Kit Reviews

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Wingnut Wings 1/32 scale Fokker D.VII

By Chuck Davis
Published: March 5, 2013
Click the photo for a larger view
Kit:  32011
Scale:  1/32
Price:  $79
Pros:  Excellent fits; beautifully thin cowl panels; great decals and lots of them
Cons:  Touchy assembly and alignment of nose
Manufacturer:  Wingnut Wings
Injection-molded, 218 parts (8 photoetched metal), decals

After months — maybe years — of anticipation, Wingnut Wings has finally unleashed its Fokker D.VII kits on the market, initially in three variations. The three kits include specific parts to cater to the Fokker-, Albatros-, and OAW-built examples, along with appropriate decal markings.

Speaking of decals, there are six sheets of decals included in the Fokker boxing used for this review, including full, prefitted lozenge or the unique Fokker streaked camouflage. A nice touch is the inclusion of interior lozenge decals that replicate the reverse side of the printed fabric.

Typical Wingnut Wings quality is exhibited throughout. The wafer-thin cowl panels especially highlight the current state of the art in molding.

Careful study of the instructions is advisable because of the numerous detail differences between decal options. To add strength and convenience, I built the entire interior metal tube structure before painting, including the small curved braces.

Use care when assembling the complex engine bearers and the associated supports — alignment is critical to mounting the nose and wing later. As with its Fokker E.III (Workbench Reviews, April 2013), Wingnut would have you postpone gluing the lower fuselage seam until fitting the molded strip of stitching. I had a minor fit problem just behind the cockpit coaming that I fixed by clipping the alignment pin shorter and adding a bit of filler. I believe the rear bulkhead and tubing structure may have been slightly too wide — again, take care during assembly. Sadly, I didn’t reinforce this joint and the seam split slightly below the lozenge decals later. Now you’ve been warned.

The lower wings had ejector-pin towers that need to be cut down. But the fit of both lower and upper wings is very good, with sturdy strut location points and slots for the ailerons. Clever engineering shows up when test-fitting the major assemblies; spars molded on the lower wings slip into the fuselage.

I undercoated all lozenge-covered areas with Tamiya black, then applied the decals and snugged them down using a hair dryer. All the decals fit perfectly, even the openings for the strut mounting pins.

There are a couple of mistakes on the decal scheme for my option, with no mention of left lower wing decal 411, no mention of either decal 107 or 108 on the lower surface of the tail, and listing decal 404 twice when the upper right wing decal should be 401. But those errors are obvious when comparing decals with the drawing.

Final assembly brings all the decaled components together. Remember to install the very fragile horizontal stabilizer before attaching the fin — guess who didn’t and had to cut apart the carefully guarded elevator to install it.

I had to use great care to allow the nose and associated cowl panels to fit properly. I still don’t know how, but I have a gap between the bottom of the nose bowl and the metal panel just aft of the gear mounts. The model also developed a slight lean to the left that I couldn’t fully correct because I placed the outer wing struts too deeply in their mounting holes (I think). This may have been caused by not seating the radiator assembly at the proper angle. To add to my woes, I lost the “high detail” machine guns. But the normal guns without photoetched-metal jackets worked fine.

Just because the D.VII lacks complex rigging doesn’t mean you can go to sleep. I spent an enjoyable 38 hours on my D.VII , much of it painting and decaling. This should be a great seller for Wingnut. If you’ve wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but don’t want to spend large amounts of time rigging, this is the kit for you. Go ahead — try one!

A version of this review appeared in the May 2013 FineScale Modeler

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5 stars
I've been building models continuously for 58 years (I think!... I can barely remember my first...), and over the years Tamiya and Hasegawa, and then Dragon, climbed up my "best of the best" list of favourite manufacturers. And then along came Wingnut Wings and left them all behind in the distance.

I've built two so far (Sopwith Pup and Albatross), with two more on the shelf. Evrything Mr. Davis has said in this article applies to the kits I've built. The have exquisite mouldings, incredible attention to detail and variations that go well beyond my expectations, and they are fun and challenging projects.

I underscore the cautions he mentions: be very careful building the interior, because there is so much detail it can be damaged when the fuselage is closed around it. Read the instructions closely, and again , and agin, and choose your variant. Then highlight all the areas in the instructions where the alternatives apply.

I have also found that the EZ-Line (also supplied by W/W) is by far the easiest and most convincing material for rigging. And it is very forgiving to errant fingers. One also needs very good tweezers - an item which is more difficult to get than one would think.

Now, if W/W would just get their 1/32 figures on the market... And extend their product line into the mid-war years - a Cutis Jenny perhaps?
I was interested in this kit but didn't know the manufacturer. After reading the review I have now decided to buy one and build.
5 stars
Wingnuts Wings seems to be a great outfit! I ordered kit 32001 online on a Sun. nite; it shipped on Tues.; and it was delivered on Saturday-- not bad for free shipping from NZ! Richard Alexander, their coordinator, had sent me an earlier email with detailed comments on the color schemes and making my own decals for two Jasta 15 D.VII's since they did not furnish those. I chose to do Hugo Schaefer's because it has those wonderful camouflage schemes on both upper and lower wings, tops & undersides-- the "built-in" rib tapes on the kit's excellent camo decals for the wings could not be resisted! Wingnut's website provides loads of archived photos, photos of finished models (the mud spray off the wheels on the lower wing undersides may be forgotten by modelers-- so that was great to see), and a downloaded PDF of the extremely well illustrated instruction book makes this company a delight for modelers. Thanks to FSM for their full page Wingnut add in the March issue which turned me on to the company; and thanks to Chuck Davis for his comments and warnings which will guide me during construction.
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