Improving the Fokker Dr.1

Roden 1/32 scale

by Claudio Kalicinski © 2009 Modeler Site

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Probably all that needs to be said about the Fokker Dr.1 has already been said. It is probably the most recognizable symbol of the First World War. Although, it was extremely maneuverable with a high rate of climb, was a slow plane and difficult to handle. Even more, only 320 were produced and its operational life was only about a year. No doubt this fame is due to its distinctive triplane configuration, and the fact that it was flown by some of the most famous aces of WWI and some of them died at the control of these machines like Werner Voss and the major ace of the war: Manfred Von Richthofen, the “Red Baron”.


The Kit

The kit was manufactured by the Ukrainian company, Roden and without doubt is the best Fokker Dr.1 kit in 1/32. Regrettably, it perpetuates some mistakes common to previous models of the Fokker Dr.1 because all of them have been based on Ian Stair's scale drawings published in the Fokker Dr.1 Special by Albatros Publications.

These scale drawings, although are correct in dimensions, have some mistakes like the absence of the opening for the oil filling on the starboard side of the front decking and the lower panel where is located an access hatch to the engine and the incorporation of a detachable axle wing, correct for some versions of the Fokker D.VII, but not for the Dr.1 which its axle wing was fixed.

To these mistakes, Roden added others: like stating that the back leg of the landing gear must be placed in the fuselage when, in fact, it must go in the wing root. The tailplane includes a depression in the central area of both upper and lower surfaces. This pronounced step doesn’t bare any resemblance to contemporary photos. Another problem is the absence of the riveted faceplate in the cowling. The riveting is included in PART etched set (32028) which is really a must, since it includes many other pieces, which make it possible to build an accurate and highly detailed model. Also, there are sink marks in the propeller and the machine guns but can be easily corrected.



I began the build correcting the problems described before. First, I eliminated the six axle wing fittings and added two small squares of plasticard to represent the jack pads used for changing the wheels or tires.

Later, I proceeded to fill the depression in the central part of the stabilizer with a piece of plasticard and restored the control wire openings with the help of a Part etched set (48087).

While I was searching for information I discovered that the last measurements made over original items show some differences with Ian Stair's tailplane and rudder drawings. A member of the Aerodrome forum, Gary Sewall, kindly sent me a new set of scale drawings of the tailplane and rudder, which I used to correct the pieces provided by Roden.


The following piece that I corrected was the front decking.


First, I made the oil-filling opening.

But I had to do a resin copy of the fuel-filling cap to use it as the oil-filling cap.

Also, I corrected the shape of the cover of the fuel gauge and added the machine gun blast protection plates, taking close up pictures of this area according to the references pictures.



After that, I thinned down the inner surface of the cowling and added the etched riveting to the faceplate.


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