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.