I've taken a short break to start the new tool Airfix 1:72nd scale Avro Vulcan B.Mk.2 for a friend who used to be a crew chief on No.44 Squadron at RAF Waddington.
However, as it's not due to be delivered until December, I've made a start on another WW1 aircraft.
This model from 'Roden' will represent the Albatros D.I of Ltn. Dieter Collin of Jasta 2 ’Boelcke’, flying from Berthincourt, September 1916.
During 1915 the German Fokker Eindecker fighters were dominant over the current allied aircraft of the time.
Eventually however, better designed fighters, such as the De-Havilland DH.2 of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the French Nieuport fighters soon gained the advantage.
The German Idflieg (Inspectorate of Flying Troops) sought better designed fighters from German aircraft companies and protoypes from Halberstadt and Fokker were being test flown by the Spring of 1916.
However these designs, although better, did not surpass the allied aircraft in general performance.
The Albatros Flugzeugwerke Gmbh company, which had only produced two seat aircraft, created what was then considered to be a radical design for a fighter, which was designed by Robert Thelen.
Following the lead of the allied bi-plane fighters, particularly the French Nieuport’s, the prototype Albatros D.I featured a more powerful engine and a streamlined plywood skinned fuselage (semi-monocoque), which differed from it’s contemporaries, which had linen covered structure.
Performance during flight testing was enough for the Idflieg to place an initial order for 50 aircraft with serial numbers D.422/16 to D.471/16.
Although a second batch was ordered with serial numbers D.472/6 to D.521/16, these were never built as the improved Albatros D.II was already in production.
In total, seven units were formed and operated the Albatros D.I, the second unit being Jasta 2, formed at Laguincourt during August 1916 and commanded by Oberleutnant (later Hauptmann) Oswald Boelcke.
The introduction of this aircraft caused concern, especially as it proved superior to the RFC DH.2 fighters.
However, it’s operational career was short and by the end of 1916 the Albatros D.I was being replaced by the newer D.II.
Of the 50 aircraft built, some survived to the end of the war, being used as flight trainers.
This particular Albatros D.I was a pre-production version and had differences to the production aircraft.
An Anemometer was fitted to the forward, starboard interplane strut and the expansion tank for the engine cooling system was located at the front of the forward engine cylinder.
The propeller fitted was an ‘Axial’, rather than the more often fitted ‘Reschke’ type.
The serial number of this aircraft has been stated as being D384/16, but it seems this may not be the case.
Although the aircraft was probably delivered in the standard factory finish, it was later painted in an undefined green colour.
In addition, the white Crossfield of the Balken Cross markings on the upper wing were painted over, leaving the remaining Crossfields intact.
Initially this aircraft was flown by Diether Collin and his personal marking of a white ‘Co’, outlined in black, was added to the fuselage sides, to the rear of the Balken Cross.
Later this aircraft was flown by the Prussian Prince Friedrich Karl, when the markings of Collin were replaced with skull and cross bones on a black background marking.
These were applied to the fuselage sides and the propeller spinner.
On the 21st of March 1917, Prince Karl was wound during combat with DH.2 fighters of No.32 Squadron (RFC).
He made a forced lading between the lines but was shot in the spine as he attempted to reach the safety of his own lines and died of his wounds.
The aircraft was later captured and given the RFC identification of G-17.
On the 13th of August 1918, Collin was severely wounded during combat with Sopwith Camels of No.204 Squadron (RAF) over Bailleul and later that day died of his wounds, aged 25.