Review: 1/32 Aviattic decals review for a Wingnut Wings Fokker D-VII "Seven Swabians"
The Fokker D-VII just happens to be my favorite German aircraft from the First World War. As a little 8 year old kid I can remember building the "ancient" (by today's standards) Aurora 1/48 scale model and the strange green colored plastic it was molded in. The Aurora kit had a pair of Fokker D-VII's on the box lid that were being shot down and burning as it's box top art.
Back then many companies relied heavily on box art to help sell the contents inside, and it's a practice that still works to this day.
Fast forward almost 50 years, and our hobby has changed considerably. It has been stated that we live in the "Golden Age" for building models. We have the internet, which allows us to not only do historical research on our next project, but to also find practically anything else too, (much to the chagrin of our dear wives), as we empty our wallets like a sailor on shore leave after MANY months at sea. 😉 Ok just kidding around here a bit... not. Well maybe.
I was in the Army, so this is what I do. You decide.
We can find decals, photo etch, resin upgrades and if you're lucky, you can also find pictures of the model you intend to build.
Sadly we no longer have the Wingnut Wings company.
I do sincerely hope that someone will begin to re-pop these magnificent 1/32 scale kits, using their molds in the near future. There are some of the previous employees, (who were a big part of this organization), that are getting together now, so we just might get lucky. I was fortunate enough to obtain two of their 1/32 scale Fokkers. I have the "early" version, which is the recommended kit for this conversion set and decals,
and one of their last releases, which is an overall white Fokker that was flown by Herman Goering. This last Fokker is designated as a Fokker D-VII(F) with a different and more powerful Mercedes inline 6 cylinder engine, and it also has the twin machine guns located / installed in a different manner.
Every since I saw a completed model of a Jasta 65 Fokker that was wearing a scene from a storybook about the "Seven Swabians" I have wanted to build a model like it, using one of the Wingnut Wings kits I have on hand.
But there were two obstacles keeping this from happening:
First off, this particular Fokker D-VII I wanted to build was a little bit different from what I had in the Wingnut Wings box. It turns out this particular "Seven Swabians" Fokker was built by OAW, and not a machine that was built by Fokker. OAW was the initials for the "Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke", who built the Fokker D-VII under license. The Albatros Flugzeugwerke also manufactured Fokker D-VII's under license in Johannisthal, Berlin.
Since the plane I wanted to build was an OAW machine, it had some differences in the appearance, when compared to a typical "Fokker built" Fokker. These differences were mainly in regards to the style and number of louvered openings on the engine side access panels.
Here is where fate stepped in... My good friend Paul Barber, @yellow10
who had a spare set of the correct style side louvers for an OAW style Fokker. Paul was kind enough to send this set to me from Australia to where I live in the USA. Thanks again Paul !
These side access panels were made by Aviattic. These were designed using CAD technology, then 3D printed. I can tell you just how nice these actually look in person. The pictures I posted here do not serve any justice to the quality of the part. Trust me, they look even better in person ! Much better in fact.
Do yourself a huge favor and check out their website. I'm seriously considering grabbing one of the all new 1/32 scale Pfalz D-VIII kits that is currently under way, and scheduled for release soon. She looks like a real Beauty too ! I might just end up being like a sailor too. Read above paragraph again on shore leave. Thanks.
Here are some pictures of these Aviattic parts. They come in a small sturdy plastic box. They are nicely printed and first rate !
They also have a card with them, upon which the installation instructions are included. They recommend that you use the "Early" built Fokker to do this conversion.
They also have a picture of an OAW built Fokker D-VII on the other side of the card. This is helpful, since it shows how the side engine panels were installed. It also shows how the factory painted "lozenge" patterns on the metal panels.
These replacement parts are bagged in small plastic bags, which is a nice touch.
They are 3D printed, and as such, they have some attachment points that should be fairly easy to remove. It looks almost like some sort of bridgework to me.
Once these bags are opened up, one finds a nice set of parts that look like they will be a drop in replacement fit affair.
Included are two different styles of the small triangular shaped side panels. The earliest version has a single louver opening, while the later version has three louvered openings. The Fokker D-VII suffered some in flight fires which resulted in the loss of several aircraft shortly after they started reaching front line Jasta's. It was traced back to the ammunition would self ignite because of the heat generated by the inline six cylinder engine.
Once it was understood what was causing these fires, many Jasta's would simply remove a panel or two and operate the aircraft in this manner. Fokker designed the newer replacement side panels to have more louvers in them, which in turn allowed more heat out of the engine bay.
Both Albatros and OAW built Fokker D-VII's used a different styled of louvered opening, and their panels also had a different number of louvered openings on their engine side panels as well. It's a bit confusing huh ? Yes sir, clear as mud.
Because of these differences, Aviattic supplies both style of triangular shaped panels. One should consult photos of the actual aircraft you intend to build, as they were different. Here are the two different types provided. One has a single louver while the other has three openings.
So now I had half of the puzzle. What to do next ?
I have purchased a LOT of stuff from a gentleman who runs an online hobby store named Dauntless Hobbies. He also sells items on EBay. His name is Scott Zuieback, and his EBay store is listed as "Rebelalpha". As luck would have it, I stumbled across this set of decals for the Seven Swabians one day while browsing through some of his EBay listings.
As luck would have it, these decals were also made by the same company that printed the 3D panels I just described above. After a few questions were answered (and quickly answered I should add), I made the purchase of the set you see here. Scott has always had excellent service, and a selection of hobby related aftermarket items, and plastic model kits that is very impressive. Since he has a shop in the USA, I ordered it from him.
But you could also order these directly from the manufacturer. I have done a lot of business with Scott, and he was combining shipping so it was more economical for me to purchase the decals this way.
Otherwise I would have ordered directly from Aviattic UK.
Within a few days, this set of magnificent decals arrived in our mail box. The set is delivered in a large clear plastic reseal able bag. There is also a very nice color printed cover sheet that is used to protect the decals, and also give you the proper methods of applying the decals. Do yourself a favor and read the instructions... twice. And three times more if you are like me.
Once the decals were removed from the plastic bag, they went under my magnifying lamp so that I could see the details. They include a complete set of 4 color lozenge decals for the upper and lower wings. It also has the Albatros / OAW style stitching and "pinking" or rib tapes.
The color is spectacular ! They also include some small touch up squares in case you need them. The lozenge decals also have a very faint fabric texture printed into the lozenges. This is visible if you look at them closely.
The outer lower wing panels, ailerons and other control surfaces also have their own patterns, also done in four color lozenge pattern.
This next picture shows the amazing art work that was painted on the side of this Fokker. A full decal is there that depicts a scene from the story.
The tail surfaces were painted in a deep shade of dark red, almost a wine color. If you look closely, you can see how Aviattic has some of the lozenge pattern visible, as if the paint was applied a little too thin in some locations.
Another nice touch is how the interior of the fuselage was rendered. The pilot's seat was usually covered in lozenge material. This was included in this set. They also have incorporated some decals to be used on the inside of the fuselage. This is how the lozenge materials would have looked from the pilot's point of view. The lozenge material was printed on a large roll of fabric, and then installed / sewn, doped onto the real Fokker (and other German aircraft). This is a nice touch.
The wheel covers and some instruments are also supplied as a decal.
Here is a close up picture showing how detailed the fuselage story art is. It also includes a set of antlers, which were painted on the rear upper fuselage deck on the real plane.
I have provided a close up showing the lozenge pattern, and if you look close enough, you can see the fabric details embedded within. You can also see more "touch up" material in case you need it.
This is the instructional information. These are not installed like your typical decal is. They have spelled out exactly how to use them, in a very precise manner. I like how they used a lozenge fabric background here on the instructions.
This is what you get for your money. Several large decal sheets, and they look VERY good.
I will likely be starting this "Seven Swabians" Fokker D-VII build soon as part of our ever growing Luftwaffe group build.
I would like to thank my friend Paul Barber, @yellow10
for sending the 3D parts that were needed, and Scott Zuieback (aka Rebelalpha on EBay) for the exceptional service and rapid responses to my questions.
You can also purchase these detail sets and decals directly from the manufacturer, and they are based in England,
This will likely be best if you live overseas.
Richard Andrews is a really good fellow.
Comments are encouraged.