KIT: Roden 1/32 Albatros D.III
KIT #: RO 606
PRICE: $64.99 MSRP - or $47.99 from Earl's Hobby Hangar
DECALS: Seven options
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES:  

HISTORY

 The Albatros series of fighters were the most numerous of all German fighters.  In other words they were the backbone of the German Army Air Service.  Virtually all German Aces flew Albatros aircraft and achieved victories in them.  Even Manfred von Richtofen the infamous Red Baron himself scored the better part of his victories in Albatros aircraft.  His score in the Fokker Dr.I was virtually the same as his score in the Halberstadt D.II. 

 The impact of Albatros D.III is always understated.  From the day it was introduced to the field units these aircraft fought for the sky over Central Powers troops until the armistice.  Albatros Pilots scored victories over virtually every type of aircraft the allies were able to field in the war.

 The Albatros was not the best fighter to come out of the war.  Better Allied aircraft and Central Powers aircraft overtook it.  I can think of no other aircraft that served longer at the front than the Albatros D.III.  For most of its service life it comprised over half of all German front line fighters. Yet, I have never seen one in a movie.  Just lots of red biplanes. 

THE KIT

Well this the long awaited Roden Albatros D.III. and it looks nice.  The kit is comprised of some 98 parts molded in tan/beige plastic.  The first thing that I noticed was all the bulkheads.  Now when you put together the fuselage most of this will be hidden.  But if you want to build one with all the cowlings off this will make for a nice looking kit.  On the other hand all these parts to be put into the fuselage is likely to make the kit fiddley (fiddley, did I say fiddley, a Roden kit fiddly, go figure).  Also I see a little flash that will be easy to clean up.  In other words not a big deal. 

 The fuselage halves do not have locator pins and there are huge ejector pin marks right were they will be able to be seen in the cockpit if you donít fill and sand them out.

 You will find a lot of sinkholes also.  My sample had them on both propellers the ammo canisters and the exhaust pipe.  All can easily be filled and sanded to fix and the ammo canister will be hard to see after the fuselage is assembled. 

The engine, like is expected from Roden, is very nice and is made from 14 pieces.

 The wings are very nice and they are ONE PIECE (Yes!!!!!!!!!).  If you ever tried to build one of the old 1/72 scale Albatros you will know why I am so happy.  The multiple piece wings were a very difficult job to get right.  The wings are of the early type with the radiator in the middle.  In later models it was moved to the side so super heated water would not scald the pilot in the event a bullet or other fragment punched it.

 You get two sets of Spandaus one with and the other without the cooling jackets, in case you want to buy a set of P-E jackets.  The one thing that this kit is lacking and in my opinion very obviously, especially at this price, is a fret of photo-etched parts like seat belts, gun jackets, ect.

 It is easy to see, that if this kit is successful, that they will be able to change some trees and do a D.I, D.II, D.III late and even an OAW D.III.  I could even see them do some Austro-Hungarian Albatri at a future date.   

The instructions are big like the kit and well done, with nice rigging diagrams and painting information.  They also give you colors suggestions as you go, so you donít have to guess. 

The decals look to be perfectly registered.  I am told that the new decals work better then the old ones but I canít vouch for that since I have not used any Roden decals that did not give me problems.  But I tell ya, for $64.99 they better have gotten them right. 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Well I think that the plastic parts in this kit are better then the Battle Axe.  On the other hand the folks at Battle Axe give you lots of nicely done resin and photo-etched parts.  Also Battle Axe gives you the ability to build the D.III early and late along with an OAW aircraft.  In the end if you want all the little detail P-E parts you will have to buy after market stuff for the Roden kit, for $10 to $20 dollars depending on where you get the parts.

 I can see it now, there will be some discussion as to whether the kit is worth the price.  They will have a point.  When Roden started its 1/32nd scale line they were around $30.00 and they have now over doubled that.  In fact all Rodens kit prices have nearly doubled across the board in the last few months.  This at the same time that Eduard is coming out with its Weekend Edition kits for the very reasonable price of around $10.00.

 In the end I think that you will have to decide whether you want only one 1/32nd  scale Albatros or six 1.48th scale Eduard Weekend Edition kits.  Ah, decisions decisions.

 But you will have to admit; a 1/32nd scale Albatros will look cool in your collectionÖÖIf itíll fit.  Oh, and by the way this kit is on my to do pile so expect a full build in the future.

September 2006

 Review kit courtesy of Earls Hobby Hanger in Logan, Utah.  Get yours at http://www.earlshobbyhangar.com or email them at  earlshobbyhangar@qwest.net   

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