Fokker F. I Triplane
If there is only one aircraft design that has become representative of all of the aerial warplanes of the First World War, that aeroplane has to be the Fokker Dr. I triplane. Forever linked with the legendary Manfred von Richthofen and his “Flying Circus,” even though less than a scant 23% of his aerial kills were achieved at the controls of a Fokker triplane, this odd three-winged fighter actually began its short-lived dog-fighting career as a limited production prototype. Three models of this initial triplane prototype were built by Fokker. They were designated F. I 101/17, F. I 102/17, and F. I 103/17.
On 28 August 1917, feeling that he had designed the ultimate fighter-pilot's fighter, Fokker personally flew and presented prototype F. I 102/17 to the “Red Baron” himself. As for the other two prototypes; the first prototype (i.e., F. I 101/17) stayed at the Fokker factory for performance tests (NOTE: undocumented reports suggest that the original prototype, F.I 101/17 was destroyed during stress tests at the Fokker factory), while the third, and final, prototype (i.e., F. I 103/17) was presented to Richthofen's closest "ace" competitor, Werner Voss. Both of these presentations to Richthofen and Voss would prove to be premature, however.
Even though the second prototype (i.e., F. I 102/17) was an aircraft that had been presented to Richthofen, he wasn't flying the triplane on a fateful day in early September. He was on leave. Rather, his acting staffel commander, Kurt Wolff was at the controls when he was shot down by a Sopwith F.1 Camel.
A similar fate awaited Werner Voss. Functioning as the staffel commander of Jasta 10, Voss met his match against a formation of SE.5as. Thus, in less than one month all three of the Fokker triplane prototypes had been destroyed and their pilots killed. This inauspicious beginning, however, didn't dissuade the German Army Air Service from ordering 320 Fokker triplanes. These triplanes were designated Dr.I and differed from the three prototypes by featuring a reshaped horizontal stabilizer and wingtip skids. Even a series of deadly crashes with brand new Dr.Is which were attributed to a total upper wing failure didn't tarnish either the air service commander's or its pilot's favorable opinion of this nimble aerobatic fighter.
This is a 1/72 scale replica of the Fokker F. I triplane. You might need to use additional adhesive (e.g., glue stick) on the print bed of your 3D printer for printing the FIMisc and FIPropeller STL files.
While this model might seem a little bland, you can enhance its final appearance by using photo-etched brass parts. There is a huge market of these precision parts available for 1/72 scale triplanes.
You can order the following photo-etched brass components from Scale Hobbyist (http://www.scalehobbyist.com):
- Fokker Dr. I Engine #EDU 672139 $7.29
- WWI German Guns & Ammo Set #TMW 300 $4.69
- WWI German Generic Cockpit Detail Set #TMW 302 $4.69
- Spoked Aircraft Wheel Set #TMW 305 $4.69
Furthermore, there are several plastic model kits for the Fokker triplane that can be used for scavenging parts. These kits can also be found at Scale Hobbyist (http://www.scalehobbyist.com):
- Fokker Dr. I #EDU 7039 $14.59
- Fokker Dr. I #EDU 2114 $35.99 (NOTE: This kit also contains all of the photo-etched brass parts that are mentioned above)
- Fokker Dr. I #RMG 4116 $7.95
- Fokker F. I #ROD 17 $9.39
Notes About the Photos
There are three variations of this model shown in the photographs that have been included with this thing. All of the white models are "as built" versions of the STL files. The dark gray model is a representative of one of the commercial Fokker plastic model kits that are mentioned above. Finally, the bright brass-colored Fokker is the assembled museum-quality aeroplane from the model kit #EDU 2114. This brass kit is extremely difficult to assemble and requires access to a set of precision metal-working tools.