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1:32 Fokker E.IV


Jim H
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1:32 Fokker E.IV


Wingnut Wings
Catalogue # 32029
Available from Wingnut Wings for $69USD, with FREE Worldwide shipping

 

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The evolution of the Fokker Eindecker was a fairly straightforward affair until the E.III, with at least some visible differences between the E.I and E.II/E.III machines. You would have to be a serious buff to work out any differences between the E.II and E.III machines, and even then, some historians struggle with specific examples. Enter the E.IV (Fokker designation, M.15). This was an entirely different beast; an Eindecker on steroids, so to speak. The E.IV was visibly different than its predecessors, with its faired in upper cockpit area, different shaped engine cowl with an engine 'cage' installed, and a 160hp Oberersel U.III engine. The heavier engine meant that the fuselage had to be lengthened by an extra bay, and the wings and undercarriage were moved forward in order to retain the centre of gravity.

 

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The engine was designed to give the E.IV a power advantage over its 100hp Oberursel U.III cousin. The U.III was actually TWO Oberursel U.0 engines bolted together, which of course added to the overall weight on this dainty airframe. Another change which was to have been implemented was the increase in armament to THREE forward firing IMG08 guns. This modification existed only in prototype form, and on one initial production machine, before being scrapped. Unfortunately for the E.IV, its performance in the air betrayed the promise of the new, more powerful design. The extra power created extra torque, which in essence, translated to a machine which was not as maneuverable as the earlier designs. The mainstay of the E.IV design, the U.III engine, was also badly designed, and extremely unreliable. Less that 50 Fokker E.IV were produced before they were phased out in late 1916.

 

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Fokker E.IV, built by Richard Alexander, Wingnut Wings

 

You can tell that the year-end is approaching. It's the not annoyance of early Christmas toy adverts, or the ignition of a 1000 Guy Fawkes fireworks, but the release of the very next batch of Wingnut Wings kits. Yes, modeller's 'nirvana' again, and this time, Wingnut Wings have chosen to tie up a couple of loose ends in their schedule, with the simultaneous release of both the Fokker E.I and Fokker E.IV aircraft. We've already checked out the previous E.II/E.III Early and E.III late kits here at LSM, so as Martin P will be looking at the E.I shortly, I thought we'd peruse the E.IV today.

 

Both Steve Anderson and Ronny Bar must be incredibly busy guys these days, with their amazing artworks gracing the boxes of these new releases, but it is enough. Steve's lid artwork depicts the prototype machine having been in combat with a BE.2C. As usual, the art is framed with a silver, gilt edge. Ronny Bar's profile work adorns the box sides.

Inside the box, NINE light grey styrene sprues, and one clear sprue, are individually packaged. As this Eindecker is radically different from the other releases, this kit has no less than FOUR sprues which have never been see yet, and the Oberursel U.0/U.III sprue is included twice, due to the dual 7-cylinder banks which formed this engine. In the lower depths of the box, the photo etch fret and decals are included, all packaged so as not to incur any damage. Unusually this time, the manual doesn't come in its own sleeve.

 

SPRUE A

 

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The first sprue in the pile isn't a new one. In fact, this one is common not only to previous Eindecker reelases, but also to the E.I which we'll be publishing very shortly. Being a detail sprue, with a number of larger components, here you'll find the single piece elevator tail-plane, rudder, undercarriage struts and two machine gun options. These are for a single piece unit with moulded cooling jacket, or a version without, onto which you'll fit a PE jacket. Shown as 'not for use' are the internal cockpit side wall frames. Again, this version will use entirely new parts which are specific to this release only.

 

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Other parts to be found on this sprue are a number of cockpit parts, such as control column, rudder bar, rear cockpit bulkhead, pilot's seat, tail skid and supporting frame, control cable pulley, anemometer, and a burnt castor deflector plate which fits to the underside of the fuse, just to the rear of the cowl. Eindeckers were typically very badly stained below, so this was an installation to try and reduce this problem to a minimum.

 

SPRUE B

 

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Now we see the first of the E.IV-specific sprues. On this one, you will find the entirely new fuselage halves, and you'll see how different they look to the previous releases. As this kit allows you to build the 3-gun prototype, you will need to perform a little surgery to the forward fuselage so that this slightly extended machine can be modeled. This will require the removal of the forward cowl part, and its replacement with a couple of PE cowl plates. The prototype is quite an unusual beast, but thankfully the work required in order to create it, is thankfully easy.

 

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The E.IV had a slightly different cockpit floor arrangement too, and this parts is to be found on this new moulding, as is the new-shaped lower fuel tank, and an optional seat cushion. Two parts are included depending on whether you model the 2 or 3 gun machines, and it's on this sprue that you'll find the 2 gun, front cockpit coaming. The 3 gun coaming is to be found on sprue H.

 

If you do go with a 2 gun machine, it's here that you'll find the production machine engine cowl. For me, the production machine is a far prettier machine, but the draw of that unusual prototype is very strong. Maybe time to source a second E.IV kit already!

 

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Inner cowl frames, cowl fairings, empty belt container, and production series upper cockpit coaming/fairing is located here also.

 

SPRUE C

 

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As is traditional with WNW kits, this is the clear sprue, containing a multitude of windscreen options. For this release, you only get an option of two, inclusive of the prototype part.

 

SPRUE D (x2)

 

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Being a common sprue which contains a number of parts where TWO need to be fitted to your model, WNW have simply included two identical sprues. The wheel is moulded as a single part, with integral inner hub, and two separate hum choices are included; one of these with a stitched access flap. Again, two MG options are available; one with moulded cooling jacket, and one allowing the modeller to use the PE alternative.

 

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A number of small parts exist here, such as the wheel retaining washers and the fuselage lifting handles.

 

SPRUE E (x2)

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Another 'first' for the E.IV release. As previously mentioned, two of these engine sprues are included, because the U.III engine requires 2 cylinder banks, and each sprue only carries one. The cylinder banks are also moulded as front and rear halves, but previous experience shows that the seam line is pretty innocuous and nothing to worry about. I do suspect that Taurus will probably treat us to one of their resin masterpieces in a short time though. Engine cylinder heads are integral to the cylinders themselves, but the actuator rods are separate. Two lengths are included so both front and rear banks may be reached.

 

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Engine detail is excellent, with fine cooling fins on the cylinders, and crisp crankcase hub bolts etc. An ignition wiring drawing is supplied with the kit, but alas no wire, so you'll have to source your own.

 

SPRUE F

 

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As the E.IV retained the same wing as the E.II and E.III types, it's not going to come as a shock that this same sprue is included here. The Eindecker was a wing-warper, meaning it had no ailerons to deflect the flying surfaces. Detail is superb, with the rib and fabric representation of these parts being first rate. The Eindecker also had split bamboo lengths applied to the rib edges, and this detail can clearly be seen.

 

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Other parts you'll find here are two propeller types, both of which are designed for use in this release are the fuel pump impellor and wing support box.

 

SPRUE G

 

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Into E.IV-specific territory again with these parts. As previously mentioned, the E.IV has new internal cockpit walls, and this sprue is where to find them. The forward fuel tank lid is also here, as are the wing warping cable pylon (taller than the earlier machines), engine starting switch, altimeter, production series engine firewall, underside rear fuselage panel, fuselage fabric stitching, and ammunition magazine/bulkhead, again, to name but a few key areas. The E.IV's symmetrical undercarriage forward strut/spreader bar is present here too.

 

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SPRUE H

 

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This sprue is very specifically for the prototype E.IV aircraft only, and thus contains the more curved cowl and internal engine frame/cage, upper three-gun coaming, engine firewall, cockpit coaming, and internal MG bulhead and ammunition feed buckets. This machine is SO very tempting.

 

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PLASTIC ASSESSMENT

If you've seen a Wingnut Wings kit, then you pretty much know what to expect, and all of that is delivered here, and more. If you haven't then I can promised you superbly moulded parts with no flash or sinkage marks, and no issue with badly placed ejector pins. Detail throughout is as about as good as you could ever wish, with external detail faithfully reproducing the stick and string of these early machines, and the minutest of cockpit detail being exquisite in its rendering. Clear parts are suitably thin, and with excellent clarity. Again, moulding is also first-rate.

 

PHOTO ETCH

 

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This bare-brass fret has a few more components on it than you would normally associate with such a release. For a start, Wingnut Wings have chosen to use PE for the forward cowl panels on the prototype machine, instead of plastic. Don't forget, there are also a 2 and a 3 gun option, and. As the guns are jacketed differently, there are complete sets here for both options. As is usual, WNW have supplied a pilot seatbelt, footplates, gun-sight reticules (both rectangular and circular options), and some cowl plate detail. Moulded cowl plate detail will have to be removed in all instances, in order to either fit the metal parts, or because no panels were fitted to specific machines.

Etch quality is superb, with sharp detail, and small tags holding parts to the fret. A small number of parts on this fret are not slated for use on this release.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

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This is the part where I feel I should simply copy and paste from other WNW reviews, due to the high number of superlatives that usually accompany this passage. But, as a mark of respect to WNW, I wouldn't do that. The manual is a THIRTY-TWO page, glossy A4 affair, in the usual WNW format, with a potted Eindecker history to the front, paint call-outs (Tamiya, Humbrol and FS), and a sprue map which usefully shows us the parts which will not be used on this kit. The way WNW depict their construction, makes the whole affair very easy on the eye, with beautifully drawn diagrams, all in grayscale shading. Colour has been used to denote new parts to be fitted, or the coming together of sub-assemblies. A few full colour images are also supplied for areas such as the cockpit. Of course, colour reference is used throughout, and rigging diagrams are supplied for both internal and external rig.

 

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As is now standard practice, many constructional sequences are also illustrated with superb period images, and annotation. There really are NO manuals as good as those supplied by Wingnut Wings.

The last pages are given over to more period images, and the FIVE colour schemes included, ably illustrated by Ronny Bar, with each having historical notation alongside.

 

DECALS

 

Just a single sheet of decals is provided with this release, again printed in Italy by Cartograf. As well as a full complement of national markings (with wing crosses printed on large white wing panels and rudder crosses printed on a rudder shaped white decal), the set also comprises the various fuselage bands, airframe stencils and instrument decals.

 

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Printing is beautifully thin, with minimal carrier film and perfect registration. Decals are included for FIVE machines. These are:

  • Fokker E.IV, 122/15 prototype, Anthony Fokker & Otto Parschau, September 1915 (8 victories)
  • Fokker E.IV, 127/15, Max Immelmann, FFA 62, January 1916 (15 victories)
  • Fokker E.IV, 638/15, Karl Albert, Albert Oesterreicher, Alfred Prehn (1 victory), Wilhelm Viereck (2 victories), Kurt Wintgens? (19 victories), KEK 3, middle – late 1916
  • Fokker E.IV, 161/16, Lt. Müller, Kest 6, April 1917
  • Fokker E.IV, 163/16, Kurt Student, AOK 3 Fokkerstaffel, August 1916 (6 victories)

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Conclusion
I've been waiting for this one to be released, and I have to admit that it seems like I've been waiting years. The rather masculine lines of the E.IV have been superbly recreated in a model kit that offers both interesting options and schemes. I do admit that I would have liked to see a camouflage machine, but we can't have it all. It's unusual to see that Wingnut Wings opted to use PE for the forward cowl plates of the prototype, but I have no doubt that this will be easy to install.

 

This is another amazingly detailed release, dripping with detail. As the other release, the E.1, is an 'early' machine, we can perhaps assume that these latest releases aren't the last we'll see of this iconic aircraft. A beautiful model kit, of a beautiful aircraft.

VERY highly recommended

 

James H

 

Our sincere thanks to Wingnut Wings for the review sample we looked at here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

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