The Fokker Dr.I is the most recognized aircraft of the First World War. This is out of all proportion to the small number built - 320 or so - and more attributed to the legend of one man - Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the infamous "Red Baron". The Fokker Triplane was born from a desire to counter the performance of the superlative Sopwiuth Triplane, which with its excellent climb and maneuverability was more than a match for the German aircraft of the day. However the Fokker answer was more than a copy, it was an entirely new design which only borrowed the three wings from its Sopwith adversary.
The first three Triplanes were serialed FI 101/17-103/17 and differed from the production Dr.Is in a different shaped tailplane, cowl and lack of wingtip skids. Eduard also markets a kit of the F.I, however I have yet to see it for myself ... as an aside Roseparts has an upgrade set for this aircraft which consists of new upper wing, tailplane and cowl.
The production Dr.Is entered service in early October 1917, but after a series of fatal crashes due to faulty wing construction they were withdrawn from service and returned to the Fokker Factory for rebuilding. They didn't return to the front until early 1918, at which time the Jastas once again received the Triplane. By summer 1918, they had been replaced by the new Fokker D.VII, although a few remained in the hands of some pilots like Josef Jacobs who flew an overall black Dr.I (450/17) into October.
As is common with the more recent Eduard kits this one is very crisply molded with no flash evident. There are two sprues of parts. these are joined together by pin/sockets so there is no chance for the parts to move around against each other and cause damage. Nice touch.
The fuselage has interior structure molded to the sides. The rudder has the ribs and vertical former ever so slightly visible. The wings have the distinctive plywood covering on the leading edge, this is less apparent than on the Revell kit. The middle wing has the fairing molded in more detail than the Revell kit, and finally, the fairing over the fuel gauge (?) faces the pilot rather than being a scoop.
Interplane struts are in one piece, and have two pins at top and bottom for location in the relevant locations. These should approximate the appearance of the original more accurately than a single tab.
Interior details consists of a floor, seat, ammunition cans, control column. the rudder bar is molded integral to the floor. I wonder how the Profipack version will handle this.
Other parts consist of: engine, propellor, Spandau guns, crankshaft, cowl, undercarriage fairing, wheels.
The decal sheet provides markings for MvR's 152/17 as seen on the boxtop (which, coincidentally is almost a mirror image of the Roden boxtop). Two details of the markings should be noted .. 152/17 carried the red right up to the rear of the cockpit on the decking, and the base colour should be CDL not turquoise, the F.Is were turquoise; The other option is Klimke's Jasta 27 Dr.I with a black anchor on the fuselage and tailplane. There is also a set of masks for painting the wheel covers
Until recently the Dr.I was available in 1/72 injection form from two different companies, Airfix and Revell. The Airfix kit is best forgotten, but the Revell one is still an excellent model. Now there are three new kits of the Dr.I/F.I out .. these are by Roden (reviewed last month), Hawkeye and Eduard. We shall be having comparison builds of all of these kits in the coming months (perhaps with the Airfix and Revell included as well). I have built many of the Revell Dr.Is ..I think my next one will be an Eduard.