The Fokker E.II was the second variant of the German Fokker Eindecker single-seat monoplane fighter aircraft of World War I. The E.II was essentially a Fokker E.I with the 75 kW (100 hp) Oberursel U.I 9-cylinder rotary engine, a close copy of the French Gnôme Monosoupape rotary of the same power output, in place of the E.I's 60 kW (80 hp) Oberursel U.0, but whereas the E.I was simply a M.5K with a 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine gun bolted to it, the E.II was designed with the weapon system integrated with its airframe.
The E.III was basically an E.II fitted with larger, newly designed wings that had a slightly narrower chord of 1.80 meter (70-7/8 in), compared to 1.88 meter (74 in) on the earlier Eindeckers, going back to Fokker's original M.5 monoplane aircraft. The E.III retained the same 75 kW (100 hp) Oberursel U.I engine, and therefore also used the larger diameter "horseshoe" pattern cowling that also mandated the inclusion of the E.II's soffit-like extensions to the sides of the upper nose sheet metalwork, but had a larger 81 l (21.5 gal) drum-shaped main fuel tank just behind the cockpit, which increased the Eindecker's endurance to about 2½ hours; an hour more than the E.II. Most E.IIIs were armed with a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) Spandau LMG 08 machine gun with 500 rounds of ammunition; however, after the failure of the twin-gun Fokker E.IV as a viable successor, some E.IIIs were fitted with twin guns.
Fokker production figures state that 249 E.IIIs were manufactured; however, a number of the 49 E.IIs were upgraded to E.III standard when they were returned to Fokker's Schwerin factory for repairs.
History adapted from the pages
Now moulded in Eduard's familiar grey plastic, this kit is light years ahead of the original E.III released in the ealry '90s when Eduard kits were far more “short run” than they are today. In that kit, all the fine details were left to the photo-etch; in this one they're injected plastic, and how some of them are going to get off the sprues in one piece is something of a challenge to the modeller's skill and patience. The photo-etch parts in this kit are the ones which make the best use of photo-etch's properties; runs of stitching, bolts, engine details and the like.
A set of masks for the windscreen and two frets of photo-etch completes the kit. One fret is pre-coloured and includes seat belts, map, instruments and throttle quadrant, saving some fiddly painting.
Eduard chose the familiar left/right fuselage half breakdown. Each half is complete from nose to tail, and encloses the cockpit framework which must be constructed first. Almost every detail if this aircraft is included, as it will be seen through the comparatively large cockpit opening. The E.II's different-shaped 'cheek' fairing for the starboard side is included as an optional part
The engine is moulded in one piece, with very fine etch push-rods. It is not designed to rotate. Two separate propellers are chosen, but no direction is given as to which should be used. Careful attention to reference photos is necessary. The very long belly stitching will need some care in order to apply straight. Note that part PE24 must be applied first, and then the stitching PE13 applied over it.
The guns are moulded in one piece each, but the Spandau has an optional etched cooling jacket which necessitates some surgery. The Schwarzlose for the Austrian example has some etch detail parts which will improve its looks. The ammunition feed parts have optional etch replacements which are much more to-scale than the plastic parts.
The upper king post may be used as moulded, or the pully for the wing warping cables may be replaced by a folded etch part. A small punched disc may be used to represent the pully sheaf for greater realism.
The wings are moulded in one piece. 4 wings are provided, even though only one of the port wing parts is called for. The starboard wing is optional to account for the differently-shaped cutout to clear the E.II's cheek fairing. No mention is made of the difference in span. Perhaps the E.IIs portrayed in this kit all had long-span wings retrofitted? More research is indicated. It may be possible to cut back the span if it is discovered that the kit subjects had the shorter wings. The rigging placements are shown as small divots in the plastic. If desired, they may be drilled through using a microdrill to allow for simpler rigging running right through the wing. This way, the main rigging may be done using 4 pieces of rigging thread rather than 16.
The tailplanes are moulded in one piece. They may be posed, but are definitely not movable. The torque tube between the tailplanes is very to-scale, meaning that it is quite delicate. Care must be taken not to damage it. The rudder is also one piece. The control horns are photo-etch, and the instructions call to butt-join them. A handy tip is to leave a little stub of brass on them, and drill a corresponding hole in the control surface for them to glue into. This will give them a bit of needed strength.
The D.III's characteristic triangular landing gear framework is well cared for, and should be relatively solid once built. The individual parts look fragile, so one again care ought to be taken
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like an Eindekker.
Decals and Markings
Markings are offered for five war aircraft, all in overall clear doped linnen. No mentiion is made of the field grey colour found in Wingnut Wings painting instructions. It's possible that none of the subject aircraft were painted, or that the paint schemes in the kit were done before research turned up the field grey colouring.
- A. E.II 68/15 flown by Lt Bückmann in late 1915. The aircraft is in overall clear doped linnen with a black and white angled stripe surrounding the fuselage just aft of the fuselage cross. The rudder is overall black;
- 2. E.II 69/15 flown by Lt Kurt von Crailsheim in late 1915. Again in overall clear doped linnin with black/yellow/black/white stripes angled around the fuselage just behind the cockpit.
- 3. E.II serial unknown flown by Vfw Ernst Udet in early 1915. Overall clear doped linnen with a red and white band angled around the rear fuselage. This aircraft also has a cross in the centre of the white band on the fuselage top.
- 4. E.III serial number unknown flown by Leopold Anslinger in the summer of 1916. This is a fairly anonymous aircraft, having no special markings and distinguisned only by the fact that it is quite dirty. This is the first time I've seen a paint shceme specify the amount of weathering a model needs.
- 5. E.III 03.42 K.u.K. Luftfehrtruppen in 1915/16. Again this is a fairly anonymous colour scheme, and the aircraft is distinguished only by the Austrian gun. This scheme does not get a full 3-view drawing, and the side profile is hiding on the bottom of the instructions' cover page.
The instructions are available in PDF form
on Eduard's website.
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