1/72 Fokker E.III Revell (kit n° 04188)

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- Cheap
- Simple build
- Very good decals
- "Texturized" canvas surfaces

- Worn out, imperfect mold
- No cockpit details
- No windshield

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Like it or not, human flight owes its own existence to technology, and therefore technology has always played a major role in turning the tides of aerial warfare, ever in the "romantic" age of the first "knights of the sky", as proved by the success of Fokker "Eindecker" (monoplane) fighters.
By "simply" introducing the first fixed forward-firing synchronized machine gun, these crude, slow, fragile machines gained a neat edge in combat effectiveness over their opponents, thus becoming the infamous "Fokker Scourge" and granting Germany months of air superiority since their deployment in mid-1915.
The E.III was the first version built in large numbers. Flying these planes, pilots such as Oswald Boelke and Max Immelmann developed and refined maneuvers, tactics and principles ("Boelke's dicta" and "Immelmann turn", just to say...) that were to be adopted by fighter pilots from any country and time, and still valid in the 21st century.

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I bought this kit at €4,90 in a local shop. It is clearly a re-issue of an old kit, since the small single sprue appears very "vintage". It also suffers from the age of the mold, since there's quite some flash,sink marks and molding "edges"; some parts show minor deformations. I should also mention that, at least in my kit, The whole sprue was somewhat "misaligned": apparently, the upper side of the mold didn't perfectly match the lower side, so that most pieces have a very little "step" along their centerline axis. However, it is a matter of just a fraction of mm, and it didn't hamper the building, only requiring a bit of sanding to smooth some edges and tiniest bits.
As you can expect from a small-scale kit of this age, it is quite basic, with a detail level ranging from decent to absent: the main weak point is the lack of any cockpit detail but a "seat", which actually is just the rear cockpit wall with a step to fix the provided pilot figure. Even with that, a hole will remain in the front side, revealing the fixing cap of the engine. Moreover, since no clear parts are provided, the finished model will be missing the windshield, unless you get one elseway.
On the positive side, wings and tail controls show an adequate "canvas" look, thanks to both the molded protrusions of the underneath structure and a moderate "cross-pattern" surface. Such "texturized" effect is present on the fuselage too, although less pronounced and without structural details. Another positive feature of the wings is that they show the correct junction points for the tensioning wires, thus making the rigging job much easier. Remarkably, the fuselage-main gear joint is designed to ensure both ease of building and good strenght.
I considered the plastic between the cylinders to be part of the engine detail. Oddly, it is flat on the front side (visible) and rounded on the rear one (mostly hidden).
Decals and markings are provided for one machine, Ernst Udet's mount in winter 1915-16.

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The low number of parts makes for a quick build (when it's time to add strings, well, that may be a different story). Once you've removed the excess of plastic, The fitting among parts is generally good, even in the relatively complex engine bulge/wings root joint; in any case, dry fitting is adviceable with all the engine section. The lower side of the fuselage may be a little tricky, just because it is "soft" and may end up not perfectly following the curve of the side. As I said above, the main gear is cleverly engineered to make it as easy as possible to build.
Although the tail surfaces are designed to be built neutral, if you wish, the rudder could be easily set either left or right; elevators instead would need a minor modification to be set in a different position.

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The instructions sheet refers to the main color as a mixture of 75% light olive and 25% yellow. But I didn't want to mess with paint mixtures, so I chose a simpler sand beige instead (as seen on many E.IIIs). While the red fuselage band are provided as decals, the white one has to be painted.
Although there are decals for one version only, they are really excellent. From the tiny serials to the huge wing crosses, all of them are finely printed, very thin and soft enough to let the underneath "canvas texture" show through, while still being quite sturdy and elastic. Even more remarkably, the ones forming the fuselage bands wrap around it matching perfectly the sharp corners, provided that you painted the white intermediate band correctly... which is simpler than you may think, since its location and tilt angle are precisely indicated in the painting diagram, with measurements from nose and tail tips.
Transparencies show a tendency to become opaque, but such areas are either minuscule or easy to cut off.

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Weathering the surface according to the internal frame was almost mandatory, or else the fuselage would have looked too flat. Similarly, adding all the strings is necessary to give the model a proper look.

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- All strings were made with black fishing line.
- Added a copper wire ring to the top structure, in order to ease the wiring job.
- Added actuators and control cables to tail surfaces.
- The molded-in ammo belt was "sliced" in an attempt to make it look segmented.
- Self-built control stick.
- Pilot scarf made with soft paper.

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Not a state-of-the-art kit, but it's a pretty easy build with first-rate decals. At such a low price, you get a fair enough value for your money: it's OK as a beginner's choice or as a quick job to "relax" among more demanding projects (like it was for me).



That Fokker looks so cool! Big Grin


Very nice build Serpiko , you just brought back many memories for me with that, I built the h*ll out of the Revell 1/72 WW1 kits in my much younger days, here is the original box for the E3 it went for .49 cent US back in 1965, it was also in a 3 in 1 set for .98 cent US that same year, remember them very well.

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Thank you for the walk down memory lane.
Deutschmark :Smile)

Hi Serpiko,

I did it 5 years ago (with the 75% olive 25% beige paintscheme), but no wires. It it a good model that I enjoyed well !

Great review as ususal !!!

Do you have photos of the building (especially when you have worked on the wires, as it would interest me) ?

I permit myself to add an information concerning the fixed forward-firing synchronized machine gun from wikpedia:

' In the early stages of the air war in World War I the problem of mounting a forward-firing machine gun on combat aircraft was considered by a number of individuals. The so-called "interrupter gear" did not come into use until Anthony Fokker developed a synchronization device which had a large impact on air combat; however, Garros also had a significant role in the process of achieving this goal.

As a reconnaissance pilot with the Escadrille MS26, Garros visited the Morane-Saulnier Works[4] in December 1914. Saulnier's work on metal deflector wedges attached to propeller blades was taken forward by Garros; he eventually had a workable installation fitted to his Morane-Saulnier Type L aircraft. Garros achieved the first ever shooting-down of an aircraft by a fighter firing through a tractor propeller, on 1 April 1915; two more victories over German aircraft were achieved on 15 and 18 April 1915.[4]

On 18 April 1915, either Garros' fuel line clogged or, by other accounts, his aircraft was downed by ground fire,[4] and he glided to a landing on the German side of the lines. Garros failed to completely destroy his aircraft before being taken prisoner: most significantly, the gun and armoured propeller remained intact. Legend has it that after examining the plane, German aircraft engineers, led by Fokker, designed the improved interrupter gear system. In fact the work on Fokker's system had been going for at least six months before Garros' aircraft fell into their hands. With the advent of the interrupter gear the tables were turned on the Allies, with Fokker's planes shooting down many Allied aircraft, leading to what became known as the Fokker Scourge. '


It is interesting to read in the french page of wikipedia (dealing with Roland Garros) that Morane Saulnier did a patent in April (1914 i suppose) with a synchronized machine gun. Roland Garros improved this system in January 1915:

' His friend Raymond Saulnier succeeds in making him allocate to the entrenched camp of Paris with the aim of finalizing the shooting through the propeller's baldes (system which the engineer imagined to replace the synchronized shooting for which he applied for a patent in April). It is simply a question of armoring every blade of the propeller by using a triangular metallic part diverting bullets. '


Difficult to know who did what on the synchronized forward firing system, but here in France, I ofently hear that R Garros and Morane Saulnier did the first system which Fokker improved in April 1915. If somebody has more informations, please share ;o)

So, now Serpiko, WHAT'S NEXT ???

Ted ;o)

...very interesting post!

Thank you Teddy.


LeBigTed Wrote:Difficult to know who did what on the synchronized forward firing system, but here in France, I ofently hear that R Garros and Morane Saulnier did the first system which Fokker improved in April 1915. If somebody has more informations, please share ;o)

R Garros used metal plates on the back side of his propeller blades so the bullets that would hit the prop would be deflected by the metal plates so it was not a true synchronized forward firing system, it was when he had to land behind the lines that the Germans got hold of his plane and turned it over to Fokker, it was Fokker that came up with the interrupter cam that was put onto the shaft of the motor that stopped the bullet firing from the guns when the prop would pass in front of the guns this being the first and true synchronized forward firing system.


S !

I found it !!!

I read many good articles (but in french;o), and finally wikipedia gave me the one I wanted in english:


Here you will find all the differents systems ;o)

Enjoy !!!

for Francophiles : http://www.asoublies1418.fr/default.asp?...9335233DE6 and http://vieillescasseroles.free.fr/ts.html

Ted ;o) :mrgreen:

...and here the function in german:



Very interesting reference. As it often happens, multiple solutions to a problem are tried, until the best one becomes the standard.

@ Ted: sorry, no pictures of the wiring job... basically, because I was too busy handling the wires, glueing the wires and swearing at the wires, to also take pictures of the wires at the same time! Tongue

In short, since the best results are achieved by keeping the wires as tightened as possible (and this makes fixing by glue quite hard), I tied them whenever possible before glueing. I.E., a single wire goes all around, through both wings and the top structure (hence the addition of a small ring there), and both its ends are tied to the frame of the landing gear.

Next, another WWI project is coming... I think I'll post it as a WIP, since it's likely to take some time (hope not as much as the B-17! :roll: )

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