Eduard 1/48 Der Rote Flieger

KIT #: 1136
PRICE: $74.95 SRP
DECALS: Ten options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES:

Contains two kits

HISTORY

 The Man

Manfred Von Richthofen was born into a Prussian aristocratic family located in Silesia which is now part of Poland in May 2, 1892.  As per his upbringing, he became a military cadet and was assigned to the Uhlan Cavalry as part of the 3rd squadron of the 1st West Prussia Regiment.

 

Cavalry proved to be useless against the machine gun so the Uhlans were converted to infantry.  Manfred found this unsatisfactory and soon wanted a transfer to flight school where he learned to be an observer.  This also proved unsatisfactory even though he apparently shot a plane down with his machine gun.

 

By March 1916, he became a pilot flying two seat observation aircraft.  In August 1916, Manfred met the Oswald Boelcke, the man who devised the air to air combat tactics that are still in use today.  Manfred impressed Boelcke enough to be picked by him to become part of Jasta 2.  By then the Albatros scouts were starting to replace the obsolete Fokker Eindeckers in front line units.

 

Soon Manfred started racking up kills (including then top British Ace Lanoe Hawker) and by January 1917, he earned the Blue Max and was given command of Jasta 11 (soon to be known as the Flying Circus.) His most productive time was in the Spring of 1917 (aka Bloody April to the RFC) when he and his unit became the most feared on the Western Front.  He became well known at the time for his all red Albatros DIII (the type he flew the most and got the most kills in.)

 

Manfred was shot down in April 21 1918 by Snoopy, well, more than likely an Aussie Ack Ack unit while flying one of his famous Fokker Dr1s.

 

The Plane

No WW1 plane is more famous than the Fokker Triplane.  It was designed as the German equivalent of the Sopwith Triplane that terrorized German pilots in 1917.  Despite its reputation as a fighter, the Fokker Dr1 was something of a dud as it suffered through many teething problems including poor design/layout which put the pilot at risk of head injury even in a minor crash landing, structural problems including the wing material (!) plus a very low top speed relative to its contemporaries due to the extreme high drag of having three wings.  The one advantage the Dr1 had was exceptional maneuvering but not as exceptional as the Sopwith Triplane due to the fact that the Sopwith had flaps on all three wings unlike the Fokker.  Only 320 or so were produced by mid 1918 but most were replaced with the much better Fokker DVIIs as soon as DVIIs came off the production line.

THE KIT

 

This Dr1 is from the Eduard Dual Combo Kit, Der Rote Flieger (the Red Baron) titled after a German move about the Red Baron and part of the movie cross promotion.  The kit also comes with a Albatross DV kit as well as a Blue Max Replica and resin figures of the Manfred and Lothar Von Richthofen.    The kit comes with PE, wheel masks and many decal options for both the Albatros and Dr 1.

 

The kit parts are very clean with some flash on the trailing edge of the wings and finely detailed.

 

For a more detailed preview of the Dr.1 kit please follow this link.

 

One thing of note is that this particular kit has the extra parts to build the F1 prototype.

CONSTRUCTION

 

Like most if not all of my aircraft models, construction began with the cockpit.  Various interior parts which were painted with Tamiya Desert Yellow and when dry, MM Acryl Burnt Sienna was dry brushed on to produce the wood effect.  When that was dry, several thin coats of Gunze Clear Yellow were airbrushed in to give it the lacquered wood look.  Many of the controls and instrument panel parts were hand painted RLM02 and Sliver as per instructions.

 

Once it was all dry, the PE parts were added to the interior including the seat belts which are the most painful part of the cockpit assembly.

 

The engine was painted using various metallic shades, the PE glued on and installed.  The I really do recommend that you spend some time working on this as the Rhone Rotary engine is a a prominent part of the model.

 

The fuselage bits were glued together and then the seams were filled and sanded.  One thing I really loved about the engineering of this kit was that Eduard designed the model that most of the seams to be hidden away or covered by PE.  The only place I had to sand/fill was the top side of the rear fuselage.  The model was left to sit for a week (if I recall correctly) before the seam was filled and sanded smooth.

 

Another aspect of the this kit that makes it a step about previous Triplane models is that Eduard made the interplane struts for all three wings one piece so that all three wings keep alignment.  That being said, the wing and tail parts were cleaned up but not assembled as there was a lot of painting to do.  At the time the landing gear was assembled.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

Paint

I went with the Red Baronís famous all red Triplane markings.  Various areas were masked off (especially the where the interior framing showed up using 1mm strips of cut tape) and I sprayed on flat white as primer for the red.  I made a mistake painting this plane when I painted the white undercoat.  I should have painted white where the airframe is right up against the fabric and not the gaps in between the framing which I have corrected on my later WW1 builds.

 

For the majority of the plane I used a combination of X-7 Red and Gunze RLM23.  This was done in several thin coats.

 

The wheels were masked of and painted dark grey while the prop was dry brushed in a wood pattern and sprayed with clear yellow.

 

Decals

For the most part the decals went on well, but I goofed on the tail iron crosses and put them at the wrong angle.  It is very noticeable in the photos.  I would have redone them, but I donít have any extras of that particular iron cross style in that size so I was stuck with them.

 

Weathering

I did some minor weathering along the wheels and that was pretty much it.  I assumed that someone as meticulous and fussy as the Red Baron would expect his plane to be the same way.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 

The machine guns were modified with Eduard PE (using CA glue), painted and glued in.  I have to admit the PE really does make the Spandau MGs look very good.  The Dr 1ís guns were much better as Eduard supplied plastic guns designed to take the PE jackets which made things much easier to assemble and better looking.

 

The wings, struts and landing gear were glued in place.  At this point I suffered some clumsy stupidity and dropped it on the ground.  The model for the most part was intact except that on impact a couple of the landing gear struts were broken.  To say I was not very happy would be an understatement.  I tried to repair the landing gear, but I could not.  Instead of stomping on it in a hissy fit, I boxed the remains till I could figure out what I could do with it. 

 

Salvation came about 8 months later when I bought a Fokker Dr1 weekender kit very cheap because it came with some wrong parts but had intact landing gear parts.  I quickly assembled and painted the landing gear (again.) 

 

The final tiny bits were painted and glued in place including the windscreen. 

 

When I first built this model, the original plan was to try fishing line rigging (again) as it hasnít really worked for me.  I drilled the necessary holes in the correct (initial) parts and glued in the fishing line then sanded and filled the holes.  Things did not go well as I put a too hot burnt match on the fishing line to straighten out the kinks and melted the thread which why I went immediately to plan B (brass wire.)  You wonít see any holes in the struts as the original parts were the ones that had broken off.  The brass wire rigging took about 15 minutes to as I measured and cut four lengths of brass wire attached with white glue to fit in between the landing gear and between the struts of the forward cockpit.  Another four 1cm lengths were made for the flap actuators.  That was it. 

 

Voila, I had my flawed and battered Dr 1 done.

CONCLUSIONS

 

The Eduard Fokker Dr1 is perfect for the beginner WW1 who is not a fan of rigging.  It is a well designed model with very colorful schemes that can be made into an eye catching showpiece especially for those who are not clumsy.  I highly recommend it for all levels of modeler.

 

Dan Lee

November 2011

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