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WNW Fokker D.VII (Alb), Richard Kraut, Jasta 63


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This is WNW's Fokker D.VII (Alb), which I have chosen to do as Richard Kraut's Oct-Nov 1918 Jasta 63 mount primarily because the scheme nicely highlights the "dirty" brownish 4-color loz I have always liked on D.VIIs for its grim "We're losing the war -- no more time for clowning around"/"You've cost us half ze sqvadron, Stachel!" businesslike feel (cue Jerry Goldsmith's "Retreat" and/or "Stachel to Berlin" from "The Blue Max" soundtrack here). I was also inspired to do this scheme after receiving a beautiful set ot Aviattic loz decal complements of Mr. Richard William Andrews, co-founder of the company, last summer. Delighted to finally have the opportunity to put these superb decals to use. 



Aviattic 4-color lower loz on the cockpit rear bulkhead, kit "cookie cut" loz on the steel former tubing (finally had to resort to using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement to get this to settle properly -- a decalling first for me). Main structures have gotten some initial washing and drybrushing.


Using the kit "cookie cut" reversed interior loz as a (rought) cutting template for the Aviattic replacement.



Cockpit components coming together, not rigged yet. Steel former "chipping" done with brush and Tamiya enamel XF-1 Flat Black. Kit loz used on firewall upper section.



Homemade turnbuckles (heat-stretched plastic lollipop sticks) and 0.8 gauge monofilament fishing line magic-markered and drybrushed with Tamiya enamel Dark Iron. Flooring is a custom "generic new wood" lacquer mix sprayed on and given a burnt sienna artist's oil wash. Ditto instrument panel, with a little darker final effect there (suggesting a higher quality and more thoroughly worked wood than the floor).


Kit PE belts were replaced with custom cut Tamiya masking tape strips (approx. 1.5mm wide). Buckles, detailed reinforced stitching areas were retained from the kit PE, and glued onto the tape belts with CA. Note turnbuckles are now Dark Iron to match rigging wire.



All interior wiring pretty much done here (and the last time a lot of it will ever be seen!): rudder/elevator wiring for control column and rudder pedals; pipe from fuel pump; electrical trigger wires for the Spandaus; throttle connector.


Scratched 1/32 spark plugs: Core is 0.3mm diameter brass wire: "hex nut" is from an old Modelkasten tank nuts/bolts set, drilled here to 0.3mm to accept brass core; "insulator" is more heat-stretched lollipop stick, in this case heat-stretched with a 0.3mm piano wire running through it to act as a sort of "male mold" for the desired diameter here.


Welding and drilling (0.3mm holes) jig for replacement plug-lead guide pipes for the Daimler engine.


Dry-fitting test for plug lead guide pipes on engine construction/painting jig (CA'ed balsa); note "port" note on jig to remind me to keep the starboard and port guide pipes from getting mixed up. Rocker "springs" are stripped electrical wiring (0.15mm) wound directly on top of the kit piece "springs". Next time I build a Daimler, I think I'm going to use the Taurus parts for this area of the engine.


Plugs in, not painted yet.


Plug leads (stripped copper electrical wiring, 0.2mm -- later painted up to a better scale thickness) attached to plugs, threaded through painted and installed guide piping.


Plug lead ends, using same 0.2mm copper wiring, attached to magnetos. All wiring will get a final coat of dark grey paint after I'm reasonably sure I won't have to be touching the engine any more. 


Piping from manifold to sump water pump is 0.6mm solder wire. Triple pipe leads attached to this are 0.3mm solder wire gathered in a section of heat-stretched lollipop (the Spanish brand "Chupachups") stick. Wiring from the air pump at the top front of the engine is 0.5mm annealed brass wire soldered together, run down to a "valve" attachment point kitbashed from an unused part on the kit's "E" sprue. 

Bullets first painted flat black, then drybrushed with Mr. Hobby buffable brass lacquer. Belts for the 7.92mm Spandau ammo are cut from clear decal stock painted with one of the Vallejo colors -- IIRC (I've used this same piece of decal stock for years now, on many projects) Khaki Grey.


Aviattic "factory fresh" 4-color loz with HGW "faded" 4-color loz ribtapes.
For reasons that should be evident in the next photograph, my particular method for weathering ribtapes requires that they be 3-D (I need the hard edges to catch and hold wash material)


Top wing (Fokker made, minus 5-color loz-finished Albatros ailerons) oversprayed with the 1:10 Tamiya acrylic XF-52 Dark Earth/X-22 Clear mix suggested in the kit painting instructions. I'm very pleased with the color shift here, which really matches the sort of "lentil soup" pallette I've always associated in my mind's eye with late war D.VIIs (the better to give even an extra second or two of reaction time to the beleaguered German pilots flying over devastated brown Western Front moonscapes, spied from above by Allied pilots with height advantage)

More to come soon. My next major construction phase will probably be to glue up and loz the fuselage.

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Lovely build Bucky. Just loving that completed interior with chipping on the frame. How did you do that?


Firstly, welcome to LSM, and secondly, thanks for joining us here on the Great War GB. We have some great prizes up for grabs. There will also be a signed WNW kit. We don't know what it will be yet. Richard tells me that it will depend on recent releases around the time the GB ends at the end of July.

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Thanks everyone for the nice comments.
Bertl, a sharp eye you have there! I will be sure to attach that Bosch activator arm to the generator box -- as soon as I find on my workshop floor! :-)

Administrators, this is a GREAT site. I'm really excited to be part of the goings-on here, and looking forward to making new friends who share my (literally) lifelong passion for models (not always but as often as possible "large scale" :-) )

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Last dryfit test of the fuselage halves before gluing them together.



I like the "Frankenstein Plane" effect of the Alb 5-color loz aileron tacked onto the browned Fokker 4-color wing.


Aviattic's fabric effect can't be beat.

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benjaminsummerfield, I'd like to take credit for the "Frankenstein" imagery, but it's taken from the WnW instructions pamphlet, which refers to Kraut's machine -- with its Albatros-built fuselage and Fokker wings (oh, and Albatros ailerons!) -- as "something of a Frankenstein's monster". Loved that line, and in fact, it's what inspired me to do Kraut's plane instead of one of the more colorful scheme options. This very "Frankenstein"-like quality of something thrown together in haste -- "on the fly", so to speak ;-) -- for me really tells a dramatic historical story of late-war German desperation (even if the Allies often had their own "Frankenplanes" -- some well-known examples of DH2s come to mind here)

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I think that's the answer, Bucky, some did , some didn't. The fuselage covering was created like a sleeve, pulled onto the airframe and attached by being stitched along the fabric wrapped longerons. Cut strips of ribtape width were then doped/varnished along these longerons. I think this method allowed weather and moisture to loosen tapes (paticularly Fokker's lousy quality control and lack of final protective coatings) and explains why we see many reinforced and replacement tapes on wings in photos. Allied tapes, by comparison were hand torn and their frayed edges when doped to the airframe created a far better surface join. Perhaps these longeron tapes just didn't last very long?


Looking forward to your next instalment!


Regards, Richard

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Thanks, Richard. You've given me confidence to go ahead and do the fuselage longeron tape in good conscience (I was already prepared to do it in BAD conscience, anyway, because I just think it looks so cool -- especially when it's poking out from under the forward cockpit upper panel). 

I think I'll get a real nice tonal harmony with the "browned" 4-color loz (given depth by the difference between HGW tapes and Aviattic loz) and the sort of "Soviet tractor paint" shade I plan to use for the Jasta 63 green.


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The Spandaus went together without any serious problems. I was careful to anneal the brass before rolling, and to make the thicker ends of the "tube" my main area of concentration when tweaking the evenness of the roll (no matter what you do to the thinner middle section of this brass piece, it'll be meaningless if it doesn't match the shape the thick ends hold)



I replaced the plastic kit part for the fuselage underside stitching with a length of old 1/48 Eduard "Stiching"(sic) I had laying around. I always thought the stuff was too big for 1/48, but I think it looks like a good scale match here. Perhaps not exact, but close enough for the effect to be convincing, as per photo below...





This is from the RB Productions Fokker D.VII radiator set. The fit was right on the money (about 9 Euro, IIRC...)
I set it in place with Tamiya Extra Fine Cement (note black "gunk" bubbling up from under the Alclad "aluminum" -- I actually think this gunk works here), then sealed in the perimeter with Future afterwards.

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This really is a terrific read Bucky; I'm enjoying your explanations and pictures immensely so, thank you!


The use of  Eduard's "Stiching" was a great idea,  I think it works (to my eye anyway) and lends itself to much sharper detail; again ... to my eye.


Looking forward to more.



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The 4-color upper loz goes on the fuselage. I always use this EVA(? the stuff nursery school floor mats are made out of these days) foam base like this when working with loz. Nice and soft surface. I use a smaller piece as a squeegee to get air bubbles, etc., out from under the decals and smooth them out.


Now, for the turtle deck...I was a little nervous about this piece.


But it turned out OK. :-)


As you can see, I have some degree of overlap -- which can pose challenges when working with translucent decal film like this. But here it's not a really big deal, as I will be "taping" those join lines with loz (white base, HGW brand "faded" 4-color).


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Oh, and if anyone's wondering why that Tamiya Extra Fine Cement keeps sneaking into these pix, it's because I use it as a "nuclear option" decal setting solution on hard edges, etc., where it ABSOLUTELY must not be allowed to peel up. But DON'T use it anywhere where the decalled area is intended to be seen, because it basically turns the film into molten goo (which, however, dries nice and hard later, because it's now mixed with melted plastic as well -- this property is VERY convenient on hard, abrupt edges like wing, aileron, and tail surface trailing edges). Needless to say, you must be very, VERY careful using this technique, and completely confident in your knowledge of the physical (wicked wicking action, for one) and chemical (the aforementioned goo-ifying) properties of the medium.

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Taping up the fuselage






As you can see at mid-frame right, my tape wasn't able to cover up all of the overlap on the join line of the adjacent loz panels (one drawback of loz printed on clear decal film). I'm hoping it will be less noticeable (or even disappear altogether) when the brown overspray and then the weathering go on.

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