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Built Review
Fokker D.VII
‘Grooming the other Clydesdale’
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

Kit History
The Revell 1/28 Fokker D.VII became a hot topic in the recent past. In about 1993 large scale modeler’s began to openly speak about needing a large scale kit of the D.VII. With the release of the ‘Revell’s’ Clydesdale (why do I call them that? Cause their so ‘BIG’) in 1996 some reviews spanked it because of its 1957 inaccuracies. I remember building one for a friend (with modifications) in about 2 weeks.

The Kit
65 plastic pieces
01 decal profile
28 step exploded view & 1 plan view

At this writing the best available large scale Clydesdale is from Revell. Typically this is a mainstream high production mold with a good fit to all parts straight off from tree. Yet, it is not as accurate as it could be. That is to say, with just a little alteration it can conform to a very reasonable image of the original. The mold design is typical for large scale kits. Horizontally split wings and one piece horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. The fuselage is vertically split. First understand that the drawings for this kit began with Mr. Joe Nieto of San Antonio Texas in the early 1950's. To accurize this build (may Webster forgive me) I augmented it with some resin pieces, photoetch parts and decal sheets from the old Copper State Models in Phoenix Arizona. So parts will be labeled as PP = plastic parts, R= Resin and PE= photoetch. We will also perform some surgery on the bird.

The build
Step 1. ; First, the fuselage is too wide from behind the cockpit to the sternpost. So to fix this, slice across the spine four equidistant cuts with a Dremel Motortool cutting disk. Next cut a shallow crescent from the spine to the stern post in each half of the fuselage (PP 8 & 21.) The deepest point (1/8 of an inch) should be between the third and fourth cuts in the last section of the spine. These cuts will allow the fuselage to be flexed and narrowed. Next it is also too high/deep so remove the both bottoms of the fuselage halves (PP 8 & 21) from the stern post to the lower wing cutout. This means removing about 3/16 of an inch deep keeping the curved profile intact. Then with the motortool slice into the fuselage sides just above the chin in both halves. Stop before you cut the whole piece away. I scribed a line at the upper cowling panels and remove them from the fuselage. Later you can glue the chin areas and add the replacement bottom of the rear fuselage from plastic sheet stock

For now continue to detail the interior sidewalls of the fuselage halves. My chosen profile was one the front in June 1918. Most photos of these type of machines in the hot summer months of 1918 all had their upper cowling nose panels removed. For a time there was a problem with the summer sun and engine heat cooking off rounds in the ammunition box in flight. This was alleviated with more cooling and vent apertures being added to machines of the later series. Since I intended on displaying the engine, I removed the inset attachment walls for the nose cowlings panels on the forward area of the fuselage halves (PP 8 & 21.) You can erase and replaced the molded cockpit structure in the fuselage halves with painted brass rod sections. Note that the factory printed lozenge pattern fabric used on the Fokker D.VII did show through the interior of the cockpit sides in reverse in lighter shades. The earlier streaked type of Fokker camouflage did not penetrate the fabric in the same way the printed lozenge type did. Simply an dirty-white / lt. cream will suffice as a base colour here.

Step 2. You will need to narrow the cockpit flooring (PP 1) at the sides since you have narrowed the fuselage. Try to dry fit the piece to be accurate. Next the rudder control assembly needs to have the rudder bar (PP 2) attached to a scratchbuilt support column that runs from the ammo box (that I scratchbuilt under PP 10.) The rudder bar pin is inset in the floor to simulate attachment to the control column’s horizontal axis on the floor board (PP 1) at its forward end and then the cable attachment rings are added to the rudder bar. Set the rudder control assembly and control column (PP 4) to the desired position to compliment the attitude you have chosen for the ailerons, elevators and rudder. Scratch build an aileron control “V” for cables and attach the “V” at the front end of control and cockpit floor assembly.

Step 3. The seat (PP 7) and its supports (PP 6) are out of scale thickness. I recommend that you trim down the inside surfaces of the seat and replace the supports with bent brass rod. The seat back was covered in fabric that was held by attaching it to eyelets in the seat’s outer rim. As parachutes came into use the seat was made deeper to accommodate the chute pack as a cushion. In the cockpit rear bulkhead /screen (PP 5) pre-drill holes for rudder control cables to be added later. This item will have to be sized down slightly around its perimeter to fit well. Whatever the fuselage covering use the same covering on the rear cockpit screen (PP 5.) In the case of streaked camouflage I go with plain off white. For the rest I would normally choose 4 or 5 colour lozenge. Copper State Models has a special decal packet available incase you want one entirely in 4 colour lozenge. The molded in ‘lap and shoulder harness’ need to be removed and then scratchbuilt. I turned to the ‘Copper State Models Fokker D.VII ‘ detail set #123 and using its harness buckles with thin strips of plain brass I would drape the ends over the seat or have them hang out over the cockpit rim after assembly of fuselage halves. Since your alteration to the fuselage will ultimately narrow the fuselage, you will have to narrow the rear bulkhead /screen also.

Step 4. Tells you to add the cockpit floor assembly, the bulkhead /seat assembly and the tail skid (PP 9.) Before adding them in place dry fit these items. Consider how you want this machine to be ultimately displayed then make sure your controls will compliment the attitude of your control surfaces. Finish any internal rigging that you had planned on.

Step 5. The kit’s instrument panel (PP 11) is typical of the “Albatros Johannistahl built ” versions and has two fuel gauges that are recognizable items. I will usually scratchbuild this and paint "Fokker Schwerin" company instrument panels black and all others give a varnished wood look. In this case I stuck with a plain wood look. I also add a tachometer dial to the machine gun rear brace. If you choose to do the kit instrument panel (PP 11) don’t use the other openings for gauges. The furthest right circular opening should house the water pump greaser. The furthest left circular opening has a small flip lever. Add a hand crank type handle to magneto, also flip levers to fuel and air controls on he right side. Check your references.

Step 6. Adds the firewall (PP 12) and the ammo box/ instrument panel assembly.

Step 7. The BMW IIIa type kit item is needed to do some profiles. But from what we know now, it is not the engine we need for ‘Du doch nicht!!’ Truthfully, most people won’t know the difference. I decided to try my hand at altering the kit BMW IIIa 185hp to the Mercedes D.IIIav 200hp version. Since I knew was going with a conversion here I took a careful look at the cylinder bank (PP 14) I determined I wanted to add about 0.040thou to the bottom of each cylinder. You will need to add a corresponding section to the bottom of the water tower/ magneto housing at the rear of the cylinder bank. The cylinder jackets themselves were the color of blued metal. The air induction pipes (PP 15) were unified where the Mercedes was divided. So I removed the center vertical tube and the connection between the #3 & #4 ports. The scratchbuilt two small cylinders for the base unit. Considering the exhaust system, I am told that there were at least six different variations. I will do the early Schwerin version.

Step 8. Simply shows the kit exhaust(PP 16)assembly from the pilot’s right. Also simplified versions of the sparkplug wires (PP 13a X2) and their attachment to the mags.

Step 9. My greatest compromise in this build is the crank case (PP 17-19) I left it without modifications. While I have discussed the visual difference in the early Mercedes 160 hp D.III / 170 hp D.IIIa and its progeny the 180hp D.IIIaü before, it bears repeating. ‘Revell’ has their mold of the BMW 185hp using the rockers and springs (PP 20) placed like the early Mercedes D.III 160hp (F1466) and D.IIIa 170hp (F1466a) with the rocker springs centered on the sides of the rocker box covers. On both the D.IIIaü 180hp (F1466aü)and the BMW IIIa.185 hp the springs are located on the forward leading edge of the same box covers. The rest is below the cowling and not readily visible if left closed. The Mercedes D.III 160hp was outclassed by early 1917. The Mercedes D.IIIaü 180hp was the standard engine in both of the Albatros D.Va starting in late 1917 and then the Fokker D.VII in early to mid 1918. Early spring 1918 saw the introduction of the Mercedes D.IIIav 200hp. It was almost identical outwardly to the D.IIIaü 180hp types.

This entailed separating the rocker boxes and camshaft from the upper heads of the cylinders and moving the whole assembly back approximately 1/4 of an inch. Breather ports were added to the oil pan. Rocker springs (PP 20) were removed and replaced with wrapped brass wire. Rocker arms were scratchbuilt from small diameter shaped brass rod. I added a scratchbuilt air pump to the front of the motor and the decompression handle (PP 20a) to the rear of the camshaft (joining the simple tower and the shaft.) Holes drilled for the spark-plugs and ‘GrandtLine’ nuts inserted to resemble the plugs. Around the shaft of the twelve new spark-plugs I wrapped small sections of brass wire. These were joined to another section of rod spanning across both sides of the cylinders to simulate the spark-plug wire conduit. Small sections of wire were then cut and fitted to the magnetos and the rear of these wire conduits. These spark-plug wires were then painted a flat slate grey colour. The Spark-plug connectors themselves were painted white. Finally the various external plumbing sections were added using various diameter brass rod sections cut and fitted into pre-drilled holes. Painted with ‘Metalizer’ paints and grimed up a bit. When it came to the assembly of the modified cylinder bank and the upper half of the crankcase (PP 19) I added a 0.010 thou slip of sheet plastic to act as a manifold cover between the two. In photos this is the same color as the cylinder water jackets, blued metal.

Next I again varied from the kit instructions as I wanted a more detailed engine compartment. I added the two engine motor mount tubes (one to each side under the motor mount flanges.) These motor mount tubes extended into the back of the kit radiator (PP 24) shell into pre-drilled holes. Careful test fitting of the engine/radiator (PP 24) gave me a tight but good fit of the unit into the engine compartment for permanent attachment. Some sanding will need to be exercised on the radiator (PP 24) shell to get a better fit.

Step 11. Before uniting the fuselage halves add rigging material to the rudder bar and control column through pre-drilled holes in cockpit rear bulkhead as discussed previously. Also you should add the compass and a fuel pressure hand pump to the lower side of the cockpit on fuselage half. I find that [email protected] nickel plated photoetch metal interior sets are great. They often provide just the right pieces to complete the job. Check your references. Now add the replacement for the rear fuselage underside. It should be about 1/16 of an inch thick. You will need to leave the rear section open for the tail skid.

Step 12. I separated the stabilizer - elevators and fin - rudder. Then I cut the horizontal tail unit (PP 22) in half removing about 1/8 an inch from its center. Then I rejoined the halves and added it and vertical unit - rudder and fin (PP 23) are added and squared with the fuselage. I also repositioned the rudder cable openings in the fuselage on both sides.

Step 13. The type of cowling side panels are crucial in determining the parentage of your D.VII. My chosen profile leads me to use early panels with the lesser amount of louvers/vents. The multi- louvered/ vented panels are for later production schemes. Technical indications lead us to believe that these represent machines from production batch 230/18- 376/18. I used the old Copper State Models aftermarket resin cheek cowls and radiator sets. These gems are mastered for CSM by World War I modeling’s sage Peter Leonard of the UK. Since I went with attaching the radiator to the motor mounts and it has already been covered. Simply attach it to the fuselage now.

Step 14. The remaining cockpit and engine support structures can be added using cut and painted sections of brass rod. Check your references.

Step 15-17. The Copper State Models fretted gun jackets can be annealed and wrapped around a wooden dowel to get the shape right. I also replaced the empty belt chutes with bent and blackened brass-rod. The machine gun jacket ends should be opened slightly with a motor tool so it will seat completely on the plastic gun barrels and jacket openings. This is a delicate process so work deliberately and carefully. The completed Spandau machine guns should be painted in semigloss black as all of the outer surfaces were covered in a baked on black enamel on the original. Some highlighting in gun metal colouring maybe appropriate.

Step 18. Stabilizer struts (PP 39 X 2) are added to the underside of the horizontal tail surfaces. Elevator and rudder control horns (PP 40 & 41 X2) can be added to the elevators.

Step 19. Is the rigging diagram for the empennage(tail surfaces.)

Step 20. Discusses the stabilizing wires on the upper surface of the tail unit.

Step 21 & 22. The lower wings can be built straight because of the method of casting the mold. First remove the connection between the upper surface of the lower wings (PP 32.) Since each wing is cast in two pieces (upper & lower) a rigid spar can be built up from wood or plastic. I was successful without adding a spar. By this time I have painted and added decals to most of the surfaces and they are thoroughly dry. Do not add the upper wing half at this point. Also I removed the upper half of the center union bridge in the lower wings (due to the surgery on the fuselage.)

Step 23 & 24. Check the attitude of the step and grab handles. This also seems to be a factor to some extent of determining parentage. (That is, each factory had its specific hallmarks or signatures of their productions.) I built these out of brass as well. Now concerning the cabane (PP 44- 46 X2) the kit items are a very accurate in the cross-section but will need shortening due to the earlier surgery. With careful work they can be brought down to the right lengths. In the end you could go with scratchbuilt brass items. You can begin with brass rod stock or purchase a set of Strutz (the name for Aeroclub’s extruded cross sectioned brass.) Check your references and compare the wing gap using dividers. or even a inexpensive school compass. To bring the assembly together I use children’s Lego blocks to form a jig to keep everything level and square. Then add the scratchbuilt cabane struts. Adding the half moon strut attachment flanges with ‘GrandtLine’ nut heads to the underside of the top wing to the cabane struts is a nice touch as well.

Step 25. Top wing needs work before attachment. From the center rib space in both halves of the top wing (PP 34 & 35) count three full rib spaces out toward the wing tips. Now cut into the surfaces at the outer sides of the last wing rib with a sharp new Xacto #11 blade. Invert the top wing half on a piece of picture frame glass and press it flat. Then add super glue to the cuts and once set add the lower half of the top wing with its cuts and bond it to the top wing half. Now the top wing sag its fixed.
Step 26. Erase the union seams on the axle airfoil (PP 48 & 49.)

Step 27. I replaced the under carriage legs with cut and shaped brass rod. Replace the stabilizer struts with painted brass rod.

Step 28. The kit propellor is the Heine profile and I wanted the Axial. I decided to try one of Martin Digmayer’s fine versions of the ‘Axial’ propeller from Copper State Models. Mr. Digmayer is a master and known for his correct shape and colour laminations. This is the sixth prop I’ve purchased from him. I usually do my own and replace the kit parts with items that I scratch build by laminating layers of light and dark woods and sanding to shape. The process is rather easy and gets easier with each attempt. My usual venue is 1/48 scale and that’s what my blanks (laminated sections of light & dark woods) are set up for. As this build is in 1/28 (3.9 inches) it just made it easier to order it from Copper State Models. The ‘Copper State Models’ prop boss set that I purchased for this build are dead on. You could also add the anemometer (PP 56) {air speed indicator) and add it to the ‘N’ struts if your chosen profile has one. I attached the aileron control horns last.

Step 29. Is the markings map for the kit supplied decals. This is the late model Fokker D.VII OAW type assigned to Leutenant Franz Büchner Commander of Jagdstaffel Nr. 13 in the last months of the war.

My build represents; Technical indications lead us to believe that “Du doch nicht!!’ was from production batch 230/18- 526/18. Check listed references.

Combat Colours #14 The Fokker D.VII by P. Cooksley, Airfix Magazine. Date unknown.
Details & Colours Windsock Intl. Vol.3 #3 Summer 1987.
Fliegertruppen #2 by A.Ferko, Privately Published, Salem Ohio, 1987. (photocopies may be obtained by contacting the University of Texas at Dallas through the special aviation collection.)
Flight Report Cross & Cockade Great Britain, Vol. 2 # 4.
Fokker D.VII Aces of WWI, pt. I by Franks & Van Wyngarden. Osprey pub. 2003.
Fokker D.VII Aces of WWI, pt. II by Franks & Van Wyngarden. Osprey pub. 2004.
Fokker D.VII by Egon Kreuger, Profile Pub. Ltd. 1962.
Fokker D.VII by P. Grosz, Albatros Pub. Ltd, Datafile #9. 1989, 1993, & 1994.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 1 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 1997.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 2 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 2000.
Fokker D.VII Anthology 3 by R.Rimell, Albatros Pub. Ltd. 2002.
Fokker D.VII Kit Survey by R.Rimell, Albatros Ltd. Windsock Vol 13, #4 1997.
Fokker D.VII Covering Practices by Dan-San Abbott, WWI Aero #102, Pp.22-33. 1984.
Fokker D.VII Detail Marking and Finish of Fokker-built D.VII Aircraft by Dan San Abbott, WWI Aero #107, 1985.
Fokker Fighters of WWI by A. Imrie, Osprey, Vintage Warbirds #6 Pp.41-64 1986..
Fokker’s Last Deadly Scourge by M. O’Leary, Air Combat, Pp. 18-26. 1975.
Forgotten Fokker by P Cooksley, Cross & Cockade GB Vol.4, #2,Pp.84-86. 1973.
That Fokker’s an Albatros! By Wally Tripp, WWI Aero, #102 , Pp.14-21. 1984.
Udets Fokker D.VII Fighters by Dan-San Abbott, Windsock Vol.4, Spring 1989.
German Army Air Service in WWI by R.Rimell, Osprey, Vintage Warbirds #2, Photos 42-44, 1985
Germany’s Last Knight of the Air by C. Degelow, William Kimber Pub. London, 1979.
Wings of War by R. Stark, Arms & Armour Press. 1973.

Aftermarket sets

Copper State Models had these detail pieces I used for this build.
#101 Nuts and Bolts.
#102 Prop Bosses
#108 Spandau MG kit.
#113 German Gauge Set.
#123 D.VII Detail Set
#157 Early Fok. D.VII Engine Panels.
#151 4 Color Upper Lozenge.
#152 4 Color Lower Lozenge.
#153 Lt. E. Udet Fok. D.VII markings.
#159 Rounded D.VII Radiator.
Laminated prop Axial type for Fokker D.VII.

Other sets available
#154 Lt. R. Stark Fok. D.VII markings.
#158 Fok. D.VII (OAW) - mid production series, Engine Panels.

When contacting manufacturers and publishers please mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Highs: The only kit in 1/28 of this aircraft type. Over all its a better kit than the BA 1/32 kit.
Lows: Inaccurate drawings plagued the birth of this kit. With the loss of the kit detailing items at Copper State Models closing, the modeler has to work harder.
Verdict: This kit can be a good excercise in sharpening the modelers skills.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: #04761-0389
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  Related Link: Portfolio #5
  PUBLISHED: Sep 05, 2012

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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