The designation Fokker F.I was carried in the summer of 1917 by three triplane fighter prototypes designed by Reinhold Platz. Later subsequent triplanes would be better known as the Fokker Dr.I. The aircraft came about as a quick response to the threat of the British Sopwith Triplane which appeared above the front in April 1917 and bettered all the German fighters at the time. The F.I differed from the later Dr.I in the shape of the stabilisers and elevators, as well as in having a smaller aileron area. There also were no wingtip skids that were attached on the Dr.I. It is not exactly clear, what engine powered these machines. Aircraft 103/17 has been historically documented as being powered by a captured Le Rhone from a Nieuport XVII. The Fokker F.I was armed with a pair of synchronized Spandau 7.92mm machine guns. The aircraft featured a high turn and climb rate, but suffered from a lack of speed. Manfred von Richthofen remarked that the 'aircraft climbs like a monkey and turns like the devil'
Eduard’s 1/48 scale Fokker Dr.I first saw the light of day in 2008 and has been released by Revell in red plastic. I think this is the first time the F.I has been released by Eduard in its own right, although the parts to make the prototypes have always been included on the sprues.
The contents of this Weekend F.I include:
-3 x grey plastic sprues
-1 x small sheet of decals
-1 x twelve page A5 instruction booklet.
First impressions are of the quality of the fine detail evident particularly the engine and the machine guns. All the control surfaces are separate so enabling a more interesting look to the finished model by altering their position. However there are some scuffs and a few flow imperfections on the surface of the plastic, more on this later.
The cockpit has around seventeen plastic parts and seven decals including the harnesses for the seat. There are plastic parts representing the tubular frames on the sides of the cockpit, the seat and cushion, the control stick, the rudder pedals, the floor, the compass and a pouch. The instructions would have you painting the interior of the fuselage green, although it may be more likely that it was varnished wood. There are individual decals representing the faces of the instruments, Eduard has kindly provided two decals for each instrument face. Eduard has captured the shape of the fuselage very well. The joint of the lower fuselage is covered by a separate piece of plastic representing the seam. That should save some filling and sanding. The cockpit surround and forward upper fuselage is an additional single piece. The lower and mid wings and the horizontal stabiliser fits into recesses.
The engine itself is one piece with a separate spider of exhaust pipes to attach to the rear. The detail is very good, which is just as well as a lot of it is on view inside the one piece cowl.
The wings themselves are each one piece. Unfortunately on my sample there are some noticeable scratches and in places the surface is a little rough along some plastic flow lines. It should be possible to sand and polish the marks out, but care will be needed not to destroy the fine detail. The single one piece interplane strut fits through the middle wing. As mentioned in the background the stabilisers and elevators differ slightly on the prototype F.I compared to the Dr.I. It is very subtle so pay close attention to the parts map in the instructions. A nice touch is the inclusion of separate horns for all the control surfaces. You may want to attach some scratch built cables between the horns and the control surfaces.
The instructions suggest that there are couple of braces between the cabane struts. A quick look at the images of the two F.I aircraft featured on the Fokker Dr.I.com
website shows a couple more braces between the cabane struts and also on the undercarriage and under the tail plane.
The pair of Spandau 7.92 machine guns looks very good indeed and will certainly benefit from some careful highlighting.
The undercarriage looks pretty straightforward to assemble. The aerofoil around the axle is made up from two parts. The wheels are one piece and each has a small recess for access to the tyre valve.
The decals are Eduards own and look fine. I particularly like the look of the instruments and as mentioned before there are two of each. The colour and definition looks good and there is minimal carrier film.
The instructions look very straightforward, but I would study some of the many build guides on line. Most builders leave the attachment of the upper and lower wings until the parts have been painted. The painting instructions are in colour, and the suggested paint manufactures are Gunze and Mr Metal Color.
There are two marking options:
-Fokker F.I 103/17 (Werk Nummer 1730)
flown by Lt Werner Voss, CO of Jasta 10, Marckebe, Belguim, September 1917.
-Fokker F.I 102/17 (Werk Nummer 1729)
flown by Oblt Kurt Wolff, CO of Jasta 11, Marckebe, Belguim, September 1917.
Eduard still maintains that the aircraft were painted light blue overall, and the upper surfaces and sides were overpainted with dark olive green streaks. It is more likely the green on the upper surfaces was painted over doped linen. Eduard provides you with the option of finishing the F.I as a purely camouflaged machine or you can apply the Jasta colours to the engine cowl and wheel hubs. You also have the choice of applying the stylised face on the front of the engine cowl of both aircraft. The faces are provided as a decal. As always check your references if you want to keep things accurate
This is a fine release of the Fokker F.I from Eduard. If you fancy something a bit different you might think about scratch building the temporary headrest as seen on Fokker F.I 103/17.