The Fokker Eindecker was a German World War I monoplane single-seat fighter aircraft designed by Dutch engineer Anthony Fokker. Developed in April 1915, the Eindecker ("Monoplane") was the first purpose-built German fighter aircraft and the first aircraft to be fitted with synchronizer gear, enabling the pilot to fire a machine gun through the arc of the propeller without striking the blades. The Eindecker granted the German Air Service, known as the Luftstreitkräfte, a degree of air superiority from July 1915 until early 1916. This period was known as the " Fokker Scourge, " during which Allied aviators regarded their poorly armed aircraft as " Fokker Fodder ".
The main difference between the E.I and E.II was the engine, the former having the seven-cylinder 60 kW (80 hp) Oberursel U.0 rotary engine which was essentially a direct copy of the French-made Gnôme Lambda, while the latter had the nine-cylinder 75 kW (100 hp) Oberursel U.I, a direct copy of the Gnome Monosoupape rotary. Production of the types depended on engine availability and the two variants were built in parallel. The definitive version of the Eindecker was the Fokker E.III , which used a slightly narrower-chord (1.80 meter, or 71 inch) dimension on their wings than the earlier versions had. Many E.IIs were either completed as E.IIIs or upgraded to E.III standard when returned for repair.
The two most famous Eindecker pilots were Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann , both of Feldflieger Abteilung 62, who scored their first kills in E.Is in August 1915. Boelcke scored the most Eindecker victories: 19 out of his final tally of 40, his last coming on 27 June 1916. Immelmann had the second-highest Eindecker score, having achieved all his 15 victories in the type before being killed when his E.III broke up in June 1916. Both Boelcke and Immelmann received Germany's highest military decoration, the "Blue Max", while flying the Eindecker, after passing the then-required eight victory total for each aviator.
Eduard's new 1:48 scale Fokker E.I/II Dual Combo kit comes in a standard top opening cadboard box. It's the second time this kit is released, the first edition being the Fokker E.II/III ProfiPack (kit n° 8156). The big difference is that this time you get two kits instead of a single one. Of course the plastic of the kit has nothing in common with the old short run kit Eduard did 15 years ago. This is a moulding made with the latest design and injection technology.
The graphic layout, like for other Limited Edition kits by the same manufacturer, has been designed on purpose and the box artwork shows two Eindeckers flying over a big cross on the background. It is to note, for German language purists, that the title should be "Die ersten Kanonen" instead of "Die erste Kannonen". The number of N letters is right, but they are not all at the right place.
Once the box lid has been removed, one will find with the following content:
- Two complete plastic kits of the Fokker Eindecker (2 X 3 sprues of pale olive green plastic).
- Two very small windscreens made of clear plastic.
- Two photo etched frets (one pre painted) with enough parts for two models.
- One small sheet of masks for two models.
- Two resin figures (Boelcke and Immelmann).
- One small Iron Cross pin.
- Two decals sheets.
- One instruction booklet.
The overall quality of the plastic parts is very good with no sink marks and very little traces of flash. Some parts are really tiny and though the attachment points are small, extreme care will be necessary to remove them from the sprue... and a sharp cutter fitted with a new blade!
The main parts of the model (fuselage, wings, horizontal tailplane and rudder) are nicely done. The two wings are made of one piece each. In fact there are four wings in each kit, so this makes eight in total in this Dual Combo box! The only differences between the wing parts are the cutout for the different cowl rear fairings and the extended cowling enclosing the ammunition container which was present on some machines of each Type (E.I, E.II and E.III). The relief detail of the fuselage and wings (ribs and metal cowlings) is finely rendered.
Where Eduard really concentrated all their efforts is the cockpit interior. This was a good idea as it will be very visible on the completed model. Photo etched parts included, it is composed of over 50 parts and really should look the part once assembled.
The engine, or should I say engines since there are two models, are also very nice. They are composed of a serie of cylinders (7 or 9 depending on the type) made in injected plastic with additional PE parts for the pushrods and the ignition wires. Quite basic in fact but the real ones weren't much more complex. It seems Eduard have designed the parts without giving the possibility to the modeller to leave the engine movable. This is a shame as the original Oberursel U.0 and U.I were rotary engines.
The smaller parts for the exterior are also a mix of plastic and PE parts: engine cowlings, propeller (two types), undercarriage, tyres etc... are made of injected styrene while the lacings and other smaller items are made of photo etched parts. The presence of spoked wheels is a nice touch. Eduard provide a lot of tiny metal parts to do the rigging termination points but no cables are present, so you will have to use your own favorite material for this.
Instructions and markings
The A4 sized instruction booklet is typical of Eduard. It is composed of 12 pages of which 8 are printed in black & white (history, parts layout, color table given for the Gunze range of paints, assembly guide, rigging diagram and figure painting guide) while the other are in color (marking options). It is to note that only four out of the five decorations are present in the booklet. The fifth one must be downloaded on the kit's info page at the Eduard website (direct link here
These are the five marking options included in this Dual Combo kit:
A - Ltn d R Max Immelmann, FA62, Douai, France, August 1915 (Fokker E. I)
B - Ltn Otto Parschau, Kagohl 1, Ghistelles, Belgium, early 1916 (prob. Fokker E.II)
C - Ernst Freiherr von Althaus, FA23, 1915 (Fokker E. I)
D - Ltn Oswald Boelcke and Ltn d R Max Immelmann, FA62, Douai, France, October 1915 (Fokker E. II)
E - Ltn zur See Gotthard Sachsenberg, MFA, Mariakerke, Belgium, November 1915 (Fokker E. III)
As you can see, while it is noted E.I/II on the kit, the last machine is an E.III so it is possible to do the three most common variants of the aircraft with this box. All are finished in the standard doped linen finish with black crosses over white markings and white rudder. Only the machine of Immelmann carries a distinctive fuselage band.
The two decal sheets are excellent. They have both been printed in black & white by Eduard it seems. White backgrounds are provided for the black crosses so there is no need to paint them using masks if one does not wishes so.
What makes the Eduard Limited Editions so special are the goodies which are present in the box. This time two superb resin figures of Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke are included which, once painted, will look great next to their respective machines. Two portrait cards accompany both figures with some historical background for each famous pilot. The small Iron Cross pin could be a great addition to a nameplate you put down for the kit (thanks to Stephen Lawson for the tip!)
This is another excellent Limited Edition kit by Eduard. Not only will it allow you to build two detailed replicas of the Fokker Eindecker, but it also represents a great "historical" package for every enthusiast of combat aircraft model kits. With it's monoplan design, maybe it is also a good starting point if you want to reproduce a complex WWI rigging for the first time as there won't be an upper wing in the way each time you want to add a bracing cable. Highly recommended!
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