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In-Box Review
Albatros D.III 153 (Oeffag)
The Pit Bull at war
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

Originally published on:


The name Albatros derives from an Arabic word meaning “the diver.” The D.III type from this company was the sesquiplane layout of its predecessors the D.I and D.II. Entering the war in January 1917 the Albatros D.III and later D.V & Va series became the back bone of Germany’s Fliegertruppen. In the autumn of 1916, “Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG” (Oeffag) obtained a licence to build the D.III at Wiener-Neustadt. Deliveries commenced in May 1917. They were eventually built in three main versions (series 53, 153, 253) using the 185, 200, or 225hp Austro-Daimler engines respectively. The Austro-Daimler motors provided improved performance over the Mercedes D.IIIa types. For cold weather operations, Oeffag aircraft featured a “winter” cowling cover which fully enclosed the cylinder heads. Beginning with airframe 153.112, Oeffag introduced a new rounded nose that eliminated the spinner. Remarkably, German wind-tunnel tests showed that the simple rounded nose improved propeller efficiency and raised the top speed by 14km/hr. All Oeffag variants were armed with two Schwarzlose MG M.07/12 machine guns. At the request of pilots, the guns were relocated to the upper fuselage decking late in the series 253 (253.32) production batch.

Oeffag engineers noted the wing failures of the German D.III and modified the lower wing to use thicker ribs and spar flanges. These changes, as well as other detail improvements, largely resolved the structural problems that had plagued German versions of the D.III. Oeffag built approximately 526 D.III aircraft between May 1917 and the Armistice. After the Armistice, many of the 153 series were too war weary to be sold to other nations. Poland acquired 38 series 253 aircraft, as well as several German OAW machines, and operated them in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20. They were primarily employed in ground attack duties. The Poles thought so highly of the D.III that they sent a letter of commendation to the Oeffag factory. The newly formed Czechoslovakian air force also obtained and operated several Oeffag machines after the war as well. This was the tough little pit bull that was safe enough to fly daily over the ice encrusted tiger's teeth we simply call the Alps.

NOTE the real images included here are of the airframe 153.16 ( a machine flown by Frank Linke-Crawford) and are intended to help modelers with fine details for their builds.

The Kit

# 8241 is called a “Profi-pack” and has the bells & whistles “Profi” is short for “Professional” and is meant for the collector or serious modeler. First, I plot all the rigging lines and strut locator holes found on page 7 of the instructions. Planning ahead using references and plan views will ensure your success. Pre-drill all pilot holes for each end of the struts and the rigging wires. Note also plastic parts are labeled “PP”, photoetch are “PE”.

Box contents include:

86 plastic parts in box.
61 Metal & colored metal photo-etched details.
07 Express masks for the wheels & other demarcations.
05 marking options, (not 04 as the website says.).
12 page detailed full-color instruction booklet.

The Build

Page 1.) Contains the usual Multi language aircraft history and in this case one side profile with reference to the Eduard website for more complete information.

Page 2.) Has the usual parts maps for easy reference.

Page 3.) The Austro-Daimler type 6, 200hp inline motor assembly. The Engine (PP X 1-3, 5-9, 10 X 2, 11 X 2, 12, 13) & (PP B 2 & 17 ) & (PE 13-15, 28, 30 - 31). There is no main fuel, reserve fuel & oil tank assembly. Then we see the method of attachment of the engine and the typical Eduard bearing shelf to the raised edges within the engine compartment. The fuselage halves (PP C 1 & 10 )out of the box the cowling opening for the engine cylinders is larger. The cylinders should have their water jackets (cylinder outer shells) painted a dark black.

Page 3 & 4. ) The firewall / ammunition box (PP A 2 ) is the forward most bulkhead. The empty belt collector (PP A 10 ) goes on to the left fuselage half (PP C 10). The rudder bar (PP A 13 & PE 38 X 2 ) has wire half loops over the foot rests. This kit does not give you photoetch switches for the air fuel selectors on the air fuel switch panel (PP A 16). The hand pump (PP A 23 ) to pressurize the fuel tank needs an air line running forward. This kit does have lap and shoulder harness (PE 1 - 4 ) sets and parts to augment the seat ( PE 27 & 34 ) and compass (PE 10 ). The starter magneto is on the instrument panel (PP A 5 or B 18 ). Note you canuse PE or decals for the gauge faces. This magneto also needs a crank / lever. The flooring (PP A 4 ) and can be used to support the fine wire that will simulate the rudder and elevator cables at their aft ends. Note the different instrument panel and machine gun applications for the profile A on Page 4.

Page 4 & 5. ) Note the different attachments of the upper cockpit and forward cowlings (PP C 3 or D 2 ) according to build profile A or B, C, D, & E.

Page 5 ) The support stubs on the lower wings (PP D 1 & 8 ) are an improvement but I drill 1/8 inch holes infront of them. Then insert a solid brass pin into drilled out forward holes through both sides of the united fuselage halves (PP C 1 & 10.) Leave the support stubs on the lower wings intact to act as locator pins. This provides a rigid platform on which to add the top wing. Note the blast suppression tubes (PP B 28 X 2 ) and the forward gunsight (PE 20 X 2 ) attachments

Page 5 - 6.) When constructing “biplanes or triplanes ” whatever scheme you decide to do, remember to leave the top wing,(PP D 4 ) upper surface and the lower wing (PP D 1 & 8 ) under surface unfinished. Why you ask? These are the areas that you need to apply glue to. An open flat surface is easier to work with than the narrow area between the wings. Now measure and mark the locations for each hole and drill straight through the wing the rigging holes will be about 1/16 of an inch away from the strut holes. When drilling the rigging holes note that they should be next to the strut at the appropriate angle. There should be two holes for each strut and each rigging strand. Note also that one hole can possibly hold upto 5 strands of 5-8 mil easily. Once your wings are drilled and partially finished (painted or lozenge decals) I then mate the wings using the “V” shaped outer wing struts (PP A 8 & B 4 ) and a jig constructed from “Lego blocks.” This will allow for you to construct the cabane struts from metal ( brass is good) rod and rig as you go. Alignment is critical to a kit like this. Do not add the small wind screens until the end of the build after final matt clear has been applied and dried thoroughly.

Also when it comes to the landing gear I usually replace all kit items (PP A 7, 15 & 24, B 5 ) with brass replacements made from Aeroclub’s “STRUTZ” extruded brass pieces with bent and shaped brass rod for strength and scale thickness. The weakest point of “V” type undercarriages is the side to side twist. This is eliminated to the largest degree by replacing the plastic landing gear V-struts with brass rod. I use gray upholstery thread to looped several times around the area where the axle meets the undercarriage crotch and secure with cyanoacrylate (superglue.) This represents the bungee shock absorber cords on the real a/c and also provides contact and stability for the axle. I usually add a laminated wood propellor that I built and drilled out the exhaust horn opening. The kit item is quite nice (PP A 3) There are photoetch drain access disks ( PE 24 & 35 ) for the underside of the fuselage. I used extras from my parts bins. Note also the tail skid (PP B 15) in plastic appears too weak for a long lasting build and would recommend its replacement in brass as mentioned here earlier.

Page 7.) Next you should plot all the rigging lines and strut locator holes you will need to work with, as I did in the beginning of this text. Planning ahead using references and plan views will ensure your success. Pre-drill all pilot holes for each end of the struts and the rigging wires. Don’t be afraid to take notes. There should be two holes for each wire and each strut. Drill the strut locator holes and note that sometimes a strut may share the same hole as another intersecting strut. For instance the Albatros D.III Oeffag types. Note also that lines will sometimes share the same anchor hole as well. At low speed drill straight through the adjacent fuselage or wing location next to the strut sockets at the appropriate angle. These pilot holes should follow the entry angle of the specific rigging strand into the wing area adjacent to the strut locator holes. Going from point A to point B it should be a straight line even through the wing. Note also that I don’t advocate drilling into any plastic or resin strut as this only serves to weaken it. Most real aircraft employed flange plates on the strut end caps to attach rigging lines. For the elevator control horns I usually disregard the plastic kit items and use kit photoetch fret items (PE 39 X 4 & 26 X 4 ) or aftermarket PE items.

Kit Decals

A. 153.27, Georg Kenzian, Deputy CO of Flik 55/J, Pergine, Winter, 1917 - 1918.
B. 153.52, Godwin Brumowski, Flik 41/J, Passarella, 4 February 1918.
C. 153.137, Josef Novak, Flik 41/J, Torresella, January, 1918.
D. 153.186, Flik 55/J, pilot undetermined. Pergine, May, 1918.
E. 153.140, Eugen Bönsch, Flik 51/J, Ghirano, Spring, March - June 1918.

Listed References:

Albatros D.III by P. Gray, 1966 Profile Pub Profile # 127
Albatros D.III (OEF) by Peter Grosz, Windsock Datafile #19.
Albatros Scouts Described, by Chas Schaedel, 1971 Kookaburra Tech. Pub.
Albatros Fighters Datafile Special by Ray Rimell, 1991 Albatros Pub. Ltd.
Austro-Hungarian Camouflage-Albatros (Oef) by Martin O’Connor, C&C Int.19/ #1/ Pp.23-29.
Austro-Hungarian Aircraft & Aeromotor serial numbers by D.T. Pardee, Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 24 #3 Pp.193 - 211.
Feasting on a Do-Do by S. Lawson, C&C Int. 21,#1,Pp.31-35.
"Die Albatros (Oeffag) Jagdfluzeug der K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen" by Paul Schiemer, Weishaupt, Verlag Graz 1984 Pp. 77, 80 & 147-8.
Lafayette Foundation Archive. Platteville, CO. USA.
Notes on the Austro-HungarianFlying Corp. 1910 -1918 by Lt. Col.J.D. Thompson Cross & Cockade USA Vol. 15 #4 Pp. 281 -357.

Build notes:

From the modern day Picaso who is building 1:1 scale replicas of the original machines, Herrn Koloman Mayrhofer!

"Hallo Stephen,
just had a problem with the computer. do not know if my answer got through so here it is again. No eduard did not consult me in there model planning. Obviously they used my plane as a basis. As they repeated the same inaccuracies which I had to incorporate for various reasons.

1. The hatch on the bottom side of the lower wing beneath the Vee-strut can only be found on German planes. The Austrians just covered this area with fabric. You would have to cut this open any time you inspect or grease the pulleys. that is why I used the German detail.

2. The chord length on top and bottom wing are the same on Austrian and German planes.

3. The hatch below the cockpit cutout is only on the left side. Eduard did it on the right side too. Also not all 253 series had the metal hatch on the right side behind the engine. it helps in fixing the fuel gauge connection.

4. My research had shown a different outcome in the star marking of 253.24 showing the yellow on the bottom. but I am not insisting in that. we will never know for sure.

Otherwise and especially the engine are very nice. have not build a model for more than 15 years but i still buying them. My nitpicking comments should not detract anyone to build this model. For someone(like me) who has grown up with Merit, Artiplast and aurora model it is unbelievable how the quality has developed.

Koloman Mayrhofer

When contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Highs: Great subject matter. Finely detailed and inscale design with 5 colourful profile schemes. This set has more PE than the first issue. Great fit of the parts.
Lows: Some details based on a modern reproduction not on the original aircraft. PE control horns slightly out of scale.
Verdict: Excellent kit with high potential. Worth purchasing and building.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: #8241
  Suggested Retail: $34.95
  Related Link: Website
  PUBLISHED: Nov 04, 2010

Our Thanks to Eduard!
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About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2019 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. All rights reserved.


I have added some real images of 153.16 to the review to help with some fine details. April 10,2011 NOTE: Additionally here is the url for the review for the Weekend kit #84150. Click here.
NOV 04, 2010 - 06:01 AM

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