by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
After the war to end all wars both Germany & the privately owned aircraft manufacturers it had contracts with, were stuck with fresh stocks of new machines in their vast back yards that needed to be sold. Now in the Armistice there was the demand that as war repatriations that all examples of the Fokker D.VII be turned over to the allies. But many were “smuggled out” of Germany by the manufacturers to help recoup their financial losses. Many foreign powers with fledgling air services stepped up to make those “off the books” purchases. One such country was Finland. Evidently they purchased three examples of the Fokker D.VII aircraft. Airframe D.8545/18 was from the East Albatros Werke = “OAW” production batch D.8300 to 8649/18.
The following text by by Mr. Kristjan Runarsson from his series from “Legion Art 2002” and his comments at H. Vossers’ Aerofile.
“As far as I know this machine was the only one of Finland’s Fokker D.VII aircraft to survive until the type was mustered out 1924. (In September 1919) The Finns used (three) Fokker D.VII aircraft as training aircraft. They operated them initially in the original German Lozenge camouflage fabric with the German "Balken Kreuz" markings being crudely converted to Von Rosen crosses by extending the tips of the German cross. From these three, one crashed in January 1920, and one in February 1920. The last was taken out of service in January 1924. . .” (They operated on wheels during the clear months and on skis during the heavy winter months.)
“. . .this profile is based on a couple of photos as well as guesswork where the photos did not provide coverage. There are a number of other generally similar reconstructions of this aircrafts color scheme floating around, this one is mine and it is not 100% (to the original machine). The profile should nevertheless be relatively accurate although I cannot vouch for the colors since I do not know what the source of the FS595 references is. But since Finnish sources I have used are usually accurate I decided to go with these FS colors rather than other colors usually cited for this aircraft. It should be noted that the color reproduction will vary from monitor to monitor so do not expect the colors on your screen to match a FS595 color fan. The splinter scheme is similar in style to that carried by Finnish Breguet 14 two-seaters. The ski equipment is a common WWI Russian design adopted by the Finns who eventually produced their own ski gear designs. Special thanks to: My friend Jouni Rönkkö for providing the color information just as I was giving up on this profile. . .” (Note info in italics was added by this reviewer for historical clarity.)
Original Photos via: Central-Finland Aviation Museum
Further information comes from the good fellow, modeler and website owner of Letletlet-warplanes.com , Srecko Bradic, “Finally in 1919 three OAW built machines arrived in Utti. These machines encountered propeller troubles but no matter of that, they were put in active service and French pilots were to fly them in Finland. Interesting to note that this Fokker D.VII performed first aerobatics in Finland. Two machines was lost in 1920, one was lost in January and the another in February. Remained Fokker D.VII serial 1C 352 was some later recoded into 1C 357 and finally to 1.D.357 This machine was damaged in July 1922 due to a pilot error. The airplane was repaired and it received new experimental splinter camouflage of four colors. It was assigned to the Flying Unit 1 at Utti and was used for fighter training. The aircraft was lost due to a very bad weather on the 30th of January 1924. . .”
Another historian has chimed in with the following, “. . . the aircraft were delivered in the factory standard covered with linen, printed in four-color lozenge pattern in these machines case. In Finland, at first they did modify the German national crosses to the the svastiku in black with white borders, which was in contradiction with the official version of the mark where the swastika was light blue in a white circle. It was shown to be corrected on the Fokker D. VII 1 D 357 which was fitted with a new type of camouflage, consisting of the angle fields of Brown, green, dark blue and light blue colors. The lower areas were light blue. The first of the Fokker D VII was condemned after the crash in January 1920, the second followed shortly after in February of the same year. The third machine bearing angle cover served until January 1924, when it was retired from service. On this machine there are photographs showing him with skis. . .”
Conversion & Decals
A. AMLC48009 Fokker D.VII Finnish 1:48 decals. These contain national markings, serial and datum information.
B. AMLA48032 Fokker D.VII skis Finnish version 1:48 update set. These contain the typical skis and their attachments that were used.
Previous to this the only company to bring out decals dedicated to this machine was the old “Blue Rider” line in their subsequent publication “Insignia”. Their decals for “1D.357.” were in the lozenge scheme was just one example on a sheet dedicated to multiple Fokker D.VII aircraft that served in foreign fields after hostilities ended in November 1918.
AML has brought us decals and a resin conversion to bring this aircraft to our display shelves. They represent this machine both in the markings with 4 colour lozenge and the later Finnish splinter scheme.
There are several versions of this build on the internet but the best I have seen can be found here at Aeroscale done by that fine modeler Ryszard Holak of Poland. A relative newcomer here but his builds tend to amaze us all! These completed build images posted here belong to him. I sincerely thank him for permission to use them here. Start with a 1:48 late model Fokker D.VII OAW and begin.
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