Author Topic: Eduard 1/48 Fokker D.VII (OAW)  (Read 692 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Eduard 1/48 Fokker D.VII (OAW)
« on: December 10, 2023, 08:27:24 AM »
Eduard 1/48 Fokker D.VII (OAW) ProfiPACK Edition

Kit reviewed by Zac Yates, build review by Brad Cancian

Scale: 1/48
Item #: 8136
Price: US$39.95 direct from Eduard. Also available through quality hobby retailers worldwide.
Contents: five plastic sprues, one fret of painted photo-etch, one sheet of pre-cut masks; six decal options.

To quote from my fellow reviewer Brad Cancian in his 2021 review of Eduard’s 1/72 D.VII OAW kit: “Little needs to be said for the history of the Fokker D.VII. It is likely the most famous German fighter of the First World War, save perhaps its stablemate, the Fokker Dr.1. Introduced into service in early May 1918, it proved to be a powerful and manoeuvrable aircraft, famously known to make a bad pilot good and a good pilot exceptional. Though it entered service just weeks after the death of Manfred Von Ricthofen, the “Red Baron”, it was flown by many famous late war aces; Udet, Lorerzer, Loewenhardt, Baumer, Buchner, Goering, and many more. Though never built in enough numbers to fully equip the German fighter squadrons, it none the less saw widespread service at the front. It was mass-produced by the parent Fokker firm, as well as the Albatros and OAW firms. The Austrian firm MAG also produced the type. These firms each had their own unique construction points of differentiation, most notably in the different styles of cowling louvers / arrangements, and the differences in Lozenge (4 versus 5 colour). The aircraft fought through to the end of the war, and it also saw service post war in a number of different guises.”

CAPTION: Ernst Udet (at the time an Oberleutnant) with a Fokker DVII bearing his distinguishing mark 'LO'. (Photo courtesy the Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons)

A subsidiary of Albatros Flugzeugwerke, the aforementioned OAW (Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke) built the D.VII at its factory in Schneidemühl (now named Piła and part of modern Poland) as the Fokker D.VII (OAW). These aircraft were delivered with distinctive mauve and green splotches on the cowling, and OAW’s design team improved the axle wing by splitting it into two halves for ease of maintenance. Less obvious differences concerned the engine cowlings as some inspection panels were in different locations and there were more, differently sized cooling louvres. This meant that some parts could not be swapped between D.VIIs built by OAW and those from other factories, including Albatros.

Research at The Aerofile suggests that of the around 3000 D.VIIs manufactured about one third were built by OAW. Seven Fokker D.VIIs survive around the world today and it seems (based on this reviewer’s research) that the Royal Air Force Museum’s example at Hendon is the sole survivor of the OAW batch.

CAPTION: The RAF Museum’s Fokker D.VII (OAW) 8417/18 shows the green and mauve cowling splotches unique to machines built at Schneidemühl. (Photo by Hugh Llewelyn, used under Creative Commons)

Eduard’s model
When Eduard first released their 1/48 Fokker D.VII kit in 2005 it immediately rendered all other offerings obsolete. In the intervening 18 years it has been reissued thirteen times in every boxing imaginable, from the premium Royal Class three-pack (2006) to the bare-bones Overtrees (2020) and everything in-between. Seemingly every wartime version of the type has been covered, including those built by the Austro-Hungarian firm MÁG (Magyar Általános Gépgyár), which only built about 50 examples.

Accordingly this is not the first boxing to focus on the OAW-built D.VIIs: in fact this variant was the subject of the first kit! The last release of the kit with decals was in 2016 – again an OAW boxing – so Great War modellers the world over must be sighing with relief at being able to buy the kit without resorting to third-party sellers.

The striking art on the top-opening cardboard box shows Ernst Udet’s famous “LO!” attacking a Bréguet 14 with both guns blazing. Inside this ProfiPACK boxing one finds four grey plastic sprues, four decal sheets, a colour photo etch fret, a small sheet of pre-cut masks and a 16-page instruction manual whose cover is dominated by a comprehensive history of the type.

As mentioned in the Background, a key distinguishing feature of the OAW-built D.VIIs was that many inspection panels and cooling louvres were in different places and these are provided for on the PE fret. The instructions provide clear guidance as to which moulded parts must be removed from the fuselage by sanding and where the replacement PE bits go (the aforementioned two-piece axle wing requires the modeller to scribe a line on the kit parts using a PE template and add PE brackets, as opposed to specific plastic parts being supplied). Other PE is provided for seatbelts, the instrument panel (one can choose to use the plastic part instead) and various smaller cockpit items. Photo etch cooling jackets are provided for the twin guns, although quality of the plastic parts will mean that for many modellers these will go unused.

For a kit first released nearly twenty years ago the moulds show no signs of aging at all. This reviewer could not find any flash, short shots or other flaws on the moulding sample. It wasn’t until checking the “family tree” on Scalemates that it was established this wasn’t a brand-new tooling. The Parts diagram shades 12 parts that are not for use, which means the spares box gets two propellers, a set of wheels and two extra fuselages (among other things)! Alternatively those with spare decals can consult the instructions for Eduard’s other boxings on their website and use this kit to make any other variant of D.VII except for the Austro-Daimler-powered MÁG: Eduard’s tooling of this kit means it is almost universal.

The parts themselves are finely detailed, sharply moulded, and have this reviewer wanting to get out the cutters and cement immediately. Sprue gates are small but care will still be needed when trimming smaller and thinner parts such as the many struts, which are of scale thickness. There’s no overscale “hills and valleys” or “muslin cloth” to represent fabric, however the underfuselage stitching seam is supplied as a strip of plastic whose seam lines could prove difficult to remove.

The addition of photo etch adds to the moulded detail of the cockpit, which appears accurately represented (the PE heel plates for under the rudder bar are a particularly nice touch), but the three-piece mount for the seat may prove fiddly for some. Decals are provided for the two dividers behind the pilot, as are three instrument faces.

A small kabuki-type tape sheet is provided with pre-cut masks for wheels, elevators and rudder. Only the wheel masks are called out in the instructions for use in this build. Their use is covered in the final construction step, which also shows the minimal rigging of 16 threads.

The 16 page manual is typically comprehensive, covers construction of the kit over some 37 steps, illustrated throughout in black and white but colour callouts given in Gunze and sometimes Mission Models paints. Each time a markings option requires a different part to be added or removed it’s clearly noted in the instructions: for example Marking B requires the top cowling to be removed on each fuselage half and this part is shown in red for clarity.

The kit features six marking options, all with four-color Vierfarbiger lozenge camouflage (which is recommended to be applied before the guns and upper wings are fitted) on the wings and each given a full paragraph about the pilot and colour scheme:

1.   Lt. Ernst Udet, Jasta 4, Beugneux-Cramoiselles Airfield, France, June 1918. This classic machine features red fuselage and black nose, and a distinctive red-and-white striped top wing which must be masked by the builder (the lower wings use lozenge). The diagonal white stripe for the empennage is, however, provided as a decal. The instructions state that the nose and wheels (the latter depicted here as red) may have been either colour and that "available photos leave the possibility of both these options”.

2.   VzFlgMstr. Franz Mayer, FJ III, Jabbeke, Belgium, September 1918. Mayer’s machine features full lozenge camouflage on both wings, a white fuselage with black diagonal stripes and an unusual yellow fuselage cross (the stripes are helpfully provided as decals), and yellow cowling, horizontal stabilisers and wheels. Black stripes on the elevators are also provided as decals.

3.   Lt. Walter Blume, Jasta 9, Sissone, France, September 1918. This attractive scheme appears simple at first due to the mostly-black fuselage, however it will require some forward planning by the builder as the forward half of the top wing’s upper side is white, as are rectangles on the underside of the lower wing.

4.   Lt. d. R. Kurt Monnington, Jasta 18, Montoy-Flanville, France, August 1918.  This is another distinctive scheme of red and white which is made more challenging by black stripes along the edges of the rear fuselage and empennage. These are labelled with a circled star symbol, which in the Instruction Signs section is explained as “Apply Eduard Mask and paint”. Unfortunately no such mask is included in the kit or listed on Eduard’s website, so it appears the builder will have to make their own.

5.   Uffz. Alfred Bäder, Jasta 65, Tichémont, France, November 1918. This is yet another distinctive scheme with intricate art across each fuselage half of “The Seven Swabians” from a fairytale by the Grimm brothers. This aircraft has a grey fuselage, maroon nose and full lozenge wings.

6.   Lt. d. R. Hans Besser, Jasta 12, Chéry-les-Pouilly, France, August 1918. The final option also features full lozenge wings, a white nose and blue fuselage with – of all things – a broomstick on each side! The instructions explain that Besser’s comrades used the saying “Beser ist Besser” (“broom is better”) when referring to his aircraft thanks to the curious choice of personal marking and the play on words with his surname.

The decals come on three large sheets and one small, separately packaged errata sheet (replacing decals L18 and L19 as the originals featured a too-large curve for the top wing cutout above the pilot). They are all of the new type where the carrier film may be removed or left in place as per the builder’s wishes, but the instructions do not mention this anywhere.

The decals themselves are of typically high quality: in register, appearing opaque on the sheet, and the colours are bright and vibrant where needed. There are enough fuselage and wing crosses to be used on other projects, and smaller decals are quite readable without using a magnifying lens. The lozenge camouflage colours look to be accurate and thankfully are free of the linen weave texture effect in vogue among some manufacturers at the time of writing.

There are one and a half sheets of pink and blue rib tape provided, including the choice of multi-part or complete surrounds for the ailerons, and a full page of the instructions is dedicated to their application. Each rib tape is marked with an alternate so the modeller can choose whether to use pink or blue tapes, but only the latter is depicted on the colour scheme drawings. It is frustrating to not have any explanation provided, leaving the modeller to do their own research, when other colour variations on individual aircraft are clearly explained.

The sheer amount of crisply detailed plastic and decal one gets for the purchase price makes this kit good value for money and a must-buy for anyone wanting this classic type in their collection. Earlier it was written the release of this kit made all other 1/48 D.VIIs obsolete and this remains true, but given Eduard’s recent replacement of their original Sopwith Camel in this scale with an all-new tooling one wonders how far behind an even better D.VII may be…

Highly recommended.

Build Review!
By Brad Cancian

As an addition to Zac’s review above, I have built this particular version of the kit about 10 years ago, and offer some build comments here for those who haven’t tackled one of these kits before.

I deliberately built this kit straight out of the box, with no additions save some rigging wires. Starting with the interior, we get a comprehensive layout, including a nice seat, instrument panel, throttle, and other details. Be aware that the interior cockpit sides have the rigging wires moulded into the fuselage halves, which means some care may be needed when placing the interior lozenge decals over the top. You may wish to consider carefully removing these and applying rigging after decal application.

Otherwise, the interior parts fit nicely within the fuselage halves. This means that the fuselage closed up without the need for filler. This is helped by the under-fuselage stitching being a separate piece (C21), however as Zac notes, purists may wish to sand this area flat and add aftermarket stitching for accuracy.

The wings and flying surfaces fit well to the fuselage, again no filler was needed. Control surfaces are poseable, which is nice, but be careful whilst handling the model as these can easily be bent. Watch also for the bracing under the tailplanes (piece C20); this piece is easily bent, and slightly too long, which creates a ‘bowed’ effect at certain angles. Some care during assembly will solve this problem (alas I missed it until after the model was completed).

Care also is needed with the undercarriage legs, which are single struts. Thankfully the pins are designed to achieve the approximate correct alignment, but again, test fit here whilst the glue is drying to get the correct angles. 

In terms of upper wing fit, I recollect no real challenges, but a little planning is recommended. Setting the interplane struts (C5) up first, as well as the fixed forward fuselage struts (C30 and C31) is the best approach, with the rear most fuselage struts and additional forward struts (C1, C6, C9 and C15) slotted in once the wing is in place.

All in all, the construction of Eduard’s D.VII series of kits is largely trouble free. Here are some more pictures of my completed build:

The kit presents the best 1/48 replica on the market today. It certainly is a great subject to tackle for those that are weary of rigging and need a break, or who might be trying their hand at 1/48 WW1 modelling for the first time.

It truly is wonderful that Eduard have continued to release this excellent kit – I do highly recommend you add a few to the stash!


(Review sample kindly supplied by Eduard. Please support the businesses that support your Forum.)

« Last Edit: December 11, 2023, 05:51:38 PM by Brad Cancian »
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