Profile Photo
Spiros Pendedekas
127 articles

PM 1/72 Fokker D.XXI

September 18, 2023 · in Aviation · · 32 · 141

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.

Envisaging a Rolls-Royce Kestrel IV inline V12 as a power plant, projections of the aircraft's performance included a maximum speed of 420 km/h at an altitude of 4,350 meters, a range of 888 km, and an altitude ceiling of 10,000 meters. The planned armament included rifle-caliber machine guns or 20mm cannons, which were to be embedded into the wings and fuselage.

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.

Awkwardly, while the performance was promising, the prospects for series production looked doubtful, not because of the machine itself, but due to a controversial high level change in Dutch defense policy which practically unfavored pure fighter aircraft, leaning more towards bombers and trainers, among others.

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.

Cockpit was fully enclosed and the main armament consisted of two pairs of 7.92mm machine guns, one pair housed within the wings and the other pair within the forward fuselage and shooting through the propeller blades.

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.

On 14 May, when the news of the Dutch capitulation reached Buiksloot airfield, the 8 remaining D.XXIs that had resorted there were destroyed together with the airfield, to prevent their use by the Germans. Some machines are reported to have been captured during and after 15 May, but their later fates are unknown.

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 pilots.

came in 1990 (as Pioneer back then) with their simple yet neat 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:

Happy Modelling!
Reader reactions:
11  Awesome 1 

32 responses

  1. Hi Spiros
    I read the MM review. It is a very nice build and a very good article. The model itself is excellent and the research is really interesting. The D.XXI is on my list but I'll probably do a Special Hobby example.

  2. Very nice build with an interesting camouflage scheme, Spiros @fiveten! The colors are really beautiful!

  3. An informative and interesting write-up, Spiros, and, as always, a very neatly finished model. A very nice gift from @johnb.

  4. Very nice build Spiros!

  5. Now there's one spiffy looking bird. Nice job, Spiros! @fiveten

  6. The Dutch had a colourful three tone camo.Turned out nicely, regarding the kit.
    Guess it is the same "fun" as the 1/48 Classic Airframes/Special Hobby ones.

    • Thanks so much, my friend @grimreaper! Indeed, what an interesting, beautiful camo! Its actual shades are under some debate, so I do not claim any accuracy. The kit itself needed a good amount of scratch building at the cockpit mainly, but also needed a scratch built exhaust. Fit of parts was positive, though, and this was motivating to proceed.

  7. Another good-looking build, Spiros! And another unusual subject (you seem to have a knack for the "unusual")!

  8. Good effort on a very crude kit Spiros @fiveten
    Always wondered why that brown underside was considered an effective camouflage against the grey or blue skies….
    On the other the upper camouflage is most interesting and appealing to replicate, and I think you got that quite nicely 😉

    • Thanks my friend @holzhamer! A most unusual camo indeed! Interestingly, light beige was typically attributed to the upper lighter shade, but the example at Soesterberg Museum exhibits something closed to "sand" at the same areas.
      The lower brown color has also been questioned, but not that much 🙂

  9. Got to love those colors on your Fokker, Spiros @fiveten. Well done as usual and your write up top notch as well.

  10. You did an amazing job on this spartanic kit, Spiros @fiveten
    My aplogies for this simplistic gift, but I'm glad to see that you turned this one into a beautiful detailed D.XXI
    The painting is really perfect. The colors do look exactly right.
    Your build definitely deserved this very nicely written article.
    I should absolutely get going with your gift, hopefully after finishing the bathroom rebuild.

  11. Nice work on that camouflage pattern, Spiros! It looks really great.

  12. Great work on a kit that has some challenges to overcome, Spiros (@fiveten). The kit looks really nice, and the unusual camo really adds to the overall appearance of the model. It was great to follow your WIP.

  13. Nicely done in bright colours Spiros.

  14. Very Unusual and great painting!

  15. Excellent result, Spiros!

  16. Excellent build, looks just right. The DXXI is one of my favorites, I've done several versions in 1:48.

Leave a Reply