Classic Airframes 1/48 Fokker D.XXI Kit First Look
By John Valo
|Date of Review||November 2008||Manufacturer||Classic Airframes|
|Kit Number||4150||Primary Media||Styrene/Resin/PE|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
A decade and a half ago, Classic Airframes entered the model manufacturing fray with its debut release of a 1/48 scale Fokker D.XXI. Typical of a low-pressure limited-run kit of the time, the kit contained rather rough-finished, flash-ridden plastic parts, a vacuformed canopy, a nearly unusable decal sheet and a rather exotic looking but over-enthusiastic plethora of photo-etched components. However, it WAS an injection-molded Fokker D.XXI, and enough modelers shared my enthusiasm for the subject to launch Classic Airframes slowly but surely into the big leagues.
Whether by intent or not, the Fokker D.XXI has come full circle for Classic Airframes' fifteenth anniversary. Like the recently-released He-51 (also one of CA's first subjects, and again, originally crude at best), this new re-release is an example of how astonishingly far this manufacturer has come.
This incarnation features four sprues of very crisply detailed plastic parts, beautifully molded resin parts (most for the engine), a nice bit of photo-etch and an injection-molded canopy.
Assembly commences with the fuselage interior, which is a beautifully complete lattice framework. After reviewing whatever photos I had of the D.XXI interior, I elected to paint the interior components in a combination of Flat Aluminum and Light Grey. The photo-etched seatbelts and details add a lot of delicate detail to the cockpit, and the injected instrument panel looks great after careful painting and drybrushing.
I did note that you have to be careful to dry-fit the assembled interior into the fuselage halves - some minor sanding of the cockpit floor may be necessary for a proper fit.
The next step is the engine, which is a real treat. I couldn't resist photographing the completed engine compared to the lump of styrene provided in the original release. You'll need to lightly sand the valve covers to slip the cowling on - which I prefer, as you can very gently adjust the alignment of the cowl to the fuselage by tweaking the fit to the engine.
The balance of assembly is absolutely straightforward. When I was dry-fitting the beautifully molded canopy, I heard a little "snap" sound. Of course, I feared that I had cracked it. Mercifully, the sound I heard was the canopy fitting perfectly into place. There is no accommodation for an open canopy, but it would be fairly simple to vacuform a copy and mix-and-match sections to portray it open.
Decals are printed by Cartograf, and markings are provided for four subjects (actually seven, as there are four aircraft that are essentially identical except for the individual aircraft number). I elected to portray the box-top subject, White 213. Information was provided to me that despite all the years of modelers dutifully painting their Dutch aircraft in the typical Dark Brown, Green and 'Sand', the latter color was a Beige tone very close to RLM 02. I elected to run with that scheme, and frankly, I think it looks more business-like as a fighter. I used PollyScale acrylics to paint the model. The decals are absolutely wonderful to work with, and astonishingly, the miniscule weight and balance data block under the stabilizer is readable with a magnifying glass!
With this particular subject being one of the initial production batch of D.XXIs, I elected to do a 'snapshot in time' with the wing guns installed, but no gunsight or radio mast. The photos I have of this aircraft definitely show no mast or gunsight (hard to tell about the guns), but I'm quite sure all the D.XXIs produced were eventually brought up to combat standards; you can add or subtract features and likely still have an accurate rendition.
The only real issue I have with the kit is that there are no parts provided for the characteristic leading edge landing lights. This was an easy fix, though, as I simply cut two 'boxes' in the appropriate positions, filled the edges and added two small styrene disks to represent the lenses. The clear cover is a piece of clear tape trimmed to fit.
Overall, I give this kit high marks. This may very well be one of the rare kits that I will build multiples of for my collection. Because of the photoetch and resin parts, it's not for the rank beginner, but anyone familiar with Classic Airframes' kits would already know that. The comparison to the original release is, well... there is no comparison. Recommended!s
My most sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.