Wingnut Wings 1/32 Albatros DV-DVa
By Thierry Laurent
- TYPE: Albatros DV-DVa-DVa OAW
- SCALE: 1/32
- COMPANY: Wingnuts Wings
- KIT NUMBER: 32009 (D.V) – 32015 (D.Va) – 32047 (D.Va OAW)
- MOLD CREATION DATE: 2010
KIT DATABASE ENTRIES:
- 32009 Wingnut Wings 1/32 Albatros DV
- 32015 Wingnut Wings 1/32 Albatros DVa
- 32047 Wingnut Wings 1/32 Albatros D.Va (OAW)
TWEAK LIST VERSION 1.0 (publication date: September 2015)
The following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way is it intended to support or be offensive towards a scale model company. As such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have to invest in the quest for accuracy process.
No aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover, aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please refer accordingly to relevant documentation.
- The kit is essentially made of flat light grey parts. The plastic is not too soft, nor too brittle. The moulding is generally crisp with engraved panel lines and surface details. General kit dimensions are perfect.
- Overall fit is generally excellent with some rare specific exceptions. However, take care as there is generally zero tolerance for part adjustment. So by default, protect all areas to be glued from paint.
- All panel lines are recessed. Fabric surfaces have thin tape strips on ribs topped with delicate and accurate stitching detail.
- Clear parts are only used for the various windshield options.
- All movable surfaces are separate (ailerons, elevators and rudder).
- The DVa and DVa OAW have the same sprues (including for instance the wheel variants). A small additional sprue attached to the A sprue is the only main difference between the DV and DVa kits (essentially linked to the upper wing aileron control).
- The kit has a full Mercedes engine with multiple optional parts to reproduce accurately the DIII – DIIIa – DIIIaü versions of the engine used on Albatros DV productions (160-180-200 hp). It also has the Teves & Braun and Mercedes radiator options.
- The kit also gives four airscrew options. The chosen schemes only refer to Wolff, Neindorf & Axial options but the engine sprue also has a Heine propeller. As the propeller was regularly replaced, more than one type may be appropriate.
- The kit also has mirrors and flare cartridge supports options as well as the DV early headset.
- There is a small photo-etched “P” fret including the following items: Spandau 08/15 machine gun cooling jackets and gun-sights, seat belts and a limited number of other details that are different in the DV or DVa boxes.
- The instruction sheet is the best available on the market with glossy paper, walk-around color pictures, CAD drawings, period b&w pictures and some clever building tips. However, oddly, the contents of the three instruction sheets are not even, some giving for instance far more pictures of the engine whereas another gives more pictures of the cockpit.
- Each kit has five marking schemes with excellent Cartograph decals. The DVa kit has additional sheets for the so-called “lozenge” schemes.
NOTICEABLE ENGINE, FUEL TANK AND MACHINE GUN ISSUES
- The kit has a beautiful but a little bit simplified Mercedes engine. If the cowling is not opened, some limited updates may be sufficient:
- Air pump tap and pipe;
- Water pumps pipes;
- Spark plugs and ignition cabling;
- Valve springs, shafts, lifters and priming cups;
- Intake manifold details such as the nuts and the commonly seen asbestos insulation thread wrapped over the intake manifolds. This may be replicated with thread or masking tape secured with metal sheet collars.
- Aftermarket parts may also be used to update the engine components. If you want to remove the cowling parts, additional details should be added in the lower part of the engine:
- Oil and tank pipes.
- Throttle cables and linkage.
- Technical plates on each side, etc.
- The exhaust end must be drilled as explained in the instruction sheet. The part may also be replaced by an aftermarket one as some fine other details such as weld marks are missing. Take your time to glue it correctly on the engine as the assembly precision with the cylinder heads is not fully perfect here.
- The fuel tank shape is globally correct but many details are missing or are simplified. This is not very visible if the kit is fully buttoned up. However, if the engine compartment is opened, the lack of some distinctive details will be visible. More particularly, the parts have the following problems:
- The fuel filler neck and sender tube between the upper and lower tank have not been reproduced.
- The 16 small dimples on the front of the lower tank and the 4 similar ones in the upper tank are missing.
- Details of the fuel filler cap are missing.
- The connectors securing the upper and lower tanks together are far too simplified.
- The purge tube and tap on the bottom of the upper tank edge is missing.
- The tube connectors in the upper and lower tanks are missing.
- The draining tap under the lower tank is missing and its end is normally visible in a hole in the belly access door.
- All the connections should also be added with thick copper wire.
- Hence it is recommended to assess what is visible and should be added. To save time, it is also possible to replace the part with an aftermarket one.
- The Spandau machine guns are correctly shaped but some details on the breech are simplified. Detail lovers will replace them with some photo-etched parts. Either use the photo-etched jackets (anneal them first) or use milled brass aftermarket jackets. In either case, it is recommended to use a burnishing agent before assembly as it is easier than having to paint them. If you do not use a lathe-made metal gun, do not forget drilling out the tip of the plastic part. Take your time to add the machine guns and possibly cut part of the supports to ease assembly.
- There is a space between the machine guns breech and the gun chute feeds. The most accurate option asks for lengthening the latter. Another (cheating!) option is the addition of a folded metal sheet extension on the end to bridge the gap with the machine gun breech. Note that the ammo boxes sides are plain whereas there shall be pressed sheet edges secured by rows of small rivets. Last, there should be access doors details on the ammo chute channels (lock and hinge).
- The Fokker machine gun synchronization mechanism is also incomplete and asks for addition of connections.
- Multiple dry fit checks is the main rule for all the components located between the spinner and the cockpit. It is really important to double check everything to avoid last minute problems. The best example being the difficulty to put correctly the photo-etched cover between the machine guns if there is even a slight alignment discrepancy.
NOTICEABLE FUSELAGE ISSUES (from front to rear)
- The kit has none of the nail heads normally visible on the fuselage wood parts. If the fuselage is painted, this will not be noticeable. However, if a varnished wood scheme is chosen, adding them is recommended. So, either use decal ones or engrave them in the plastic with your favorite tool and use a black wash after having put your clear coat on wood paint or decals.
- If the spinner looks reasonably accurate, there is nonetheless one question related to the shape of the notches as some sources state they were not always identical (depending on the propeller type). Last, the border of each notch has a riveted reinforcement strip. Unfortunately, the kit part has none of them. So, either replace it with an aftermarket spinner or add a line of small rivets on each side.
- Thin a little bit the front edge of each fuselage half.
- The engine compartment of the DV had two small air vents visible on each side of the fuselage. As they are molded with the fuselage halves, they are closed. Use a sharp blade tip to open them cautiously.
- The two cowling parts (F2 & F3) are not easy to add on the fuselage halves and they can be sanded a little bit to look thinner. So, take your time cleaning them and take care to glue them correctly. If you do not use them, add rod sections to simulate the cowling fixings on the small triangles molded on the upper front edge of each fuselage half part. Note that some planes (DVa OAW?) had a thickest upper edge on the cowling parts (possibly to protect the mechanics hands from cut hazard). This may be replicated with thin rod or stretched sprue. Last, note the smallest clips on the upper and lower edge of such parts must be added if the cowling is closed.
- The two lower nose access panels are molded with each fuselage half. This means they are simplified: they have no actual hinge and the hole for the fuel tank drain tap is missing. They are good candidates for replacement by photo-etched parts. It is unfortunate they were not included on the kit photo-etch fret. The situation is similar for the access ports located under each side of the tail.
- Drill the breather tubes and machine gun ejector ports in the front section of the lower fuselage.
- Take care not filling the drain holes on the lower edge of each fuselage half. Ideally add a small round photo-etch washer with Future/Klear/Pledge on each one after fuselage assembly to simulate the actual part edge.
- Each front half of the fuselage parts has a lot of injection marks. Fortunately, most of them are very shallow and may be removed with some careful sanding. Nonetheless, even if putty is possibly not required, this stays a time-consuming work.
- The kit has multiple variants of the windshield. However, if the plastic is very clear, it is unfortunately too thick. This will not necessarily be very noticeable if you use it as such. However, if you want to customize it to reproduce common modifications made by mechanics (notch or hole to see in an additional gun sight), this will be quite obvious. In this case, it is recommended to replace the chosen windscreen by a rounded section of clear plastic sheet.
- If required, add a scratch-built flare pistol tube and its support (the kit has the pistol). Check your references as this was a custom modification added in the field. So, there was no standard installation. Check as well if the plane had no visible flare cartridge support as they were commonly added on the fuselage outside (the kit is giving two optional types).
- According to the plane factory, the system used to lift the tail of the plane was different: loops for Johannisthal or Rod for OAW). So, check cautiously the type and either build the loops or lifting rod with drilled ends.
- Drill the slots of the elevator control cable exit in each side of the rear fuselage. Note that the full-scale plane had no such square recesses but rather oblong parts with rounded corners. So, it is also required to improve this with photo-etched or scratch-built parts. Last, thin the plastic internally to get a more accurate thickness corresponding to the one of the full scale wood fuselage.
NOTICEABLE WING/WEAPONS ISSUES
- The Mercedes kit radiator has a very simplified shutter on its bottom section. Most people will not bother as this is under the upper wings. Here’s a list of the elements to update or add:
- The adjustable shutter linkage and control lever are missing on the bottom. Either scratch-build them or use aftermarket parts.
- One pipe is missing on the starboard side of the top the Mercedes radiator (starting from the A37 tank hole and going into the outer lip of A8).
- Do not forget drilling the conical end of the tank air intake and add two small trapeze-shaped plastic pieces to detail the tank cap.
- Add with fine copper wire the missing pipe attached to the rear radiator pipe and going to the rear engine area.
- Add the bracket supporting the front pipe from the radiator (with plastic or metal strips).
- The DV kit has incorrect aileron shrouds. Their profile should have more rounded edges rather than angles. Drill them and take your time to glue them as they do not fit well the upper wing. Moreover, the half-round aileron control part (going out of the shroud) looks a little bit anemic. Note that there were variants (open/plain structure).
- The kit has a nice air speed indicator. However, if you want to use it, you should cautiously drill to open each “spoon” and scratch-build the wire guard protecting the turning part. The clamps fixing it on one wing strut shall be rebuilt with the appropriate nut and bolt heads as the kit clamp looks very simplified. Another time-saving option is the use of an aftermarket set.
- Each lower wing upper surface had a celluloid panel showing the wing spar inspection stamps. This may be reproduced with a small rectangle of thin clear plastic glued with Future/Klear/Pledge on the wood painted wing surface. Then mask the center of the clear part before painting.
- The struts are secured on each wing by large nut and bolt assemblies. The kit is only showing them as small rivet heads. Replacing them with aftermarket or scratch-build part is recommended to get a better scale effect.
NOTICEABLE COCKPIT ISSUES
- The cockpit tub is reasonably accurate and detailed. However, some details are missing or not accurate. Fortunately they are not very visible.
- The seat is correct but looks plain in comparison with the rare existing period pictures. Moreover, the kit is missing the often used seat cushion. The seat has also a T shaped extension to glue in the A19 bulkhead. This did not exist as the seat was only secured on the two support round bars.
- The A19 bulkhead is given as a plain oval part whereas it was actually hollow with a cross-shaped strengthener in the center. It is true it was normally covered by an oval sheet of fabric. However, this had an oblong cut in the bottom to give way to the rudder and elevators control cables. As such this is nearly invisible but if you want to add the control cables in the cockpit or make a maintenance scene with a removed seat, be prepared for some work.
- Photo etched seat belts are accurate but some people will probably prefer replacing them with fabric ones. Add thin copper wire buckles on the rear bulkhead to secure the rear belts loops.
- The instructions show how control cables may be added in the cockpit (control stick, rudder bar and pulleys) and for the DV between the cockpit and the upper wing. Take your time to analyze this closely as the drawings are not showing everything very clearly and connecting all the pulleys together with control cables seems to be a fiddly work to say the least. Check various references to get a more or less correct installation of all the cable paths.
- Air and fuel copper pipes and connectors should be located behind the panel A39. Unfortunately, such elements are missing. Use an aftermarket part to simulate the connectors or scratch-build them and add all copper pipes between the panel and the tanks. The front face of the panel shall also be spruced up as each tap has been molded as a plastic bar on each of the four instrument disks whereas this should be separate. Remove the kit detail to add a separate one from a photo-etched set or scratch-built from wire.
- Other pipes from the starboard side pumps and instrument box should also be added.
- Linkages and wires should be added between the port ignition and magneto boxes and the engine compartment. The Bosch engine switch key was normally not left in the ignition box when the plane was parked. So, if you do not put a pilot figure in the plane, it makes sense to cut if from part A20. Then, glue it at the end of an aftermarket or scratch-built chain. As explained in the instruction sheet, it was commonly hanging on the fuselage external side.
- Add the missing wire loops on each side of the A36 rudder bar. Note that the kit only offers the metal rudder bar option whereas some planes used a wood one.
- The edge of the cockpit hole was cushioned with leather. The round border created many small wrinkles in the surface. If you want to simulate this, use a thin jeweler file to reproduce the wrinkles but take care to get an irregular, “organic” look.
NOTICEABLE LANDING GEAR ISSUES
The landing gear is accurately reproduced. However, be very careful as it is quite fragile.
OTHER NOTICEABLE ISSUES & REMARKS
The instructions give a general view of the rigging and all rigging points are drilled in the kit parts. However, you are on you own to identify the various types of turnbuckles used to secure the rigging. This is a common problem in biplane kits. Refer to online walk-arounds (including the photo gallery of the Wingnuts site) of the TVAL Albatros planes to solve this problem.
- The DVa kit gives stripes of “lozenge”-printed camouflage and a choice of pink, light blue and lozenge thin strips. There are still debates but there is some probability that the pink strips were used on the DVa made by OAW whereas the blue ones were used on the Johannisthal production planes. Relying on such straight strips for the rib fabric reinforcements, the wing or aileron leading edges is a good idea but you are on your own for the rounded wing leading edges or the scalloped trailing edges. In such circumstances, using “cookie cut” decals is a better option.
- If you want to use aftermarket decals, try to find the original wartime picture(s) has many planes were different according to the production batch or the custom modifications corresponding to pilot preferences: headset, flare pistol in the fuselage and flare cartridge supports, different windshields with or without holes, gun anti-flash troughs, exhaust and radiator pipe differences, single or double radiator, rigging variations, propeller type, etc.
The following sources were used to build this list:
- Rimmel, Building the Wingnuts Wings Albatros D.V/D.Va, Windsock Worldwide WWI Modelling Special N°2, Albatros productions, 2012.
- Grotz, The Albatros DV/DVa at war, Vol. One, Windsock Datafile 151, Albatros productions, 2012.
- Grotz, The Albatros DV/DVa at war, Vol. Two, Windsock Datafile 152, Albatros productions, 2012.
- Connors, Albatros fighters in Action, Aircraft in Action series, N° 46, Squadron Signal Publications, 1981.
- Gray, The Albatros D.V, Profile Publications, 1965.
- Guttman, SE5A vs Albatros DV Western front 1917-1918, Osprey Publishing, 2009.
- Kowalski, Albatros D.I – D.Va Legendary fighter, Kagero, 2010.
- Mikesh, Albatros D. Va: German Fighters of World War I (Famous Aircraft of the National Air and Space Museum), Prentice Hall & IBD, 1980.
- Miller, FE2b/d vs Albatros scouts Western front 1916-1917, Osprey Publishing, 2014.
- Rimmel, Albatros D.V., Windsock Datafile 3, Albatros. 1987.
- Rimmel, Albatros fighters, Windsock datafile Special, 1991.
- Schaedel, Albatros scouts described, Kookabura technical publications, 1971.
- Various magazines articles (more particularly from Wingmasters & Military Illustrated Modeller).
- Various web pages (particularly LSP, Wingnut Wings and The Vintage Aviator websites).
© Thierry Laurent 2015
This article was published on Tuesday, August 09 2016; Last modified on Friday, March 03 2017