Eduard 1/48 Albatros D.III Oeffag 253

KIT #: 8242
PRICE: $34.95 MSRP, $29.95 at Earl's Hobby Hangar
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily


After its success on the Western Front the Austro-Hungarian Empire decided to start building the Albatros D.III under licensed contract. Oesterreichiche Flugzeugfabrik A.G. or Oeffag for short began production of the new Albatros Fighters in spring 1917. The first production batch was of the D.II configuration since the problem with the lower wing had not been worked out.  The original order was for twenty aircraft of the new 53 series, however only sixteen serial numbers 53.01 to 53.16 were completed before the strengthened D.III wing was completed and Oeffag started to produce the D.III or series 53.2. All following aircraft would be of the D.III configuration

The reason that they didn’t start out building the D.III was the fact that the Germans were having problems with the narrow cord lower wings.  This problem plagued the German built aircraft and marred their service record.

Oeffag felt that they could build a better wing and they did. In fact the argument can be made that they built a better Albatros, even better then the original German built versions.  The Austro-Hungarian pilots and even Americans of the Polish 7th Air Escadrille who flew them in the Polish–Soviet war had no problems with the Oeffag Albatros wings. 

The series 53 and 53.2 all had the 185hp Austro-Daimler engine.  The series 153 was fitted with a 200hp engine.  Because of the excellent design changes that Oeffag had incorporated in to airframe the aircraft needed little modification to accept the new more powerful engine. This modification bumped up the max airspeed from 112 mph in the series 53/53.2 to 117 mph in the series 153.

The series 253 had the 225 hp Austro-Daimler that pushed its maximum speed up to 125 mph. So we have a fighter that is not as fast as a Spad or SE5 but is easily more maneuverable than both and an aircraft that, while is not as maneuverable as a Sopwith Camel, can easily outrun one. With qualities like this it is easy to see why the aircraft was universally liked by the pilots who flew them.

Several Oeffag Albatros series 253s were built after World War one.  Poland purchased thirty-eight Oeffag Albatros aircraft.  The Polish Air Service was very impressed with the Series253 and sent a letter to Oesterreichiche Flugzeugfabrik A.G. praising their “Exceptional, diligent and thorough work”.


This is an all new kit and like all of Eduard’s new kits it is of the ProfiPACK verity. 

The first thing that caught my eye was that you have all the parts to build the whole Oeffag Albatros D.III series.  From the series 53.2 all the way to the series 253.  You could even easily build a series 53 by using the wings from an Eduard Albatros D.II kit.  This leads me to believe that this will not be the only Oeffag Albatros that Eduard is apt to make.  Austro-Hungarian aircraft were every bit as garishly painted as German aircraft and that late war Austro-Hungarian sworl printed fabric camouflage, oh yah, there has to be more coming.  Just in after market decals alone there has to be hundreds of options. 

The kit consists of over one hundred plastic and metal parts and enough decals for five decal options.  The parts look really nice and match up spot on with the drawings in the book Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One. 

The fabric detail looks good except for that really high ribtaping that Eduard has done ever since their Fokker D.VII kits.  For some reason Eduard has started to do this on all their new kits and the results is that you have to sand down the ribtapes or even sand them off to make the wings look right.  But that’s really easy enough to fix with a little time and a sanding stick. 

The cockpit looks wonderful.  The Oeffag Albatros looked very different from the German aircraft here and Eduard has done an excellent job with it.

The Austro-Daimler engine here is quit well represented here.  This engine differed from the German Daimlers by having the overhead cam timing shaft run up in front of the cylinders instead of behind.  This is what gives the Austro-Daimler what I think is its most distinctive feature and that is the large round access cover plate with the Austro-Daimler logo.  Eduard gives you this very distinctive part in photo-etch but alas they don’t have the Austro-Daimler logo on this part, darn it, and it would have looked so cool as a photo-etch part.

Moving on to the 8mm Schwarzlose machine guns.  The 8mm Schwarzlose M.7/12 was by far the most common machine gun in use by the Austro-Hungarian Empire Many companies building A-H subjects model Spandau LMG 08/15s to represent Schwarzlose MGs.  The two guns are very different.  Well these are easily identifiable as Schwarzlose M.7/12s and they are molded very well indeed.  You get four of them, two with blast tubes and two with out.  This allows the builder the ability to mount them ether buried or exposed.  I will save the ones I don't use for this kit and use them on another A-H build more stuff for the parts box.

A few more of the extras that you get with the kit are the two types of foredecking to allow you to mount the guns ether buried or exposed.  Two types of winter cowlings one is for the buried and the other for the exposed gun configuration.  Two propellers including the JARAY type, a very commonly seen type on late war A-H aircraft.   Finely the builder will like the ability to chose from strait or scalloped control surfaces .


Well as I see it the big decision here is if you will want to build the kit out of the box or blaze your own trail and build one of the many other series and or your favorite pilots livery.

The kit is a great addition to any WWI collection.  Eduard kits are about as strait forward and easy as WWI kits get. 

I recommend this kit to any one with a passion for aircraft used by the dual monarchy.  I myself will probably do several and of course one will be painted up in the famous Kosciuzko Squadron livery.

Review kit courtesy of Earls Hobby Hangar  


“Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One”, by Peter M. Grosz, George Haddow and Peter Schiemer

“Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1914-1918”, by the late Dr. Martin O’Conner

“Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1”, by Christopher Chant Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #46

Albatros (OEF) D.III”, Albatros Publications No.19

Kyle Bodily

Ausgust 2010

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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