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Albatros D.Va - WWI German Fighter Aircraft (1917)

  • Kit Manufacturer: Model Airways, United States
  • Major Material: Wood, Britannia metal
  • Model Specifications: 1:16 Scale, Wingspan: 572mm, Fuselage: 463mm
  • Work Experience: This is the first kit from Model Airways, a division of Model Expo Inc.. It is a skeleton model in the form similar to the "Museum Model" series produced by Hasegawa, such as the Fokker Dr.I, but the scale is smaller (1:16 vs. 1:8) and the price is much cheaper. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the quality of this kit can not compete with that of Hasegawa. In the kit that I've received, many of the britannia metal parts were not well casted, some of them are even broken. This cost me a lot of time to fix and get them in shape. In addition, several parts are missing, although Model Expo promised in their catalog that they will supply or replace any missing or broken parts for free, I never did give them a try, as it would be too time consuming for overseas order. Since the kit provided several 1:1 scale drawing for multiple views of the aircraft, I scratch built all the missing parts. The Unimat 1 module power tool system proved to be an indispensable tool for this kind of "light" scratch building task. In this case, among the 6 modulus, I found the most useful setups are the disk sander and horizontal milling machine. What the most disappointed me about this kit is the false screws and nuts, they are not only badly casted but also make the construction unnecessary more difficult. On the other hand, the plans and the constructions instruction book provided with the kit are otherwise excellent, except that some of the drawings are too rough, and the order of some of the building steps could be reordered to make the construction easier. My total building time for this model is about four months, on the basis of two to four hours working hours per day. After all, I am quite satisfied with the final result.

Historical Notes: The Albatros was manufactured by Albatros Werke, in Johannisthal, Germany near Berlin. The first aircraft of a series, the Albatros D.I first saw combat on September 17, 1916. Soon the Albatros proved its worth, successfully defeating seven British FE.2b Pusher aircraft. These stunning victories immediately made other fighter aircraft obsolete, and the Albatros class soon became the backbone of the German air service.

The D.V was a two wing, single seat aircraft, joining the ranks in 1917. Unfortunately, the D.V proved to have some structural problems with its lower wing, making it difficult to maneuver at times. The D.Va was then introduced, which was basically the same aircraft as the D.V, with some added structural modifications. The D.Va had a wingspan of 9.05 meters, length of 7.33 meters, and attained a speed of 186 km/hr. It was powered by a 180 HP Mercedes 6 cylinder engine. It carried two Spandau machine guns, making it a formidable foe to the existing fighter planes of its day. More than 1,050 planes were operational in 1918, making it one of the highest production airplanes of the entire war. It was about this time, the Werke company had switched over to producing another famous German fighter, the Fokker D.VII.

The Albatros developed from the D.I to the D.XII, and continued after WWI into polish and Czech units. Two aircraft are known to remain today, both D.Va's. One is in the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC, in the United States, and the other one is in Australia.

Plans of these aircraft are well documented. One source is Scale Aircraft Drawings, Volume 1, published by Model Airplane News. The drawings were prepared by W. A. Wylam. Also, these craft are documented in Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation, and many other books on WWI aircraft. (by Model Airways)

More Pictures:   | Side View |   | Engine Closup View |

Recommended References:

  1. Scale Aircraft Drawings, Volume 1
  2. Albatros Aces of World War I
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