Classic Airframes 1:48 Fokker D.XXI Danish Air Force – KIT REVIEW

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Classic Airframes 1:48 Fokker D.XXI Danish Air Force

Kit: CF4153 1:48 Fokker D.XXI Danish Air Force.

Price: £16.98 available from Hannants UK WAS £25.52 TEMPORARILY REDUCED BY 1/3rd!

Decals: Four Options.

Notes: Multimedia kit with resin and photo etched parts.

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THE GERMAN INVASION OF DENMARK 1940

Operation Weserübung Süd was the codename given by the German High command for the invasion of Norway. The occupation of Denmark would feature in this operation in order to secure the Norwegian southern flank and to appropriate the North Sea and the Eastern Baltic Sea for the Kriegsmarine.

The invasion of Denmark on the 9th April 1940 was notable for being the briefest ground campaign on record in military history.

The purpose of the attack on Norway and the secondary occupation of Denmark were to secure the iron ore shipping from Narvik. The occupation of Denmark would make the operation easier by enabling the Luftwaffe to station aircraft on Danish soil well within range of Norwegian strategic targets. The German air defence system was therefore extended northwards with the Danish Air Force base of Aalborg in northern Jutland being occupied in order to facilitate the invasion and capture of Norway.

In addition, the Norwegian Fjords provided excellent natural defensive bases from which kriegsmarine U-Boots could attack shipping in the North Atlantic.

The German High Command employed classic Blitzkrieg tactics in the prosecution of the Danish campaign. 96 Fallschirmjäger jumped from nine Junkers Ju 52 transports to secure Storstrøm Bridge, connecting the island of Falster with Zealand (Sjælland), and the coastal fortress on Masnedø island. This was the first attack in the world made by paratroopers.

75 minutes later hundreds of paratroopers landed in Aalborg, the main city of northern Jutland, in order to secure the main military target in the entire operation Weserübung Süd: the airfield of Aalborg. This was planned to be the bridge to the invasion of Norway. The Fallschirmjäger did not encounter any resistance and in less than an hour, German planes in huge numbers began to land on the runways. More than 200 landings and take-offs were recorded the first day, most of them transporting troops and fuel to Fornebu Airport in Norway.

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The entire four squadron-strong Danish Army Air Service was stationed at Værløse near Copenhagen. In anticipation of the German invasion, the squadrons had prepared to disperse to airfields all over the country, but this had not been accomplished by 0525 when Luftwaffe planes appeared over the airbase. As the German aircraft reached Værløse, one Fokker C.V-E reconnaissance aircraft was getting airborne, but was shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 flown by Hauptmann Wolfgang Falck at an altitude of 50 metres. Both crew members were killed. The German Bf 110s then strafed the base while sustaining heavy anti-aircraft fire, destroying 11 aircraft and badly damaging another 14 as they taxied to take off, wiping out most of the Danish Army Air Service in one action. The Fokker D.XXI’s of the Hærens Flyvertropper had no impact on the outcome of the operation. Jydske Flyverafdeling – 2. Eskadrille had only 12 available aircraft. Two were destroyed on the ground; the remaining ten were captured by the Germans.  The Danish Navy Air Service remained at its bases and escaped damage.

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The combined forces of the Wehrmacht, Kriegsmarine, Fallschirmjäger and Luftwaffe led to the capitulation of Denmark in just 6 hours. The operation began at 00:00 the Danish government capitulated at 0600hrs.

The Fokker D.XXI

The Fokker D.XXI fighter was designed in 1935 for use by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force (Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger, ML-KNIL). As such, it was designed as a cheap and small, but rugged aircraft, which had respectable performance for its time. Entering operational use in the early years of World War II, it provided worthy service for both the Luchtvaartafdeling (Dutch Army Aviation Group) and the Finnish Air Force, and a few were built by the Carmoli factory before the factory fell into Nationalist hands during the Spanish Civil War. The Fokker D.XXI was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed spatted undercarriage. Following standard Fokker design practice of the period, it had a steel tube fuselage covered in large part by fabric, with wooden cantilever wings. Power was provided by a Bristol Mercury radial engine driving a three-blade two-pitch propeller. When it entered service in 1938 it was 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 proved to be an extremely sturdy aircraft capable of attaining a speed of 700 km/h in a dive.

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The Kit:

The 1:48 scale classic Airframes Fokker D.XXI upon first inspection appears to be identical to the 1:48 Special Hobby Fokker D.XXI (Mercury) kit. Included in the box four sprues in soft injection molded grey plastic, the detail is crisp and like the Special Hobby kit, the fabric covering on the rear fuselage is accurate and well moulded.

In addition, there is a clear bag containing the transparencies, a clear bag containing the resin components for the Mercury VIII engine and two 2x 8 mm (0.315 in) machine guns in the wings in addition there are 2x 20 mm (0.787 in) Madsen cannon, mounted under the wings, which are unique to the Danish example of the Fokker D.XXI.

Finally, there is one bag containing one fret of photo etched parts.

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The kit consists of a comprehensive, well laid out ten page instruction booklet and a four page painting guide. The painting guide depicts all four available decal options with each aircraft represented in a 3 view format with a full set of painting instructions for each. There are brief unit details and year of operation included in the booklet. Further research may be required to investigate the service history of individual machines.

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Construction:

I washed the kit, including the photo-etch and the resin in a warm soapy solution to remove any residual mould release. Once dry, I primed the entire aircraft in grey auto-primer from a rattle can. The interior was airbrushed using Humbrol 165. The Instruction booklet comes in 17 stages. I have made two 1:48 scale Fokker D.XXI’s to date and the construction process of this example is familiar.  The cockpit consists of a full steel tube interior, with a bucket seat complete with a full set of etched brass seat-belts, a steel tube frame into which the seat is positioned; control levers and throttle, gas cylinders and a rudder pedal assembly with etched brass toe straps. I would recommend dry-fitting the tubular-framed interior before committing to cementing the parts together. The frame is quite comprehensive and mistakes are possible if the project is not pre-planned.

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Once the steel-tube interior assembly was complete, I began work on the shelf/head-rest assembly directly behind the pilot’s seat. This was a straight forward affair and only requires minimal effort. Once the headrest was attached to the steel frame, the instrument panel was painted black, given a light dry-brush of Humbrol silver and inserted into one side of the fuselage. The fuselage halves were then cemented together secured with masking tape and allowed to dry for 24 hours.

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Whilst the fuselage was drying, I cemented the wings together and applied masking tape to ensure a secure fit. The resin engine parts were the next project. These are attached to resin casting blocks which makes them easier to handle. All of the blocks were lightly sprayed with auto primer from a rattle can and then airbrushed with 90% Humbrol black, 10% Humbrol 64. Once dry, the parts were assembled and dry-brushed with small amounts of Humbrol 11 silver. I elected to add 0.2mm HT leads from my spares box to give the Bristol Mercury VIII that touch of realism and was ultimately pleased with the result.

Stages 10, 11 and 12 deal with attaching the engine to the fuselage and gluing the two halves of the cowling together. I recommend allowing the cowling to dry at least overnight because any less may risk the unit coming apart once the engine is installed.

I decided to complete stage 9 after I had completed the engine assembly, simply to avoid the tail planes getting in the way during the construction process as the resin engine assembly is a delicate process. The Tail assembly is a straight forward process, however, be aware that dependent on which version you are doing you will require either one under-wing strut or a V-shaped arrangement. The Danish Fokker D.XXI has the single support struts beneath the wings.

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Camouflage and Markings:

I elected to finish the aircraft as an aluminum dope example using my IWATA airbrush. The forward cowling was masked and finished with Humbrol metallic 54 brass. Pre-shading was applied to give the monotone colour some depth but the overall result was satisfactory.

Final Construction:

The final element to the construction process was to add some Lycra thread to the tail assembly. Once dry the project was complete.

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Conclusion:

I have a particular fondness for the Fokker D.XXI. The Classic Airframes example as every bit as enjoyable as the Special Hobby kits were to build. However, since I suspect that they are the same kit re-boxed, that should come as no surprise!

 

References:

 

Richard Reynolds.

 

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