PM 1/72 Fokker D.XXI
The origins of the D.XXI can be traced back to the end of 1934, when Fokker submitted design proposals to the Nederlandse Luchtvaartafdeling (Dutch Army Aviation Group) for a low-wing monoplane fighter that would feature an entirely enclosed cockpit.
With the contract for a single evaluation machine signed soon after the design submission, the prototype was ready roughly a year later. Designated FD-322 and instead powered by a radial Bristol Mercury VI-S engine, driving a three-blade, two-pitch propeller, it performed its maiden flight at Welschap Airfield, Eindhoven, on 27 March 1936.
Nevertheless, the potential that the prototype exhibited and the prospect of foreign sales after interest expressed by the Finnish Air Force and others (ultimately the Finnish Air Force became the primary user of the type), seemed, together with possibly other factors, to favor the little Fokker and an approval (with the follow-on funding) for a limited expansion of the Luchtvaartafdeling that was given by the Dutch government resulted in an order for 36 D.XXIs.
The machine itself was a well designed fixed undercarriage low-wing monoplane of a mixed construction, including welded steel tubing, fabric, wood and aluminum, more or less following the standard Fokker design practices of the period.
The first of the 36 Luchtvaartafdeling D.XXI conducted its first flight on 20 July 1938, with the final aircraft delivered on 8 September 1939. Upon entering service, the type represented a significant leap forward for the Dutch Army Aviation Group, whose fighter force had until that time consisted of aging biplanes with open cockpits. The new Fokker quickly proved to be an extremely sturdy aircraft, being capable of attaining a speed of 700 km/h in a dive!
During the short lasting Dutch/German conflict where the numerically superior Nazi Germany invaded The Netherlands, the 28 machines that whereby that time operational gave a good account of themselves, escorting Fokker T.V bombers, intercepting and shooting down Ju 52 transports, escorting friendly units and flying in the search-and-destroy role.
Whereas the numerical superiority of the Luftwaffe finally led to the destruction of most D.XXIs during the short campaign, the slower and lightly armed but more maneuverable Fokker managed not only to hold its own to a good degree against its main opponent, the Bf 109, but also to follow the Stuka into its dive, something that few fighters could do. Of the 38 victories scored by the Nederlandse Luchtvaartafdeling against the Luftwaffe, 16 of those went to the brave Fokker D.XXI pilots.
PM came in 1990 (as Pioneer back then) with their simple yet neat 1/72 D.XXI kit, regularly reissuing it ever since (interestingly, even under Matchbox brand in 1995). The subject kit is the 2020 edition and was a gift from my good friend John vd Biggelaar @johnb, handed to me upon visiting him in The Netherlands last summer. A nice kit with some scratch building involved.
Should you wish to read the full build review, you might do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness: