Albatros Publications Ltd. is an English company that produces an extensive range of WWI aeroplane books and journals which will appeal to any fan, but more importantly for our purposes here to any modeller of WWI aviation, especially their Datafile selection of which this title is one.
This particular publication is the first of three books the Albatros Publishing will be putting out in 2012 focusing on the German Albatros D.V/D.Va, the last of the Albatros D.I series aircraft. The follow-up second volume to this one is due out in April this year while the third will be one of Albatros Publishings’ Wingnutwings build specials. But for now we’ll just be taking a look at this particular one.
The overall layout of the book is very familiar with the text threaded throughout pages heavy with photographs and captions, then interspersed with topic specific pages. Overall there are 92 Black and White period photos each accompanied by very good, very descriptive captioning. All the photos are of excellent quality with the level of enhancement and photo clean-up up there with the best. As a wee bonus the last four photos are all large, clear photos of the cockpit interior.
The text starts off with a very well written history with liberal use of wartime accounts from pilots. This covers just past the halfway point in the book where it changes to deal with the physical characteristics and construction of the DV/DVa and then wraps up with a brief mention of two experimental versions and a round-up of foreign use. This is all well written throughout which may seem like a small point but all to often books dealing with a technical subject can be an extremely laborious read.
The topic specific sections of this book fall into four sections. The first is a series of colour plates on the inside of each cover as well as the back cover. The inside cover plate is a three view single aircraft plate, the other two pages each have three side views, all showing different colour/marking schemes. These are accompanied at the end of the text by a guide to each plate.
The second and third are each two page full-colour spreads covering in turn the two D.Va reproductions built by The Vintage Aviator here in New Zealand. They feature in turn 21 and 20 full colour photos with the first being focused more on the construction techniques and the second on the finished aircraft. Whatever it’s wartime record these photos remind you that this was still a handsome aircraft.
The fourth section is in the centre and comprises six pages of scale line drawings. A complete set including internals ( engine, ammunition boxes and gun mount, bulkheads and seat etc ) in 1/72, another complete set including internals in 1/48 and a set of the internals in 1/32. The lack of 1/32 scale drawings for the aircraft itself was the only letdown I found in this book, and to be honest that is possibly just a personal thing as 1/32 is my preferred scale and to include 1/32 planes would have required a double page spread so it is understandable.
Conclusion : This is a first rate book, if you haven’t tried them yet then I highly recommend them. If you’re serious about your kits then chances are if you’re building an Albatros that it’ll be the Wingnutwings one and you definitely want this on hand. In fact WNW are selling one of Albatros Publication’s other books focusing on The Vintage Aviator’s build of the FE.2b and if that isn’t an endorsement for these titles then I don’t know what is.
.Price : 11.50GBP Layout : A4 softcover magazine format, 40 pages excluding covers. Author : C.A. Owers Artist : Ronny Bar Publisher : 2012 Albatros Publications , Ltd. ( www.windsockdatafilespecials.co.uk ) .
The official description :
This lavishly-illustrated volume includes over 90 archive photos; nine colour profiles; new and highly-detailed 1:48 and 1:72 scale drawings of the D.V by Marty Digmayer, including 1:32 fuselage structures; plus four pages of colour close-ups of the TVAL reproductions built in New Zealand. Many of the contemporary images in this new DATAFILE have not been published before, and author Colin Owers has provided many fresh insights. This exciting new addition to our series will be followed in April by the second volume with an equal amount of unique and unvaluable reference on these important WWI types!
Available directly from Albatros Productions Ltd