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Army Air Corps Officers inspect the original 103/17
first aircraft were produced with a tubular steel structure painted olive.
This was finished in a clear lacquer to allow mechanics to inspect the
welds on later production aircraft.
Pour le Merite- The "Blue-Max"
Construction started as per
Martin Gastel's excellent article right here on Aircraft Resource Center, so I
will avoid repeating what Martin had to say and concentrate on the
differences between the F1 and the DR1.
My aim was to try to build a replica of Werner Voss's Triplane: F1 103/17, in
which he scored several victories before his eventual death, on the 23rd
September 1917, at the ripe old age of 19.
Much time was spent researching the subject, aided by several well known
photographs of the actual aircraft. There has been some conjecture as to
the actual colour scheme, and bearing in mind it is now over 84 years ago, it is
likely that the truth may never be known. When the aircraft left the Fokker
factory it was finished in an overall Fokker standard turquoise colour, which
was then brushed over using a 10cm brush loaded with Fokker standard olive, thus
creating a streaky finish.
One school of thought suggests that the rudder and the engine cowling were
finished in a mustard yellow colour, but I discovered a RFC crash report of
examination of the wreckage. This had attached to it, some actual fabric
samples of Voss's Triplane but makes no reference to any components painted
The model was started by removing the sawtooth pattern from the underside
of all wing leading edges, a fairly lengthy process. The final finish was
restored by wet or dry paper. I assembled all three wings, and corrected the
port (left) aileron to the early pattern, as per the excellent Windsock datafile
drawings, which I enlarged to 1/28 scale using my home pc. Addition to the
ailerons of the Copper State
Models control horns, with cycroanylate glue, and some
the kit items. The wings were sprayed overall with Misterkit acrylic colours and
were put aside for final assembly rather like construction of the full size
This was constructed from .40 thou plastic rod to the Windsock plans. Interior
photos of the interior are hard to find but Martin Gastel came to the rescue by
sending me some photos of the details from an old issue of World War One Aero. I
did some research into the colour of the tubular structure and received a reply
in Munich. They confirmed that the Voss machine
had bean finished in an olive colour.
As a further point of interest, later models of DR1's were finished in a clear
laquer to facilitate inspections of the steel welded joints more easily,
following a series of in-flight structural failures.
Gauges from the Copper State
Models (CSM) set were added. I can find references to only 3:
apart from a
German Army compass- they were the fuel quantity gauge in the dimple between the
machine guns, a fuel pressure gauge on the lower left cockpit side wall, and a
tachometer on the lower right hand cockpit side wall.
into the cockpit: the biggest gauge is the tachometer and the smaller one
is the army compass.
of the pilots seat and the four point harness. The original seat was
constructed from aluminium and covered in cloth.
| The kit control column and
rudder pedals were retained but modified: the rudder bar having replacement foot
loops added from copper wire, and the control column having gun and throttle
control wires added from fine cotton thread. These items appear to be the only
parts of the internal structure painted black along with the floor linkage bar-
again confirmed by photos on the web of an actual DR1 control column in the
Australian War Memorial.
I built one set of CSM guns and another using the Tom's Modelworks set for
another model. The trickiest bit was to roll the hollow cooling jackets
into a cylindrical shape because of the fragile structure. I eventually
solved the problem by rolling the parts carefully around a 3mm diameter
drill and then gluing the various components with cyano glue. The only
kit parts used were the gun muzzles, suitably drilled out with a .6 mm
diameter drill. Make sure you are in the correct frame of mind before you
embark on this work! The guns themselves were sprayed matt black based on
an actual spandau which I examined in a museum in Brussels. The CSM and
Toms sets each have their merits but the CSM set has gun cartridge guide
and ejector chutes included.
showing seat harness straps draped over rear of fuselage.
of my 1/28th scale model of the same aircraft- note the magneto switch
inside the cockpit and the twin leather pads behind the Spandau machine
guns. These were designed to provide the pilot with some protection in the
event of a crash.
inspection plate was added from 10 thou plastic card to the fuselage area,
between the 4 undercarriage leg attachment points ahead of the main spar.
All fuselage and foot/hand lift holes were filled with milliput ,sanded smooth
and then re-drilled to accept copper wire replacements.
The tailplane differed from later marks by having a curved leading edge and
reduced area elevator surfaces. The kit part was reshaped by cutting and
sanding, again CSM control horns were added. Voss's triplane had no ash wingtip
skids so the holes for these were again filled.
aircraft had an early style tailplane which was characterised by rounded planform leading edges. Note that there were no ash wing-tip skids under
the lower wing tips.
Once the fuselage was joined and sanded smooth, the CSM stitching was applied
along the lower fuselage seam and the whole lot was sprayed with Fokker
turquoise. Wings and undercarriage were now added, as was the modified Obereusel
rotary engine per Martin Gastel's article. I painted the whole engine with
Humbrol shiny aluminium Metalcote, and then sprayed the engine with a mist coat
of matt black to dull it down. Photographs of the aircraft show the engine to
look quite dark- no doubt as a result of carbon staining and burnt castor oil.
The fuselage was streaked with olive in a restrained fashion, leaving largely
turquoise areas around the Balkankreuz and rear fuselage, to match existing
photographs. All forward fuselage panels were finished with heavier streaking.
The model was then sprayed with Johnson's Klear (also known as
"Future") in preparation for application of
the CSM decal sheet. Note that these decals are excellent, but there is one
slight flaw. The moustache design on the cowling is too high up so as to fit the
incorrect shape of the Revell cowl. I corrected this by adding a 30 thou plastic
card strip along the lower edge, which was then filled and sanded to the rounded
Note that the clearance hole for the prop is of the correct shape for
an F1 but not for a later type DR1. Again I refer you to Martin's article on ARC
further explanation of this. The moustache was corrected by hand painting to
match the famous picture - see first photo at the top of this article.
of the front of the aircraft showing the moustache- face applied to Voss's Triplane.
Note also the Axial wooden prop and the small manufacturers identity plate
attached to the starboard side of the engine cowl.
The model ( apart from the engine cowl) was then sprayed with Modelmaster Flat
varnish - the best there is. Rigging was very straightforward, being
accomplished by cutting sections from an old electric guitar first string. The
light gauge and stiffness of the short lengths of wire, are just the solution
when held in place by a dot of cyano glue.
view of the Triplane showing its small and compact dimensions. Note the
overall turquoise finish, streaked with olive . The first three aircraft
were finished in this colour scheme. The solid metal panels such as the
engine cowl were finished in a solid Fokker olive colour.
Finally a Martin Digmayer wooden propellor was added with a CSM center boss
- the one with the two concentric rings of holes. Bolts were added by carefully
chopping up sections of dressmakers pins, and filing down the rough edges.
prop logos were added from the decal sheet. The prop really sets off the model
and looks far better than the inaccurate kit prop. However this is not a cheap
In summary , this was a thoroughly interesting project and took several
months of work involving a lot of research. I think the final result gives as
close a representation of 103/17 as I am likely to achieve when comparing
photographs of this particular Fokker Triplane.
Thanks to all of you who supplied me with information.
view of my Fokker F1 103/17
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