by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Fokker Triplane conjures up visions of the Red Barren the famous German pilot from WW1. Due to this, it is not surprising that the Fokker Triplane is available from many different companies and in many scales, in this review we look at a 1/32nd scale offering from Meng models. There is a story within that line as well, in that this model was moulded by Meng for Wingnut Wings who sadly ceased to operate, and so we now see this offering from Meng.
The model is supplied in a cardboard tray, with separate card lid. The offering that I am looking at here, is a limited edition release and provides a very nice resin bust of the Red Barron in 1/10th scale. The contents are individually packed in their own plastic bags, which does a good job of keeping everything together. There are some folder cards included in the packaging, whose purpose I believe are to build a ring binder book. The mouldings are well done, as regards look, feel and function, however, I did have to obtain a new sprue B as one of the wings had a broken part on it, and I was informed by the company that it was a common fault and a new sprue was obtained from Creative Models very quickly.
This model has surprisingly few parts for the scale, but would seem to cover all the essentials required. The cockpit of the model, has some very nice detail present, such as photo etch harnesses and clean mouldings of the floor, back and face of the cockpit, as well as part of the frame of the aircraft that go either side of the cockpit. An aspect of the instructions that I strongly approve of is that painting is covered as you progress and colours are provided by the Meng AK interactive range, and a company called Acrysion. Something else that I approve of, is that some locating holes have to be opened up depending on the variant of the model that you are building, and Meng have supplied, not just the size of the drill required, but also the angle the hole should be drilled at.
The fuselage of the model has a nice texture representing cloth, and on the underside a strip goes along the mating seam which will mean no filling in that location. One thing the modeller will need to be careful of is that there are a number of options, depending on the version being constructed, and I strongly advise that you check which parts you require for your build in advance. The wings of the model are moulded in singular pieces and I have noted a slight bow in each of the wings, which may require correction prior to adding to the model. Each of the three wings has very nicely replicated wooden wing struts and a subtle cloth texture. One attribute that puts a lot of people off of building a multi winged aircraft from World War 1 is the stringing of the wings and the tail unit, fortunately the Dr 1 has a very limited need for strings, but it does raise one of my few complaints about this model, and that is a lack of a guide to string the model.
Moving on to the offensive weapons, there are two very nicely replicated MG 08 machine guns which consist of a plastic main body and barrel, with photo etch heat guard and sight. When it comes to bending the photo etch into a tube I like to place the photo etch on to a malleable surface and then roll metal cylinders over the photo etch, slowly reducing the size of the cylinder until the required size is met. The ammunition feeds and chutes have been well replicated; inside the cockpit flare pistols and ammunition have been provided which finishes off that particular area nicely. The under carriage is basic and fixed, and surprisingly the flight surface between the wheels is one of the few places where it is in two halves.
The engine of the model is a pretty simplistic affair which covers the nine cylinders and electrical harness. The cylinders have separate heads in order to allow good replication of that detail. Once installed on the model and the desired cowling for your model has been chosen, the final choice you have to make is which wooden propeller blade is required and your build is complete.
The decals for the model have been nicely laid out, and from running a finger over them – I believe should not cause any problems with their application. Meng has provided four finishing options which are as follows:
Aircraft of Rittm Manfred von Richthofen, JG1, Deutsche Luftstreikrafte, March 1918
Aircraft of Ltn Werner Voss, Jasta 10, Deutsche Luftstreitkrafte, September 1917
Aircraft of Obit Hermann Goring, Jasta 27, Deutsche Luftstreitkrafte, May 1918
Aircraft of Ltn Walter Gottsch, Jasta 19, Deutsche Luftstreitkrafte, February 1918
This being a limited edition release, the resin bust of Manfred von Richthofen included in the product in 1/10th scale is a nice touch. The head and shoulders have been moulded separately and offer a perfect finish, which with careful painting will make a nice display addition to go with model.
This offering from Meng models, and in effect the swansong of Wingnut wings, is a well designed model, with good attention to detail. I was disappointed not to find a guide to stringing the model, but due to the simplicity of this particular aircraft, finding suitable on line reference is easy. I was initially disappointed to find a damaged part in the box, but then again I was also pleased by the fact that the manufacturer has taken positive action to rectify that situation.