1:32 Fokker D.VII (OAW) from Wingnut Wings

1:32 Fokker D.VII (OAW)
Wingnut Wings
Catalogue # 32030
Available from Wingnut Wings for $79.00 USD* with FREE Worldwide shipping.

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Well, if you can read this, the world didn't end!

History of the Fokker D.VII (OAW).

By early 1918 the Allies had succeeded in commanding a dramatic and overwhelming leap forward in air supremacy over their opponents. The SE.5a,  Spad 13 and the mighty Sopwith Camels were completely dominating the challenge of the Albatros D.Va, Pfalz D.IIIa and Fokker Dr.1 Triplanes. Jasta pilots were in need of a machine to help turn the tide and they needed something that would be available in large numbers.

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Step forward the Fokker D.VII which today is recognised as the greatest German fighter aircraft of them all to have been developed during the Great War. At last the Jasta pilots had an aircraft they could engage their opponents with, not just on equal terms, but on a footing that would regain them that superior edge. Initially, not without its fair share of problems and faults the D.VII was soon destined to become such a massive success and proved so popular with the pilots and hierarchy that the German high command ordered that it be produced in even larger numbers under licence by Albatros at their Johannisthal (Alb) and Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) factories.

A new era in the sky's where these brave and proud pilots from both sides of the conflict fought for victory was now under way....

Wingnut Wings have developed a very likeable strategy which manages to keep its masses of loyal followers like myself guessing as to what might be their next subject for release. You only have to look on any of the related modelling sites and the guessing game we enjoy greatly is rife. Of course sooner or later our old friend the 'law of averages' will appear and the right subject will indeed be revealed as one from the list correctly guessed........... in this case it is the turn of the Fokker D.VII.

However, what few if indeed any would have guessed was the simultaneous release of no less than THREE variants of this most iconic of  aircraft. I feel confident in saying this gem of an announcement came out of the blue and would have caught the vast majority of us well and truly 'off guard'

Today then we are thrilled to bring you our eagerly awaited and much anticipated review of the Fokker D.VII (OAW) which has kindly been sent for review from our good friends at Wingnut Wings......why not get comfortable, enjoy a brief history of this miraculous fighter aircraft and then see what the release has to offer.

First impressions :

The first thing I want to pick up on is the price of this kit as it is something I have heard being discussed. At $79.00 USD  it is $14.00 more than the recent Fockker E.III (Late) that comes in at $65.00 However what you have to take into consideration is the following important and often forgotten factors. Firstly the parts count. The D.VII has an extra 75 parts more than the E.III Secondly the D.VII has a staggering 5 decal sheets compared to just the one of the E.III. Lastly the D.VII instruction booklet is 34 pages compared to just 22 pages of the E.III

I think it fair to say therefore that on this basis alone an extra $14.00 more for the D.VII actually represents superb value for money and more than justifies the price difference.

Moving on........

It would be pretty difficult for anyone in this hobby to not instantly recognise the box that shrouds a Wingnut Wings offering. With its iconic and stylish layout adorning the top and sides of the box I for one would be more than happy for this trusted theme to continue into the foreseeable future. Not only are the contents well protected in these practical lift off top boxes but we also get the added pleasure of them being covered in some truly wonderful art work along with well written and useful text that sets this packaging apart.

The amazingly talented Steve Anderson has thrilled us with his colourful and stunning aviation art on all previous kit releases from WNW and he continues to do so on this occasion. With a scene set on the front of the box depicting the Fokker D.VII  of Willhelm Leusch, Jasta 19 (October 1918) manoeuvring  around a barrage balloon while engaging in a duel with his allied counterpart we are immediately thrust into the subject. Another equally talented aviation artist is Ronny Bar. With a reputation for creating real masterpieces it is a fantastic privilege to be treated to no less than five beautiful full colour plates on one side of this lid. The same plates also adorn the pages of the instruction booklet inside the box.

Do not be surprised if these boxes, even when empty and long after the kit has been built end up being collector items in their own right !

The kit :

Inside of the box each of the 8 grey coloured plastic styrene sprues are sealed and protected in their own individual bags. There are a total of 213 styrene parts, of which 22 are exclusive to this OAW built aircraft. There are also early, mid and late production cowlings enclosed along with 4 different propellers which will cover all possible productions. The tiny single clear sprue, small single photo etch sheet along with a staggering 5 decal sheets to cover 5 possible schemes also get the individually sealed bag treatment. Bonus points straight off for this method as it certainly does go a long way to ensure the pieces arrive undamaged.

Included along with these items we also have the now familiar and highly regarded colour instruction booklet which has proven so popular among modellers with all past releases. Again this is protected in its own cover. Now that we have a general overview lets get down to the real business with a much closer inspection of each of these items on a separate and more detailed basis.

Sprue A :

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There are total of 65 parts on this sprue. 11 of those will not be required in this build.

Much of this sprue is taken up with the cockpit build and includes major items such as cockpit floor, seat, fuel tank, instrumentation panels and dials, Spandau machine gun mounts with magazines, radiator along with front and rear canvas bulkheads. You will need to pay close attention as dependent on which of the schemes you follow will depend on which are the correct parts needed for construction. You will need to decide from the outset which you will follow.

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Detailing is exquisite from the very start. The superb stitching effect around the canvas bulkheads is very noticeable and will indeed show through wonderfully once painted and a wash has been added. The seat cushion is a masterpiece with more crisp detailing while the raised detail on the radiator is simply fantastic. Include close up of  floor, stitching, seat cushion, radiator and instruments.

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Many of the parts are tight to the sprue branches, great care will be needed in removing these. I cannot stress enough just how small and fragile some of these parts are.

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I know from my present WNW build that the best advice I can give here is to have a variety of good quality tools to hand that will assist you in removing these parts as safely and easily as possible. In my case I use new and sharp scalpel blades, a very fine hobby saw for resin and a high quality pair of flush fit sprue cutters. Once these parts are removed they will only require the minimal of clean up.

I should also point out that this theme continues throughout the build and the same attention will need to be given to all sprues to ensure parts remain intact and safe.

 

Sprue B :

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There are a total of 25 parts on this sprue. All of these will be required for this build. Major parts from this sprue include the two fuselage halves, cockpit sides, cabane struts and engine exhausts to name but a few.

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Once more the detailing is very sharp and crisp on all parts. To achieve this level of detail requires many of them to be fragile so please continue with the previous advice regarding removal of these delicate pieces.

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In particular the cockpit sides are incredibly fine and will need extreme care. Once these are in place they will add strength to the previous part of the cockpit build however.

There are call outs and colour CAD pictures in the instruction booklet that show how and where to add bracing and control cables for the cockpit area. No material is included in the kit for these additions but I can recommend both EZ line as a fantastic material for this use.

 

Sprue C (clear parts) :

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There are a total of 2 parts on this sprue, only one will be required. 'Small but perfectly formed' as the saying goes. This best describes what we have with this two piece offering of clear parts. Dependent on which of the schemes you decide to follow will dictate that you use either part C1 or C2.

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Sprue D (X2) :

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There are a total of 21 parts on each of these sprue. All but 3 will be required from each. Wing struts, ailerons, wheels, and the Spandau machine guns are the main features of these two sprues.

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This is where you will have the opportunity of detailing the Spandau guns to a higher quality using the photo etch cooling jackets and sights or sticking with the plastic alternatives. I know which I will opt for, the etch certainly takes things up a notch or two on the detail scale.

Detail on all parts remains high, especially so on the tyre and wheels from these sprue. The manufactures name is even visible on the tyres. Just persevere with the care in removing some of these small and fragile pieces and you will be well rewarded.

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Sprue E :

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There are a total of 48 parts on this sprue, all but 11 of those are required. Dependent on which scheme you have chosen is the factor that will decide which of the four propellers you will need to use, each of them is cast beautifully and with fantastic detail.

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The vast majority of the engine build parts are present on this sprue and beautifully detailed they are. Sump, crankcase, cylinders, rocker boxes, magnetos and alike are all wonderfully represented in glorious casting.

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All you need to do is carry on with the scheme you have been following to decide if it's the Daimler-Mercedes 180hp D.IIIa or the 200hp D.IIIau you need to build.

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There are some breath taking colour photos included in the instruction booklet that will help you detail the engine further should you wish.

Once assembled, painted and a wash added this is going to look like a piece of art in its own right. Be sure to carry on with extreme care when removing all parts.

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Sprue F :

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There are a total of 2 parts on this sprue both of which are required. The two halves of the top wing are carried on this sprue. Rib detail and texture is just wonderful, very crisp and very well defined.

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Wing tip detail and the curvature is simply stunning and which ever of the decals you decide upon to adorn these surfaces will look divine.

 

Sprue H :

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There are a total of 8 parts on this sprue, all but one will be required. The bottom wing parts, tailplane, elevators and cockpit coaming are featured on this sprue. A very small amount of work in the way of drilling out two small 2.5mm holes will be required on the cockpit coaming part.

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Surfaces on the tailplane and wing parts are beautifully replicated in the way of rib detail and texture. Wingtip detail and wing curvature is also superbly captured.

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Again which ever scheme you follow the appropriate decals and or paint scheme will adorn the wings and tailplane beautifully.

 

Sprue J :

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This sprue is specific to the OAW release. There are a total of 22 parts on this sprue, all but five of those are required. Chin cowl, side cowl panels and exhaust cowl panels dominate this sprue with early, mid and late production panels being represented. The axel wing top and bottom halves are also on this sprue.

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You will need to use those cowls that are appropriate to the scheme you have been following to this point in order to maintain the correct build.

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The finesse and detail of these panels is superb, in particular the louvers on the side panels where these have already been opened up for added authenticity. You will however be required to carefully remove a few closed louvers yourself to complete the process. Access hatches and surface detail are equally well defined, the axel wing carries this superb detailing through.

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Summary of plastic parts:

Only the absolute tiniest amount of flash is present on some parts. Seam lines are barely present and what ejector pin marks do exist are in no way detrimental to the build process. Any clean up required is very easily well within the skill range of even the newest of modellers capabilities.

So long as you are careful in removal of parts from their sprue you will encounter no problems whatsoever in working with this kit, it will reward you well.

Photo Etch :

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There are a total of 8 parts on the fret, and all can be used. Included is the four point safety harness with lap belt straps, cooling jackets and sights for both the Spandau machine guns and flash guards for said machine guns. Thin, superbly detailed and just as gorgeous as the plastic parts this small but effective photo etch sheet gives us the chance to add a little extra to the build. The parts included will allow you to super detail the guns should you wish (you have the alternative plastic kit parts) but the flash guards are mandatory.

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Decals :

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We are treated to no less than five options with this kit. Combined with a mixture of colourful and intriguing schemes, the hardest part for you will be deciding which scheme to go with!

The decals themselves look completely stunning, being printed by Cartograph we have come to expect high standards and it is certainly the case again here that we have been well and truly spoilt.

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Sharp, amazingly colourful, in register and with the minimal of carrier film these should go down without any fuss and adorn the model beautifully to finish things off.

Consistency is the name of the game with Cartograph, and when the consistency is set this high we are more than a little happy.

I can say with hand on heart the decals in this kit are THE most vibrant and most wonderfully represented in ANY kit I have ever seen before. Photos just can not do them justice, you have to see these with your own eyes to fully appreciate just how good they are. I would not be exaggerating when I say I was completely dazed by the exquisite quality.

Listed below are the 5 possible schemes included in the box...

  • Fokker D.VII (OAW) 4198/18, Karl Ritscherle, Jasta 60, mid to late 1918 (8 victories)
  • Fokker D.VII (OAW) 4523/18, Rudolf Stark, Jasta 35b, late 1918 (11 victories)
  • Fokker D.VII (OAW) Franz Buchner, Jasta 13, October-November 1918 (40 victories)
  • Fokker D.VII (OAW), Ulrich Neckel, Jasta 6, September-November 1918 (30 victories)
  • Fokker D.VII (OAW), Willhelm Leusch, Jasta 19, October 1918 (5 victories)
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Instruction booklet :

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Something that remains a very prominent and special feature of these delicious Wingnut Wings kits is the amazing attention given over to the instruction booklets that accompany each of their releases. With the quite stunning colour CAD diagrams, the inclusion of black and white photos, the reference and historical data, wonderfully detailed step by step build guide including rigging and control wire details it is pretty much impossible to find any fault with these booklets. On this occasion we are presented with a whopping 34 page A4 size booklet containing all of the information you will need to complete this model in easy to follow and logical sequences. The front cover gives us an introduction from Wingnut Wings own maestro Richard Alexander. Included is a history of the aircraft, its development, its production and its engineering.

Importantly Richard gives sound advice and deploys caution where colour schemes are concerned. Wingnut Wings have been as meticulous as they possibly could be in their research on this subject but as always this particular topic remains contentious among modellers and historians alike. In my book this kind of makes the whole genre all the more interesting and enjoyable. Don't let it be something to weigh you down, instead embrace it and put your own mark on it. The reference material used has thoughtfully been listed at the bottom of the page. Though having it is by no means essential it may well suit some to collate this information to help in making decisions during the build.

If you were to purchase a reference material similar to this with equal quality and content separately I should think it would easily cost you in the region of £15 - £20. Hats off to WNW for including booklets of such quality and style  in their kits, they are worth their weight in gold, make sure you keep yours safe and sound once the build is finished, they are definitely worth keeping.

So what do we think?
The wait is finally over and boy has it been worth the wait. The D.VII represents so much for so many that WNW just had to get this one right. They have done more than that.....they have well and truly nailed it ! Everything and more is as near to perfect as it could be with this latest release. I have no reservations in declaring the fact I am a Wingnut Wings fanatic, however do not allow this to distort the fact that I always treat each of their new offerings with the same unbiased approach as I would any other kit from any other manufacturer. If anything I tend to look harder and deeper inside a WNW kit and scrutinise more than most others.

Having reached the giddy heights WNW have I for one certainly do not want standards to slip. You can rest assured they have not slipped in any way, shape or form with this masterpiece, quite the opposite in fact. The quality of this kit has unbelievably raised the bar once more.  I am more than impressed that WNW have somehow pulled this off to improve their game still further with this delightful D.VII There is something for everyone here. Possibly more importantly than anything else though is that for the 'novice' the D.VII offers one of the easiest ways into taking those first steps of the WWI aircraft genre to date. With rigging being the most feared obstacle to overcome for the novice the D.VII only requires the absolute minimum of attention in this department. This should enable even the most reserved of us the chance to enjoy and relish the opportunity of taking those first steps and building up that all important confidence.

For the more experienced the release offers the chance to represent one of the most highly regarded and importantly historical aircraft of the whole campaign. Full to bursting the kit is swamped in gorgeous detail and will reward anyone building her with many hours of fun and splendour. If you have been wanting to take those first steps into this genre I strongly recommend you go out and buy this kit today. If you are already an established WNW fanatic then you will want......no NEED to do the same, this really is a must have kit.

Very highly recommended.

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With huge thanks to Wingnut Wings for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

Martin Philpott.

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* Wingnut Wings prices are subject to price increases of between 6% and 12% from January 1st 2013.

 

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