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 an inexpensive 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 yeoman service for both the Luchtvaartafdeling (Dutch Army Aviation Group) and the Finnish Air Force, and a few were built by the El Carmolí factory before it fell into rebel hands during the Spanish Civil War.
The Fokker D.XXI was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed spatted undercarriage. It was designed to meet the specifications drawn up by the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. Following standard Fokker design practice of the period, it had a steel tube fuselage covered in large part by fabric, with wooden cantilever wings. When flown for the first time on March 27, 1936, power was provided by a Bristol Mercury VI-S radial driving a three-blade two-pitch propeller. It was found to be easy to fly and possessed no serious vices. Unfortunately, shortly after the prototypes first flight, defence thinking in the Netherlands Indies underwent a radical change and no orders were placed for the fighter.
In 1937, the Dutch government voted funds for a limited expansion of the Army Aviation Group resulting on an order for 36 Fokker D.XXI fighters powered by the 830 h.p. Bristol Mercury VII or VIII. At this time the fighter had also attracted the attention of a number of foreign governments. The Finnish government ordered seven aircraft and acquired a manufacturing license. The Spanish government also acquired a manufacturing license for the D.XXI. Unfortunately, the plant building the fighter was overrun by Nationalist forces and no Spanish-built aircraft were completed. The Danish government ordered two D.XXI fighters and another manufacturing license. The Danish D.XXI fighters were powered by a 645 h.p. Bristol Mercury VI-S radial and carried a Madsen 20 mm cannon under each wing. Ten aircraft were completed by the Royal Army Aircraft Factory in Copenhagen prior to the German invasion of Denmark in April 1940.
History adapted from Wikipedia
This is another of Special Hobby's excellent 'short run' kits. The outsides of the plastic parts are semi-gloss, and there is very little flash to be found. The injection pin marks are small, but do need to be dealt with, especially the very prominent ones right in the middle of the cockpit. Excellent use of the strengths of injection plastic, resin and photo-etch make the detail parts particularly effective. The instruction booklet is printed in colour, and each detail part has been printed in an indication of its actual colour. This serves as a nice planning aid for detail painting.
The fuselage is moulded in left and right halves with a separate cowling, also moulded in halves. The cockpit is nice and busy, with sharp detail. The modeller first builds the complete interior framework, then populates it with detail parts to make an accurate office. The interior framework is very complicated, so a careful study of the instructions will be necessary. Yes, for this kit you do
need to follow the instructions. Seat belts are provided on the brass etched fret. The many tiny separate parts render this kit one for a modeller with plenty of experience. The instrument panel is moulded plastic with white decal instrument faces. White seems to be a strange colour for instrument bezels. The canopy is moulded shut, with no option to pose it open. It's thin, clear, large and free of distortion, so the cockpit detail will still be seen.
The wings are provided in the traditional one piece bottom and separate tops. This boxing offers two complete alternate wings, to accommodate the Danish variant's large landing light fairing and navigation lights. A little filling and scribing needs to be done to the Danish wings to properly portray the gun bay hatches. The ailerons and flaps are moulded into the wings. Their outlines are no more deep than the panel line engraving, so they could benefit from some scribing to make them stand out. They may also be cut away and posed, but to do so would take some extra work. Podded cannon are provided for one of the Danish options,
The engine is moulded in resin, with separate cylinders and push rods. The three cowl supports are on the etch fret. The exhaust collector ring is not properly portrayed; it ought to be three dimensional instead of just the outside shape of the cowl opening. It is possible to build it up from Milliput with exhaust pipes reaching back to the cylinders. The instructions call for it to be painted 'burnt iron', but a walkaround page
shows that it was plain unpainted steel.
The Stabilisers are supplied in one piece. Cutting away the elevators would be quite a job, but photos show that the elevators were in neutral more often than not. The rudder is moulded as part of the fuselage halves. Again, it will need some surgery to post deflected.
One Danish option has the upper fairings removed, which requires a bit of cutting to fit the alternate leg parts in place.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a D.XXI.
Decals and Markings
This issue has 4 options:
- 1. No. 234, C/N 5507 flown by Tlt Bram “Bob: Van der Stok of 1 JaVA, RNLAF May 10th 1940. The aircraft is camouflaged in brown, tan, and green camouflage. Unusually, the undersurfaces are the same upper surface brown;
- 2. No. 221, C/N 5494 flown by Tlt Hermann Doppenberg of 1 JaVA, RNLAF May 10th 1940. The aircraft is camouflaged in brown, tan, and green camouflage as above with 3 white mice painted on the cowling, and what appears to be a pair of pointy-toed boots on each side of the cockpit;
- 3. J-47, 2 Eskadrille RDAF winter 1940. This aircraft had the upper landing gear fairings removed to prevent ice buildup. The aircraft is camouflaged in dark green and sandy brown (very similar to RAF middle stone) over light blue undersurfaces;
- 4. J-47 during RDAF Armament trials for underwing Madsen cannon. This aircraft is in overall aluminium paint.
This model has graced the pages of Aeroscale when it was first issued in Finnish colours
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