Albatros DVa 54" and introduction - RC Groups
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May 21, 2007, 05:28 AM
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fooesboy's Avatar
Build Log

Albatros DVa 54" and introduction

Hi All,

For my first attempt at building a sport scale model I have chosen to do the Aerodromerc Albatros DVa. The reason I have chosen the 54" model is because I like the way bigger models fly as apposed to the 36". I probably should have chosen something with a less complicated fuselage construction but I am a sucker for the DVa and looking at the instructions on line at it looked like I just might manage. Only time will tell I guess. I have also been using the thread as inspration, as well as following as many aerodromerc build threads as I can find because I believe that even if the model is a diffrent one but from the same manufacturer that you can learn a lot about how the designer thinks and how other people go about tackling the problems or difficult situations that normally arise when taking on a project of this size.

Enough background for the model, time for the introduction:
My name is Chris feel free to use it, or my screen name Fooesboy, I am from New Zealand, but have been living in Switzerland for just about 8 years. For quite a long time now I have been obsessed as my wife puts it, with scale models, trying to cram as much detail as I possible can into my 1:48 and 1:24 models of cars, bikes, aircraft, space ships and even a WWII sub! As you can tell my interests are very diverse. You can see one of my models here:
I have been flying model aircrafts for about 2 years with the usual assortment of foam and BARF's, I am still a very shakey pilot but I am improving, I just need more practice. As a teenager I built a number of free flight and control line models.

So on with the build!

I am not going to do a step by step build log because I feel that there is not a lot new that I can offer, instead I will concentrate in the difficult areas and the areas where I choose to deviate from Kurts plans that will be a scale pull-pull system for the elavator, internal mechanism for the rudder (if I can fit it in), working (hinged with bungee) tail skid, some form of cockpit detail, Williams bros Spandau machine guns, dummie radiator (any suggestions here would be appreciated) and a 3 piece upper wing for ease of transport.

There are 2 aeroplanes that I am considering for the markings. If I manage to do a good job with the planking then I quite like the look of DVa 7177/17 from Cpl A. Bartkowiak, with a dark natural wood fuselage and bleached canvas wings, just a nice simple design that won't detract at all from the lines of the Albatros. The other is completely the opposite! DVa 2065/17 flown by R. Flashar from the infamous Jasta 5 with a painted blue-gray fuselage and green tail, green and moave camouflage wings and sporting a big red dragon on the side. My biggest concern for this design is the graphics! They would need to be profesionally made for me.

The kit has been started and photos will follow in the next post!
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May 21, 2007, 05:36 AM
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fooesboy's Avatar
Kurt has designed this kit to use the Mega 22/20/2 w/MEC GB. I have an AXI 2820/10 motor that I would like to use, but I am not sure if this motor will have enough power? I like to fly in a scale like manner, but have enough power to get me out of trouble! Some advise as to the correct motor and battery combo would be a great help at the moment!
May 21, 2007, 06:16 AM
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vintage1's Avatar
Should be plenty. Not a scale prop by any means, but plenty of power on a 10x7 or so. 3s LIPO 3000-4000mAh.
May 21, 2007, 05:29 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Chris ,

Excellent choice . By far my favorite WW1 plane .

Dave Dottneys build is truly an inspiration . ( It's what got me started with balsa builds ) He's got a great B&W video of that one somewhere on here !!

Looking forward toward your progress...

May 21, 2007, 06:32 PM
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2065/17 Was inherited by Hans von Hipple when Flashar received a newer one. Young Hans ended up loosing a bottom wing panel, but was able to get the aircraft down safely though somewhat worse for wear. The fact that he was able to control it at all means it was a D.V and not a D.Va The reason for this is that the D.III and the D.Va ran their aileron control wired through the lower wing panels, while the D.V ran them through the upper wing. Had Hans been flying a D.Va and lost a lower wing panel, he would not have been able to control the machine. von Hipple survived the war and went on to fly Ju.52s in the second unpleasantness.

7177/17 is just lovely in varnished wood and CDL, which I think is the most beautiful finish for aircraft ever devised. Either way you end up going, you'll have a beautiful Albatros for your trouble.

May 22, 2007, 01:19 PM
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dottney's Avatar
Its a wonderful plane to build and fly. Just take the sheeting of the fuse slowly and you should have no problems. I'm going to fly mine with a 3S Vampower 2200 platinum pack now, dropping the weight to 3lb 7oz. I did have to put in a bit of nose weight with the change from Nimh's to Lipos but expect no problems as that's about a one pound drop in weight.
Have fun with it.
May 22, 2007, 03:47 PM
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floss's Avatar
Great looking plane to build, here he is again about to notch up a camel.

May 22, 2007, 04:26 PM
Triplane addict
edi's Avatar
If you are going for a dark wood fuselage, consider dying the wood before you glue on the planks. That way the wood will take the dye more evenly. Black tea isn't a bad choice (never tried it myself, though) and it will make the planking easier when the planks are soaked nicely.
May 22, 2007, 05:13 PM
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dottney's Avatar
I agree with Edi about prestaining. I used Minwax Early American, doing a couple of thin coats to get the right color. I'm not sure what you have available in Switzerland but I'm sure there must be stain available. The plane is then coated with a couple of coats of water based polyurethane. I used this on the fabric areas also to get a consistent finish.
If you look at the photos in my thread you'll see that I sheeted it with a number of pieces just like the actual plane, because of all the curvey transitions I found it impossible to do it with large sheets. I just looked at 3 views and period photos for panel placement.
Go to and choose Alb DV or DVa for lots of schemes
Mark Miller's stuff is really helpful for panels-

Hope this helps,
BTW, The video is off the site that hosted it. I'm not sure if I can put it up here as its pretty large.
May 22, 2007, 05:55 PM
Designing on the edge
AerodromeRC's Avatar
If you would permit me to host it I would be glad to do so on my site.
I can arrange for FTP to our guest video section. It is not formalized like the wonderful one here on RCGroups but I don't have an arbitrary size restriction.

May 22, 2007, 07:50 PM
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dottney's Avatar
Check your email.
May 28, 2007, 03:49 PM
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fooesboy's Avatar
I am just back from a week abroad for work. I ran out of time to post an update before I had to leave, I was too busy working on the Albatros! I want to thank everyone for your support and positive encouragement.

John: I have seen the video, I thought it was very imaginative and it must be said that it did contribute, along with Dave's build thread and all the positive feedback about aerodromerc, to me purchasing this kit.

sperry: Thank you very much for the interesting insight on 2065/17 and the great photos, you have really sold me on this one! So it looks like I won't be needing to practise staining the balsa after all.

Dave: It's nice to know that you are looking in on this build!

Steve: I love the picture, do you know if it is available to purchase anywhere?

Kurt: Thank you for sending the kit so fast, and sorry again for the extra trouble that you went to.


Because I have never worked with a lazer cut kit, I decided to start with the tail feathers to get a feel for it, then onto the lower wings and the fuselage. Everything fitted great, with only a little bit of coaxing to fit the metric sized balsa that is available here. I did have a little bit of trouble lining up the main fuselage side stringers, they ended up being a little (about 5mm) too far forward, I hope that the right thrust and the position of the elevator will still be ok.

The first challenge for me was planning how to make the upper wing in 3 sections for transport. I didn't want to add too much extra weight but I still wanted the wing to be nice and strong (as a teenager I witnessed a glo powered bi-plane fold its wings so I am a little bit cautious!). I have used some telescoping aluminium tubing and a M4 aluminium bolt in each side. I then added some bracing in the outer pannels as I felt that the wing was just a little too flexible in that area.

The last task completed tonight was bonding in the undercarriage blocks.

That's enough words, I'll let the photos fill in the gaps!

May 28, 2007, 09:34 PM
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dottney's Avatar
Looking good. Boy I wish I had a nice window to look out of in my shop, I'm in my dungeon, I mean basement.
May 29, 2007, 03:25 PM
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fooesboy's Avatar


The next thing for me to start thinking about is the placement of the electronics while I still have good access to the inside of the fuselage.

I am planning a trip tomorrow tho my LHS to purchase the battery, receiver, speed controler and some servos. Can anyone recommend the most appropriate servos to use?

Because I have never built, or indeed flown a model of this size, please bear with me if I am asking stupid questions

Should I use digital servos? Metal gears? Ceramic gears? Ball bearings?

For the ailerons I thought that I would use some HS-81's?
For the elevator, I am going to set it up with a scale pull-pull system, and I am not sure if I then need to get a larger (more powerful) servo?
But the biggest question (for me), is for the rudder. I am going to try and make an internal mechanism, but I am ristricted as to the size of the horn (it can only be about 5mm long). Therefore I need to have a very long arm on the servo to give me enough movement and probably high torque as well?

Any input would be great.

Happy building!


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