Wingnut Wings Albatros B.II Early
The Albatros B.II is perhaps unique amongst aircraft of the First World War in that production commenced in 1913, continued throughout the war and after the Armistice. The Albatros B.II was initially known simply as the Albatros DD (Doppledecker) and was developed in parallel with the DDK which appeared the same except it was slightly longer and fitted with longer 3 bay wings (and would eventually become known as the Albatros B.1). Like other German B type aircraft it was powered by 100hp to 120hp engines manufactured by Daimler-Mercedes, Argus and Benz with the pilot positioned in the rear cockpit with a steering wheel control column and the passenger in the front seat.
The Albatros B.II went through numerous minor and major changes during it"s relatively long lifespan and manufacture by 7 different companies but managed to emerge 6 years later appearing essentially the same. The box section fuselage was constructed from spruce & ash longerons and frames covered with 3-ply wood. The unequal span wings were fabric covered as were the steel tube framed ailerons and tailplane. Interplane, cabane and undercarriage struts were of steel tube construction. Very early aircraft featured a smaller fin with a rounded rudder and a Scheitelküler "Brow Radiator" mounted above the engine which almost completely obstructed the view forward. Early production Albatros B.II, as featured in this model, had a larger fin with a triangular rudder and Hazet radiators fixed to each side of the fuselage. Conservation of steel would lead to the development of the Albatros B.IIa which replaced the sole steel tube frame in the fuselage with wood and eventually the steel tube interplane and undercarriage struts would also be replaced by wooden items. Later developments included replacing the side mounted Hazet radiators with a single Windhoff item mounted in front of the leading edge of the top wings, replacing the control wheel with a stick type control column (necessitating the re-routing of the aileron & elevator control cables), dual controls for pilot training, moving the tail skid forward, adding additional struts under the tailplane, numerous exhaust styles and various positions & shapes of gravity fuel tank; almost all of which could be found retrofitted to earlier production aircraft as needed along with various interchangeable B.1 & C.1 components.
Unarmed B type aircraft like the Albatros B.II were initially utilized for reconnaissance but shortly after hostilities began airmen started carrying small bombs and personal firearms. Eventually many were fitted with bomb racks and various captured machine guns on improvised mountings. With the advent of purpose built armed and more powerful C type aircraft from mid 1915 (the Albatros C.1 was essentially a slightly redesigned Albatros B.II powered by a 150hp or 160hp engine with the gunner in the rear cockpit) the unarmed and underpowered B type aircraft were slowly relegated to training duties. Any history of this important aircraft here is of necessity very brief, therefore we encourage you to seek out the references 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. Because the Albatros B.II was in production and service for such a long time and manufactured by numerous different companies they can be seen in a wide variety of finishes. Photographic evidence indicates that the fuselage of many Albatros B.II were finished with pale yellow or dark red brown varnishes, unfortunately each could appear as dark as the other in photographs depending on the film type and/or filters. Additionally many were painted in pale colours which appear to have been light grey-green, light blue and even white for aircraft destined for training duties. Fabric wings and tailplane components appear to have been covered with unbleached Clear Doped Linen (CDL), bleached (white) linen, dyed linen or painted with translucent and opaque camouflage colours or with a tightly mottled/spotted finish which was probably sponge rolled onto the fabric. Albatros B.II still serving on the front lines in 1916 would have received field applied camouflage finishes of various brown and/or green colours. Metal brackets and fittings appear to have been painted with the usual light grey-green protective finish unless they were overpainted along with the fuselage. National markings could encompass the full range of cross styles depending on when the aircraft was manufactured. Additionally, major components of the Albatros B.II remained interchangeable throughout production meaning that salvaged parts could be retrofitted leading to a variety of different crosses and fabric finishes appearing on the same aircraft. The various camouflage schemes and personal markings applied to German aircraft 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 and impassioned debate will continue to rage on amongst modellers.
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