Roden 1/72 Oeffag  Albatross D.III s.253




$8.98  ($7.96 at Squadron)


5 aircraft


Scott Van Aken




As with many aircraft over time, successful (and sometimes those that don't quite meet that appellation) aircraft are often built under license. It is the same with a lot of things from cars to Coca-Cola. The Albatros D.III was a rather successful aircraft and so it wasn't unusual that it would be built by one of Germany's partners in WWI, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Built in Austria by the Oeffag company, the series 253 was the final version of the D.III and included all of the modifications that were made to the late s.153. As with the other Albatros fighters, it was much loved by its pilots for its speed and firepower. The final batch of series 253 aircraft had scalloped trailing edges to the ailerons and elevators. Post war, several were sold to Poland and other countries before the Armistice agreements forbade aircraft production and the plants were closed. After Germany occupied the country prior to WWII, the Oeffag plant at Wiener-Neustadt reopened and produced Bf-109s until bombed to destruction in 1944/45.



Roden has an excellent reputation for producing quality WWI kits. This one follows some of those. Molded (or at least boxed) in Ukraine, the quality of the moldings is really very good. There are no problems with ejector pin marks; careful inspection finding them only on the inside of large parts like the fuselage halves. There were no sink marks, but some kits have quite a bit of flash on some of the parts as you can see on the large right-hand sprue. Other parts had some rough edges, but nothing major. The sprues of all of the Roden Albatros D.III kits are identical and have the bits and pieces needed to build any of the various series aircraft.  The instructions will tell you which parts are needed to build which aircraft.

The instructions are superb. There are several easy to follow construction steps that annotate colors and which options are used with which decal selection. It seems that colors are all in the Humbrol range, which is most widely used in Europe so a natural to use. The decal sheet is quite colorful and covers all five aircraft, including the box art aircraft of Austro-Hungarian Ace Benno Fiala Ritter von  Fernbrugg, the third highest ranking in the Austrian air service with 28 confirmed victories. The back of the box has a full color two view of his aircraft as well as a color chart for all the colors used in making the kit. A very nice touch that I hope will catch on.The rest of the schemes cover other Austrian pilots and some of the camouflage schemes are going to be a real challenge to reproduce as they were printed directly on the fabric rather than painted on. A good reference would be 'Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; 1914-1918'. I imagine that the researchers used this tome to gather markings info.



In all respects, this looks like a very nice kit. The minor problem with flash can easily be taken care of and is not endemic to the mold. Another Albatros kit I have was devoid of the large areas of flash seen in the image above. Because of the small and delicate parts, I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner, but if WWI aircraft are your forte, then this one should be on your want list!

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