- Published on Wednesday, 08 December 2010 12:55 Robin Jenkins
1/48 Albatros D.III Oeffag 153 (ProfiPACK)
Kit number 8241
Available from Eduard and good hobby retailers for around $34.95USD
The famous WW1 German fighters built by Albatros have passed into legend. Giving the Germans an unbeatable "edge" upon their introduction, the family from the first D.I, Richtofen's D.II which shot down the V.C. ace Lanoe Hawker, through to the first of the "V-strutters", the D.III which was largely responsible for the RFC's "Bloody April" in 1917 and on to the last members of the family, the D.V and D.Va, all were formidable fighting machines in the right hands.
What may not be known by non-WW1 aficionados is the impact the aircraft had on the Italian front in the hands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire air force (the LFT). The Abatros D.III was built under licence by Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG (Oeffag) in several production runs from early 1917 until the end of hostilities in 1918. Re-engined, upgunned and modified, the D.III (Oef) was certainly the best fighter in widespread use in the LFT and over 320 kills were obtained by LFT pilots in these aircraft. All of the major LFT aces, with the exception of the flying boat ace Banfield, flew the aircraft at some stage of their careers.
This latest kit from Eduard in their excellent ProfiPACK range is a series 153 aircraft, built in the period February 1917 - June 1918.
The kit is presented as 7 grey sprues, a decal sheet, 2 photo etched sheets and a small mask sheet for the wheels. in an attractive, simple boxing. The decal choices are really stupendous, being varied and presenting 5 different aces' aircraft. The box top art is one of the best I can remember for a WW1 subject.
The first sprue (above) holds the fuselage and control surfaces; the louvres on the fuselage are delicately presented, but keen modellers may want to open up the rear faces. No indication is given as the fuselage interior colour. Some Albatri in the German airforce had linen doped onto plywood, but I have not been able to establish with certainty if this is true of aircraft of the LFT.
The next sprue (below) holds the wings and the rest of the control surfaces. The rib tapes may look overdone, but having had experience of an Eduard standard German Albatros D.III recently, I know they will look absolutely correct under a coat of paint. The trailing edges of all flying surfaces are beautifully thin and well replicated. Both the fuselage and wings match well against the plans I have in a Windsock Datafile.
The first of the general detail sprues (above) holds, amongst other things , the armament, struts and nose caps. These latter pieces have captured the shape of the nose exactly, unlike the exhaust, which to me is a bit on the thin side and might need a resin or metal replacement. U/C is spot-on. the suggestion to paint the instrument panel flat black is probably wrong for an Albatros, since it would have been wood, not metal.
The next detail sprue (below) contains the wheels and some more of the interior. The shape of the seat is slightly out at the top, being too flat in profile, but a few swipes of a sanding stick puts this right (if you choose to use the seat instead of the etched version).
The last detail sprue (above) mainly holds engine parts. These are accurate and well presented.
There are 2 etched frets (below), one of which is pre-coloured. (Time for another statement of personal prejudice: I do not like pre-painted frets. You always seems to remove some of the paint in removing the item, cleaning it up or bending it, and then you have to repaint it!) I am very unsure about the red colour used in one pair of the safety straps; I cannot believe this was the standard colour.
The masks fit perfectly to the wheels.
The decal sheet, and thus the choice of subjects, is excellent. Thinly printed, perfect register and lots of appropriate stencilling.
The instruction booklet (above) covers 12 pages and is well laid out and easy to follow. On its cover is the first scheme, a natural wooden fuselage aircraft flown by Eugen Bonsch, a 16 kill ace.
The four other schemes (below) are for:
- An attractive green/blue fighter flown by Georg Kenzian (9 kills)
- The famous 153.52 of Godwin Brumowski (39 kills), the top scoring LFT ace, a red aircraft covered with tiny yellow swirls
- Josef Novak's (5 kills), a plainer wooden finished aircraft
- Best of all, 153.186 flown by either Josef Kos or Oto Kullas, a wonderfully mottled aircraft so different from aircraft serving on the Western Front.
My only concern with the choices is that both Brumowski's and Kos/Kullas' aircraft will be beyond the ability to paint well for all but the very best modellers. Indeed, it could be argued that an afterdecal manufacturer could produce the tiny yellow swirls as decals for this model, so hard would they be to paint in this scale.
For information, the other famous pilot who flew this aircraft type, Friedrich Navratil, resplendent with a big red heart on the fuselage of his aircraft, flew a Oeffag 253 and his aircraft is one of the decal options in the ProfiPACK release of that version (kit number 8242).
So what do we think?
Without doubt, the best 1/48th WW1 model release that I have seen this year, in terms of quality, choice, challenge and actual subject matter. You'll have to be a more than competent modeller to do some of the schemes justice, though!
Our thanks to Eduard for the review sample. To purchase this and other Eduard products, click THIS link, or the banner below.