RS Models 1/48 Fokker D.XXIII
KIT #: 48001
PRICE: $68.95 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch parts


The Fokker D.XXIII was designed as a twin-engined single-seat aircraft. To overcome the problems of asymmetric flight it had a tractor engine at the front and a pusher engine at the rear. The D.XXIII was a cantilever monoplane with the twin tail units on booms. The pilot had an enclosed cockpit in between the tractor and pusher engines and it had a retractable tricycle landing gear.

The prototype first flew on 30 May 1939 powered by two Walter Sagitta I-SR liquid cooled vee piston engines. The trial flights identified problems with the cooling of the rear engine and general engine performance. It was proposed to use Rolls-Royce or Daimler-Benz engines in the production aircraft. Concerns were also raised about the pilot clearing the rear propeller if he had to bail out and an ejector seat was studied. The programme was abandoned in May 1940 when the German forces invaded the Netherlands. The lone prototype had flown a total of four hours in the year since its initial flight.


Those of you with better memories that most, will recall that RS Models produced this kit in 1/72 scale a short while back. They chose this kit to begin their foray into 1/48 scale and picked a rather neat subject for that. I can only assume that their 1/72 kit sold well. The kit comes with two large sprues of grey plastic with very nicely molded parts. There are not any rivets and what panel line detail is there is crisply formed. You will find the several parts have ejector towers on the inside of them and in some cases, these will need to be removed to get the parts to fit properly.

A photo etch fret is included that is mercifully brief. It contains parts for the seat harness and for the roll over bar assembly behind the pilot which contains some sort of gizmo that I couldn't identify. The clear sprue includes a single-piece canopy and six formation lights for the fins.

The cockpit is well appointed with the usual bits such as seat, control column, rudder pedals and instrument panels. These panels have raised detail. A decal would have been nice, but one will just have to paint it. This all fits atop the nose gear well piece. Sidewalls are included and have some detail to add to them, such as the throttle quadrant. One will need to install the exhaust stubs prior to closing the fuselage halves. There is a section of inverted vee engine to place behind the forward cowoling piece which will eat up some of the room you'll need for nose weight as I can see this being a major tail sitter. No indication of how much weight is needed is provided.

Wings consist of a one-piece lower section and two upper halves. Main gear wells are molded into the lower wing. Aileron control rods are provided. None of the control surfaces are separate. There are ledges on the back of the boom roots on the wings over which the tail booms will be placed. The horizontal stabilizer is two halves and also has a control rod piece. The kit includes two piece main wheels, the struts and all the various retraction struts needed as well as gear door struts.

Nose gear has a split fork into which one plces the nose wheel. Nose wheel is also in two pieces. There are some little bits that stick down from the lower wing which could be shell ejector chutes, but with only one gun per wing it seems odd that these are there. The two props each have different spinners with the rear one being much more pointed as on the Do-335.

Instructions are well drawn and provide generic color references. It also includes some detail drawings, particularly helpful when it comes the landing gear as the main wheels are quite toed in. Markings are for the single prototype in two stages of its life. Both have the same camouflage scheme and just differ in markings. The full color painting and marking guide provide FS 595 color references, though I don't think there are any premixed paints with these shades. The decals are quite nicely done and in register. I'm sure most will choose the box art plane as it is very much more colorful.


This is a short run kit and as such, one will have to remove some rather invasive sprue attachment points on most pieces prior to assembly. There are also ejector towers to be dealt with and while some are innocuous, some will require considerable care in removal.

My initial step after cleaning up parts was to paint cockpit bits, wheels wells and inner gear doors with aluminum. Then I started assembling the booms and the wheels. The interior had its inner side walls attached and the aft bulkhead. On the cockpit floor, the rudder pedals and ramps were glued on. These ramps appear to be higher vertically in the instructions, but on one side of them are xxxx marks that show what side is to be glued. These need to be thinned down a bit or the rudder pedal pieces will not fit. There is no exact placement marks so just glue them where they look right. In between these fits the control column. With this done and the details painted, it was set aside.

I then attached the etched belts to the seat. These are commendably thin so can be twisted around if one desires. Next bit was the fuel tank and whatever the gizmo is atop it. The platform for this is the other photo etch piece that is on the fret. Note that in the case of this, the actual platform is a lot more splayed than shown in the instructions. The horizontal stab and its actuator piece was also assembled. Back to the interior, the fire bottle and small instrument panel were glued in place. I then attached the bulkhead to the back of the cockpit floor piece. To be sure this was properly aligned, it and the cockpit floor were glued to the right side and the left side taped on. When dry, the fuel tank assembly was similarly attached along with the aft bulkhead.

Moving to the front, the forward cowling piece and the small engine bit were glued on along with the lower section. In all the cases mentioned, one has to test fit things multiple times to be sure all will fit properly. I also glued in the exhaust stub pieces. Note that these need to be trimmed to fit properly. 

I then taped the booms, horizontal stab, wings and fuselage bits together to see how much weight I'd need. The area is quite cramped so one has to be inventive. It turned out that 17 grams seems to be enough, but we'll see. With the weights installed, I kept the fuselage halves taped and test fit the forward cowling/engine piece. It seems that the engine bit would not fit all the way because it bumped up against some of the weights. Unfortunately, one cannot get lead weights as easily as it used to be, these things now being made of iron. Iron cannot be easily cut or bent so the only choice was to sand the snot out of the outside of the engine bit. Thanks to Blap's Super Sanding Blocks, this was a fairly easy task and finally it got to where it fit.

The fuselage halves were glued together after the instrument panel was installed. Once that was cleaned up, I attached the lower wing. This did not fit well, being too long for the opening. I sanded down the rear fuselage at the join area to get it to fit using the sanding blocks. On the front, the indentation for the nose gear well did not go back far enough. To take care of this, I sanded down the mating surface of the nose gear well until I could finally get the lower wing to fit flush. Once dry, the upper wings were attached. Fit on those at the wing root is not all that good and I needed filler there and on several other spots on the wing. 

I had similar fit issues with the tail booms as they were smaller than the area on the fuselage to which they were attached. Fortunately, the blocks came to the rescue again and allowed me to reduce this mismatch. It isn't really all that great, but you definitely feel it running your hand over the join area. Thankfully, the plane is mostly wood so there are not many panel lines that get wiped out during this situation. The horizontal stab was then attached as was the canopy. The fit of the canopy is not all that good. One issue is that it is too narrow and the interior bits near it keep it from fitting low enough. Again, standing will cure this, but not the narrowness of the canopy or the need to do trimming where it fits and fill gaps. Eventually that was done and the canopy masked. I also drilled out the holes for the wing boom guns and the pitot tube. Then the front piece was attached. It is difficult to fill and sand the mismatch here as it would be really easy to sand down the short exhaust stubs. The lower radiator piece was then installed. This really needs to be done before attaching the wing or you will be like me and end up hacking away at it to get it installed.

I then filled the already painted gear wells with silly putty and gave the airframe a nice coat of Tamiya extra fine primer. There are not any readily available paints that match the Dutch colors of the time so I had to look around what I already have to see what was available. I did find a very old bottle of Gunze Cocoa Brown that looked the part for the underside and part of the upper colors so that was sprayed on first. Then I sprayed on the tan and for this I used another Gunze paint, while the green was FS 34102 from Testors. There was a lot of back and forth painting as you can imagine. Perhaps masking this would have been better, but it turned out just fine.

Next step before applying the decals was to glue in the landing gear. The attachment points are small, but once in place, the fit is good. Thanks to the weight required, the gear is pretty wobbly. I glued on the wheels. Note that the main wheels are angled and not straight up and down. The gear doors were a bit of a task. The nose gear doors were too short, thanks to the aforementioned situation regarding the gear well and getting the wing installed. But since the hinges are at the outer edges of these doors, you cannot simply cut them down. I also think the main gear legs might be a bit long as the outer gear doors have a goodly gap between them and the airframe when properly installed. Should you consider trimming these down, be advised that the retraction struts will then be too long and will need trimmed as well. Despite all the weight, the plane will easily sit on its tail.

The airframe was gloss coated and the decals applied. The decals are very thin to the point that they are a bit difficult to work with. I had to be sure that there was plenty of water under them when sliding them off the backing. They also would tear very easily and the white is not as opaque as one would hope. However, you are not going to find aftermarket for this one so you'll have to use what is available.

With the markings on, the airframe was given a matte clear coat. Then various other bits were attached, including the gun barrels, inner main gear doors and pistons, pitot tube, and the little clear lenses on the fin. I found that painting the exhaust stacks was a challenge as they are so short. The props were built up. The front spinner cracked when I pushed it in place and the spinner backing discs do not fit well at all. These were then pushed onto the airframe, the masking removed from the canopy and a bit of exhaust staining was added.

This was not an easy build. There are a number of areas where one has to do quite a bit of work to get parts to fit properly, but it is what one expects when one builds short run kits. If they did not have dodgy fit, they wouldn't be short run and most of us know this going into them. Despite all the issues, the end result is a nice looking model of a one-off aircraft.


April 2016


My thanks to, well, me for providing this kit and getting it on sale.

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