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In-Box Review
1/48 Albatros D.I
The Fliegertruppe's first real set of teeth
  • Gavia Albatros D.I 1/48

by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

Their D.I was the first armed single seater built by Albatros of their own design. As a power plant it used the Mercedes D.III 160hp inline engine. Considered the cat's pajamas for 1915. The main problem seemed to be the side mounted radiators created drag and the high location of the top wing limited the pilot's upward vision.

The kit
Gavia has used the plastic sprues found in Eduard's Albatros D.II kits (#8080, # 8081 & 8082) and provided a smaller third sprue that has the center cabane trestle and longer interplane struts found on the D.I type. All of the D.I type had the "ear" radiators, so there are several parts that Gavia recommends you discard.

The instructions are compiled in a 12 page slick paper booklet. These are an improvement over those found in the earlier Gavia Pfalz E.I kit. The PE is discussed with the appropriate step rather than being in a separate section in the back of the booklet. Note to all readers this kit is only found on the Eduard site. Gavia does not show it listed on theirs.

Plastic parts = 73 pieces.
Photoetch = 41 pieces.
No masks are included with this kit.

Decal options
There are markings for 4 aircraft:

D.435/16 thought to be flown by Ltn. Spitzhoff of Jasta 5 originally. Here with this altered paint scheme it is believed to be represented later in its career at a training unit.

D.446/16 represents a front line machine but the unit is unknown. Peter Grosz sent me the images of this original machine many years ago. Even he was not sure what unit it served with.

D391/16 represents a Jasta 2 machine flown by Ltn. Karl Heinrich Otto Büttner which was captured on 16 Nov. 1916.

D.381/16 - 392/16 flown by the Crown Prinz of Prussia. Original images of this machine show the early type water header tank. First flown by Ltn. Diether - Collin of Jasta 2, he claimed 13 victories on this machine. Later it was "given over" to the Crown Prince Friedrich Karl von Prussen who served as deputy commander of Flieger Abteilung (A258). The Prince attached himself to Jasta 2 and flew patrols with them. He was brought down on 21 March 1917 flying this very aircraft. First WIA, became a POW and DOW on 6 April 1917. He had been shot in the back while trying to escape at the crash scene.

The reason he flew this machine is unclear as it had been replaced by the improved D.III types. Photo images of this machine both in service and in captivity verify the over all light (Brunswick?) green.

The kit is basically the Alb. D.II kit with replacement struts.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: A good kit that has some great potential. a similar kit took First place in the 2006 IPMS Nationals and the coveted Mike Fritz award.
Lows: Scribed panel lines could do with some softening and replacement. Struts definitely need to be thinned or replaced with extruded brass
Verdict: Gavia chose an excellent subject to render. Keeping the transition simple makes for an enjoyable build for any competent modeler.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 015/0907
  Suggested Retail: $36.95 USD
  Related Link: Neither rain nor snow
  PUBLISHED: Feb 03, 2008

Our Thanks to Gavia!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Hello everybody...! Excellent kit, and Excellent built...! Here I let you a link to my Facebook album, from my D.I built a last year.... my build I hope you like it... Thanks...!
OCT 18, 2011 - 02:57 PM
Nice work Diego! Thanks for sharing. Thumbs up! Here we are almost ready to finish. Expansion tank and decals next
OCT 18, 2011 - 09:32 PM
While the decals set, I will show you the basic modification for the top of the early production water header / expansion tank in 1:48.
OCT 19, 2011 - 09:53 PM
Finally we are close enough to call it finished. I highlight the ailerons, elevator and rudder and some dirt and dust on the tires I am bringing this to you as done. I started replacing most 1:48 kit landing gear parts with brass rod or extruded brass many years ago. With the Eduard Albatros kits you can go to my past Feature here at Aeroscale and see the differences it makes. Wish I had done it to all of them. Both the Gavia & Eduard 1:48 Alb. D.I & D.II kits I have worked on here use this technique. The whole undercarriage is replaced with brass. Vee-strut legs, stabilizer behind the axle and the axle. I include my technique in most of the kit reviews on my site and have mentioned it a few times here in my reviews. I use Cyano & when sitting at the right angle I add some Zip kicker accelerant. When the whole affari is solid I tightly wrap the axle and the undercarriage in upholstery thread and use a small drop of Cyano to permantently bond the threads. Tremendouly strong. I'll include some shots in my next post. The wing crosses for the kit have the crosses backed by white fields. But by the time the Prince had acquired this early production machine the wing cross fields were painted down to just borders. Here is the end of our tale. Thanks to you all for dropping by to watch.
OCT 20, 2011 - 09:55 PM
One more item I forgot to mention was the airspeed incicator - Anemometer attached to the forward pilot's right interplane strut. This is a DML / Dragon item augmented with an Eduard guage face. The kit landing gear legs were replaced with Aeroclub "STRUTZ" yellow tipped extruded brass. The last of my supply until my new sets arrive.
OCT 22, 2011 - 04:36 PM
Now, lets discuss the German "Death's Head". "Use of the symbol as a military insignia began with the cavalry of the Prussian army under Frederick the Great. Frederick formed Husaren-Regiment Nr. 5 (von Rüsch), a Hussar regiment commanded by Colonel von Rüsch. These Hussars adopted a black uniform with a Totenkopf emblazoned on the front of their mirlitons and wore it on the field in the War of Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years' War. In 1808, when the regiment was reformed into Leib-Husaren Regiments Nr.1 and Nr.2, the Totenkopf remained a part of the uniform. During the Napoleonic Wars, when Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was killed in battle, his troops changed the colour of their uniforms to black, with a Totenkopf on their shakos in mourning their dead leader (Other sources claim that the "Black Brunswickers" were so equipped while Friedrich Wilhelm of Brunswick lived, as a sign of revenge on the French. The "death's head" continued to be used throughout the Prussian and Brunswick Armed forces until 1918, and some of the stormtroopers that led the last German offensives on the Western Front in 1918 used Death's Head badges . . ." It is applicable to my builds here as Both the Gavia Alb. D.I kit and the Eduard Alb. D.II offer profiles with the "Deaths head". I chose to build these kits with these profiles. ". . .The Totenkopf is the German word for the death's head and an old symbol for death or the dead. It consists usually of the skull and the mandible of the human skeleton. Beyond that it can include two crossed long-bones (femurs). . ." For the Prince the Totenkopf on the spinner and fuselage the skull & crossbones was on a black square field. It is shown as black in Imrie's "German Fighter Units 1914-1917". This black/white were the colours of Prussia, It is the cap badge of the Leib-Husaren Regiment . His first regiment. This cap badge originally appeared on a black cap.
OCT 24, 2011 - 06:07 PM
Stephen, Very pretty build indeed. A plain scheme that stands out as a result. Quick question: "extruded" brass; I looked up extruded in my dictionary and it defines it as "created, emerged, or ejected". Is it modified brass tube, solid rod, or something else? I mentioned on another thread that I see brass substitute as a possible remedy for "shakey" undercarriage on many of the WNW/Roden/etc. 1/32 Kits that I have. Although I pin most the undercarriage assemblies some (my Pup for example) are still very fragile. Can you define this stuff and suggest sources? Cheers, Lance
OCT 25, 2011 - 06:20 AM
Greetings Lance, I have used "STRUTZ" many times. It is a brass rod product with an ovoid crossection available in limited production from Aeroclub. It comes in various thickness' They come with about 5-6 sticks for each thickness. The tips colour coded. Each costs 7.90 GBP per packet. I will be doing a review on them in the near future. See also my thread here. and here. The last thing I added to this and the other Albatros build was Grandtline bolt heads (series 98) to represent the struts ends and nuts evident on the top wing surfaces. In another thread they were called "doohickies." see here.
OCT 25, 2011 - 09:38 AM
Below is an image of the Alb. D.I build at the IPMS National Convention August, 2013.
OCT 18, 2013 - 11:48 AM

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