1/32 Wingnut Wings Albatros D-Va

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on Mar 21 2018

 

      

This is the second time I attempted a WNW Albatros. The first was a complete disaster. It was the first WNW kit I ever attempted and I didn't realize how tight the tolerances were. My usual " 'pert near, close to" technique didn't work too well. Nothing lined up right and I put it in the closet. I love the look of the wooden fuselage Albatros and after I had completed some WNW kits and was used to the perfect fit of the parts, I decided to try again. This time I would pay close attention to the fit of the parts, especially the cockpit U-shaped frames and seat bulkhead. For decals I decided to use Pheon's sheet #1 Albatros DV-DVa representing Otto Fuchs' D-Va when he was with Jasta 77b. He was acting Jasta CO from March 14-April 21, 1918. He ended the war with 3 confirmed victories. Pheon decals are great; go on easily and settle down nicely once applied. This aircraft is listed on the decal sheet as a D-Va, and also as a D-Va in Fuchs' book, but photos of it show it is missing the usual support struts attached to the bottom of the V-shaped interplane struts. Anyway, I'm calling it a D-Va, but ymmv. A fox chasing a French cock was used on his Jasta 30 Albatros. I think that the cock should be red, but the decal sheet has it in black.

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Otto Fuchs began his fighter career with Jasta 30 in June of 1917 after serving in an artillery spotting squadron, FEA 292b. All 3 of his victories occurred while with Jasta 30. He went on to be the CO of Jasta 35b from April-June 1918, and then returned to Jasta 77b from June 1918 until the end of the war. He was well known after the war as a landscape painter as well as being regularly involved in aviation. In 1933 he wrote a roman a clef book about his experiences during World War I titled "We Flyers." He changed the names of the squadrons, locations of airfields and hid all of the identities of the flyers using aliases. His book was reprinted by Schiffer Publishing in 2012 with a translation by Adam Wait that matches the fictitious names with the real names of the Jasta numbers, locations and names of the pilots. The new title is "Flying Fox." Fuchs passed away in 1987.

If you follow the instructions and if you make sure there is no paint where pieces come together, things fit perfectly. Accept the fact that you need to do a lot of dry fitting and handling before you close up the fuselage to make sure everything fits perfectly. I didn't paint the part of the fuselage where it meets the U-shaped supports/bulkheads, so there is a tight fit. If you do this, the rest of the build is a snap. For paints, I used Model Master Napoleon Violet and a Dark Green for the top of the wings. For the underside of the wings, I like using Model Master's Russian Top Side Blue. The light blue tail, Fuchs' personal identifier with Jasta 77b, was a mix of Model Master's True Blue and White. I usually do WW I German tires in a light tan, but wanted a better contrast with the fuselage so I went with a medium gray. The gray-green color Albatros used on its metal parts was accomplished using Model Master's SAC bomber green. To achieve the wood effect I painted the fuselage Modern Desert Sand from a decanted spray can. After giving it a lot of time to dry, I use a sponge to smear Tamiya acrylic desert brown diluted with water to achieve the wood effect. For some reason, smearing enamels with a sponge doesn't work as well for me as smearing acrylics. For the propeller I first sprayed Model Master wood, let it dry and then smeared with diluted Model Master acrylic burnt sienna.

The Albatros requires a little more rigging than the Pfalz D-III/a but nothing that should put off someone who has rigged 1 or 2 biplanes. I use a silver thread that I super glue into a small hole drilled on the underside of the top wing with a pin vise. A small indentation shows where to drill. I then drill another hole where the rigging comes out on the underside of the bottom wing. Thread goes through the hole and a little drop of super glue secures it. For some of the rigging, particularly on the tailplane, I cut ceramic wire to the proper length and attach it with super glue. I find the landing gear legs on these models somewhat weak, so I use slightly over scale wire to form the "X" at the rear of the landing gear. It makes for a more sturdy model.

The Albatros DV and DVa were outclassed by the Allied Camels, SPADs and SE5a by the time they were introduced. The German pilots had to make do with them until the arrival of the Fokker Triplane and D-VII. There are a lot of very colorful markings for the Albatros and the decals supplied by Wingnut Wings and Pheon give anyone wanting to do one a great selection.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth