Encore 1/32 Albatros D.II 'Boelcke'

KIT #: 3201
PRICE: $69.99 MSRP ($51.95 from Earls Hobby Hanar)
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: Reboxed Roden kit with extras


 The Albatros D.II was the aircraft that the Red Baron scored his first “confirmed victory”.  It was also the aircraft that Oswald Boelcke used when he first put his eight rules of aerial combat known as the Boelcke Dicta into implementation in the Jasta system.  In short the Albatros series was arguably the most influential German aircraft type of the First World War.

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.  Manfred von Richthofen 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. 

From the first day it arrived at the front-line airfields these aircraft fought for the sky over Central Powers troops until the armistice.  From Palestine across Russia, all the way to the Baltic Sea in the east, from Italy to the North Sea in the west and everywhere in between, 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 and Central Powers aircraft overtook it.  For most of its service life, it comprised close to half of all German front line fighters. 


All the injected parts are the Roden Albatros D.I.  What Encore has done is to include parts to build the D.II.  In fact one of my parts trees still has Roden monogram on it.  The others have a blank tab where the monogram used to be.

Now I think if you have read any of my other reviews on the Roden kits, the 1/32 Albatros D.III early in particular, you will know that I think they are a little bit fiddly.  I also think that they are somewhat expensive for what you get.  Lastly I am not a fan of their decals to say the least. 

The MSRP on this kit is $69.99.  Basically $5.00 more than the standard Roden 1/32 scale kit.  So just what are you getting for your money, and is it a good value? 

After you get this box open, I say that because mine was a very tight fit.  You will find that the fore mentioned plastic parts are, yes as you can see, a Roden Albatros D.I.  So I think it will have the same fiddly points that Roden kits are known for.  Remember that most kits at some point will become fiddly either by design or builder.

So instead of focusing on the plastic, lets take a close look at the new bits.  First the resin engine, the 160hp Mercedes D.III.  WOW oh boy oh boy, this thing is without a doubt one of the best models of this engine I have ever seen in any scale, period. Seventeen of the finest resin parts available build up into this little work of art.  To be honest with you, the only real problem that I had with the old kit engine was that it didn’t have the distinctive oil reservoir on the front of the camshaft.  You really have to see this thing to believe it.

Next is the figure of Oswald Boelcke, The man who is credited with being the father of aircombat.  The quality of this figure is exquisite.  Right down to the buttons and pilots badge on his uniform.  I think that a figure this nice would cost at least $20.00 if you got it separately.

Now, let’s look at the photo-etched parts.  Two beautiful frets, one in color, that I would have to say were made by Eduard since they look like they are an Eduard product and they state that they were “made in the Czech Republic”.  Seatbelts, machine gun shrouds, wing radiator and instruments are but a few of the parts included in these frets. 

To build the D.II you will use the splayed out cabains of the D.III instead of the A frame of the D.I.  This lowers the main wing.  To accommodate this, the people at Encore include four cast white metal interplane struts.  I really like this since one of the laments that I’ve heard from modelers of the D.III was that the struts were kind of delicate.  The metal struts will really add strength to the kit.

The decals, well they are by AeroMaster and they look great.  They are printed spot on and come with everything to build either a mount flown by Oswald Boelcke, his famous D.386/16 or the aircraft that Manfred von Richthofen flew for his first sixteen victories, D.491/16.  Some references say that this aircraft’s D number was actually D.481/16 so as a nice touch Encore has included this decal.  I tested a decal that I will not be using and it responded excellently to decal solvent and adhered like a coat of paint

The instructions are very nicely done in color and on glossy paper. Sixteen pages eight leafs packed with twenty-five assembly steps, a photo-etch assembly guide, Instructions for the resin Mercedes D.II engine (did I tell you how nice this engine is), rigging diagrams, painting diagrams and a figure painting guide. Oh, and on the last page is a copy of the Dicta Boelcke that is suitable for framing if you so deem.


Well the kit has a MSRP of $69.99.  The extra resin engine, figure and photo-etch are worth $20.00 each if they are worth a dime, that’s $60.00 if you got them all separately.  So as I see it you get a box full of bargain with this one.  I hope the folks at Encore Models will continue to do this kind of thing in the future. 

I do highly recommend this kit for anyone with moderate experience and especially anyone who wants a bargain.

In fact I think that I’ll go down to my local hobby shop and get another one before people realize what a good deal this is and they’ll all be gone.


Albatros Fighters” Windsock Datafile Special

Albatros Aces of World War I” Osprey Publishing

Albatros Fighters in Action #46” Squadron/Signal Publications

“Jane’s All the Worlds Aircraft 1919” (Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War I)

This review kit was courtesy of Earls Hobby Hanger in Logan, Utah.

Kyle Bodily

February 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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