Kit: Joystick (1:72)
The following is largely based on the kit history provided by David G Archer of Joystick with a few additions from Austro Hungarian Army Aircraft. Between 1915 – 16 three series of two seaters were built by the Austrian division of the German Aviatik Company. The B.II(series 32) was unarmed but could carry two small bombs. It was powered by a 120hp Austro Daimler engine and had side mounted radiators. The B.III(series 33) had an improved 160hp engine and a box type radiator fixed to the cabane struts. The cockpit was now an enlarged communal type and a flexible Schwarlose machine gun was manned by the observer. This version had handling issues and was nicknamed the Gondola or Rocking Chair and was not developed further. Instead Aviatik produced an improved B.II, the series 34. The engine was a 150hp Austro Daimler, the box radiator was retained as was the flexible mg. Bomb load was now three 20kgs missiles and the ceiling was almost double that of the series 32. At least 50 were built and they entered service in Sept 1915. They began to be replaced during the summer of 1916 but examples were at the front until at least October. Over 40 survived at this time and they were converted to dual control and issued as trainers in 1917. Never a spectacular performer it became one of the first generation of Austro Hungarian aircraft with a rear cockpit armament and served on both long range duties and artillery cooperation when fitted with a radio. It served against both the Italians and the Russians.
I like Joystick vacforms. The cockpit detail is better than many injection kits and the surface detail is not bad. Strut material is provided and the prop, gravity tank and a half engine are white metal and not forgetting the transparent spoked wheels. The kit represents the earlier series 32 but it was easy to convert to the 34. A more detailed description is here.
Kit: Eastern Express (1:72)
Another nice kit that originated from Toko but is now issued by Eastern Express. The frontal radiator version is OOB and sports the kit lozenge transfers which went on no bother although I painted the fuselage to represent a dark varnish stain and used a spare decal as the identification number. The other kit donated the radiator and condenser to an AH Fokker DVII conversion so was destined to become a side radiator version. The car radiator slot is filled with 80thou card with a thin piece of 20thou added to the centre and filed to shape. The side radiators came from a centre section scrap from which I halved and shaped the radiator. Later models of the Aviatik D1 had the guns within reach of the pilot. To this end the front of the cockpit was filed down to allow the rear ends of a twin gun installation to fit into the cockpit. The business ends can’t be seen but long blast tubes run from the muzzles alongside the engine and poke through the front cowling. It’s easier to scratch a new condenser as it now needs two rear pipes going to the radiators. The lozenges are Printscale which are thin but went on ok. The Aviatik DI entered service in the autumn of 1917 and served until the end of the war. The full range of Austro Daimler engines from 160hp to 225hp were used and later machines were fitted with stronger wings after crashes caused by failures of the trailing edges due to material fatigue.
Kit: Airframe (1:72)
This is a vac form by Airframe. According to Windsock Datafile 31 the company is from Canada and this kit appeared in 1972. In the late seventies, or early eighties, it cost £1.65.
Memory defeats me as to all the parts that were moulded but I used the fuselage halves, elevators, upper wings and the upper wing radiator which is simply an oblong box. The rest came from the spares box, in particular Airfix’s Hannover. I didn’t like the kit lower wings and used the lower wings from the Hannover. Initially built without rigging it has been refurbished during the last few years most recently by an attempt at mottled camouflage. This was one of my earliest vac forms and has nostalgia value. It looks like a Phoenix but life was certainly easier with the MAC.
Kit: MAC (1:72)
The Phoenix D types were developed from the Hansa Brandenburg Starstrutter which the company had built under licence. They served with the Austro Hungarian LFT throughout 1918 with the DI entering service in December 1917. The DII and DIIa followed in May and had the war continued the DIII would have replaced the earlier models. They were well liked by the pilots who found they could hold their own against the Spad fighters, the Handriot HD1 and Sopwith Camels that opposed them. MAC have issued the full range of Phoenix D types and look accurate to my eye. Transfers were good although I mucked up one of the shooting stars and had to touch it up with a hairy stick. The camouflage is a mottled effect done with a brush and WSDF 31 states that the DI had an overall brown colour while the DII had a greener hue.
Kit: Roden (1:72)
Oeffag built 61 Series 53 Albatros fighters. The first 16 were built as DII types. They sported equal span single bay wings and the main difference with the German counterpart was the 185hp Austro Daimler engine. Most served on the Russian Front but some served in Italy on the Tyrol and Isonzo Fronts. They entered service in May 1917 and were later transferred to the Flek front line training units and used as operational trainers. Kit went together well and there are several individual aircraft options.
Roden offer all the series versions of the Austro Hungarian Albatros fighters. This is the final type which was powered by the 225hp Austro Daimler. The rounded nose had been found to be aerodynamically superior to the spinner and was fitted from the outset on this version. It was well regarded and entered service in May 1918 ; 260 were built. After the war 38 were bought by Poland and used against the Bolsheviks while others served with the Czechs.
Kit: Revell (1:72)
This was built using an article in Wings magazine where Ray Rimmel showed how to correct the kit errors. The rear fuselage is too shallow and needs to be split lengthways and a 2mm tapered plug inserted. After filling and filing the rear fuselage sides need to be filed flat as the kit is too concave, more DV than DIII. A 60 thou piece of card was added to the nose and filed to shape to increase the length and some streamlining was added to the wing radiator as mine was further altered to be an early Austro Hungarian DIII Series 53 type. The machine guns are concealed so a bit of card filled the locating slot, thin plastic rod alongside the engine represent the gun tubes, the cylinder heads were covered and the exhaust shortened. The transfers were spares from the Eastern Express Starstrutter. The type was adopted by the Austro Hungarian airforce and built under licence by Oeffag, at Wiener-Neustadt. They were manufactured between January 1917 and October 1918 and about 540 aircraft were built. Of these 45 were DIII series 53 types. Additional strengthening was employed on the lower wings by the AH and these versions did not suffer the wing failures of the German models. AH versions used the domestic Austro Daimler engine, the first series using the 185hp, the second, introduced in July, the 200hp, and the last, in May 1918, the 225hp engine. They were used until the Armistice and continued in service with some of the new Eastern European states well into the twenties.
Introduced in the autumn of 1916, the Starstrutter was powered by a 160hp or 185hp Austro Daimler in line, and proved to be faster than the Italian Nieuport 11. In the absence of an available synchronising gear the Schwarlose mg was positioned on top of the wing within a streamlined casing. The advantage of this system was that substantially more ammunition could be carried against the drum fed Lewis’ of the Allies although it was out of reach in event of a blockage. Lateral control was to prove insufficient in early models and an improved rudder and fixed fin were fitted. The Starstrutter entered service with the LFT at the same time that the Albatros D types were doing so with the German air services. The type served throughout 1917 and was replaced by Albatros and Berg fighters which started to become available in the summer and autumn respectively. Although many have decried this aircraft, usually citing poor views and the early control problems, it was flown by most of Austria Hungary’s leading fighter pilots with success although the inexperienced found it a handful in much the same way as the Sopwith Camel was an unforgiving aircraft. It was available at a time when such an aircraft was needed and before the Albatros D types could be supplied. The basic design was further developed to become the successful Phoenix D types of 1918. Production was shared between Phoenix and Hansa Brandenburg. Seventy two were ordered from Phoenix and fifty from HB of which 30 had car type radiators fitted. Phoenix lightened the airframe and fitted 185hp engines in all their aircraft which were considered superior to the German built aircraft. A tail fin was added to improve handling and many early aircraft were retro fitted. Most of the 68 confirmed kills accredited to Starstrutters fell victim to Phoenix built machines.