Revell 1/72 Fokker D.VI
KIT #:
REVIEWER: Stephen Foster
NOTES: Kit Bashed


    The Fokker DVI was a derivative of the Fokker Dr I triplane yet it also had some features in common with the more famous DVII: the fuselage and tail were basically Dr I components while the wings were similar to the DVII except that they had a lower aspect ratio. The machines were to have been powered by 145 hp or 160 hp rotary engines but neither power plant was ready so production models were fitted with copies of 110 hp French Le Rhones. They were armed with two Spandau 0.303 inch machine guns mounted in front of the pilot. The prototype aircraft took part in the Aldershof fighter trials in January and February 1918, following which an order for approximately 60 machines was placed. Only a small number of them saw front line service with Jasta 84 and other units and these were quickly replaced by DVII's and relegated to training duties. The DVI was a very manoeuvrable machine which could hold its own against contemporary Allied types, but the German Air Force had decided to standardise on the DVII and so the potential of the DVI was never fully realised.


     To the best of my knowledge no kit of the Fokker DVI has been released in 1/72 scale by one of the larger manufacturers, which means that if you want one in this scale you will need to convert it from a Fokker Dr I and a Fokker DVII. It happens that A. Wollett did just this and published an article in Airfix Magazine in July 1972, but as this is long out of print and hard to come by I am providing some notes based on his original article and my own model. Mine was made over 35 years ago and followed Wollett's method, but I used the Revell Dr I and Fokker DVII rather than the Airfix Dr I. Today there are a number of Dr I and DVII kits to choose from as a basis for this project - it really depends upon how much you wish to spend. If you decide to use a Roden DVII choose an early variant as the basis for your model. This description is based on the two Revell kits as already explained but the procedures should be easily adaptable to other kits.


      The wings come from the D VII and the top one should have the ailerons cut off before reducing the span by 5/16 inches from both tips and then reshaping them. The aileron cut-outs now need to be extended to take the ailerons, which can the be glued back into place. The centre section cut-out needs to be reshaped and enlarged and the outer strut holes filled and sanded smooth. The bottom wings also have the span reduced by cutting out the centre portion - this should be 1 and 1/16 inches long. This will leave two separate wing halves and these should be filed so that they butt against the fuselage sides.

     The fuselage needs to be lengthened so start by cutting off the rudder and setting it aside for use later. Now add any cockpit detail that you wish - a seat, rudder bar, control column, stringers on the fuselage sides and a bar in front of the pilot's seat are recommended. Instruments were clamped to the bar and to the fuselage stringers and were probably similar to the Dr I. I make my instruments by slicing pieces of plastic rod or stretched sprue which I paint black. When you have assembled the fuselage halves cut out the centre section of the middle wing of the triplane and glue this to the top of the fuselage. Cut a disc of 60 thou card and cement this to the front of the fuselage, and using the fuselage as a plan cut a piece of 40 thou card to fit underneath but make it 3/16 inch longer so that it will extend to the new fuselage length. When you glue this to the fuselage bottom you will also need to fill the cut-out where the lower wing would have been fitted. Add plastic card to the sides of the rear fuselage above the new bottom. On the top of the fuselage add a piece of 30 thou card to the front end of the tailplane cut-out - this should be 3/16 inch wide. Fill any gaps between the card and the fuselage and when both the filler and cement are dry reshape the rear. Fill the holes for the machine guns and struts on the forward part of the fuselage and glue the engine and cowling of the DrI to the new front.

     Fill the cut out at the front of the horizontal tail surface with card and lay the new unit on to the fuselage and mark out the shape of a new cut out to match the new rear fuselage shape. Glue the tail into place when you are ready. The lower wings can also be glued to the fuselage sides ensuring that they are horizontal. Fill any small gaps and rub down.


     I painted my model at this stage as the gap between the wings is small and difficult to access. The colours that I used were based on the example illustrated in K. Munson's Fighters 1914-1919 published by Blandford Books. These were purple and green upper surfaces and blue undersurfaces: I used Humbrol camouflage colours. The crosses were found in the spares box and the letter A came from Letraset dry rub-down transfers. The tyres were light grey and the propellor (which was taken from the D VII), dark wood. The cowling was natural metal (i.e. aluminium). The stripes were black and white.


     Glue the machine guns on to the top of the fuselage and the wing struts to the lower wing. If you lower the top wing carefully you can mark the strut holes where the wing touches the struts. Drill these out and then place a blob of glue on the tops of the wing struts and gently lower the top wing on to them: allow this assembly to dry out thoroughly, making sure that everything is square. To fit the 6 fuselage struts scrape the paint away from the fuselage sides and underside of the top wing where the struts will fit. Then measure with a pair of dividers the lengths of each strut and cut these from either a piece of Contrail strut or Evergreen strip. If you use the latter material shape it to aerofoil section before you glue it into place. Cut four small holes in the fuselage to take the undercarriage legs. Use the stub-wing axle and undercarriage struts from the Dr I and glue the legs to the axle with the longer legs in front. When this is drying and still flexible place the ends of the legs in the holes in the fuselage and glue into place. Allow to dry out thoroughly. The final details can now be added: propellor, rudder, wheels, tail skid, control horns to the control surfaces, and struts under the tailplane. You will also need to add two small handles under the rear fuselage and a step under the cockpit on the port (left) side of the fuselage. The only rigging on this model are the control cables from the control horns around the tail to the fuselage, from the ailerons to the wings, from the fuselage to the top wing and the bracing between the two front undercarriage legs.


   Many modellers do not like conversions, especially biplanes, but this is a relatively simple and effective way of adding rarer models to your collection. This is not a difficult project and because there is so little rigging, it is a good biplane to start with. I had made some conversions before I attempted this and I would readily recommend it to anyone who has experience of super-detailing or has already done a little chopping of plastic. You will then have an unusual and little known aeroplane to add to your collection.

Stephen Foster

January 2014 

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