Friday, April 1, 2011

Austria - 1917 Lohner DI

Hunting Odd Birds Take One

The Lohner Series 111 was an Austria-Hungarian prototype single seat biplane built in 1917 by Lohnerwerke GmbH. The fuselage was a laminated wood construction. The wing struts were an "I" requiring no wires tor structural stability. Power was provided by an Austro-Daimler engine generating 185 hp (138 kW) The design went through several changes during the development process. Three prototypes were built. The performance of the aircraft was not an improvement on existing models already in production. Lackluster flight results led to Flars not approving the D.I for production.

I have been obsessing on early Austrian aircraft lately. Their designs are quirky and generally impractical, but oddly appealing. Finding research material is the most difficult art of the whole process. My first step is to find the back story and any specifications for the project. Next I hunt up drawings, blueprints, and color examples to base my drawing on. In this case it took a while to gather all the elements I needed before firing up my graphic suite.

I keep a library of parts, insignias, wood and camouflage patterns and lettering to speed up the process of rendering a profile. I start with a line drawing or photograph to get the right proportions. Slowly I isolate elements and create a stack of image layers. At this stage I am working in a monochromatic palette. The shapes are still rough. I slowly break each part down and build them with geometric shapes until the element is a clean collection ready for setting lightness levels, shading, colorization/skinning and reassembly. Once the elements have been fleshed out I add the final shadows and highlights. When finished I optimize the file weight


  1. Grosz, Peter, The Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One, Flying Machines Press, 2002, ISBN 1-891268-05-8

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