First Look Review
Austro-Hung. Aviation units
Luftfahrruppe, Fliks 62 -71
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]


If I were to say K.u.K. Luftfahrruppe, Fliks 62 -71 there may not be many that understand my subject matter. The Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops (Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen or K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen) was the air service of the Dual monarchy Austrian-Hungarian Empire until the Kingdom’s demise in 1918. These units saw combat on both the Eastern Front and Italian Front during World War I. Despite being much smaller it was as technologically advanced as the German or British air forces but did not have the factories to meet their rising needs.

By 19 June 1917, the situation had deteriorated to the point where an Italian attack force of 61 bombers and 84 escorting planes was opposed by an Austro-Hungarian defense of only 3 fighters and 23 two-seaters. Within two months, the Luftfahrtruppen found itself facing over 200 enemy aircraft every day. Much of this was due to four squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps to augment the Italian fighter force in the wake of the Battle of Caporetto. Then, when winter came on, shortages of coal and other crucial supplies further hampered production for the Empire's Air Service.

Austro-Hungarian plans for 1918 called for ramping up its aerial force to 100 squadrons containing 1,000 pilots. Production climbed to 2,378 aircraft for the year. However, withdrawal of German air units to fight in France worsened the Austro-Hungarian's shortage of aircraft. By June 1918, the Luftfahrtruppen's strength peaked at 77 Fliks; only 16 were fighter squadrons. By 26 October, a fighter mass of some 400 Italian, British, and French airplanes attacked in the air even as Italian ground forces pushed for victory. The depleted Austro-Hungarians could only launch 29 airplanes in opposition. The local armistice on 3 November 1918 was the effective end of the Luftfahrtruppen, as its parent nation passed into history.

The company

"Americal / Gryphon decals is (was)a small company dedicated to providing quality decals for serious modellers, especially those of aircraft of the Great War period, 1914-18. Our production is small, specialized and cost- and labor-intensive. We strive to produce the most historically accurate products that our extensive research will permit." They closed in 2003.

Americal / Gryphon under Dr. Glen Merrill of Houston TX was for many years the best friend of the WWI aviation modeler in search of fresh or unique liveries. The big companies just did not care and the cottage industry boys were doing their dead level best just to punch out resin or lower pressure injection kits with minimal decals. His list of available decals was lengthy and it was before websites. The Austro -Hungarian sets were a real joy to have for anyone interested in the subject.

Bag contents

16 page instruction booklet providing historical notes on 17 aircraft.
01 decal sheet. It contains serials, crosses and markings for 17 aircraft.
Though there were not enough crosses to do all airframes. Those came in other available sheets.

The decals are typical waterslide types that used paint rather than inks. A silk screen method that was used tended to create jagged micro edges that needed to be cut away. All the ones I used were completely compliant with compund curves, Especially so with Micro Sol & Set. At first they appear slightly too thick but they settle down nicely. I have added a selected image of a typical decal profile from the booklet at right.

When contacting manufacturers and publishers PLEASE mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Highs: Wide variety of markings for single and two seater airframes.
Lows: Out of production. A silk screen method that was used tended to create jagged micro edges that needed to be cut away.
Verdict: If you can find these get them.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: #136
  Suggested Retail: $11.00 originally
  Related Link: Decal list
  PUBLISHED: Nov 07, 2011

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


A very handsome set Stephen – Thank You for posting! Mikael
NOV 06, 2011 - 09:24 PM
By the way did you notice that the Americal Gryphon set carries the black & white band of stripes that the Eduard 1:48 253 series Profipack #8242 does not. The profile at right below. Eduard decals.
NOV 08, 2011 - 06:55 AM

Click image to enlarge
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