1/48 Eduard Udet's Fokker D-VII

Gallery Article by Mike Muth on Feb 18 2021



I have never been a big fan of the Fokker D-VII. Its overall look is a little too boxy for my tastes. Then Eduard has to go and put together an all-Ernst Udet boxing consisting of 3 kits with markings for, I think, most if not all of the airplanes Udet personalized. (1 for an Albatros D-Va, 2 for a D-V, 2 for a Fokker Dr.1 triplane and 2 for a Fokker D-VII). You get decals for all of the options as well as the lozenge fabric option used on some of the choices. There is a color pe fret for each kit as well as a mask for the windscreens. A figure of Udet is included along with a Blue Max replica. The replica I got was a small pin, but apparently later boxings have a 1:1 replica. Finally, there is a reproduction of a self portrait done by Udet, an accomplished sketch artist. I admit it, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing so I bought it. 

Ernst Udet was the highest scoring German ace to survive World War I. He flew with Jasta 4, attached to the Red Baron's Flying Circus, JG. 1. Probably his most famous airplane during the war was a black and red Fokker D-VII, manufactured under license from Fokker by OAW. Jasta 4 used black as an identifying color, applied to the cowling wheels and interplane struts. This particular D-VII was flown only one time by Udet on June 29, 1918. While attacking a French Bruguet XIV, he was shot down. Udet managed to jump from the doomed Du Doch Nicht and use his parachute. The Germans were one of the few to issue pilots a parachute, but only very late in the war. With some difficulty, Udet bailed out and made it back to German lines.

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After staring at the "Du Doch Nicht" option, I decided to build that one first, due to its striking color scheme and the challenge painted on the tailplane. Also, it had very little lozenge fabric and lately I've been lozenged-out. The Windsock Fokker D-VII Anthology, No. 2, has an excellent article by Dave Roberts on this airplane that includes a discussion on how many stripes are on the upper wing and what possible colors can be used (red...black...blue?). There is some question as to whether the white tailplane chevron continues onto the top of the fuselage, but I decided not to go that route.

Anyway, the red fuselage body is done with Tamiya X-4, a glossy red. The black is Tamiya semi-gloss black. The white is Model Master gloss white. I used the kit supplied lozenge for the lower wing. I opted to go with the red/white stripes on both the top and bottom of the upper wing. There is only 1 known photo of this plane and it doesn't show the underneath of the top wing, so either striping continued or lozenge is defensible. The lower wing shows lozenge fabric with a light color rib tape. I used the light rib tape decal supplied with the kit. The tailplane white chevron didn't settle very well, as one of the photos clearly shows. I think, in hindsight, if I had offset the control surface downward and cut the decal to fit, it would look a lot better. Lesson learned.

So, how many stripes on the upper wing? There is some controversy over this that is explained both in the WIndsock Anthology and the kit's instructions. I went my own way and decided to just use Tamiya 6mm yellow tape. It looks ok to me, and maybe even fits one of the arguments in the aforesaid sources. The kit itself builds up easily, with the only difficult spot being the weak attachment points for the landing gear. I used some out of scale wire and used ca to attach it to the fuselage and landing gear. The result is a sturdy base for the model.

I don't speak German. I believe the phrase "Du doch nicht" strictly translated means "You however/surely not." Udet adorned this D-VII (along with most of his other airplanes) with the name of his future wife, Eleanore "Lo" Zink. They married after the war in 1920 and divorced 3 years later in 1923. Udet went on a barnstorming career after the war, having survived with 62 victories to his credit. Eventually he got entangled with Goering and the Nazis. Udet committed suicide on November 17, 1941.

Mike Muth

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Photos and text by Mike Muth