.

    Rotary engines had another problem as well related to drag: The rotating cylinders had to do it against air as they rotated, and larger engines had a larger area and thus more drag. Toward the end of the rotary engine era in WWI they started to hit a real wall where the power gain was no longer enough to offset the power loss due to drag from the rotational mass. IIRC this was around the 200 HP mark (and say nothing about the increased gyro effects off a larger engine). Large radial engines didn't suffer from this problem as they don't rotate.

    As for Immelmans, I actually modify the rules when I play and don't do exactly what the card says. WWI Immelmans weren't a half-loop, they were essentially a stall turn.

    Despite whatever anyone's opinion of the movie Red Baron is, they did show a Sopwith executing a proper Immelman turn:


  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    Probably would have still been a slow airplane. The amount of drag produced from 3 wings eventually cancels out any advantage you'd gain in thrust from a different prop. More lift = more induced drag. There's a reason fast aircraft have higher wing loading than slow ones.

    Rotary engines had another problem as well related to drag: The rotating cylinders had to do it against air as they rotated, and larger engines had a larger area and thus more drag. Toward the end of the rotary engine era in WWI they started to hit a real wall where the power gain was no longer enough to offset the power loss due to drag from the rotational mass. IIRC this was around the 200 HP mark (and say nothing about the increased gyro effects off a larger engine). Large radial engines didn't suffer from this problem as they don't rotate.
    And yet Ares have given the Sopwith Triplane the fastest deck in the game (with the exception of the SPAD XIII and SE5a)!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    ...
    Very nice video, Cody


  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    And yet Ares have given the Sopwith Triplane the fastest deck in the game (with the exception of the SPAD XIII and SE5a)!
    That is because their Triplane has less air space and therefore less drag between it wings Tim.
    Don't tell Chris!
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    And yet Ares have given the Sopwith Triplane the fastest deck in the game (with the exception of the SPAD XIII and SE5a)!
    I know right!? I wonder if it was a mechanical decision to increase the overall maneuverability of the Tripe. It wasn't a fast airplane, even by early 1917 standards, but it was incredibly nimble.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan-Sam View Post
    Very nice video, Cody
    The movie is worth watching for the aerial sequences alone (the story is serviceable, though it takes massive liberties with historical accuracy). The attention to detail of the planes and flying is amazing. Also the only movie I've seen HP O\400's in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    That is because their Triplane has less air space and therefore less drag between it wings Tim.
    Don't tell Chris!
    Rob.
    Funny enough, I remember reading somewhere that the wing design of the Dr.I was a big problem. Not much room from the upper to middle wing, causing a ton of drag (though I haven't been able to confirm this). The decalage was also a problem on the plane. The upper wing had significantly higher loading than the two lower ones.

    The Dr.I was pretty much rushed to production without enough testing and they never did "fix" it. IMHO the Sopwith Triplane was a superior plane in every respect except armament.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    That is because their Triplane has less air space and therefore less drag between it wings Tim.
    Don't tell Chris!
    Rob.
    Naughty!

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    The movie is worth watching for the aerial sequences alone (the story is serviceable, though it takes massive liberties with historical accuracy). The attention to detail of the planes and flying is amazing.
    I mean, I'm glad you enjoyed it, but this is purely absurd in terms of any kind of historical accuracy:



    It would be a fun arcade-style videogame, for sure, but nothing there strikes me as in any way reflecting reality.

  25. #25

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    In my opinion, a far better representation of actual WWI aircraft performance is provided by Howard Hughes's 1930 film, Hell's Angels. It used actual SE5a, Fokker D.VII, Hanriots, SPAD XIIIs, etc., flown in a realistic manner by former WWI pilots.



    These planes were amazingly maneuverable in real life - the "Hollywood-ification" of them in films like Red Baron and Flyboys doesn't serve any useful purpose, but rather demonstrates (for me) a lack of understanding and imagination on the part of the filmmakers.

    Yes, sorry, I'm "that guy."
    Last edited by surfimp; 03-21-2017 at 07:27.

  26. #26

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    I didn't think Red Baron was too bad after the absolute crap we've been getting like Pearl Harbour, Fly Boys, Red Tails, etc.

    Any movie that uses CGI instead of real planes always has things that aren't "right". To me it looked like RB was at least paying lip service to realistic flight.

    Red Tails had crap I'd pull in FASA's Crimson Skies, Pearl was just terrible in every single way, Flyboys had physics-defying planes...

    Yea. I miss movies with real planes. But I also don't miss Harvards with an Iron Cross painted on the wing and called "Messerschmitts".

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    I didn't think Red Baron was too bad after the absolute crap we've been getting like Pearl Harbour, Fly Boys, Red Tails, etc.

    Any movie that uses CGI instead of real planes always has things that aren't "right". To me it looked like RB was at least paying lip service to realistic flight.

    Red Tails had crap I'd pull in FASA's Crimson Skies, Pearl was just terrible in every single way, Flyboys had physics-defying planes...

    Yea. I miss movies with real planes. But I also don't miss Harvards with an Iron Cross painted on the wing and called "Messerschmitts".
    You're right that CGI is often not a good substitute for real planes.

    Flyboys flight models were not completely fictional. They were based on a Bucker Jungman 1930's biplane and I believe a replica SE5a. This might have been just about OK if they had been depicting SE5a's and Fokker DVII's. Unfortunately, they were using essentially the same flight models for Fokker Dr 1's and the American Neiuport 17's.

    In theory according to this link
    http://www.awn.com/vfxworld/flyboys-...-planes-flight
    '...to keep the animation grounded in reality, senior R&D developer Jeff Clifford wrote a piece of software that alerted the animators when they were exceeding the flight capabilities of any given aircraft.'

    Which kind of demonstrates that software is not always a good substitute for reality!

  28. #28

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    Software is only as good as the people coding it, and the data used to inform said people

    The biggest sins I see are ridiculous roll rates, magical energy retention, and an over-abundance of goggle removing while in flight (usually to precipitate moody stare downs and longing gazes)

    Having been lucky to have flown twice in real biplanes (Stearman and Waco), I can assure you that one simply does not casually remove one's goggles while in flight.

  29. #29

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    Extreme roll rates and ridiculous power retention are definitely two of the biggest offenders. Another is ex exceptionally tight turns and maneuvers that clearly force a plane past the critical AoA.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    Funny enough, I remember reading somewhere that the wing design of the Dr.I was a big problem. Not much room from the upper to middle wing, causing a ton of drag (though I haven't been able to confirm this). The decalage was also a problem on the plane. The upper wing had significantly higher loading than the two lower ones.
    .
    http://www.airspacemag.com/history-o...-22968921/?all mentions another article, "Fokker's Inefficient Triplane", which goes into this; but I can't find an online copy.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfimp
    I can assure you that one simply does not casually remove one's goggles while in flight.
    Truth, this.

  32. #32

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    I really wish Peter Jackson would make a WW1 air movie; with all the planes, knowledge and talent he has at his fingertips, even a mediocre storyline would be a good movie.
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    I really wish Peter Jackson would make a WW1 air movie; with all the planes, knowledge and talent he has at his fingertips, even a mediocre storyline would be a good movie.
    Karl
    Naw. I'd rather Tom Hanks and Spielberg. Band of Brothers, only set in the RFC during WWI. Or maybe on the Eastern Front in WWII. That would be wicked.

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalnaren View Post
    Naw. I'd rather Tom Hanks and Spielberg. Band of Brothers, only set in the RFC during WWI. Or maybe on the Eastern Front in WWII. That would be wicked.
    Here's the link to the trail for the short movie "Crossing the Line"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpTHFVBlm_A
    The full length was 12 minutes, but it's not online anymore
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  35. #35

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    That trailer was posted nearly 10 years ago ....



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