by: Adie Roberts [ ]
Originally published on:
"Dawn Patrol" was a term used during World War 1 when the Royal Flying Corp would send a reconnaissance flight up into the early morning sky usually to observe enemy positions or movements. Sometimes this would be before sunrise hence the name "Dawn" quite often these flights would meet up with the enemy coming the other way.
The SPAD XIII was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War 1 developed by Societe Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD). The SPAD XIII was a similar layout to the successful SPAD VII a single engine biplane of mainly wooden construction with fabric covering. But was generally larger and heavier than the SPAD VII, the armament was two Vickers machine guns with 400 rounds per gun replacing the single gun of the earlier planes. A larger engine became available in later months which was a high compression 8Bc or 8Be giving a staggering 220hp. The sum of these improvements aided it in flight and combat performance.
The Fokker D. VII was a German World War 1 fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz of the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The aircraft in the second half of 1918 quickly proved itself to be a formidable aircraft. Late in 1917, frontline pilots for the first time would directly participate in the evaluation and selection of new fighters. Manfred Von Richthofen flew the VII and found it tricky, unpleasant, and directionally unstable in a dive. In response to these complaints, Reinhold Platz lengthened the rear fuselage by one structural bay and added a triangular vertical fin in front of the rudder. Upon flying the modified VII Richthofen praised it as the best aircraft in the competition. The Armistice ending the war specifically required Germany to surrender all D. VIIs to the Allies the surviving aircraft saw continued service with many other countries in the years after World War 1.
The box is of cardboard construction with double layer at each end for reinforcement, the box top is of thin cardboard with a beautiful piece of artwork on it, this is the same as the artwork that you get with this kit.
Fokker D. VII
One brown sprue which contains the main fuselage
Three medium grey sprue's which contain the rest of the Fokker D. VII
One clear sprue with the windshield
Two sheets of Photo-Etch
2 Decal sheets
Three medium grey sprues make up the SPAD XIII
One clear sprue with the windshield
One sheet for the SPAD late Photo-Etch
A certificate for the artwork for the piece that comes with the kit by Koike Shigeo
One colourful instruction booklet.
One signed piece of artwork (though technically not in the box contents it is part of the limited edition) hence Eduard using the new name of this product EduArt.
First impressions when I opened the lid on this kit was one of "wow" the amount of plastic, photo-etch, masks, decal sheets, certificate and instructions it really is a lot for your money and of course you get the magnificent piece of artwork you cannot be anything but surprised and happy.
Starting with SPAD XIII, the cockpit is how you would expect it to be in the years at the beginning of the 1900's quite sparse this said there is more there than I first thought. The navigational aids like the compass have been faithfully recreated on a moving axis so no matter what way you are flying and at any angle, the compass is always level. It is small things like this that I believe makes a good kit from an average kit. With three main parts to the cockpit, the flooring flight control and mount for the seat is one part that actually fits into the closed the underside of the closed fuselage. You then have a cut out structural part of the fuselage where all the flying aids are placed. Some very nice detailed parts are fitted here like the securing hook for the seatbelts various dials for the instrument panel all of this is followed by a fantastic copy of the seat with replicated leather pinned cushion.
The main fuselage has some injector pin marks however they will hopefully not be seen when you have finished putting them together. There is some small detailing on the inside of the fuselage in the cockpit which will aid a realistic finish. The outside of the fuselage is very nicely done with its framework and stretched canvas over it being faithfully reproduced. Further detailing comes from a metal panel with some great rivet detailing on the outside edge, also the same on part of the housing for the engine. Unlike most aircraft where you generally have two sides to the hull, in this case, there are three and a half sides. This consists of the two side halves, a full length and a bottom panel that fits on the front underside of the fuselage. Starting with the top half the level of detail here really goes up considerably, the gun troughs have a very accurate shape to them with some detailing on outside edge and top of these for the engine covers. Some real thought went into the actual aircraft with some great aerodynamics with the back of the top of the fuselage tapering off to the tail, where it then opens out to a huge tail area, all of this Eduard have faithfully recreated. The bottom panel is quite large and fits over the engine and cockpit again the detail is good.
The wings are full of detail and very well done, although the plastic here feels quite thin. I understand about scales but the upper wing more than the lower wings feel fragile and bend easily even under their own weight holding on to the edge. Going back to the detailing the ribbing on the wings from the stretched canvas over the wing spars really is a great piece of work. The ailerons have a nicely recessed panel line dividing it from the main wing another nice touch is the reinforced supports for the braces between the wings. The wing supports between the lower and upper wing have the metal rings on them where the securing wires pass between them. It is little things like this that make the difference when it comes to a nice kit. The tail plane is a realistic replica with separate elevators the rudder comes attached to the tail but has recessed panel lines to show it is a separate part. Another great addition was the levers that work the ailerons which look very realistic.
The undercarriage has been very well moulded the wheels, in particular, are very well represented the frame for the wheels looks like the original pictures that I found and shows the rigging points for the undercarriage.
The armament consists of the two Vickers machine guns both of which are very well detailed with the added photo-etch will make these a nice focal point at the front of the plane. Add to this the propeller which if painted properly can be made to look like the original wooden propellers with the different wood grain. The added metal plate to hold the propeller in place is nicely replicated.
Fokker D. VII
The Fokker D.VII overall is a bigger aircraft than the SPAD XIII, the inside of the cockpit has again some moulded parts that look like some levers and framework.
The cockpit itself is quite well detailed with foot pedals for the rudder, there are some photo-etch grills for the feet rests for rudder control, the floor is very nicely detailed where the controls go. The pilot seat actually has a separate seat cushion some photo etch seat belts and fits onto a framework which has some very fine plastic which will need to be cut with a sharp knife to avoid breaking them. With some wire and imagination you could make a very realistic cockpit for the Fokker there is a very nice colour picture showing the cockpit in detail in the instruction book.
The engine of the Fokker is a full engine with plenty of parts and detail the main part is the block and head this comes in two parts, both halves look similar to the picture that you get in the instruction book. A manifold and exhaust system look very good and fit the engine with ease and will add to the look.
The main fuselage comes in two halves and is built with a box type frame which tapers off towards the tail. Eduard has done a great job here giving you the feel of the box framework under the stretched canvas. As with the SPAD, there is some further detail around the front structural work to hold the engine in place, some small rivet detail and metal plating are present. There are some injector pin marks on the inside of the two halves but dry fitting them together no marks can be seen.
The wings feel much stronger than those of the SPAD although still on the thin side you actually get two halves to each wing making them much firmer.
The detailing is very good with the whole stretched canvas over the wing spars, the top wing has reinforced detail where the wing struts enter the wing. It has separate ailerons for the wing these carry the same detail as the main wing and have locating notches. The struts are very thin also and using strong glue on them would not be recommended.
The tail plane has some nice detailing and is very large considering the overall size of the aircraft, there are two elevators but they are joined by a bar thus moving together. The upright tail has a very large separate rudder which covers a large amount of area the detailing is good but the whole tail plastic is very thin.
The main undercarriage is based on an A-frame with a very small wing between the wheels, I like what Eduard have done with the detailing of the wheels which are although basic nicely done.
The armament for the Fokker is two LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns these have some very nice detailing on them and with photo etch around the barrels to make this look so much better.
There are two options for the propeller as at the time four different companies made propellers for the D. VII though I prefer the older looking one.
Decals and Photo-Etch
The two separate decal sheets are from Cartograf one contains the colourful decals for the SPAD and the Fokker, the second sheet is for the Lozenge camouflage.
The SPAD has some real nice artwork of an eagle that sits at the back of the fuselage all the decals are thin and well presented. The Lozenge camouflage is a really nice and cut ready to use on the wings of the Fokker
The kit comes with three sets of photo-etch one for the SPAD and two for the Fokker, the SPAD etch has some very nice detailed parts some of which are pre-coloured. Two great looking vents, control levers, gun sights, seat belts, dials.
The Fokker has one medium sized photo etch sheet with some beautiful pre-coloured parts, one being the magnificent wooden dashboard with fantastic wood grain effect. Some pre-coloured dials, seatbelts, foot plates, metal plates for the rigging, some control levers and mesh for the Spandau machine gun barrels. The small sheet is metal plates for the side of the front of the fuselage.
There is not much in the way of criticism that you can lay on Eduard when it comes to their instruction books especially over the last year or so. I have always found them easy to read, follow and with the clear instructions, usually in a separate, box where you have the option of a different Mk for the subject or if it has photo etch to apply to it.
I do feel that a new modeller could go out and buy one of their kits and build it without too many problems with the instructions. This book has a total of sixteen pages which are broken down into five pages for the build of the Fokker D. VII, and contains thirty-five separate instructions to complete it. As with all Eduard instruction books they have a key plus sprue pictures showing you what parts you will use. The build instructions and a colour profile for the subject, in this case, the Fokker D.VII.
A. Fokker D. VII (Alb), Flown by Ltn d. R. Gunther Von Buren, Jasta 18, Montingen, September 1918
The SPAD XIII is in the same format with six pages covering the build itself which is broken down into thirty-two build instructions. One page with the key and picture of sprues showing what parts are to be used and the final page the colour profile of the SPAD XIII
B.SPAD XIII, Frank Luke Jr., 27th Aero Squadron, September 1918.
This is a very large A2 size on hardened cardboard piece of printed artwork by renowned artist Koike Shigeo, the actual print of the artwork is 48cm x 27cm. The art is the same as the box lid with the Fokker D. VII, flying over the fields and trenches of World War 1 with the SPAD XIII, trying to manoeuvre on to his tail. This would be a stunning piece of artwork when framed that would look as good in your living room (wives permission first of course) as in your man cave.
When you have a passion for something it always seems that so long as you are doing, making that passion, however, difficult it maybe, it always works out! That is how I feel about Eduard the passion they have in their work is clearly seen in the way they bring out these kits, photo-etch, brassin, big Ed it is all done with passion.
This kit is no different their World War 1 kits are certainly one of the best kits on the market for scale if not the best. I have opened the box and felt the wow factor at the amount of plastic and extras that some of their kits contain, from Royal Class to EduArt they always put together some magic, like a piece of the plane on a wooden plinth or a computer game in the box of a Royal class. The limited edition kits that they produce that not only go out of production but also become very difficult to find. This offering of their new concept Eduart is no different you get two fabulous World War 1 planes the Fokker D. VII and the SPAD XIII both kits have some great detail, add to this the A2 size beautifully done atmospheric artwork. I am not sure what EduArt may appear this year but if they carry on in the same way it is sure to be a success.