Anyone hoping Model Builder would spawn a plethora of winged add-ons has had a disappointing year. Apart from a solitary Hawker Hurricane wheeled out in May 2022, Moonlit has released nothing to tempt players weaned on Airfix aeronautica. Having just spent a pleasant evening piecing together a comely Great War biplane, I recommend frustrated warbird builders seek solace in Aircraft in Pixels.
Although Bo Monroe’s $15 sim only includes the Albatros D.V, the kit is so intricate and the painting/decal options so numerous, you’re unlikely to shelve AiP after completing just one build.
Having tried this brief demo prior to playing the full monty, I was a little disappointed to find parts cutting hadn’t made the cut. The wooden bones of the Albatros must be precisely placed for automatic attachment to take place, but prep with saw and sandpaper isn’t required.
Sensibly, considering the number of parts involved, the construction process is divided into 28 stages. At the start of each stage an appropriate blueprint is displayed. It pays to study this for a while because once it is whipped away to reveal a World of Guns-style 3D workspace strewn with bits, there seems to be no no way to consult it again.
Components have hidden attachment points which sprout bolt icons when close to their destinations. Guided by aeronautical instinct and memories of the blueprint, you cursor over the manipulable fuselage or wing until you find the correct spot for the selected part then release your LMB.
Seeing the Albatros slowly take shape is surprisingly satisfying, and because AiP mimics the construction process and anatomy of the real D.V so closely, you wind up feeling more like a WWI-era Flugzeugwerke employee than a 21st Century aero modeller.
Updates for the released-in-2019 Aircraft in Pixels have been few and far between of late, however Bo does have a very promising one in the works…