by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
HistoryIn January 1917, the German air fighting squadrons were successively armed with Albatros D.III's. This new type was a successor of the Albatros D.I and D.II and had the same engine, but in contrast to them, its wings were arranged as a "sesquiplane", similar to the French Nieuport .
Despite initial problems, the aircraft was very successful at the front, particularily during "Bloody April" in 1917, and it was also very popular with the pilots.
The firm Albatros Werke GmbH in Johannisthal made three series of Albatros D.III's. The engine cooler was mounted in the centre of the top wing up to serial D.2200/16 and then it was moved to the right side of the wing. production continued in an East Germany factory, Ostdeutsche Albatros werke (OAW) in Schniedemühl from spring 1917. The Albatros D.III saw service until 1918, albeit in non-fighting squadrons.
(Source: kit's instructions)
The kitEduard has already issued the Albatros D.III kit several times (#8017, #8038, #8035, #8436, #8437 and #1104) but apart from the Weekend Edition #8437 they are not available anymore, so it is nice to see a reissue of the kit in a new Profipack boxing.
This Profipack kit #8097 comes in a small top opening cardboard box. The kit's content is the following:
- 2 sprues of light olive styrene parts.
- 1 small photo etched fret
- 1 sheet of masks
- 1 sheet of decals.
- 1 instruction booklet.
Though the plastic of the kit is not new, it is nevertheless of very good quality. I have read several reviews of the kit on the web before writing mine and I have yet to find one which is negative about the injected parts. Moolding is crisp and surface detail excellent throughout.
Two different wings are provided in the kit, one with the radiator in the central position and one with the radiator offset. Only one marking option from the five uses the latter one. Two rudders are present as well, but the rounder one isn't used in this kit. I assume it is the one of the OAW version. Other than that, you get the usual load of parts to build a very detailled cockpit and a nice engine (though some pipes are missing and will have to be scratchbuilt).
The only complain I've read about the kit is about the wheels which appear to be too small. Since I'm not a specialist, I won't comment any further.
A PE fret is included in this Profipack kit and will add extra detail in some areas. The cockpit benefits from it (levers, seatbelts, control stick, etc...) as well as the Spandau Guns but the most interesting item in my opinion is the underside of the upper wing radiator. Indeed, the metal parts allow you to represent the shutters and the complex mechanism in a very convincing way. Unusual for a Profipack kit is that the PE parts are not pre-painted this time. However, apart from the seatbelts, it wouldn't have made sense anyway.
A sheet of masks is included and will help you to paint the wheels, the radiators, the metal parts located on the fuselage around the engine and the rudder. A more than useful addition this time!
The instructions are printed in color on an A4 sized 12 pages booklet. Page 1 has an overall description of the aircraft (history and specifications), page 2 is composed of the parts layout and the color table (Gunze), pages 3 to 6 are dedicated to the assembly steps, pages 7 to 11 to the painting and marking guides and page 12 to the masking guide.
With the decals provided, it is possible to choose between the following five marking options:
A - Oskar Müller – Jasta 12
B - Julius Buckler – Jasta 17
C - Oskar Seitz – Jasta 30
D - Rudolf Hohberg – FA(A)263 / Hans-Georg Lübbert – Jasta 11
E - Ernst Hess – Jasta 28w
All shemes are rather colorful so the choice won't be simple. The decals have been printed by Eduard and though they do not have the quality of those printed by Cartograf yet, they represent an improvement over the previous "home made" ones in my opinion. I would rate them as good.
ConclusionThis is a good kit and it's nice to see it available once again. Eduard's Albatros D.III can be recommended to anyone except the novice and would represent a nice challenge for someone wanting to tackle it's first WWI model. For the others, it's like seeing an old friend again, but with new clothes.
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