by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
HistoryThe Fokker D.VII became Germany’s main production fighter in 1918. Usually matched with the Mercedes D.IIIaü 180 hp engine. It was the variant with the BMW IIIa 185 hp motor that pilots prized ultimately. With few idiosyncracies it was not temperamental and a novice with a little nerve could do well. Contemporary construction using welded metal tubing for the fuselage and wooden wing structures was typical. The secret appeared to be in the Cantilever boxed wing spars and the simple design that eliminated the need for multiple exposed rigging wires. For several reasons the Fokker D.VII is a must have item in the serious collector/modeler’s stable. The lack of rigging is a big plus, the various decal sheets of “cookie-cutter” lozenge, two toned streaked patterns, unit and pilot markings that are available in most scales. References on the subject are also at an all time high.
Kit Contents32011 1/32 Fokker D.VII (Fok.) US$79.00
-211 high quality injection moulded plastic parts.
-includes 19 exclusive parts to build late & early production aircraft made by the Fokker factory in Schwerin.
-8 photo-etched metal detail parts.
-32 page fully illustrated instruction manual.
-6 high quality Cartograf decal sheets with markings for 5 aircraft.
InstructionsThis is the typical quality reference that we have come to expect from WNW kits. The graphics an high quality images give us a monograph that will become a permanent fixture in our reference libraries. The step by step guide is easy to follow in most cases. The captions for the build steps and reference photos give you a good understanding of the subject matter. But one must realize that some subjects are a bit of a guess. Colours are noted for every item in the build. Tamiya, Humbrol and Misterkit model paints are solid references.
The WNW Christmas line-up usually has some fine releases and this year seems their most impressive yet. WNW has done three separate kit issues. One each for Fokker (Schwerin), Albatros (Johannistahl) and OAW (Schneidemuhl) machines. Wingnut Wings has also offered four aftermarket decal sheets to go along with this festive introduction. These will be reviewed in the near future here at Aeroscale.
Kit #32011 represents the Fokker factory -built version and arrives in the WNW typically colourful top opening box, with the sprues, instructions, decals and accessories all individually bagged for protection. The moulding in the review kit is crisp, sharp, clean details and no flash. A close inspection with an optivisor showed a couple of minor sink marks on the underside of the fuselage and on the firewall and will prove easy to clean up. Ejector pin marks are well placed out of sight
The surfaces of the model have finely engraved panel lines, raised detailed fasteners and options for adding servicing ports. The louvres in the side cowling panels are depicted with open slots. The depiction of the fabric covering, in-scale rib tapes on the wings and horizontal stabilizer. There is a very faintly "ballooned" effect on the undersides of the wings to depict the weight of the material on a machine at rest. DML wrongly caught a tremendous amount of flak when they did this to their 1:48 Fokker Dr.I in 1992.
Aeroscale Managing editor Merlin has already noted (and it is worth repeating) a caution that “. . .many of the smaller parts are quite delicate, being moulded as close true-to-scale as possible yet their sprue-attachments are substantial to achieve the crisp level of detail. . .” I recommend using a cutting wheel in using a variable speed motor tool at low revs. to remove any parts to prevent damaging them.
The buildPage 1 First we start with the typical WNW general instructions & colour matches for paint. Note that there are several good decal sheets available now that replicate the contrasting wood grain.
Page 2 We find the parts maps.
Page 3 shows the maps for the six decal sheets and the photoetch fret.
Step 1. The Cockpit.
The flooring (PP A 37) and rudder bar ( PP A 63) lateral pivot rod (PP A 57), control column (PP A 64) auxiliary throttles and the aileron control “vee” horns (PP A 11) come together. The rear cockpit screen (PP A 26) can be painted or decaled. But the decals would be used only if the whole fuselage was to be covered in lozenge. The pilot seat (PP A 38) is attached next with the supports (PP B 21 & 22) added next. Whether the seat was recovered at the front or not from the factory the seat back had eyelets for a fabric covering to be sewn in place. They were either plain or lozenge. As noted the pilot's seat cushion wasn't used if a parachute pack was employed.
The ammunition box (PP A 22 & 23 ) empty belt box (PP A 51 & 52 ), front gun mounts (PP A 2 or 3 or 4 ) Maximal fuel gauge (PP A 8), fuel tank (PP A 41 & 42), fuel tanks spouts (PP A 58) and firewall (PP A 46) come together next. The late Dan San Abbott mentioned that in his studies, firewalls were not installed until about the Fok. D.VII 4300/18.
For those of you that are less familiar with the story, The hot summer months of 1918 manifested a problem with early Fokker D.VII types. Heat build up in the engine compartment and the lack of venting led to the premature cook off of the ammunition stores in-flight. This concerned especially the phosphorous capped tracer rounds. The answer was better air induction to - and venting from the engine compartment.
The first unit to receive the new Fokker D.VII in late April/early May, 1918, was Jasta 10 of the elite Jagdgeschwader I. Their machines were marked with yellow engine cowlings. Ltn. Friedrich Friedrichs came to Jasta 10 on 11 January, 1918 from FAA 264. Here, he achieved his first aerial victory in March, increasing his combat score to 21, including 11 balloons. The destruction of observation balloons would become his specialty. On 15 July, when the ammunition storage exploded in his Fokker. Friedrichs jumped free from the aircraft, but his parachute snagged the tail unit. The parachute was torn off the harness. Ltn. Friedrichs was killed over Arcy at 20.45 hours in Fokker D.VII 309/18. The reason for the ammunition cooking off was attributed to the very hot summer weather and the lack of cooling vents / louvres. The addition of a “firewall” was an attempt to keep the engine heat away from the ammunition storage box. The guns were also raised. This difference is reflected in (PP A 2, 3)the forward gun supports.
Step 2. Cockpit continued.
Reflects alterations that can be done for the side frames (PP B 10 & 11) and the added equipment and the flooring assembly from step 1.
Step 3 Cockpit continued.
This step covers the instrument panel (PP A 39) and its equipment. High quality Cartograf decals for the instrument faces have fine small details. The rear gun mounts are noted and should reflect the same heights as seen in step 1. The final height of the guns was usually a determination that designated the engine as the BMW IIIa motor. It was a taller profile 11/16 of an inch. This says it is possible that profile E was in tended to have a BMW IIIa or had to have one replaced in the field.
Optinal altimeter (PP A 32 or 33) locations are discussed. In many cases smaller altimeters were worn on pilot’s wrists like a modern wrist watch. Though the faces were only slightly larger. Please note that the safety harness straps were in tended only to keep the pilot in the cockpit incase of erratic combat maneuvers. These narrow belts were made of a canvas.
Page 7 Is a very useful set of colour reference images of The Memorial Flight Association's BMW engined replica aircraft cockpit. Please note that WNW do caution against relying on the images too much as some details do not match original production machines.
Note! The inside of fuselage halves (PP B 19 & 13) of profile D (and maybe E ) are lined with a panel of reversed lozenge decal to represent the pattern showing through the rear of the fabric on the original. These appear lighter as the dye did not penetrate the fabric in a distinct manner. See also step 6.
Page 8 This is the general painting and rigging guide for all components assembled to this point.
Step 4 Detailing the engine compartment.
Here we add the engine bearers (PP B 14 & 15) and their secondary supports (PP b 17). Commendably thin and an ingeniously designed as a single unit.
Step 5 Engine.
Wingnut Wings have used their typical “E” sprue for Mercedes D.IIIa 170-5hp, D.IIIaü 180hp / D.IIIav 200hp mouldings, as seen in the WNW Albatros D.V - Va, Pfalz D.XII kits. I recommend solder and brass wire / rod for the plumbing & wires. The red rings around the cylinder water jackets are a direct factory reference to the pistons being domed high compression types. Daimler Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp (rated between 180hp - 200hp). On their Mercedes D. IIIaü 180hp six cylinder inline engine WNW uses ( PP E 4, 8, 11-22, 25-28, 30-33, 36, 42 & 43). Daimler Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp and were generally known by the company as F 1466a. The aircraft engine cylinders are covered by water jackets these are the color of black/blued gun metal. The kit includes the oil filler tubes / vent caps (PP E 17 & 18), oil cycling tube (E 30) and the sparkplug wire conduit tubes (PP E 11 & 15) for both side views of the engine. The water feed line (PP E 42) to the jacketed intake manifold (PP E 33). Captured examples of this motor have labeled it a 200hp type due to the differences between German and British ratings for horsepower.
What you do get in the kit is the water line tubes (sending and receiving) from the water pump to the radiator. You need the oil sending tubes for the resevoir tank and upper & lower casing. This was located on the pilot’s right side of the engine midway and is to be flanked by two flanges. But again you can add these from solder. Note the carburetor set up (E 22) and its orientation. In 1918 the Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp became the standard engine for Fokker D.VII fighters. Many, many Mercedes D. III and IIIa type motors were rebuilt to the D.IIIaü 180hp specifications at the airparks and the main rebuilding facility as the war progressed. That is why some captured examples had motors with the i.d. designation of D.III 160hp cast into their crankcases. This has caused the misconception that the standard 160hp and 170 hp were used in 1918 at a time when they had become obsolete. Often these were referred to as “160hp over compressed engines”. On the Mercedes D. type motors the decompression lever (PP E 12) was at the top of the tower (PP E 26) and employed during engine maintenance & repair. The handle was wood and could be unscrewed. The crank cases that had the generator shelf were normally for wireless equipped machines or heating unit. Only one Fokker D.VII is known to have had a wireless, yet the shelf as a standard option and appears to have been added regardless of airframe application.
Page 11. Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp with a thick type standup air pump before restoration.
Page 12. Mercedes D.IIIaü 200hp with a dual horizontal type air pump after restoration. Captured examples of the Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp motor have labeled it a 200hp type due to the differences between German and British ratings for horsepower. Note on these kit instructions the horizontal dual air pump is mislabeled as “E 27” and should read “B 20”. The horizontal dual pump (E 37) came into use in March of 1918. Add fine wire painted black or white to make spark plug wires.
Step 6. Fuselage.
Note! The inside of fuselage halves (PP B 19 & 13) of profile D (and maybe E ) are lined with a panel of reversed lozenge decal to represent the pattern showing through the rear of the fabric on the original. These appear lighter as the dye did not penetrate the fabric in a distinct manner. Otherwise texured unbleached linen will be appropriate for profiles A-C. Next we add the sub assemblies to the fuselage halves (PP B 9 & 13) and unite them. WNW recommends sealing the fuselage spine joint first. Aeroscale Managing Editor advises it does no harm to reinforce this seam with a strip of stock sheet plastic inside the fuselage to overlap the edges. I strongly agree.
A choice of radiators (PP A 34 or 35), water fillet tubes (PP A 19 or 31), inset faces (PP A 43 or 44) and chin cowls should match the radiator you use. There was a need to create a larger surface for the summer cooling problems, so the early radiator with the narrower center section (PP A 35) gave way to the one with the wide center section (PP A 34) and offset fillet tube (PP A 31).
Step 7. Cockpit forward deck & guns.
Two options are given for the top decking (PP H 1 or 7) ahead of the cockpit, The early version accommodated slight troughs for the low set fretted machine gun muzzles. When the modifications began and the guns were raised the troughs were eliminated. There are no small muzzleflash plates present in this kit.
The pair of LMG 08/15 "Spandau Maxims"(PP D 11 X 2, D 1 X 2) can be attached to alternative "mid" or "low" mounts and are provided in all plastic or you can further detail them with photo etched fretted cooling jackets and sights. The windscreens (PP C 1 or 2 ) should be added last in my opinion. Locations for the separate oil tank (PP A 6 & B 2), empty belt tubes (PP A 12 & 13), fairing (PP A 61) for the fuel gauge (from step 1) and the Oigee optical gun site (PP A 65) are discussed.
Step 8 Engine cowlings.
Three types of engine cowling panels are provided. Two are versions for the early (PP I 1, 2, 4, 5, 18, 19 ) low mounted exhaust and one for the later (PP I 3, 4, 14, 15) high mounted exhausts. Choose the ones appropriate for the profile you are building.
Step 9 Engine cowlings continued.
WNW has detailed their exhausts with weld-seams. The choice in exhausts is of course low or high mounted. Check your profile for the build. One note if you have missed this you will find the radiator half shell is actually moulded to the pilot’s right upper engine cowling (PP I 12). Often this small plate was retained on the radiator shell when the upper engine cowlings (PP I 12 X 2) were removed for summer / fall operations.
Step 10 Under carriage & bottom wings.
The lower wings (PP H 3, 4 & 5) appears adequate for the application Though I wish the spars had run a bit deeper into the lower wing shells. Not just for the added stability but if you wanted to do a bit of battle damage it would make it easier. This is not a flaw mind you. Just my opinion.
The undercarriage assembly has a very stout axle (PP A 30) which, as it does on the original also serves as the mounting for the struts. The Fokker Schwerin wing axle (PP I 9 & 10) was fixed and built around the axle. Other manufacturers (Johannistahl & Schneidemuhl) would design the wing axle as removeable. The wheels (PP D 8 X 2) are detailed with raised letters on the tires and air valves visible behind the separate outer covers (PP D 9 X 2).
Step 11 Tailplane.
The horizontal stabilizer (PP H 2), elevator (PP H 6, D 17 X 2), fin (PP A 56) and rudder (PP A 21, D 17) braces (PP B 23 & 24) Tail skid (PP A 10) and lifting handles (PP D 10 X 2) are all added here.
Step 12 Wings and Cabane struts.
Note the tripod forward cabane struts (PP B 8 & 12) were welded together at their high apex and to help you with that WNW has them as one moulded unit for each side. The “N” shaped wing struts (PP D 2 X 2) are commendably thin & in-scale.
Page 19 As an addition the flash guard tubes (PP D 7 X 2) (PE 3) in my opinion were seen on machines after the problems with the engine compartment over heating issue in the summer months of 1918. This was another measure that was meant to keep tracer rounds from igniting any fuel or oil fumes. Usually only the small muzzle flash plates were seen on early Fokker built airframes.
Top wing & final assembly.
Finely moulded Heine (PP E 1), Axial (PP E 24) and Neindorf (PP E 46) propellers are specified for use in the colour schemes provided . Note the instructions say that they were often replaced with different types in service, so some latitude if you so chose. If you are modeling the aircraft from a specific reference it is good to follow that.
WNW has made attaching the upper wing an easy affair. The main "N" strut slots may have to be opened but dry fit before committing glue. As on the original aircraft, it is the cabane struts that do the load-carrying, with pretty substantial lugs supporting the wing. The forward tripod struts (PP B 8 & 12) are moulded as one unit and should make it easy.
Page 20 Rigging diagram. The attraction for most modelers is the lack of rigging on the Fokker D.VII. A pair of cables run from the fin to the horizontal tail, another pair brace the undercarriage, then there are control cables to add for the ailerons, elevator and rudders. That's it. The instructions include a rigging diagram showing the aircraft from two angles. Note the colours blue and green. Those listed as optional were usually fitted in the field and standardized on later production airframes.
DecalsA. Fokker D.VII 234/18, Ltn. Fredrich ‘Fritz’ Fredrichs, Jasta 10, March-April 1918 (21 victories). This is the same fellow that lost his life while flying D. 309/18. . Ltn. Friedrich Friedrichs came to Jasta 10 on 11 January, 1918 from FAA 264. Here, he achieved his first aerial victory in March, increasing his combat score to 21, including 11 balloons. The destruction of observation balloons would become his specialty. On 15 July, when the ammunition storage exploded in his Fokker. Friedrichs jumped free from the aircraft, but his parachute snagged the tail unit. The parachute was torn off the harness. Ltn. Friedrichs was killed over Arcy at 20.45 hours in Fokker D.VII 309/18.
B. Fokker D.VII 286/18, Vzfw. Willi Gabriel, Jasta 11, June 1918 (11 Victories). Vizefeldwebel = Acting Seargent Willy Gabriel and was born on 31st January 1889, together with his twin brother. Boys were rising in the family of a rich local furniture producer. He started building airplanes before the war, being just 18 years old. In the 1915 he was assigned to the artillery cooperation units. In 1918 he was requested by Wilhelm Reinhard to Jagdgruppe 1 with the posting to Jasta 11 on 17th of May. When Hermann Göring took command of JG I on 6 July 1918, he forbid the experienced pilots to fly on combat missions. On 18th July 1918 Willy Gabriel flew the combat sortie without permission, shooting down four French airplanes. After return from leave on Aug.20th he was grounded, however he once again disobeyed Göring's order and shoot down one more French plane. This action caused him being banished from the service. In total he scored 11 air victories during World War I. During World War II he returned to service. Göring did not forget Gabriel's insubordination in the past years and posted him to the Stuka squadrons, instead the fighters as other Gabriel's colleagues. As one of the results he was promoted “just” to the rank of Hauptmann during this war. He died in Berlin on 1 July 1968.
C. Fokker D.VII 368/18, Ltn. Hans Schultz, Jasta 18, June 1918 (1 victory). Fokker D.VII 368 /18 was an early Schwerin production type flown by Ltn. Hans Schultz of Jasta 18 when he was brought down and made a POW on 6 June 1918 by Lt. C. H. R. Lagesse of 29 sqdn RAF. Given the British capture number G/Br2/14. It was displayed with other captured aircraft in the agriculture hall in Islington. All of which had half or more of their coverings removed to display internal structures to public view for the price of 1 penny. Proceeds went to the RAF Hospital Fund. Eventually after its addition to the display all of the fuselage fabric was taken off this aircraft.
D. Fokker D.VII 4301/18, Ltn. Fritz Oppenhorst, Jasta 71, August-November 1918 (2 victories).
He arrived at Jasta 5 on 30 Oct 1917 and left on 23 Sept. 1918 to serve in Jasta 71. Now there is a bit of a conflict here. On 23 September 1918, von Hippel wrote: "Ltn. Oppenhorst was assigned to Jasta 71 and we are together again . . .We have nicknames for our machines: 'Ede' for Oppenhorst's and 'Lude' for my equipment. The names were originally inscribed on our Pfalz D.XII and they are now carried on the fuselage of our Fokker D.VII (machines)." Greg VanWyngarden says , “The pilot of "Otto" was reportedly Vzfw. Baurose . . . In a well-known line-up shot of all the Jasta 71 Fokkers on Habsheim airfield, 'Otto', 'Ede', and 'Lude' were all placed right next to each other in the line-up (in that order), at the far end of the line-up. I wonder if that was done on purpose?”
E. Fokker D.VII, Early prod. Haupt. Gotthard Sachsenberg, MFJGr 1, October 1918 (31 Victories) Gotthard Sachsenberg (6 December 1891 - 23 August 1961) was a German World War I fighter ace with 31 victoriess who went on to command the Germany’s first naval air wing. In later life, he founded the airline Aero Lloyd, became an anti-Nazi member of the German parliament, and also became a seminal designer of hydrofoils. I recommend anyone interested take time to research his impressive contributions to Naval combat aviation.
DecalsSix sheets! Cartograf, registration is as close to "painted on" as you will see in waterslide decals. It is impressive is the way overlapping markings are grouped as single decals. This is something we have seen on other Carograf sheets and seems to be one of their hallmarks.
Three of the sheets are devoted to lozenge decals, with both 4 and 5 colour patterns. in "cookie cutter" types to make for simpler application. A nice addition is patches of each colour for spot repairs. The colours of the lozenge camouflage decal have been dealt with in past reviews here at Aeroscale and it can be said that they are still good overall and I would include texturing even as they themselves have allowed to be done on their display models.
Production serials of the Fok. D.VII built by Schwerin Fokker Co.
Fok.D.VII 227-229/18 prototypes, V.11 and two V.18 brought up to production standards.
Fok.D.VII 230 to 526/18.Some D.VIIF (BMW IIIa) engines.
Fok.D.VII 4250 to 4449/18. Some D.VIIF (BMW IIIa) engines.
Fok.D.VII 5050 to 5149/18. Some D.VIIF machines.
Fok.D.VII 7604 to 7805/18. some D.VIIF machines.
Fok.D.VII 10347 to 10300/18. 37 made, delivered after 11/11/18.
ReferencesCombat Colours #14 The Fokker D.VII by P. Cooksley, Airfix Magazine. Date unknown.
Details & Colours Windsock Intl. Vol.3 #3 Summer 1987.
Fliegertruppen #2 by A.Ferko, Privately Published, Salem Ohio, 1987. (photocopies may be obtained by contacting the University of Texas at Dallas through the special aviation collection.)
Flight Report Cross & Cockade Great Britain, Vol. 2 # 4.
Fokker D. VII Aces of WWI, pt. I by Franks & Van Wyngarden. Osprey pub. 2003.
Fokker D. VII Aces of WWI, pt. II by Franks & Van Wyngarden. Osprey pub. 2004.
Fokker D.VII by Egon Kreuger, Profile Pub. Ltd. 1962.
Fokker D.VII by P. Grosz, Albatros Pub. Ltd, Datafile #9. 1989, 1993, & 1994.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 1 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 1997.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 2 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 2000.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 3 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 2002.
Fokker D.VII Kit Survey by R.Rimell, Albatros Ltd. Windsock Vol 13, #4 1997.
Fokker D.VII Covering Practices by Dan-San Abbott, WWI Aero #102, Pp.22-33. 1984.
Fokker D.VII Detail Marking and Finish of Fokker-built D.VII Aircraft by Dan San Abbott, WWI Aero #107, 1985.
Fokker Fighters of WWI by A. Imrie, Osprey, Vintage Warbirds #6 Pp.41-64 1986..
Fokker’s Last Deadly Scourge by M. O’Leary, Air Combat, Pp. 18-26. 1975.
Forgotten Fokker by P Cooksley, Cross & Cockade GB Vol.4, #2,Pp.84-86. 1973.
That Fokker’s an Albatros! By Wally Tripp, WWI Aero, #102 , Pp.14-21. 1984.
Udets Fokker D.VII Fighters by Dan-San Abbott, Windsock Vol.4, Spring 1989.
German Army Air Service in WWI by R.Rimell, Osprey, Vintage Warbirds #2, Photos 42-44, 1985
Germany’s Last Knight of the Air by C. Degelow, William Kimber Pub. London, 1979.
Wings of War by R. Stark, Arms & Armour Press. 1973.
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