Johannisthal based Albatros Flugzeugwerke GmbH were responsible for some of the most graceful and effective fighters of the Great War. Their twin gun, semi-monocoque plywood fuselage Albatros D.1, powered by a 160hp Daimler Mercedes D.III engine, arrived at the front in September 1916 and achieved instant air superiority over its main opposition of Nieuport 11 and DH.2 fighters. Followed immediately by the slightly improved D.II and in December 1916 by the much improved D.III, with its V strutted sesqiplane wing greatly influenced by the successful Nieuport fighters. The D.III was more maneuverable than the D.II and its single spar lower ‘half’ wing afforded greater visibility for the pilot but was also the cause of numerous, frequently fatal, structural failures. Despite much effort this problem was never fully resolved. Nevertheless the D.III remained in production well into late 1917.
Even as the excellent D.III went into production plans were underway for its successor, the Albatros D.V. Retaining the wings of the D.III but with aileron controls routed through the upper wing and with a redesigned fuselage completely oval in section, the D.V was arguably the best looking of all Albatros designs. Unfortunately the D.V inherited the lower wing structural failure problem of the D.III and turned out to not be any real improvement over it performance wise either. Despite this, the Albatros D.V and the D.Va (with aileron controls cables reverted to D.III configuration), were manufactured in greater numbers than any previous German fighter of the war (only surpassed later by the Fokker D.VII, of which Albatros manufactured the great majority).
The Albatros D.V weighed 620kg empty when production commenced in April 1917 but, following strengthening, the empty weight had increased to 680kg before production of the D.Va started in August 1917. While Johannisthal built D.Va remained 680kg throughout production, those ordered from Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) in September-October 1917 weighed in at 717kg empty, almost 100kg heavier than the initial D.V. When the Albatros D.V started appearing at the front in May 1917 it was effectively outclassed by the improved SE.5a, Sopwith Camel and SPAD fighters being fielded by the allies at the time. Even after the introduction of the superb Fokker D.VII the Albatros D.V and D.Va could still be found equipping front line units, although most had been relegated to training or home defense duties by the time of the Armistice. Any history of this important aircraft here is of necessity very brief, therefore we encourage you to seek out any, or all, of the reference books mentioned below for a more thorough understanding.
WW1 colour schemes are contentious at the best of times and we have done our best to provide what we consider to be accurate painting information for this model. The colourful unit and personal markings applied to the various German fighters of the Great War have attracted more than their fair share of debate over the years and, while we have been as meticulous as we could be, I’m sure some will not find our choices to their liking. Albatros D type fuselages were usually clear varnished resulting in a yellowish plywood colour. The fabric covered wings and tailplane of the Albatros D.V were finished in either of 2 ways, painted with green and mauve/lilac on top and light blue underneath or covered in pre-printed 5 colour lozenge camouflage fabric. Metal fittings were painted in pale grey-green, as was much of the engine bay. Exterior metal panels, brackets and struts were usually painted in this same pale grey-green. There was considerable freedom for German units to apply their own colour schemes to their aircraft to aid identification at a distance. Manfred von Richthofen"s various Albatros D.III, D.V and (later) Fokker Dr.1 usually featured prominent red markings, initially as his personal colour (based on the piping on the uniform of his previous Ulanen-Regiment Nr.1) and then the marking of Jasta 11 after he took command.