Eduard 1/48 Albatros Dr.I

Model, Text and Photos by: Sanjeev Hirve

 

THE KIT

The kit is Eduard’s Profipack #8037, made in 1998 or later.  It includes a PE tree and resin parts for the machine guns. The quality and fit of the parts is good, and does not suffer from thebrittleness of older kits. The decals consist of 5-colour lozenge top and bottom fabric, cross insignias and Albatros logos. It does not include any stencils.  The plane was a prototype, and hence does not have unit markings. This is a rare craft. For reference, I had one photo, and a 1/16 scale kit model of the Albatros D.Va from Model-Expo, Inc.

OVERVIEW

The Kit parts are very well detailed. The instructions are clear, and are accompanied with a useful color chart. The kit has some minor discrepancies discussed below, but nothing that poses a major obstacle. The parts fit together very well, and the seams required very little filling. All the parts went together without any surgery. The center wings are attached to the fuselage with pins. This makes it easy to construct the three wings, the center wings provide a rigid anchor on which the top and bottom wings are 'floated' on with the struts.
 

PROBLEMS WITH THE KIT:  


CONSTRUCTION

I pretty much followed the sequence of construction in the instruction sheet. I covered the wings with the lozenge decal before attaching them. The joint between tailplane and fuselage needed filling. I rigged the model with .006 brass wire and some .007 steel guitar string.  I drilled holes for the rigging using .007" guitar string and 80-guage bits for 2-wire holes.  For the back-to-front rigging between struts I simply glued steel guitar wire in place, since these wires are not in tension. In retrospect I could have done this for all the rigging, but I had hoped to draw the wires taut to align the wings. Also, I should have threaded the rigging through the center of the bottom wing before attaching it. Once attached, there is very little clearance between the fuselage and wing. Another big mistake was to drill the rigging holes in the struts instead of the wings! This weakened them and I had to later "repair" a few of the struts in place. That was a tight fit too! I reinforced the landing gear struts by inserting steel wire in their tips. I leveled the model by adjusting the landing gear strut rigging. The kit parts for the aileron links are round rods, so I sanded them to an airfoil shape. I used .022" brass wire for the landing gear brace. I used brass tube and wire for the wheel axle, and for the propeller. The instructions do not show the radiator plumbing. Again I assumed it runs up from the two radiators to the header above the top plane. I made this from .022" brass wire using the bend-and-trial method. The lozenge fabric decals required a lot of effort. After a few close calls, I started applying it in ¾" wide sections. I used Micro-Sol (the red label) for the initial application, then reapplied Champion decal-set 2-3 times a day until the creases and wrinkles disappeared. One has to be careful with Champion. When I used it before the decal was fully adhered, the decal ended up permanently wrinkled.The other problem with the decals was they stuck within seconds of touching the plastic before I could position them properly. In retrospect, this seemed to happen only on bare plastic surface – they slid around longer on surfaces coated with Future. I used Testors enamel colors as specified in the instructions, except that I used Dark green (FS34079) for the gray-green parts, and Tan (FS30219) streaked with darker colors for the plywood. The guns were painted Burnt Iron. The rigging was painted steel, plumbing Copper, and the tires Buff (Tamiya xf-57).  The plywood and prop are coated with Future.

CONCLUSION:
I have found that Eduard kits are well worth their price, and this kit lived up to my expectations. It includes plastic and photo-etch parts. For a modeler with low-to-moderate skill and patience, this kit presents just the right amount of challenge, and the ability to create very good results. Unlike the high-end Japanese kits, it leaves ample room for creativity and sweat. It is however, not a kit for beginners - I would have messed this one up, had it been my first project.