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Werner Voss' Albatros DIII colour scheme

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NickForder View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 10:08
Having been given the recently reissued Revell 1/72nd Albatros DIII as a gift I decided to make it, removing as many 'warts' as possible, as Voss' aircraft; transfers for which are included in the kit. 
So, checking various references, I have claims that :
1. the upper wing radiator was in the central position, as with early production aircraft/the upper wing  radiator was offset to starboard
2. the laurel leaves around the swastika did/didn't overlap the fuselage crosses
3. the fuselage swastikas were one of, at least, three different designs
4. the fuselage does/ doesn't have a third red heart on the upper decking (none in the kit transfers)
the upper surfaces of the wings were in a variety of colours, including three different shades of green, two of brown or mauve
5. the fuselage band in front of the white tail was black, green or purple
6. the metal plates on the fuselage, engine cowlings and wheel discs varies in shade of green from RLM Grau to British Racing Green
I know that interpretation of black & white photos is open to revision (e.g. the sudden decision that the cowling of Voss' Dr1 was yellow; although this doesn't explain why the 'eyes' would be painted in white, which is indistinct against a yellow background), but can anyone suggest a 'reliable source' for the most current thinking on the actual scheme used on the aircraft ?
I suppose that I could just paint the aircraft red, but, somehow, that just doesn't really seem to be the point ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grain Kitten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2010 at 22:05
My first quick reference (Bob Pearson's profiles) shows
2. don't overlap
3. white swastika
4. Third heart present
5 Red band ! and red spinner
6 a grey green
As with all WW1 colour schemes, unless you can find a photo you can't be sure of shapes, and colours are anybodys guess unless there is a primary source such as a intelligence rteport written on a  captured aircraft, and even then you're interpreting something written by someone for whom the colour scheme was probably not his main concern.
the Di-DIII Profile shows
1. central
2. don't
3. white
4. third heart added later
5 no band
6. pale grey

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JackFlash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2012 at 14:40
There were two Alb. D.III aircraft that Voss flew with similar markings.
The  term "Wearing a Prussian Front" is a comment alluding to the fact pilots would rather wear the Prussian awards than those of the minor states in Germany.  These were usually Black and white enameling on gold and silver.  Jasta Boelcke's markings on their Albatros fighters were a white tail with black trim.  I did the machines of Voss & Ltn Frommherz

In my research, if you plan to do the 1/48 Eduard version in the Profipack #8035 kit;
1. From the drawings Ltn. Werner Voss’ Albatros D.III seems to be a combination of two machines.  There is some good current research that says there were two different machines that were marked similarly. He was assigned his first Albatros D.III from the first production series (D.1910/16 - 2200/16) in the early spring 1917 while serving with Jasta 2 (Boelcke.)  The upper surface camouflage was three colour. Cowling and spinner were the factory colour of grey green. The pilot’s step was rounded at the top. The radiator was centered on the upper surface of the top wing.  Quite possibly the spinner was black  here.
His second machine was from the third production series ( D.750/17 - 799/17.) If this machine was already  with him when he transferred to Jasta 5 it had not been given these personal markings yet. There are a series of photos with this machine in a tails up position ( The radiator is seen offset to the right of center and so the plumbing was now not directly centered in front of the pilot.) and Ltn. Voss standing on a ladder painting the white of the Haken Kreuz and heart border on the pilot’s left side.  The spinner (and later the wheel covers) on this machine were probably red in colour as this was the Jasta 5 unit marking at the time. The upper surface camouflage was two colour.   The cowling ring had five small intake vents behind the propeller.  This was typical for aircraft in this series and the reason we know it to be a later machine than the first. The pilot’s step was square. The radiator was offset to the right of center and so the plumbing was now not directly centered in front of the pilot. This later machine may also possibly with him when he transferred to temporary commands of Jasta 5, 14 & 29 during the spring and early summer months of 1917.
Though holder of the “Blue Max” (Orden Pour le Merite) he had overstepped his chain of command at Jasta 2 and written complaints about his commander, Hauptmann Walz to Armee headquarters.  This series of transfers were meant to teach the young reserve leutnant what command means and even a hero needs to understand he has his limitations.
Ltn. des. Res. Werner Voss service record;
Arrived from AFP 1 to Jasta 2 (Boelcke) on 25 Nov 1916.  
On 7April 1917 he went on leave. 
On 5 May 1917 he returned from Leave
On 20 May 1917 he was transferred to  Jasta 5 as temporary commander.
On 10 June 1917 he was relieved of command for the new permanent commander.
On 2 July 1917 he was transferred from Jasta 5 to temporary command of Jasta 29.
On 6 July 1917 he was relieved of command and transferred to temporary command of  Jasta 14.
On 30 July 1917 he was relieved of command and transferred to command of Jasta 10.
On 23 Sept 1917 he was KIA flying F.I 103/17 with a total of 48 aerial victories.
One may ask why so many identical markings on these two machines?  We know from interviews with Voss’ former mechanic Gefr. Timm (done by historian A. Imrie)  that Voss thought the  “...Haken Kreuz mit laurels scheme was still too plain. So the heart was added...”  As of this writing we don’t know for sure but the answer may come from a  regimental moto.  “How do they fight?...With heart, a victor’s  luck and an iron will.” The national insignia of course being the “Iron Cross.”  Ltn. Voss’ former cavalry unit was the Westphalian 11th Hussars. Research continues in the arena.
The correct size fin / rudder unbordered / plain black crosses are taken from an Aeromaster sheet on Albatros fighters. Otherwise the kit decals were used. The heart motif for the fuselage spine is too large and should be the same as the ones on the fuselage sides. Even those could have been a little smaller. Having three of these kits I had plenty of decals. This heart on the fuselage spine was meant to draw fire away from the cockpit.  The “Haken kreuz mit laurels” is a little wide but can be used.
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