Author Topic: Special Hobby 1/48 Fokker D.V  (Read 1626 times)

Online Brad Cancian

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Special Hobby 1/48 Fokker D.V
« on: February 15, 2022, 08:39:58 AM »
Special Hobby 1/48 Fokker D.V
Reviewed by Brad Cancian

Item: RSH48118
scale: 1/48
Price: 28.40 Euros direct from Special Hobby

Review kit kindly provided by Special Hobby at

The Fokker D.V

As the Fokker E-type monoplanes became obsolescent at the front during 1916, Fokker sought to follow trends and produce a light and powerful biplane design, capable of competing with light and more manoeuvrable allied designs such as the Nieuport and allied pusher fighters like the DH2. Fokker produced an in-line engine D.I biplane, which was a marginal success. This was followed by the rotary engine D.II, and twin-rotary engined D.III, and another in-lined attempt in the D.IV. Each of these aircraft were based on a similar airframe / wing combination, and were again only a marginal success at the front. Fokker decided with the D.V for a complete redesign, with the same aim to produce a smaller, lighter fighter. Involved in its design was Reinhold Platz, who would later go on to design a number of other highly successful Fokker designs.

Once again equipped with a 110hp Oberursel rotary engine, the D.V made its entrance in September 1916. It had a faceted fuselage side, tapering to an arrowhead side profile at the tail. The aircraft had the characteristic Fokker “comma” rudder and unbalanced fully moving elevators. To give the pilot a better view upwards, the top wing was built with swept wings. The aircraft was manoeuvrable, but because of the engine’s low power, it was not a match for the high-performance Albatros aircraft then coming into service. Accordingly, the majority of aircraft went to training schools, with a few seeing limited action at the front. The D.V had another small lease of life granted to it when it was used as a trainer for pilots to transition to the newer rotary-engined Fokker Dr1 when it entered service in late 1917. A number of D.Vs have also been used by the German Navy.

A total of 216 D.Vs were built.

The Bits and Bobs

Special Hobby’s D.V was first released in 2011, and at the time was another leap ahead in both moulding quality and package presentation over their previous products. Prior to this, options in 1/48 were limited to a hard to find (and equally hard to build) Copper State Models resin kit. The Special Hobby release of this aircraft as a mainstream kit was therefore welcomed at the time.

Firstly, we are blessed with some nice, evocative box art of a D.V and a Sopwith Triplane about to square off against each other:

The kit consists of 53 plastic parts across two sprues, a small acetate windshield, a small sheet of etch, a lovely instruction book, and high-quality decals. Uniquely, it also comes with ‘3D’ decals to represent the stitching under the fuselage. 

Sprue A contains the fuselage halves, struts, Spandau gun, undercarriage parts, and cockpit details. The standout feature here is the subtle and very well executed fabric-over-rib impression of the fuselage exterior. The effect here is very pleasing. Other details are finely executed. There are some large mould release pins on the interior of the fuselage that might be just tucked away out of site, but the fastidious may want to get rid of these. There is also a smattering of mould release pins on the other smaller components. Accordingly, care when removing parts from sprues, and careful clean up of parts, will be required. If you are considering an armed aircraft, the Spandau is a fine representation, but will benefit from an etched jacket. Unfortunately, one isn’t provided on the etched fret.

Sprue B contains the wings, elevators, rudder, cowlings, engine parts, seat, and wheels. Detail here again is nice. The flying surfaces are executed effectively as taught surfaces with wing rib tapes present and some nice, subtle half ribs. This is an excellent interpretation that will work for the vast majority of modellers. Ailerons are moulded with the wing. Wheels are moulded in two halves, which will mean joining and some clean up, but nothing too complex. The engine is a nice representation, but it suffers slightly from a lack of rocker arm detail (likely to fit it into the cowl) and a slightly out of round crank case. As the engine will be tucked away and heavily cowled, and behind a large spinner, the engine should do just fine. Some care again will be needed in removing parts from the sprues; the engine cowling, for example, has some support cross-braces that will need to be carefully removed and cleaned up. The seat is presented as a bucket type seat; the earlier square sided seat found in their Fokker D.II kit may be more accurate.

The etched fret is also nice, and will complement the plastic nicely. Plenty of fine details are provided, including seat belts, bezels, control horns, turnbuckles for rigging, and the plywood aileron hinge covers as seen on some aircraft. Sadly, no Spandau jacket is provided, as noted above.


Special Hobby’s Instructions are comprehensive, and are professionally presented in a full colour booklet. They come with a comprehensive parts breakdown and clear instructions. A rigging diagram is also provided. No complaints here.

Colour schemes for three machines are provided in this boxing. They are all effectively in the ‘standard’ Fokker streaked finish, but they have enough variation to be interesting.

Marking options are:

•   Fokker D.V 2682/16, unidentified Naval unit, 1917
•   Fokker D.V, unknown combat training unit, 1917
•   Fokker D.V 2775/16, Kamf-Einsitzer Schule Warschau, May 1917.

The first two aircraft were armed, whilst the third aircraft was unarmed.


The decals are printed by Aviprint; accordingly, they are very nicely printed with solid colour and excellent register. The decal film looks nice and thin. These should go down nicely. The 3D stitching decals are also interesting and should produce a great effect once laid down.

Accuracy and Buildability

Unfortunately I don’t have the Datafile for this aircraft, so I can’t compare, but if history is anything to go by then Special Hobby will have scaled this kit to be spot on with the Datafile’s 3 view drawings. Without cockpit photographs it is hard to say whether the details are correct here. The seat looks like it could be either the bucket type provided, or the earlier square set seats of the earlier Fokker D Types. The engine is a little light on detail, but it will be well hidden so this isn’t too much of a concern. Omission of an etched Spandau jacket is odd, but there are plenty of replacements around, so this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. It is odd that the wheels are moulded in two halves, but I suspect that this is to account for the (then) lower-pressure moulding technology, and to avoid sink marks in what would be a thicker part. Accordingly, I think that while this might be slightly inconvenient, it is a good choice.

The kit looks like it will be relatively easy to build, but some care will be needed. The parts will require careful removal and clean-up from the sprues. The lower wings are attached to the fuselage sides with small plastic pins; replacing these with drilled metal pins may be a better option. Given the staggered nature of the wings, care will also need to be taken with the lower wings to make sure you get the sweep back correct, otherwise there may be challenges with the upper wing attachment. Deepening the attachment holes may be of benefit here. Care may also be needed with the horizontal stabiliser and rudder attachments; these are simply butt-jointed to the end of the fuselage and may benefit from pinning in some way in order to maintain rigidity and a firm connection. Otherwise, construction looks quite straightforward.


It is wonderful to have a mainstream kit of this relatively obscure but important type. The kit represents a further leap ahead in Special Hobby’s production techniques as they were at the time, and presents an eminently buildable model that will most certainly stand out in the cabinet or competition table. Whilst some care will be required here and there, this is no different to any other kit of this vintage. The modeller will be rewarded with an excellent and well detailed representation of the type straight out of the box. Special Hobby are to be commended for producing such a great package, and I’d recommend adding a couple to your stash (I already have!). Highly recommended.

Our very sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample!
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