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In-Box Review
Albatros D.Va
'The War Horse of the Luftstreitkrafte II'
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

The History

The Albatros D.V was an attempt to lighten the Albatros D.III design. The fuselage was given an oval cross-section. The wings profile is identical to the D.III, but had aileron cables routed through the upper wing to shrouded actuating cranks. The motor was the 170 hp Mercedes D IIIa. In the first three months of operation the Albatros D.V was plagued with several fatal crashes due to the unmodified wings being matched with what turned out to be a heavier airframe overall. The quick fix was to add bracing wires and a small auxiliary strut to the lower front leg of the ďVeeĒ struts. The real fix didnít come appreciably until the aileron cables were rerouted back to the method used in the D.III design. Also lower wing spar was itself strengthened and stabilzer wires were added at the factory level. This became the Albatros D.Va

The Kit

One of Wingnut Wings. com (WNW) most anticipated kits to date has been the release of their 1:32 Albatros D.V / Va kits. We kit see here their Albatros D.Va kit #32015 to be released in mid March 2010. This new molding is a sound move. As the Albatros D. types were the backbone of the German Air Service (Luftstreitkrafte) there are literally hundreds of colour schemes that can be employed. WNW has wisely assessed that this kit will have longevity. Begin by washing all parts in a warm water and antibacterial soap mix. Next pre-drill all strut and rigging locator holes. Check your references.

Box Contents

124 Plastic Parts = PP
9 Photo Etch = PE.
5 Colour schemes
26 page monograph Instructions

The Build

Step 1.) First, the cockpit structure assembly (PP A 11, 19, 21, 23 & D 12 X 2 ) creates a manageable sub-assembly that is supposed to fit into the fuselage shells. The simulated support rods ( D 12 X 2 ) of the seat cradle assembly donít seem to extend deeply enough in to the plastic rear cockpit wall ( PP A 19 ) or the forward supports (PP A 23.) So I added the individual parts first not as a completed unit. Minor adjustments allowed everything to fit well. The fuel /air control panel (PP A 15, 39 ) is mounted to the fuselage right side (PP F 10 ) per instructions. Attached to the top of the fuel /air control panel (PP A 15, 39 ) is the fuel quantity gauge. The tube for the fuel tank pressure-hand pump (PP A 16 ) has the handle molded on as well. The same goes for the water pump greaser- tube (PP ) and its handle. On the rear machine gun brace (PP A 2, 10) paint and add the instrument face. Note, the tachometer face was laid on its side for ease of reading in-flight and was a normal practice of its time. Cables and a lock can be added to the control column (PP A 6, 49. The was the pulleys (mounted on the lower longerons)and small leg pivot were points for the aileron actuation and the cables extend upward into the top wing. When all cockpit items are in place I carefully add fine wire for the rudder and elevator control cables.

Step 2.) In the future I MAY modify the ammunition box (PP A 18, 42 ) to fit higher than the recommended position on the forward cockpit bulkhead / former (PP A 22 .) The feed chutes on the ammunition box (PP A 18) needs a single line scribed across their face to denote an access cover. Next a reserve /main fuel tank assembly (PP A 13, 17 & F 14). These will rest behind the engine cylinders against forward cockpit bulkhead(PP A 22 ) & engine bearer shelves (PP A 1 & 8 ). This tank should have two filler spouts and a fuel pump housing directly on top of the tank. See step 5.

Step 3.) Now comes the build up of either the early 180hp Mercedes D. IIIaŁ six cylinder inline engine (PP E 4, 8, 12 - 14, 16 - 20, 22, 26, 28 - 30, 32 & F 13) or the later production 180hp Mercedes D. IIIaŁ six cylinder inline engine ( (PP E 4, 8, 12 - 14, 16 - 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, 32, 37 & F 13). Erasing the center line seam and opening up the gaps between the cylinders is needed. Depending on your adherence to the exact placement of the engine bearer shelves (PP A 1 & 8 )in relation to the forward cockpit bulkhead (PP A 23 ). Next, add R&R model detail nuts from Grandt Line to represent the motor mount nuts & bolts that would be apparent on the top face of the flanges. The upper portions of the cylinders are covered by water jackets and are the color of blued gun metal. The D.Va types saw the installation of the Mercedes D.IIIa 170hp. It has a larger fat air pump in front of the #1 cylinder. On the the 180hp D.IIIaŁ motor the springs are located on the forward leading edge of the same covers. The rest is below the cowling and not readily visible. Several good manufacturers note the difference and have two distinct castings. Wingnut Wings has followed suit. The Mercedes D.IIIaŁ 180hp was the standard engine in both of the Albatros D.V & Va starting in late 1917 through 1918. Many, many D. III and IIIa type motors were rebuilt to the D.IIIaŁ specs at the airparks as the war progressed. That is why some captured examples had motors with the i.d. designation of 160hp D.III cast into their crankcases. This has caused the misconception that the standard 160hp and 170 hp were used in 1918 at a time when they had become obsolete. As mentioned if you are doing a production D.Va version you will need to duplicate the Mercedes D.IIIaŁ 180hp engine. Primarily the water pump on the D.IIIaŁ is located directly behind the oil pump and some of the external plumbing is routed differently. Also it has a thicker stand up air pump in front of the #1 cylinder. Add fine wire painted black or white to make spark plug wires.

The real facts here are that WNW is giving us two set ups for the 180hp Mercedes D. IIIaŁ six cylinder inline engine. But the production deliveries of the 200hp Mercedes D.IIIav show them to arrive during the last 42 days of the war.

Mercedes D.IIIaŁ @ 180 ps @ sea level,compression 4.9:1.
Mercedes D.IIIav @ 200 ps @ 2000 meters, max 204ps 1600 rpm, compression 5.73:1.

From Dave Watts ". . .Daimler lists the 200hp Mercedes as D.IIIav. These motors really didn't see action. Certainly some would have been brought back with captured aircraft, but they were very late to the war. Let's review the Armee acceptance and Daimler delivery records;

September 30th Daimler shipped out 18 D.IIIav motors, (10 went to Fokker). Of these 10 motors only 4 were accepted in aircraft; November 21st, 21st, 22nd, and 29th.
Oktober 7th Fokker got another 15 D.IIIav motors, (this would make 25 so far out of a total of 58 (shipped at this point) to all aircraft manufacturers including Fokker). Out of these 15 motors only 10 were accepted in aircraft; Oktober 30th, 30th, 30th, November 5th, 9th, 9th, 9th, 14th, 16th, and 28th.
Oktober 9th Fokker got another 10 D.IIIav motors, (total to all = 70, Fokker 35). None of these were accepted.
Oktober 11th 10 ear marked for Fokker were sent to Albatros Johannistahl.
Oktober 16th Fokker got his last shipment of 10 D.IIIav motors, (total to all =110, Fokker 45). Out of these 10 motors only 3 were accepted in aircraft; November 21st, 21st, and 30th.

This illustrates how motors are not installed and accepted in a sequential manner coinciding with motor shipments, it jumps around.

Step 4.) Is the assembly of the engine compartment support station and formers (PP A 27-30), engine bearer shelves PP A 1 & 8), Oil tank PP A 25 & 30) and the chosen engine assemble from steps 3 or 4.

Step 5.) PP A 20 contains the magneto switch (circular instrument) and the spark control handle (PP A 34 ) that the instructions tell you to fold upwards. Add a short section of wire to the bottom of the spark control handle leading forward under the starting magneto assembly (PP A 20 & 34 ) and disappearing into the forward cockpit bulkhead assembly. To be absolutely correct WNW added a circular area in relief and there is representation of a key that was attached to the fuselage by a small chain but would reach to the circular instrument. ( Much like a key to the ignition of a modern car. ) The Bosch starting magneto (PP A 5 ) is a little thick if your using the bracket so I cut away 1/3 of its back side thickness. There should be a bundle of ignition wires with a faded red insulation cover leading from the lower area of the spark control box ( PP A 20 ) along the fuselage interior behind the starting magneto (PP A 5 ) to the forward cockpit bulkhead.

Step 6.) Concerning the twin Spandau Maxim machine guns, you may want to alter the cocking handle assembly (PE D 5 X 2 )by modifying a simple lever with a rounded knob protruding at a 90 degree angle to the right. It is confirmed by photographic evidence that none of the D.V types had the 1918 spade shaped cocking handle and no picture of a D.Va exists with them either. The Albatros fighters used T shaped cocking handles in the cockpit leading from the cocking levers on the right side of the gun breeches and worked via a linkage system. Since these are not readily seen, they could be reassigned to machine gun duties. Add small sections of sprue to represent flash suppressors at the ends of the gun barrel tubes (PP ) that protrude from gun jacket ends(PE ). If you can get a set of 1:48 scale rear gun sights the are perfect for the 1:32 scale guns.

When considering the tail skid try to see this piece under stress by adding a .020 shim behind the bungee chords touching the skid housings and painting the shim and the chord area the same color. Join the fuselage halves (PP F 5 & 10 ). Careful sanding helps the horizontal tail unit (PP B 1,2 & 7 ) fit properly. I used gap filling super glue (semi gelatin) to fill joint seams between all plastic parts joined to the fuselage.

Step 7.) Don't add your choice of windscreen yet. But go ahead with the engine cowlings (PP F 2 & 3 ) and the flare cartridges applicable to your build. I would do as recommended and leave the engine cowlings off for display. But that how I usually do my inlined engines in 1:32.

Step 8.) Note also, the covers on the lower wings (PP B 3 & 4 ) are for the Albatros D.Va variant not the D.V . These were the upper surface access covers for the aileron pulleys. So the instructions rightly advise to scrap them off.

Step 9.) Usually I would replace the kit struts (PP A 3 & 4, D 8 X 2 ) with cut and shape brass rod of an appropriate diameter for longevity. Otherwise all other kit parts I add as per instructions.

Step 10.) Add the radiator shutter assembly after you have painted or applied lozenge decal to the under surface of the top wing. I generally paint the undersurface of the top wing and the upper surface of the lower wing at this point before assembly and rigging. The radiator facades (PP F 6 -9) are identified by aircraft profile / colour scheme. It depends on which one is applicable to the machine you are building.

Step 11.) Top wing and aileron facade applications include. Shroud guide (PP A 48 , PE 1) for the aileron cables.

Step 12.) Attaching the top wing. Can be a very easy prospect. If you have concerns just use a childís set of Lego blocks. Everything will dry plumb and square.

Step 13.) The weakest part of a Veestrut landing gear assembly in plastic is the side to side
twist. This causes the gear legs to fatigue and break. I would consider replacing the landing gear legs (PP A 40 & 41 ) and the axle spreader bar (PP A 24 ) ends with the appropriate diameter brass rod. Check references for correct height of your scratchbuilt landing gear legs. I will usually use upholstery thread to wrap around the lower legs of the landing gear with the axle in place to simulate the bungee shock chords. This looks like the original and actually secures the axle in place. Also a drop of Cynoacrylate here on the thread adds a great amount of strength. WNW has this molded in place.

Step 14.) I personally like scratchbuilding my kit propellers from light and dark woods. I have also learned to paint the laminations with convincing effect. Most Albatros fighters were equipped with the light and dark laminated propellers. Carefully check the aircraft profile your modeling to choose the right propeller. The D.V and D.Va both used three types of propellers that have been offered with in the kit. The propeller parent company determined the paddle profile of the propeller (it was their trademark) while the engine application determined its pitch and length. So all three profiles could be seen on either the D.V or the D.Va. But with different pitches because of the different horse power of the installed motor.

Step 15.) The seam on the exhaust horn (PP A 38) can be erased and the open end drilled out partially to simulate the original. It also lists the opposing page as step 15 and details thew rigging paths.

After final clear coating of your model attach your windscreen.

Kit Decals for #32015 markings

A. Albatros D.Va 7161/17 Jasta 46w as flown by Vzfw. GŁrgenz(?), 3 April 1918
B. Albatros D.Va 7237/17 Seefrontstaffel I as flown by Ltn.z.S. Lothar Wieland , arrived in Jun 1918 and on 30 July 1918 was WIA fight with six sopwith. His aircraft was this machine. No 213 Squadron's Captain J .W. Pinder claimed an Albatros scout Out of Control south-west of Ostende at 12:05.
C. Albatros D.Va 7353/17 Jasta 71 as flown by Cmdr Ltn Hans von Hippel, August 1918,
D. Albatros D.Va serial unknown Jasta 14 pilot is unknown. May - July 1918. From Greg VanWyngarden - ". . .The original (or at least one original) is in the Bayerische Kriegsarchiv. The lengthwise black/white stripe on the fuselage identifies this machine as a Jasta 14 aircraft - or at least, it served in that unit at one time. This photo has long been a puzzle. There's little doubt that the fellow in the photo is actually Ltn. Wilhelm von Poschinger, who never (AFAIK) served in Jasta 14. He did serve in Jasta 12, and (according to Rick Duiven and MŁckler) came to Jasta 32b on 27 March 1917. He served as the OzbV ( the Officer for special duties) from 27 May 1917 to 29 June 1917 (or 17 July 1917 according to Mueckler) when he left the unit, either for FA 296A or FEA 1b. However, he seems to have returned to von Schleich's Jagdgruppe 8b staff, as he appears in the well-known series of group photos taken at Epinoy on 8 June 1918. I would assume (which is always dangerous) that he was simply posing in front of the Jasta 14 Albatros D.Va for that photo above, but I don't know the time or location. As you say, Ltn. Gustav Freiherr Vogt von Hunoltstein ([I]gen[/I] Stein-Kallenfels) also served in Jasta 32b as OzbV, coming from FA 296A in September 1917. He too, appears in those group photos, which may be where the confusion came from. Sorry, but I don't know which Jasta 14 pilot flew that particular Albatros D.Va - but I really doubt that it was either von Poschinger or von Hunoltstein."
E. Albatros D.Va serial unknown Jasta 13 as flown by Ltn. Werner Niethhammer, 1918. "Niethhammer" means rivet hammer.

Albatros D.Va serial numbers.

D.5222/17 - 5426/17, 205 airframes ordered Aug. 1917, Johannistahl.
D.5600/17 - 5849/17, 250 airframes ordered Sept. 1917, Johannistahl.
D.6400/17 - 6999/17, 600 airframes ordered Sept - Oct 1917, Schneidemuhl (OAW).
D.7000/17 - 7549/17, 550 airframes ordered Oct. 1917, Johannistahl.
Total = 1605 airframes delivered.

Listed References

Albatros D.V/Va, War Horse of the Luftstreitkrafte by S.T. Lawson, SAM Pub. Model Aircraft Monthly, Vol 1 #2 , Pp.54-59.2002
Albatros D.V/Va, Part II, The Spoils of War by S.T. Lawson.
Albatros Aces by Franks 2000, Osprey pub.#33.
Albatros Scouts Described by Chas Schaedel, 1971 Kookaburra Tech. Pub.
Albatros Fighters Datafile Special by Ray Rimell, 1991 Albatros Pub. Ltd.
Albatros D.V by Peter Gray, 1965 Profile Pub.#9.
Albatros D.V & D.Va Described and Drawn by Ian Stair,1972 Scale Models.
Albatros D.Va German Fighter of WWI by Robert Mikesh, Smithsonian Inst. Press.
Lafayette Foundation Archive. Denver CO. USA.
Scratchbuilding Techniques by Alan Clark, 1990 Scale Models Int. Pp174-5.
Scratchbuilt Albatros D.Va by Alan Clark,1990 Scale Models Int. Pp.491-495.
Spandau Machine Gun by David Watts,1998 WWI Aero.
'The Last Albatros' by Colin Owers 1988 Aviation News Pp.216-221.

My sincere thanks to James Fahey for his contribution to this review. The sprue and model images with the wooden table top backgrounds are his.

Also please mention the Aeroscale review when contacting Wingnut Wings

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Excellent details & fit looks good. Long over due subject in 1:32.
Lows: Small error concerning engine identifications. But this is a tough subject to understand unless you have delivery dates.
Verdict: Top drawer kit that will become a standard in this scale.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: #32015
  Suggested Retail: $59.00 USD
  Related Link: New WNW Albatros D.Va
  PUBLISHED: Feb 26, 2010

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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.


Just take the expected release date and add a 9 month gestation period. Get the Albatros, you wont regret it. The D.VII will be ready after you finish the D.V. And there might even be a Pfalz thrown in for good measure to appease Terri.
MAR 03, 2010 - 11:22 AM
Yes, but WHICH DV? The plain DV (better camo pattern) or the Va (odd camo options)? Decisions, decisions....
MAR 03, 2010 - 11:31 AM
You should ask yourself if you want to do a wood grain finish or not, that will narrow the options down somewhat. Personally, I like the wood grain, it can look interesting and the technique outlined by WNW isn't hard to do. Or do you fancy trying your hand at a scumble finish? I liked the look of that whitewash finish on the LVG and got as far as white washing one side of the fuselage before coming to the realisation that it looked ghastly and I couldn't live with it. Set me back about a month with all the paint stripping, re-doing the wood grain, making some decals to replace the 'lift here' and the number on the fuselage. Ah well. So do you go higher-risk with a technique you haven't tried before or play it safe? Happy Modelling James
MAR 03, 2010 - 05:16 PM
Scumble? Are you referring to Weiland in the Seefrontstaffel? I'm really interested in both DVs, and given their numbers, it's a good choice. Any clue on when the others coming out will appear? The Pfalz looks very interesting, too.
MAR 04, 2010 - 03:55 AM
This is what I have gleaned from different sources. Our good man, Eyegore, can probably make some corrections and additions. 32001 Junkers J.1 - available now 32002 LVG C.VI - available now 32003 SE.5a Hisso - available now 32004 Bristol F.2b Fighter - available now 32005 Gotha G.IV - available 2010 32006 Pfalz D.IIIa - available 2010 32007 DH.9a - available 2010 32008 32009 Albatros D.V - available around March 2010 32010 Hansa Brandenburg W.29 - available 2010 32011 Fokker D.VII - available 2010 32012 RE.8 - available 2010 32013 Sopwith Pup RFC - available around March 2010 32014 FE.2b - available 2010 32015 Albatros D.Va - available around March 2010 32016 Sopwith Pup RNAS - available around March 2010 32017 32018 Fokker E.II/III - available 2011 32019 Pfalz D.XII - available 2011 32020 32021 32022 Roland D.VIa - available 2010 32023 32024 32025 32026 32027 32028 DH.2 - available 2010 30001 1/32nd scale 5 color upper lozenge decal 30002 1/32nd scale 5 color lower lozenge decal 30003 1/32nd scale 4 color upper lozenge decal 30003 1/32nd scale 4 color lower lozenge decal 30004 1/32nd scale German Rib tape decal Numerous 1/32nd scale, really wonderfull looking resin figures. Ambitious? Impressive? Looks like my kids wont have much of an inheritance left.
MAR 04, 2010 - 07:06 AM
I am certainly impressed by WNW schedule of releases! I am equally impressed by SWMBO reaction last night when I told her I had to get the DVa and DV. Go ahead and do it now! I had to tell her it would be a week or two before I could do the online purchase. I am in the group build when they arrive RAGIII
MAR 06, 2010 - 03:20 PM
Rick, she is a keeper!
MAR 06, 2010 - 04:05 PM
It certainly is a robust schedule for 2010. I wouldn't hold my breath on a lot of the proposed releases, but it is nice to see the proposed releases and schedules. I told the then girlfriend, now fiance' about my recent purchases of all of the first four. She laughed and said she knew I would get them. She really likes the WWI stuff and has no problem with my buying them. She is a keeper. In the meantime, I have a growing stash of 1/32nd scale WWI subjects that will keep me busy until the fervent heat.
MAR 07, 2010 - 06:25 AM
I was really, really hoping they would be out before golfing started this spring. Even though there is still snow on the courses, I managed to get in a few rounds this weekend. Those Albatri might actually end up waiting on me.
MAR 07, 2010 - 09:38 AM

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