Fokker DR1

Kit                                   : Fokker Dr-1
Manufacturer                : Revell
   : 1/72
    : Injection moulded
    : Humbrol
    : Evergreen profiles
       : Airwaves AC-7216 WWI Accessories
    : Squadron Signal, Fokker Dr-1 in action.
        : Replic nrs 130
      : Wing Masters 28 en 35. 

During the second week of October, I received a distress call from a man who urgently needed a model of one of the planes used by Freiherr Manfred von Richthofen. The model would be used in an exhibition about von Richthofen held in Wervik (B) in the beginning of November 2003. One of the members of IPMS Ghent had also launched such a call in order to represent the model on the Artevelde Challenge 2003 held on November 29th.

I had a model of a Fokker Dr-1, so, how could I resist? 

The kit
The kit is a Revell one, aged for some years now, entitled “1 out of 3”. It’s an old kit that provides one aircraft and 3 decal options, one of those is for the all red Dr-1 used by the “Red Baron”; more particularly the plane in which he was shot down shortly after obtaining his 80th victory.


The model:
I had this model stacked away for years but it seems that I never had a really good look at it. Detail on the model is fine with texture on the wings provided.

The inside of the cockpit is on the Spartan side and I decided, although you don’t see much of it after finishing, to add inner detail with the help of Evergreen profiles and the Airwaves set. The articles in Wing Masters and Replic were very helpful here. 

First major surprise: the engine. Mostly in 1/72 and with older kits there is a tendency to receive a simple thing, star shaped, and we may be glad if they provided yet some detail to the cylinder heads. But in this case, the cylinder heads are provided and they have even foreseen some of the piping around the cylinders. The whole engine looked far better after a bit of cleaning up, a coat of gunmetal and a dry-brush in matt aluminium. The engine back plate also received matt aluminium. 

Purists will love this kit. On the Dr-1, the front end of the body was made of plywood and this ran from the front in the form of a triangle to the cockpit. It is easy to paint this in wood colour and to paint the rest in linen colour but because you see almost nothing of the interior I decided not to spend my time on this item and only add a bulkhead between cockpit and tail section and a frame made of Evergreen tubing in the cockpit.

I also constructed a floor plate on which I mounted the controls.

The Airwaves set provided seatbelts and a gas handle. A compass and a small meter on the right hand side of the cockpit were made from scratch. The pilot was omitted because this was the worst part of the kit. 

The kit also has some pre made openings for cables and exhaust but there were two exhaust openings and so we had to drill this second one out; all together with other cable openings.

The inner side of the cockpit was painted Clear Doped Linen (H 74), the frame Panzer Grey, instruments and handles matt black. The floor plate was painted wood colour and got a wash with Raw Umber before it was completely dry. I rubbed the Raw Umber open so it could mix with the, still wet, wood colour. The surplus wash can be removed until a good result is achieved. (Tx for the tip Baboon, your Gladiator propeller showed its use) 

The wings show signs of extrusion marks. These must be cleaned up before painting and I used Vallejo Plastic Putty to do so; it’s easier to work with than the Humbrol one. 

Flaps and tail planes received the small pieces to which control cables are attached. On the upper wing there are four small pieces but on tail and rudder I drilled holes in order to put bigger, double, pieces trough. It gives a bit more work but the end result is that the pieces are in one line. 

Meanwhile there had been decided that this Dr-1 would be painted in the colours of one of von Richthofen’s mounts with green body, red upper wing and red tail. Undersides in light blue. The green body is marked with a lot of stripes in different shades of green. This was not a sort of camo but was achieved by the fact that these planes were painted in the field. The colour difference came trough as a result of paint residue in the brushes. 

I first sprayed the lower sides of the wings in Humbrol H65
Light Blue. When dry, these were taped with Tamiya masking tape so body and upper sides of lower and middle wing could be sprayed green Humbrol 30. I took this colour because no other colour references were provided and it looked good compared to a colour picture.

After this, the parts that needed to be painted in red were taped and tail, engine cover, upper wing and wheel hubs received a coat of Humbrol red.

The green striping on body and wings were applied by adding white to the green and brushing them on in the principle of dry-brushing, using a flat brush. Care was to be taken that the paint was not too dry and that the striping was applied in a sort of regular pattern. The striping runs from up to down on the body and from front to back on the wings. 

The parts where decals had to be placed received a coat of gloss varnish, the rest a coat of Klir (Future) 

The fun started in this part. The decals provided by Revell couldn’t be used because they had an other type of Balkenkreuz. However, it could be used to provide the numbers and letters on the sides, in this case Fok. DRI 152/17. A decal sheet in the spares box gave resolution for the crosses with, at first sight, usable crosses. 

Putting on the crosses went good until they were on the wings. Despite the fact that I used decal softener Humbrol decal Cote 1 and 2, they did not stick and I had to use the Daco decal softener. But even this went wrong, they kept falling of and broke so everything had to be done all over again.

This resulted in a search for the holy grail , re new decals. A trip to a specialised model shop in Brussels solved this problem and the new decals were applied the same evening. They were sealed with a coat of gloss varnish. 

The finishing touch
The whole plane received a coat of satin gloss varnish. Cables to rudder and flaps, between wheel struts and wing struts in front of the cockpit were added.

The guns provided in the kit were drilled out and they received a new PE mantled and visors from the Airwaves set. 

An aircraft that had a sudden start but that gave much pleasure in building it. Regarding its age, it still is a good kit with a lot of potential for purists. The only drawback was the fact that I couldn’t use the decals due partly to their age and partly because I wanted another model than provided in the kit.

But most of all, I found pleasure in building aircraft kits again (something that had faded), aircraft with a lot of colours.

Keep ‘m building. 

Erwin Bovyn


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