1/72 Fokker T.VIII
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
While torpedo floatplanes were common in many countries, few built twin-engined ones. The origins of the torpedo floatplane began back in the First World War, where designs from Albatros, Fredrichshafen and Short performed with limited success. After the war, the torpedo floatplane concept continued, with most countries choosing a single-engined plane for their designs. Germany and Holland, however, went with a twin-engined layout, culminating in the Heinkel He 115 and the Fokker T.VIII. While the He 115 was larger and produced in greater numbers, the Fokker T.VIII actually performed better, having a slight advantage in both speed and range. The handling characteristics were very good, so much so that both the Germans and the British flew the Fokker T.VIII after the Germans overran Holland in 1940. The Germans flew their Fokker T.VIIIs with great success in the Mediterranean.
The MPM kit of the Fokker T.VIII is a very welcome arrival. Before this kit, the only kits of this interesting design were a couple of hard-to-find vacuforms. The kit is comprised of resin, brass and plastic components, with each medium making up for the shortcomings of the others. The resin is molded by CMK and provides a pair of nicely done engines, the rear machine gun, and cockpit interior details and bulkheads. The brass complements this by providing a brass instrument panel and seat belts, and adds throttle handles as well. Combined with the injection plastic cockpit floor and seats, this interior should look the part.
MPM has started to provide injection-molded clear parts, too, and this kit is no exception. While some of the earlier injection canopies were not very good, the clear parts in this kit are stunning. The greenhouse canopy is crystal clear and incredibly thin. There is no distortion at all. The nose piece has some slight distortion, but for the most part it too is incredibly clear. If they keep this kind of quality up for long, theyll give the Japanese and Korean kit manufacturers a run for their money.
The kit has no flash, which is somewhat unusual for an MPM kit. The surface detail is very fine, and the fabric effect on the rear fuselage is muted and well done. There are no locating tabs for the stabilizers or wings, just a raised area on the fuselage where they go. This is better than just having an outline of where the wings go, but it would have been nice to provide a bit of structural strength at that joint. The floats are split into right and left halves, and the struts also lack locating tabs. Some care will be needed to ensure proper alignment of the struts, especially since the kit will be resting on these. The propellers are one piece, which is a relief from trying to fit individual blades onto a hub.
The markings for the kit are very impressive, if only because there is a correction sheet included. Its a small thing, but it says much about the company. With something as obscure as the Fokker T.VIII, most modelers would never know that the decals were wrong. The instructions show the correct markings, so you dont have to worry about finding the errata instruction sheet. The markings are for a Dutch T.VIII in overall silver, a British T.VIII camouflaged in dark earth/dark green/sky, and a German T.VIII finished in a 72/73/65 camouflage. The Dutch example includes a decal for the orange rudder, but you have to paint on the black outline, which is odd. The other two choices are very complete, including swastikas for the German option.
MPMs standard of quality keeps getting better, and this kit is the best Ive seen yet. A quick dry run shows that all the parts will line up very well, and will most likely go together with very little filler. With the interesting marking choices straight out of the box, this kit promises to be a nice addition to any collection. All we need now is a resin aftermarket beaching dolly .
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