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Flashback's Fokker E.V

By Tom Cleaver

The Airplane

The Fokker E.V was Anthony Fokker's follow-up to his successful D.VII, and was ordered into production following the Second Fighter Competition of June-July 1918. The airplane was a radical departure from what had gone before, and was known as "the flying razor" due to its eye-level mounted cantilever parasol wing. Very maneuverable and speedy for an airplane powered by a rotary engine of only 110 hp, it was one of the most advanced designs to be flown during the First World War.

Unfortunately the E.V also suffered from Fokker's haphazard production quality control in his factory, which had torpedoed every design he had presented after his first monoplane, with the exception of the D.VII (and the OAW-built D.VII was considered far superior to the Fokker factory product). Like the Triplane of the year before, the E.V suffered shoddy workmanship in the wing, which had a tendency to come unglued in flight under the stresses of combat aerobatics, due to the fact that the wood had not been completely dry when used for assembly. Only a few had made it into the Jastas by mid-August 1918, when the fault made itself known. Once again, the airplane was grounded pending a fix, and - as with the Triplane - thus missed its chance to really have an effect on the air war. By the time the airplane - now known as the D.VIII - returned to service in October 1918 it was too late. Only one Allied airplane is know to have definitely fallen to an E.V/D.VIII during the war. Several were obtained after the war by the Polish Air Force and used against the invading Bolsheviks in 1920-21, but little is definitely known about any aerial successes.

Theo Osterkamp was the leading German Navy fighter pilot of the First World War with 41 victories and the Pour le Merite. His staffel within MFG1 on the Dunquerque front was equipped with the E.V and may have scored victories before the end of the war. Osterkamp later joined Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe, where he became a father-figure/mentor to such soon-to-be bright lights as Werner Moelders and Adolf Galland, and flew combat in Bf-109s at the age of 43 in 1939. By 1940 he realized aerial combat was a young man's game, and became the fighter commander on the Channel Front during the Battle of Britain. He was well-known and highly-regarded in fighter pilot circles from both sides until his death from old age in 1975.

The Kit

Flashback kits contain plastic injection molded parts from earlier Eduard Co. production, with added resin cockpit interiors and other details from AIRES, with Eduard's photo-etched parts and decals. Examining the Fokker E.V, one of the very first - if not the first - Eduard 1/48 World War I models, provides one an opportunity to see just how far Eduard has come to its present status as the manufacturer of kits that are the equal of Tamiya and Hasegawa products. I had just completed building one of the original E.V kits, so I was quite interested to see the differences.

The earlier kit had the full photo-etch brass cockpit interior, which has been the bane of many modelers' existences, but results in a good-looking and highly-detailed interior. In the current kit, the cockpit interior is a cast resin box; this is difficult to do any detail painting, and will require that the modeler cut away at least one side panel in order to gain access to the interior for finishing. In looking at the brass interior of the earlier release, I can see that this new interior will give an acceptable look when finished. A modeler just entering the World War One field will find this cockpit much easier to do than the earlier one. The photo-etch brass that is present includes seat belts, engine details, and cooling jackets for the machine guns.

Decals provide markings for two aircraft - one flown by Leutnant zur See Theo Osterkamp in 1918, one flown by Lieutenant Stefan Stec of the Kosciuszko Air Group of the Polish Air Force in 1920. Osterkamp's is interesting looking, with alternating yellow-black wraparound stripes on the fuselage side and upper surfaces, which is accomplished by black decal over a yellow-painted fuselage. Unfortunately, both kits require lozenge in the areas the instruction sheet calls for green (other than for the wing, which was overall dark green). In the case of Osterkamp's airplane, the loser surface of the horizonal stabilizer and elevators, underside of the fuselage, and underside of the axle-wing need lozenge. The Stec airplane needs all this as well as upper surface lozengeon fuselage and upper tail. The earlier release provided excellent Propagteam lozenge decals, which are absent here. The modeler will have to obtain aftermarket lozenge decals from alternative sources.

Recommendation

This is again an easy-to-build World War I fighter. While the injection-molded plastic is the kind associated with early limited-run kits, with thick sprues requiring the parts be cut away with a razor saw, there is nothing a little putty and a file cannot easily solve. This kit is recommended for any modeler entering the World War I field.




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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

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