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Fokker F.1 Dreidecker 'Voss'

James H

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1:32 Fokker F.1 Dreidecker ‘Voss’
Encore Models
Catalogue # 32003
Available from Squadron for $41.99




The Fokker Triplane needs no introduction. The favourite mount of some of Germany’s greatest Great War aces, and Blue Max recipients, actually came in two very slightly different flavours. The more common Dr.1 designation is the one which was indeed the more numerous machine, flown by Manfred von Richthofen, but before the Dr.1 was the F.1 prototype, as piloted by Werner Voss. Externally, there was very little difference between both machines. The only real significant tell-tale sign that a Dreidecker is in fact an F.1 is by the slightly convex lines of the forward horizontal tail-plane. Only three of these machines were built before the Dr.1 rolled from the production lines, and then passed into aviation legend, thanks to the scarlet machine of Baron Manfred von Richthofen.



We know that this isn’t a new release, with the initial Encore kit making its debut in 2009, but we did figure that in the run up to the Great War Group Builds on both Large Scale Modeller and Scale Plastic & Rail, that a look at the only 1:32 Fokker Triplane on the market would be timely.  Encore releases are actually reissues of kits which were earlier released under the original manufacturers label, but this time around, given a whole new set of both photo etch parts and resin to compliment/upgrade it. This release was originally a Roden kit, so let’s see just what Squadron have done to make this one of their ‘Encore’ releases.


The first thing that strikes me about this release is the price. For a UK modeller, this in fact doesn’t cost too much more than the price that Roden kits still sell for in this country, so the opportunity to have those extras really is a no-brainer. Of course, UK modellers do tend to get hit by the criminal charges levied at both HMRC and their partner in grand-larceny, ParcelForce. That aside, this box beckons to be opened.


Squadron’s packaging is certainly very attractive. The quit slender box has a superb artwork of Werner Voss stood next to his streaky finish Fokker F.1, with the box edges depicting the TWO schemes available in this kit, plus the number of resin and etch bonus items. Under the very tight fitting lid, once we overcame the vacuum, we find a single heat sealed bag containing SIX sprues of light grey plastic. I’m not a fan of this type of packaging due to the constant fear of seeing broken and chafed parts, but luckily, the tight packaging does mean that no visible damage has taken place.






All parts on this sprue are to be used, with the exception of the upper cockpit coaming, which will be replaced with the resin alternative included. This sprue contains two of the Dreidecker’s three wings, which are also moulded in upper and lower halves. The wings in question are the upper and mid wing, and while both wings are presented as full span, the mid wing has separate lower halves.

The presentation of the rib and fabric surfaces isn’t as well defined as a Wingnut Wings kit, yet the ribs are to be seen under fabric, which has a pleasing and realistic taughtness to it. The plywood leading edges aren’t too sharp either. I would look at trying to subtly refine this with a sanding stick, and perhaps to add rib take detail to the wing with very thin Kabuki tape, before painting.






Strut locations and panel positions are well-defined, and the former areas could just do with a little clean up to remove the small amount of flash present. The only other two parts on this sprue to be used are the upper wing wingtips. No locator tab is supplied here, so you will need to feel for best fit.



SPRUE C (no sprue B!)



Here we find the F.1’s fuselage halves, to be constructed in the conventional way, with the forward front section open, to accommodate the resin coaming. I feel that the forward side of the fuselage isn’t as defined as it should be with regard to the slight edge that should be present where the plywood skin ‘folds’, but this is no deal breaker. The carburetor protrusions are moulded cleanly in situ, and the leather padding to the rear of the pilot’s position is quite fine.


Externally, the fuselage exhibits a little sinking where internally there are vertical structural elements moulded. I still think this difference in external definition will look very good when painted. Control cable grommets are finely moulded too, but you will need to drill these out to accommodate the cables themselves.










Internally, the fuselage has no real detail, except for the aforementioned vertical elements, but you will need to remove a couple of clunky ejector pin marks. With there being no moulded detail in this area, this should be very easy to achieve. One criticism of the Roden kit was the spartan interior, but thankfully, Encore have tackled this aspect with their upgrades. We’ll come to those later. For the cockpit itself, this sprue contains two tubular-frame sidewalls with excellent moulding quality and integral instrument detail, a cockpit floor, compass/gimbal, fuel tank pressurizing pump, seat, fuel tank, rudder pedals etc. Some detail pertaining to the interior will need to be removed if you wish to use the photo etch equivalent.


Other parts to be found on sprue C are the engine firewall, propellers (only one of the two slated for use), elevator (again, only one of two to be used), undercarriage struts, engine mount, and tailskid etc.



SPRUE D (x2)



As with Wingnut Wings kits, Roden have produced two identical sprue, each containing one part of the two required for assembly. Coincidentally, WNW’s sprue is which is duplicated is also ‘D’ in their kits. Here we find the wheels with a separate outer hub, mid and lower wingtips, cabane struts, main struts, ammunition bins, ammunition feeds, seat brackets and wingtip skids. The ailerons moulded here aren’t to be used as there are resin alternatives supplied.










Again, like the WNW Sprue E, this contains the parts for the F.1’s engine. This is one of the kits nicer looking sprues, with a superb reproduction of the aircrafts Oberursel engine, complete with fine cooling fins and separate cylinder heads. The engine is split into front and rear halves, with a separate rod/ring assembly.








The kit also supplies two types of MG assembly. There is the simple one-piece gun, with integral cooling jacket, or a gun moulded without the jacket, so you can use the far more realistic photo etch equivalent. The gun with integral jacket is actually superbly moulded, with plenty of sharp detail, and with some careful work, would look very good.






There are sure a number of parts supplied here which won’t see service e on this kit due to resin replacements being supplied. These are the engine cowl, horizontal tail plane, and rudder. The lower wing is moulded here, in the same style and format as the upper wings, and with clean locators for the wingtip skids, and the undercarriage ‘wing’ is also supplied in upper and lower halves, with some sharp, if not heavy fastener detail on the underside. Of course, this can be reduced with a few swipes of the sanding stick. The only other part for use here is the fabric covered tubular bulkhead onto which the seat brackets are mounted.







Generally speaking, there isn’t anything which one could call unusable. Yes, there are some soft details here and there, and a little poor definition in places, but overall, nothing I would worry too much about. A little flash exists here and there, but that is to be expected with a release such as this. Some ejector pin marks exist, but again, the only real bad ones are in the cockpit area, and those are easy to remove. Some parts suffer from sinkage, such as the MG’s and propeller.






A bag containing SEVENTEEN pale yellow resin parts, is included. Encore have supplied a full resin engine for this release. The crankshaft is cast separately to the nine cylinders, and the latter also now have their heads cast in situ, with some very good rocker detail. There are actually ten cylinders supplied due to them being cast in blocks of five, and the instructions say to check the length of them and trim so that the cowl can be checked for fit. Bear that in mind. Again, the overall detail is excellent.




The F.1’s distinctively flared horizontal tail plane is to be found here, finished in detail matching the remainder of the kit, as are the new ailerons and rudder. I can’t see massive amounts of difference between these and the kit parts, but granted, they are more refined, and should be used. Another fuel tank filler is included to complement the one which already exists (the F.1 had two fillers). The last resin aircraft parts are a replacement cowl and upper coaming.


Generally, casting is excellent with no visible flaws. A few corners here and there will need a little clean-up with a fresh scalpel blade, and casting blocks should be easy enough to remove. My only real concern is that the cowl was cast with no ‘dead space’ in between it and its block, so be careful when it comes to removing it.




Now, there is another resin bag included here, containing the figure of Werner Voss himself. Voss is split into six pieces (head & upper torso, lower torso & upper legs, two knee length boots, left arm and right hand). Sculpting is excellent, and assembly should be a breeze. No stand is included for him, so you’ll need to pin him boots to mount him.





Two frets are included, and despite the Squadron branding on them, I think it’s safe to say they are made by Eduard. One fret, printed in colour, contains a full set of seatbelts which are already produced ready to assemble. Other items on this fret are a data table, cockpit instruments and plates, and some parts for the control stick.




The second, large fret contains bracing strips for the internal forward plywood skinning, spark plug leads, fuselage lacing, cockpit instruments, bracing wires, control stick linkages, control cable grommets, forward underside cowl plate, map case, and forward cowl securing strap, plus others.






This is a glossy, twelve page publication which starts by showing the various model assembly sequences, with notes added to them to refer to the later pages which show more detail with regard to adding the various etch and resin parts. The assembly drawings are clear and unambiguous, and the etch detail drawings seem to have been drawn by Eduard, using their shaded technique to illustrate the added parts. Resin parts are coloured in yellow for clarity.






The rear of the manual has two schemes displayed:

  • Fokker F.1 103/17 (WNr 1730), Jasta 10, Lt. Werner Voss (48 victories and Pour le Merite), Northern France, Marckebeke Airfield, 1917
  • Fokker F.1 102/17 (WNr 1729), Jasta 11, Ob. Lt. Kurt Wolff (33 victories and Pour le Merite), Northern France, Phalempin Airfield, September 15th, 1917

Paint reference is generally given throughout, with codes relating to Humbrol paints.






A single sheet is supplied, printed by Cartograf. The decals are beautifully thin, and with minimal carrier film. Colour appears to be solid, and everything is in perfect register. Certainly no complaints to be had. A small amount of stencil data is supplied, including data plate detail and the famous ‘eyes’ painted onto Voss’s machine.


Whilst the base kit is starting to show its age a little, it still builds up into a very attractive model of this iconic machine. With the help of the resin and etch, you are certainly on the road to producing a masterpiece. The really great thing about this too is the price. With some extra F.1/Dr.1 reference to hand, such as the Squadron Walkaround book, and some plastic strut etc, then you’ll be in for many happy and creative hours in the man cave.


Highly recommended.




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This has to be one of the best bits of plastic Roden produced in 32nd! And all the extras that Encore throw at it makes it a great bargain! I need to get around to building mine sometime!

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This has to be one of the best bits of plastic Roden produced in 32nd! And all the extras that Encore throw at it makes it a great bargain! I need to get around to building mine sometime!


Perhaps an LSM 'Build-off'?

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It is a nice collection of parts. I bought one a while back at a rather good price (£25 or so) when there was a 'glut' of these Encore Models. Picked up the equally nice Alb DII for same price...



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Nice review James.

I almost bought one not so long ago, but with all the excellent WnW quality out there and more of those than I can build I'm not biting yet.

Besides. With my luck WnW hits us with a surprise Dr1 as soon as I start an Encore kit...

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