by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
HistoryThe Fokker Eindecker, was the first aircraft armed with a machine gun synchronized to fire through the propeller. The first victory was tallied on the 1August 1915. It was powered by a 80hp Oberursel U.0 (license built 80hp Gnome) and employed wing warping to make lateral movements Fokker E.I 13/15 flown by Max Immelmann marked the beginning of the “Fokker scourge”. Inspired by the capture on 18 April 1915 of Roland Garros and his Morane-Saulnier Type L Parasol fitted with a forward firing machine gun (using armoured deflector plates to protected the propeller from ‘serious’ bullet damage) the Germans set about coming up with their own version. Twenty five year old Anthony Fokker created his own interrupter gear in just 48 hours after being inspired by the capture of Garros, but this is undoubtedly a myth. A mechanical interrupter gear had been patented in 1913 by Hans Schneider of LVG. (Edited from the WNW account.)
Fokker’s unarmed 80hp reconnaissance “A” type Eindeckers (inspired by a successful pre-war wing warping Morane-Saulnier design but with a welded steel tube frame fuselage) provided the airframe for further development and E.I (armed Eindecker 80hp) types started shipping to front line units in June 1915. Most, if not all of the first six Fokker E.I manufactured, were armed with the Parabellum LMG 14 but this proved to be unsuitable for synchronization and all following Fokker Eindeckers were fitted with the lMG 08 ‘Spandau’. The Parabellum LMG 14 empty ammo belt was stored externally, initially using an exposed reel on top of the cockpit coaming and then later in a faired container on the left side of the fuselage. All lMG 08 ‘Spandau’ armed E.I appear to have had an internal empty belt container similar to that found on the 100hp E.II & E.III. Later production E.I featured extended aluminium fuselage side panels and longer wings giving a wingspan of 10.05m. The ammunition magazine was located externally on the right side of the fuselage, with the exception of a final production run of E.I manufactured in March - May 1916 which had an internal ammunition magazine. The final production E.I also featured an additional fuel tank behind the pilot and a wing mounted compass making them all but indistinguishable from late production 100hp E.III (unless the smaller 7 cylinder 80hp engine, associated narrower cockpit coaming or the serial numbers are discernable). (Edited from the WNW account.)
The production E.I had an 80hp Oberursel (U.0) rotary and wings of 8.95 m in length. The production E.II had the 100hp Oberursel (U.I) and wings of 9.75 m (9520mm.) The E.III had the 100hp Oberursel (U.I) with wings of 9.99 m (10030mm.) Some experimentation was undertaken with a few individual airframes, as early type Seimens - Halske and Goebel- Goe engines were installed. The Fokker fighter’s synchronized, air-cooled Spandau Maxim Machine Gun LMG .08 was the final ingredient that cracked the proverbial whip. This ‘scourge’ manifested itself in the allied crews it came up against, as they considered themselves ‘Fokker Fodder.’
Kit ContentsIn this review I will cover the 2013 Wingnut Wings recent release, kit #32021.
Plastic parts = 141 pcs
Photo etch parts = 21 pcs
Decals = 5 profiles
Instruction 28 pages
The BuildI would predrill all the rigging pilot holes in the fuselage halves (PP B 2 & 3 ), wings (PP B 13 & 20).
Step 1. When finished the assembled cockpit tub will fit the fuselage halves (PP B 2 & 3). It starts with the control column (PP A 4 & 5) and the rudder assembly (PP A 44). As noted, fine wire may be used to simulate the various control cables. The completed seat assembly (PP A 21 & 29, B 22 or D 11 X 2) may be added at this time. Add the air flow adjustment lever (PP A 32) to the forward left side of the cockpit skeletal structure (PP A 26). The fuel tank air pressure pump (PP A 43) goes on the cockpit skeletal structure (PP A 19). The instrument panel (PP A 31) such as it was on the original aircraft held the oil pulsator glass (PP A 35), and fuel on / off and engine magneto switches. Its placement should be vertically spanning the forward pilot’s right corner of the cockpit on the pilot’s right. Another instrument to install is found at left is the Morrell Phalax tachometer (PP A 11) & (Decal 37). Note the fuel tank (PP A 38 & 41), air intake (PP A 24) and one of two options for the empty belt box (PP A 28, 35, 46, & G 4) go together as an assembled unit. Note the rear cockpit screen (PP A 18) and the stabilizer box (PP B 27) act as a anchor for the cockpit tub / skeletal and the wing rear supports.
Page 4. At the top is the internal rigging guide. At the bottom is the cockpit painting guide.
Step 2. For the early Eindeckers there were options for either a low or high mounted wing roots.
This is explained here. The recommended modifications are easy to accomplish. Unite the fuselage halves (PP A 34 & B 12) trapping the cockpit assembly from step 1. Note the various detail options depending on the profile you are building.
Step 3. Upper forward cowling detail. Here is the application discussion the various cockpit / upper forward deck (PP B 10, 24 or G 7) and side (PP B 9, 16, 23, 26 and G 6) cowlings according to the aircraft profile you have chosen. This is mostly about the armament variations 1915 version of the Spandau Maxim lMG 08 or the Parabellum 14 (see step 7) and the trestle (Step 8) support for the rigging.
Modelers may want to look for a future variation of the Fokker E.I by Wingnut Wings that deals with the Austro - Hungarian Schwarzlose M 7 / 12. Or the German land based Naval units. Check your references.
Step 4. The motor comes in plastic (on sprue / tree "E"). In 1913 Motorenfabrik Oberursel took out a license on the French Gnome engine design and the similar Le Rhone 9C. They produced, the Gnomes as the U-series, and the LeRhônes as the “UR”-series. The Gnome Lambda seven cylinder 80 hp rotary engine was also produced as the Oberursel U.0 Umlaufmotor (the generic German term for a rotary engine) as their premier powerplant for German military aircraft, and was used on the initial versions of the Fokker E.I fighter.
The Gnome Lambda and was originally an internal-tooth ring gear mounted on the engine drove a stationary magneto mounted on a firewall, whose high-voltage output terminal was in close proximity to the spark plug terminals as they passed by. This arrangement eliminated the need for points, distributor, high-voltage wiring and capacitors found in conventional mechanically timed ignition systems. But this was altered by Oberursel in the U.I 100hp when wire leads were connected to the spark plug and attached at the other end to an electrically charged ring near the fire wall. After this dries thoroughly I use a mixture of “Testors Model Master” drab earth and flat black in a wash shot through an Airbrush. This duplicates nicely the burned castor oil spray patina prevalent on rotary powered aircraft of this time period. Keep some of this mixture for later use.
Step 5. Next is the undercarriage / landing gear assembly and attachment. Clean up the parts and remove any seams. They are minimal here. (PP A 25 & 30, B 8) Otherwise proceed as instructions dictate. Note the exclamation point in the instructions. This is a side view of this assembly and notes the forward rake needed. The PE replacement plate (PE 14) is a reinforced metal item that Fokker placed on the area under the muzzle of the machine gun. It is not a vent. The wheels (PP B 10 X 2) also have the option for one of two types of wheel covers (PP D 8 X2 or PP D 9 X 2). Note the wing tip actuator (PP A 45) is off set in its position. For the torque of the rotary engine this was a method to help keep the controls at top dead center. That way the aircraft would not fly with the right wing down. The kit cowling (PP B 11, mismarked as 10 in the instructions) will need the exposed edges cut down just bit. The tail skid its support (PP A 10 & 16) show the unit under-load, as if sitting on the ground.
Step 6. Wings (PP B 13 & 20) and tail plane (PP A 6). Recommended modifications to the main wings are easily accomplished. The production E.I had an 80hp Oberursel (U.0) rotary and wings of 8.95 m in length. The production E.II had the 100hp Oberursel (U.I) and wings of 9.75 m (9520mm). The E.III had the 100hp Oberursel (U.I) with wings of 9.99 m (10030mm). The tail unit surfaces (PP A 6 & 17) remained the same on production aircraft.
Step 7. As usual with the Wingnut Wings kits armament variations are thoroughly viewed for these kit profiles. There are the basic plastic kit items and there are PE pieces to augment a higher amount of detail. The gun types are the Parabellum LMG 14 (PP B 12) as seen on the first six airframes. The higher detail for this comes with a plastic version (PP B 5) with (PE 11 & 13) and an early wind screen (PP C 5). For the Spandau Maxim lMG 08 there is the all plastic (PP A 22) item or the high detail (PP A 23) with the (PE 2 & 10).
Step 8. The cabane trestle / rigging king post comes in three variations (PP B 6 or 7 or G 5) with a plastic actuation pulley (PP A 33). There is even a head rest (PP A 3 & 27) assembly for one option. The Behrend (PP B 29) and Garuda (PP B 28) and Integral (PP B 1) propellers are noted.
Page 12. Rigging is discussed here. Possible mediums are 0.15mm monofilament or metal fishing line sheathed in clear plastic. Next shoot the castor oil mixture over the outside of the metal cowling surfaces and the adjacent pilot’s left wing. On the finest setting this should be done at an oblique angle from the propeller shaft across the wing surfaces (upper & lower.) This represents the exhaust flow due to the propeller blast. This exhaust seeped into the fabric as it trailed back over both of the (pilot’s left) wing surfaces and the corresponding fuselage areas. There was notably much less staining to the pilot’s right side of the aircraft. The older the machine usually the more stains.
Fokker E.I serial and contract numbersThese all appear to be restricted to the following 50 airframes: 1/15, 3/15 to 17/15, 19/15, 27/15 to 32/15, 43/15 to 65/15 and 326/16 to 329/16. Another six E.I airframes were to go to the German land based Navy and another four airframes were destined for Austro-Hungaria. This fulfills the original contract numbers.
DecalsAll profiles appear generally accurate.
A. E.I 1/15 Ltn. Otto Parshau, June – July 1915.
B. E.I 5/15 Ltn. Kurt Wintgens, FFA 6b, July 1915.
C. E.I 8/15 Uffz. (Corporal) Kneiste, FFA 62, August 1915.
D. E.I 13/15 Ltn. Max Immelmann & Hauptmann (Captain) Oswald Boelcke, FFA 62, August 1915.
E. E.I 14/15 Eduard Böhme FFA 9b, August 1915.
References1. 'Althaus!', S. Lawson, Cross & Cockade Int. Vol. 20, #1, 1989.
2. Eindeckers of World War I, Douglas Pardee, Cross & Cockade USA Vol.22, #4, Pp.131 – 143, 1981.
3. Eisernes Kreuz und Balken Kreuz, H. Nowarra, Hoffmann Pub. 1968.
4. Fokker E.III, R. Rimell, Windsock Datafile 15, Albatros Pub. Ltd.
5. Fokker Eindecker E.III, D. Jones, Cross & Cockade GB, Vol 5, #1, !974, insert mechanical drawings and general arrangements.
6. Fokker Fighters of WWI, A. Imrie, Vintage Warbirds #6, Arms & Armour Press, 1986.
7. Fokker Monoplanes, J.M.Bruce, Profile Pub. #38, 1965.
8. ‘Fokker Train Atterrissage’ from French Air Service 1916, via Dan San Abbott general wing arrangements and measurements.
9. German Army Air Service in WWI, R. Rimell, Vintage Warbirds #2, Arms & Armour Press, 1987.
10. German Fighter Units 1914- May 1917, A. Imrie, Osprey Pub. 1978. (Reviewed here on Aeroscale 2013).
11. ‘Kobes in FFA 11', J. Jacobs, edited by S. Lawson Cross & Cockade Int. Vol. 27, #2, 1996.
12. ‘Kobes in Fosta West’, J. Jacobs, edited by S. Lawson, Over the Front Vol.9, #4, 1994.
13. Lafayette Foundation, Denver Co.
14. ‘Sketches and Descriptions’, J. Jacobs, edited by S. Lawson, Cross & Cockade Int. Vol.29,#2, 1998.
15. The Flight Log of Ltn. von Hippel, J. von Hippel unpublished, 1914-1951.
16. Early German Aces of World War I, Greg VanWyngarden, Osprey pub. AOA #73, 2006.
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