Revell 1/72 Fokker Dr.1
reviewed by Steve Hustad
When I heard of this new kit by Revell, my first thought was "why"? After all, Roden, and then Eduard have recently treated us to new & wonderful 1/72nd scale examples of this type long neglected in injected plastic form since Revell's original offering - which dates from the mid-sixties (!).
But since Fokker Dr.Is are a bit of a passion with me, I wanted to build one and add it to my growing triplane collection - which I will do eventually so I'll have built (and corrected) all known 1/72nd scale kits of this type. What better way to learn the ins and outs of a new model kit?
Upon opening the usual 'pre-crushed', end-opening Revell box, I find two red (what else?) sprues containing 37 crisply molded, flash free parts. Surprise, surprise! - these parts are in a new type re-sealable clear plastic bag! Also included is a very small decal sheet in black and white only with the markings for two options: Manfred von Richthofen's final Dr.I 425/17 (again, what else?), with the earlier Iron Cross national markings, and the other markings are for his brother; Lothar von Richthofen's Dr.I 454/17, (an impressive ace in his own right, but always overshadowed by his more famous elder).
The instructions are of the usual Revell multi-folded/multi-page style (but not stapled) newsprint. (Does anyone like these?).
As I usually do with such reviews, I detached all of the major components from the sprues, cleaned them up a bit and taped the whole thing together to test fit the pieces, and insure general alignment correctness. I also laid the major parts (fuselage, all wings, tailplane, rudder, cowling and wheels over the plans in the Windsock Datafile Special for scale, shape and dimension accuracy. I'm pleased to say that I really have nothing to complain about with these parts. At first, I thought maybe the lower rear fuselage was too shallow (a common fault of earlier triplane kits), but after laying them on the side views in several ways (is there more than one way? - yes!), I see no significant variation with the plans in any axis. Good.
Sooooo, I don't have ANY complaints then you're asking yourself? Well, nothing major. I do have several nit-picks though, and they are as follows: - The wing rib detail is a bit too pronounced on upper surfaces, but nothing a little bit of light sanding won't put right. - The wing underside rib detail is a bit 'incised' and 'bagged out/downward' - much like DML/Dragon's 1/48th scale version. This problem will be more difficult to correct, but still, on the scale of 'kit problems'; it still ranks pretty far down the list. - The fuselage has a couple extra vertical fabric 'join lines'. Again, easily filled. - Red plastic. Does *anyone* like red plastic? - Fuselage interior sidewall detail is mostly accurate, but way too shallow to be realistic. Replace this with stretched sprue, or PART's photo-etch set pieces intended for the Roden kit. The plywood side fairings are not represented and will have to be added.
'Okay' you say, what about its good points then? This kit does have some good points: - It's accurate in scale, shape, dimension and outline. How many kits can make THAT claim, eh? - The pilot's seat is nice, and the interior is well fitted out with a decent floorboard, rear 'fabric' bulkhead, multi-piece control grip/stick (though the grip is too 'square-ish'), ammo chutes for the Spandau machine guns are provided as well as a delicate rudder bar (sans foot loops), and all are separate pieces. - Interplane struts are of the 'through-wing' type instead of having to piece together four separate parts. These, and the cabine & undercarriage struts are all admirably thin and usable too. Fit judgements of the later pairs remain to be seen - The Oberursel Ur.II 110hp rotary engine is nice too. And it comes with separate engine 'plumbing' which is also amazingly thin and useable (though it will be difficult to clean up and detach from the sprue without damaging it). - The wheels are nice and accurate as well. - A correct looking Axial (brand) type propeller is also in this kit - it being the most common (but not only) airscrew used with the Dr.I.
On balance, pretty good for a cheap kit I'd say.
To end this review, I'd have to say the Eduard kit is still king, but this new offering from Revell stands up to the Roden kit very well, and should be an easier build too. The Eduard is more expensive, the Hawkeye Designs resin Dr.I kit is no longer readily available (and is even more expensive!), and the Roden kit is roughly the same price as the Revell kit, but has more parts. But the Roden kit has the advantage of having separate ailerons, more subtle wing rib detail and a separate turtledeck, as well as being the basis for PART's beautiful PE set, however, the Revell kit deserves a good long look now too I'd say.
So, on balance, I give it an "A" for value, a "B" for detail, and a B+/A- for accuracy so call it an A- overall when cost and ease of building are thrown into the mix. Have fun and build a bunch of 'em!
Reference used: Windsock Datafile Special on the Fokker Dr.I, Ray Rimell, editor, softcover, 40pp, by Albatros Productions LTD., 1991.
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