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Fokker E.III

Battle Axe 1/32 Fokker E.III Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2006 Manufacturer Battle Axe
Subject Fokker E.III Scale 1/32
Kit Number 3202 Primary Media Styrene, Photoetch, Resin
Pros Very straightforward construction Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $99.98

First Look

Fokker E.III
Fokker E.III
Fokker E.III

The Fokker E.III ‘Eindecker’ was the third in a series of successful fighters. In early 1915, the Germans discovered that the French were employing a coaxial machine gun in their Morane-Saulnier Type L. This machine gun fired through the spinning propeller, giving the pilot the unique ability to point his aircraft at his opponent rather than a flex-mounted gun. Metal wedges attached to the blades would deflect any bullets as the blade passed through the line of fire.

Fokker was approached to apply this same technology for the German Air Force. Rather than using deflecting wedges, Fokker used a mechanical interlock that would pause gunfire long enough for the propeller blade to pass. This new weapon was mounted to the first operational monoplane fighter, the E.1 which was powered by an 80 hp Oberursel engine. Fokker E.II and E.IIIs would be powered by the 100 hp engine.

The combination of weapon and aircraft gave the German Air Force air superiority over the Western Front from the autumn of 1915 to mid 1916. As the de Havilland DH.2 and RAF FE.2b entered service, they were more than capable of sweeping the Eindeckers from the sky. It didn’t take the Germans long to relegate the surviving Eindeckers to the Eastern Front.

Battle Axe has released the Fokker E.III in 1/32 scale. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit occupies one sizable parts tree, and is augmented by a nice photo-etched detail set and a pair of resin parts making up the engine and machine gun.

The instructions are nicely illustrated, though some patience and skill will be required to assemble the kit. In the second step, for instance, the instructions have you trimming 1mm of depth off of the upper decking. It will take a little dry-fitting to see what they are referring to. A great deal of attention is given to the rigging, using photo-etched parts for the turnbuckles and flight control connectors. The instructions do recommend consulting either Windsock Datafile 15 and/or Squadron/Signal’s Early Fokkers in Action as references. With as much detail as Battle Axe provides in this kit and how little I know about how Fokkers were built and rigged, I would definitely recommend one of these titles (if not both) to have a better perspective on assembly.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • Fokker E.III 422/15
  • Fokker E.III 105/15 as flown by Ernst Udet

While not for the beginner, any modeler who is comfortable with building multimedia kits and who’d like to have a crack at WWI aircraft rigging in a decent scale, this kit is just what you’re looking for.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!