Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Albatros D.II - a Roden 1/72 kit.

The second of the Albatros scouts was ordered by Idflieg (Inspectorate of Flying Troops) in August of 1916. The D.II was a response to the bad visibility in the Albatros D.I, with the upper wing being located closer to the fuselage and staggered slightly forward. The Albatros factory and LVG (Luft-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft completed 748 D.IIs. Oeffag, the Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG built another 16 D.IIs to Austro-Hungarian specifications, which included a 185HP Austro-Daimler engine and a different radiator. The initial D.IIs had radiators mounted on the side of the fuselage, although this model is a late-production D.II with the radiator on the top wing.

The D.II served in the Luftstreitkraefte up to the end of 1917, and in November that year eleven D.IIs remained in service. Flown by German aces such as Oswald Boelcke and Manfred von Richthofen, the D.II together with the later D.III contributed to the German air superiority up to the advent of the Sopwith Camel and the SE.5 in mid-1917.

The kit is the Roden Albatros D.II built with some minor additions such as seat belts in the cockpit, rigging and a windshield. It is painted in the markings of a generic D.II during the winter of 1916-17, with the "K" being the last initial of the pilot flying the aircraft. The kit came together without any significant complications and with the help of Windsock Datafiles Albatros D.II. 

Early production D.II with fuselage-mounted Windhoff radiators.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A duo of Sopwith Camels

Since I have been working from abroad for some time, modeling has been somewhat limited, and the projects a bit less ambitious. My dear host did provide a sizeable cutting mat, though, and several evenings were spent working on two Sopwith Camels, one from Revell and one from Academy,

The Revell kit is originally from the 1960s, and it was one of the few WW1 kits available in the hobby shop. The fit is decent, although some details are lacking in both pilot and aircraft, for example the rudder horns that were cut out of plastic card and super-glued to the wings and tail and the protruding part of the machine gun barrels. Rigging was made out of white sprue from a Roden kit, and the lines were painted dark gray, The kit was eventually mounted on a $2.50 photo frame.


The decals provided with the kit were excellent, and they were used to adorn the Camel in the markings of Canadian ace Lloyd Samuel Breadner, CB, DSC. He was born in Carleton Place, Ontario, on July 14, 1894, and he received his pilot's certificate on Wright biplane after training at the Wright School. Breadner was commissioned into the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) on December 28, 1915, and he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (RNAS) on December 31, 1916, before he was posted to Naval 3 (No. 3 Squadron RNAS) in 1917. He initially flew Sopwith Pups, and he even managed to shoot down a German Gotha bomber as his fourth victory on April 23, 1917. This was also the first Gotha to be shot down by the British over the Western Front. Breadner was awarded the DSC on May 23, 1917, and the citation reads as follows:

"For conspicuous gallantry and skill in leading his patrol against hostile formations. He has himself brought down three hostile machines and forced several others to land. On the 6th April, 1917, he drove down a hostile machine which was wrecked while attempting to land in a ploughed field. On the morning of the 11th April, 1917, he destroyed a hostile machine which fell in flames, brought down another in a spinning nose dive with one wing folded up, and forced a third to land."

Lloyd Samuel Breadner claimed in all ten enemy aircraft:

Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 06 Apr 1917 1020 3N Sopwith Pup (N5199) Halberstadt D.II (DES) Bourlon Wood
2 11 Apr 1917 0845 3N Sopwith Pup (N6181) Albatros C (DESF) Cambrai
3 11 Apr 1917 0855 3N Sopwith Pup (N6181) Albatros D.III (DES) Cambrai
4 23 Apr 1917 1030 3N Sopwith Pup (N6181) Gotha G.II (CAP) Vron
5 23 Apr 1917 1730 3N Sopwith Pup (N6181) Albatros D.III (OOC) Bourlon Wood
6 29 Apr 1917 1115 3N Sopwith Pup (N6181) Albatros D.III (OOC) SE of Cambrai
7 23 May 1917 1345 3N Sopwith Pup (N6197) Albatros D.III (OOC) Awoignt-Bourlon
8 03 Sep 1917 0725 3N Sopwith Camel (B3782) Albatros D.V (DES) Belhutte
9 03 Sep 1917 0730 3N Sopwith Camel (B3782) Albatros D.V (OOC) Belhutte
10 11 Sep 1917 1150 3N Sopwith Camel (B3782) Albatros D.V (OOC) Thorout  
(Source: theaerodrome.com)

Breadner continued serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force up to the Second World War, and he retired as Air Chief Marshal in 1945. Lloyd Samuel Breadner passed away in 1952.

The Academy Camel is probably from the 1970s, and it is an even more basic kit. There is no cockpit at all, and no pilot figure either. The Vickers machine guns are simply pieces of plastic with no detailing whatsoever, the propeller had to be replaced with a prop from an Albatros kit, and the decals were glossy and very difficult to adhere to the kit. The colors of the tail decal were inverted, so the tail had to be hand-painted instead. This kit was finished as a generic Camel with no particular markings, and it was also mounted on yet another photo-frame. The two Camels were photographed with an older iPhone, hence the regretful quality. However, by now I should be back in the United States with full access to more complete model building supplies.

Academy Camel below: