Roden 1/48 Fokker D.VII (early)




$19.98 (17.97 at Squadron)


Four options


Scott Van Aken





In the autumn of 1917 Germany's Idflieg (the aviation inspection section) quickly fixed a date for a Fighter Competition, with the aim of replacing fighter Aerodromes. After the appearance of the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD XIII, all German scout planes became obsolete (the first being the Albatros DV) and the allies now dominated the sky. The most modern German design, the Fokker F.I ("Triplane") arrived at the Front during August of 1917 but had many technical problems that needed to be dealt with.
At the end of September 1917 Anthony Fokker gave an order to prepare a new project - the V.11, the new aircraft had to be a biplane with cantilever wings (no external bracing, which created additional air resistance) and powered by the 160 h.p. Liquid-cooled Mercedes D.III.
On the 21st of January 1918 the fighter competition began in Adlershof, thirty new types were proposed, among them the V.11, which had an impressive showing of its flying characteristics since the first test fight. The famous "Red Baron" - Manfred Von Richthofen praised the new V.11 aircraft after testing but had a few negative remarks to make about the V.11. His remarks were taken into account and the V.11 was modified before the competition in Adlershof, which was to end on the 12th of February. Fokker's plane won the competition, and Germany's High command planned an offensive against the allied troops during March of 1918, the plan obviously needed support from the sky. Production of the Fokker D.VII (the official name of the V.11) immediately began in Fokker's plants, together with licensed production of the Albatros in the OAW factories.
The early-built Fokker D.VII's began arriving at the Front by the end of March 1918. Quantities of the new type were minimal and only one D.III was assigned to each Jasta (hunting squadron). Usually the D.VII was given only to the best aces and most experienced pilots. Manfred Von Richthofen received his own D.VII during April, but he preferred his "Lovely" Dr.I, probably, this was a fatal decision, made the day before his death.
During July of 1918 more than thirty Jasta's were operating this type, the total number of D.VII's at the Front being 407 aircraft. The first combat experience with the D.VII proved that it was the best fighter of the time. The D.VII was clearly better than any allied fighter in performance, it had a higher maximum speed, very strong Construction, and some aircraft even returned after battle without struts or cables!
775 planes of this type reached the Front up until November 1918. The majority of them being equipped with the more reliable and powerful Mercedes D.IIIau or BMV IIIa engines.
More than 3000 Fokker D.VII's were built in Germany, about 200 aircraft, powered by the 200 h.p. Austro Daimler engine were built in Austria-Hungary under License. After the war, many Dutch built D.VII's were sent to Belgium, some to Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and others. Soviet Russia purchased 50 aircraft, and confiscated D.VII's were delivered to the U.S., many being used in the "Aerial Circus" as well as in the Hollywood movies.
The Fokker D.VII was clearly the best fighter of the Great War, this achievement being confirmed in Article IV of the Versailles Treaty; "… as a condition of the treaty, the German armies must surrender the following war material: … 1700 airplanes - including fighters and bombers, and first - all Fokker D-7's and all night bombing machines…".
These statements fully reflected the characteristics of one of the best WWI planes, which became a symbol of Germany's most advanced achievements and the engineering genius of Anthony Fokker.
Thanks to Roden for the historical background


This is the fourth different manufacturer to produce a 1/48 Fokker D.VII (Ok, purists may say just three). First was Aurora and the kit included a base and a guy to crank over the prop. Next, Monogram bought out Aurora and cleaned up the mold by removing the decal placement marks. It took 20 years before Dragon jumped on the bandwagon and put out what is still a very nice, but equally difficult to find and expensive kit. Now we have Roden to add to that. Many may say that this is just their 1/72 kit Pantographed up to the larger scale, but if you compare it with one of those kits, you'll see that this is an all new molding.

Typical of Roden's philosophy, it seems as if several different variants can be built from this kit as there are two engines, three props, three wheel inserts, and three landing gear spreader bars. This boxing is for early Fokker built aircraft as I'm sure that later boxings will have different radiators and engine side panels to match the different factories from which they were built. The options on this aircraft are to have an open engine cowling which requires several extra braces or to simplify things and have that area closed off. There are also differences in propellers, depending on the markings that one wants to use. As one should expect from the first molding of a new kit, this one has no sink areas, but I did find flash on several large parts, especially on the engine cowling sprue. Fortunately, that doesn't translate over to the smaller and more finely molded bits.  Those few ejector pin marks are in areas that will basically be invisible once the kit is finished. I also like the way the fabric was done. While it may not be flat enough for some people, it definitely is better than the 'hills and valleys' of some older kits.

The instructions are superb and provide full color information with Humbrol and generic references. The D.VII is my kind of WWI aircraft as there is almost no rigging required! Only on the landing gear struts. No mention is made of this in the instructions, but if one has eyes, it can be seen on the box art. Most of us will want to add the control wires as well since the control horns are provided. Decals are provided for the upper and lower five color lozenge and for four aircraft:

  1. Fokker D.VII, Oblt. Hermann Goering (22 victories), Jasta 27, Summer 1918.
  2. Fokker D.VII, Oblt. Bruno Loerzer (44 victories), Jasta 26, mid 1918.
  3. Fokker D.VII, Ltn. Hugo Shaefer, Jasta 15, Summer 1918.
  4. Fokker D.VII, Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold, Jasta 15, Western front. June 11, 1918.

The decals are superbly printed and quite glossy, perhaps showing that they've changed the way they do decals. I hope so as my last Roden kit's decals were not the easiest to work with. One thing I would have liked to have seen are pre-cut rib tapes. I doubt if my eyes are good enough to cut the required 0.7mm stripes by hand. Decaling these beasties is time consuming enough without having to prepare dozens of rib tapes.


I'm sure that this kit will sell well. No longer do people have to pay inflated prices for the old Dragon kit and one does get a lot more detail out of this one. I don't usually do WWI planes, thanks to the rigging, but this one will be headed for the workbench! I'm sure this one will sell out quickly, so if you want one, I'd suggest grabbing it while you can!

You can find this kit and many others at

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by a site that has over 200,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page