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Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'

Encore Models 1/72 Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2013 Manufacturer Encore Models
Subject Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72103 Primary Media Styrene/Resin/PE
Pros Nice kit, great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'
Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'
Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'
Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'
Kosciuszko Albatros 'Cooper'

The Austro-Hungarian engineers at Oeffag took the Albatros D.III design and fixed the problematic lower wing, changed the engine to a more powerful 225hp Austro-Daimler and added some some aerodynamic improvements to the nose and propeller spinner. The result was the S.253 version of the Albatros D.III which was probably the ultimate version of this aircraft. At the end of the war, a number of Albatros D.III S.253s were supplied to the fledgling Polish Air Force to help counter Bolshevik Russian designs on their territory.

Merian Caldwell Cooper was an interesting individual who served in the US Air Service in Europe during WWI and found himself in post-war Poland trying to help that country. He helped to form a joint US-Polish fighter squadron to support the Polish ground forces in detering the Russian incursions. This squadron was equipped with Albatros D.III S.253s and the unit would become the Kosciuszko Squadron that remains an active unit in today's Polish Air Force.

Squadron/MMD has released a new kit in their Encore Models series, this time featuring the Albatros D.III (Oeffag) S.253. As with other kits in their series, they take the plastic from one existing kit with perhaps some updates, add resin, photo-etch, and decals to create the AMS modeler's delight. In this case, Encore starts with the Roden kit who as added the S.253 parts and Encore takes the kit from there.

The model is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a fret of photo-etched details and a set of 14 resin parts. Among the features and options:

  • Detailed Austro-Daimler engine with choice of resin or styrene exhaust stacks
  • Photo-etched seat belt/shoulder harness for the pilot's seat
  • Decals provided for instrument panel
  • Photo-etched wheel spokes for main wheels - resin jig to shape spokes included
  • Nicely illustrated instructions which also covers rigging the wings/airframe

Markings are provided for one example - the aircraft flown by Merian Caldwell Cooper 1919-1920.

This is a nice looking kit that should allow any WWI modeler to have some fun.

My sincere thanks to Squadron/MMD for this review sample!

As a footnote, if you hadn't heard of Merian Caldwell Cooper and his exploits as a pilot, you might have seen another one of his projects that came along a few years later in Hollywood where he conceived, co-produced and co-directed the classic 1933 film 'King Kong'.