1/32 Wingnut Wings Albatros D-V

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on Oct 22 2019



The Albatros D-V and D-Va were very similar in appearance. They were intended to replace the Albatros D-III after it was made obsolete by the introduction of the SPAD 7, SE5a and Sopwith Camel. The fuselage was re-designed so that it had a more oval shape than the flat sided D-III. The result was a more elegant looking airplane that performed only marginally better. The only external differences between the D-V and D-Va were the aileron style and the addition of a bracing strut at the base of the interplane strut. The D-V had the aileron controls routed through the upper wing. The D-Va reverted back to having the aileron controls exposed like in the D-III. 

The D-III, D-V, and D-Va all were sesquiplanes; the lower wing having only one spar. While this resulted in a narrower wing with better downward visibility, it also made the wing very prone to structural failure. To address this problem, a small reinforcing rod was attached to the lower portion of the V-strut from the wing. It helped a little but the problem remained due to the inherent design weakness of the single spar. Some D-Vs were field modified with the bracing strut. It is hard to be sure if it is a D-V or D-Va without seeing the aileron controls. Finally, some of the earlier D-Vs had a headrest that was discontinued on later productions and often removed in the field.

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WNW kits usually give you 5 possible marking options. While this should satisfy most modelers, there is always a desire for "something different" when building a kit. Aftermarket decals from Pheon provide a wide range of possibilities. WNW also provides for additional decal choices from those provided in their kits. For this build I wanted to do a striped airplane. WNW decal sheet 30012, "The Bavarians", had just what I was looking for.( http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/product?productid=3212) Option D on the decal sheet gives all of the decals necessary for a D-V flown by several pilots from Jasta 16b.(The "b" standing for Bavarian.) All of the choices on the sheet are some form of variation of black and white. My selection was flown by 2 different aces from Jasta 16b, Theodore Rumpel (5) and Ludwig Hanstein (16).

The fuselage striping is accomplished by applying the black striped decals over a gloss white base. The striping for the majority of the fuselage is accomplished with 2 large decals, one applied to the left side and one to the right. The decals are to meet along the upper and lower spine of the fuselage. I was a little worried as to how well the 2 decals would match up with each other, but they worked perfectly. Not only is there no visible seam, you really can't tell that 2 decals were used. I took the plane to my local modeling club, Lehigh Valley Scale Modelers, and the eagle eyes there couldn't see where the decals joined. The smaller striping decals are applied to the tailfin and rear of the fuselage and also fit perfectly. 

I have included some photos of the interior and the engine. While these are mostly hidden from view, a fair amount of time is spent in building them. Painting was accomplished using a mix of Model Master enamels, Tamiya acrylics, and Testors enamels. The engine pieces are a mix of MM steel, non-buffing aluminum metalizer and flat aluminum from the small Testors bottle. The springs are Tamiya XF 56 metallic gray. The brass is MM polished brass. I used Tamiya semi-gloss black where the instructions called out for it. For the interior gray green, I used MM SAC bomber green. The clear doped linen color is decanted Modern Desert Sand from the MM spray can. The gloss mauve and green wings were achieved using MM Napoleonic Violet and Imperial Japanese Army-Navy Green. For the fuselage base coat I airbrushed MM gloss white. The bungee cords on the landing gear are Testors rubber. The underneath of the wings are done in MM topside blue. Finally I decided to use the Wolff propeller, one of 4 different props provided in the kit, mostly due to its neat looking manufacturer's decal. Propellers were often replaced on front line aircraft, so that is my technical defense. 

Recently WNW announced the were re-releasing the Albatross D-V and Va kits with a new series of decals. These decals were from the sheets that were previously available as separate purchases. Since the Albatros fighter kits had sold out, this is a great chance to pick up one of two.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth