Kit: Roden (1:48)
This is my first build review, so I hope you enjoy and can learn from my
Just a little background about myself. My name is Dan and I live with my wife
in south suburban Alsip, just outside of Chicago. I have been building model
kits for over 30 years, but the last 18 years have been solely concentrated on
1/72nd scale WW I and WW II aircraft. I have also built several of the Sweet
and Platz 1/144th scale just to try them out. I have currently over 80
aircraft in my personal collection. I also belong to a small and very close
knit group of fellow modelers. Our group is called the “Southwest Side Master
Modelers Association”. We have a common interest, which is building model
kits. We build aircraft, armor, and whatever strikes our fancy. We meet every
6 to 8 weeks at a member’s house to show off our work. Some meetings have a
theme, which challenges our ability and keeps the spirit of building alive
This was my first Roden 1/48th scale WW I aircraft that I have built. I chose
this subject matter for a number of reasons. First, I enjoy WW I aircraft, the
Fokker D VII is one of my favorites. Secondly, a larger scale requires a
little more work such as detailing, this caused me to “push the envelope” so
to speak. And finally, to build something a little larger in scale than I am
Upon opening the box I was very impressed with the look of the kit. The
molding was nicely done. Very little flash was on this particular kit. The
instruction sheet is well printed. There were, in my opinion a few areas of
the instructions that should have been more detailed for the placement of some
parts. Finally, the decals, the choices were very nice for this aircraft. I
know in the past that Roden has had some problems with their decals. Some say
the decals are too thick. I didn’t want to chance using the Roden decals. I
opted to use aftermarket decals prior to building this kit. I chose Eagle
Strike Productions decals for the upper (48011) and lower (48012) lozenge for
the wings and their rib tapes (48013) as well. The scheme I was going to do
can be found on Eagle Strike Productions sheet (48188). I did Aircraft No. 3
flown by Ltn. Josef Raesch of Jasta 43. The aircraft was half red and half
white with lozenge on both wings. A large “trident” or “pitch fork” adorned
the sides of the aircraft along with the standard German crosses. I thought
this scheme was colorful and would make a nice addition to my collection.
Before building this kit I feel I have to warn you when assembling this kit. I
have had some minor problems with other 1/72nd scale kits but this 1/48th
scale kit does require test fitting of pieces prior to painting or gluing. I
cannot stress that enough. We get complacent when building “better” kits
because the pieces fit perfect. This is not the case with this particular kit.
Not saying Roden kits are bad, they are done well and produce great subject
matter. The need to test fit is very important.
Following the instruction, I started construction with the engine. This
assembly went well. The engine was very nicely detailed and looked great once
assembled and painted. Unfortunately, I chose an aircraft that had the upper
cowls on, so the detailed engine gets lost under the covers.
The fuel tank came next. There was a bit of confusion as to the numbering of
the parts. Roden had misprinted on the instructions, the filler tube part
numbers. Part 6C is the tall one of which there is only one. Part 11B are the
short ones which go on each side of the large middle filler tube. Again nicely
done fuel tank but not visible on the completed kit.
The interior comes next. The building is pretty straight forward. You need to
open the holes on the floor to accept the rudder pedals and control stick.
There is a “U” shaped notch on the rear of the floor board to line up part
15B. Sand this down as the rod will not fit in the “U” when you line up part
23B that fits in the hole.
Next comes the tail assembly. This went together well, but again some sanding
and test fitting were needed to make sure the parts lined up. I attached the
control horns, part 7C at this time because the rear part of the plane is
white. If you are building this plane using a lozenge scheme, hold off
installing this part until the lozenge is in place.
The upper and lower wings were next on the instructions. The wings are nicely
done, not over emphasizing the ribs. The scallops on the trailing edge of the
wing as well were not over done. I held off attaching part 4C, the ailerons to
the upper wing. I was doing a lozenge fabric covering to the wings and the
positioning of the lozenge is different from the rest of the wing. I also held
off putting on part 8C, the control horns until the lozenge was put on and
this part glued in place to the wing.
The next assembly was the sub wing assembly. Roden gives you three options for
this part depending on the variation you are building. Please check your
references to make sure you choose the right one. I just painted the wheels at
this time and set them aside to be installed later on in the assembly process.
The radiator comes next. The “shutter” is installed as indicated on the
instructions. No problems here the fit and positioning were fine.
Now we come to a point, at least in my opinion that was very challenging. The
nose assembly, if you follow the instructions, it should go together quite
well. Remember this step gives you the option of building this assembly with
or without the upper cowling that covers the engine. Once again, check your
references as to whether or not the aircraft you are building had these covers
on or not. Test fitting was a priority for this assembly, I also at this time
painted the inside of these parts aluminum prior to assembly. The plane I was
doing had the upper cowl covers (parts 3H and 4H) on, so I followed step 10a.
The only problem I had were the engine mounts. Once in place it made it
virtually impossible to install the engine properly. After some thinking and
test fitting, I decided to remove the engine mounts (parts 24B and 26B) and
mount the engine directly on the tabs of the side walls that the mounts were
to have gone. This proved to be a simple solution that allowed the engine to
fit nice and snug the way is should be. Once completed, I set this assembly
aside to allow the glue to dry.
Next assembly was the rudder. Again test fitting proved to be helpful as some
sanding was needed to help with the fit. These pieces were glued and then set
aside for later installation.
Step 12 deals with the machine guns, forward cockpit cover and instrument
panel. I painted the machine guns using Humbrol Gun Metal, which by the way
look spectacular, and set them aside. I did the same with the instrument
panel. Lacking, are decals for the dials of the instrument panel. Aftermarket
dials could be added, or what I did was paint them white and left them alone.
Next we move to the fuselage halves. The D VII’s came from the factory with
lozenge fabric covering the whole aircraft. This would be visible on the side
walls of the cockpit. The placement of lozenge decals could be done at this
time to replicate this. I first painted the metal frame tubing, then measured
and cut individual pieces of decal and positioned them inside the framing.
This was a time consuming job, but the end product looked great. You can also
place a decal over the entire inside of the fuselage wall, let dry and just
paint over the framework. Do whatever works best for you. Part 14B was
installed at this time but I’ll warn you now that the position of this part
needs to be below the locator pins, otherwise when installing the instrument
panel, you will knock this part off. So I carefully sanded the pins off,
touched up the paint, and installed this part a little lower and had no
problem. Part 6A also needs to have lozenge on it as well. This back wall
required sanding as well to make sure the fit was good. Do this prior to
applying the lozenge decal. I painted the seat a leather color and set it
aside. The floor of the cockpit was a little tricky. This part needed a lot of
sanding on the sides prior to mounting it to the pins on the side walls. I
test fit the fuselage halves with the cockpit assembly to make sure it fit.
There were no locator pins on the fuselage halves so this assembly was a
little tricky. They did not line up perfectly, but were close enough to where
a push or nudge to line up prior to gluing would be necessary. When installing
the seat you will notice the pins that come out from the fuselage sides for
the seat to rest on are too short. A small thin piece of sheet styrene across
these two pins will provide a nice bracket for the seat to rest on. At this
time I added Eduard photo etched seatbelts. I painted them a linen color for
the straps and silver for the buckles and hardware. The tail assembly from
step 4 and 11 were installed at this time. Test fitting and some sanding were
necessary to have a nice fit. I installed the gas tank and the forward cockpit
cover. The trick here was to attach the fuel tank to the forward cockpit cover
rather than the front wall of the fuselage. The filler tubes lined up well
with the cover and I glued the tank in place and then onto the fuselage. Part
30B was painted and then installed. This assembly was then set aside to dry.
I then followed step 14a to attach the engine assembly to the main fuselage.
This too required a lot of test fitting and sanding. Part 28B from step 9b was
a little to long and did not line up with the bottom of the fuselage. That
left large gaps on the sides where the two parts were to be joined. I sanded
the lower part (28B) and test fit it many times until I achieved the proper
fit. This took quite some time because I would sand a little at a time, test
fit, then sand again to get it right.
The next step was to install the lower wing to the fuselage. Boy, what a job
this was. Test fit, sand, test fit, sand. This had to fit perfectly otherwise
the lower wing would appear to have anhedral. After some time, the sanding and
test fitting paid off. The lower wing was installed and then glued in place.
The struts and upper wing were also part of this assembly. But, because of the
color scheme, were left off to be installed at a later time.
The next step was the installation of the wheel struts and sub wing assembly
along with the grab loops and step. These were glued in place and painted
along with the rear tail supports and tail skid. Remember the sub wing should
be parallel to the bottom of the fuselage so test fit and make sure the
position is correct before gluing.
At this time prior to installing the upper wing, I glued the machine guns,
fuel gauge and tachometer in place. This would be very difficult to do if the
wing were on. Also, one additional modification needs to be made. The exhaust
pipe that comes out on the port side of the plane needs to be cut and angled
slightly back. This will allow the cabane strut to clear the exhaust.
Now, let’s get back to installing the upper wing. As you can see, the inner
cabane struts are quite intricate and doing those first is usually what I do.
I decided to look at other reviews to see how they attached the upper wing.
The outer “N” struts were installed first followed by the inner struts. So I
decided that I would follow their suggestion. I glued the outer struts to the
lower wing and let dry over night. The next day I began to install the inner
struts. I test fitted the upper wing to the outer struts to make sure they
lined up and were straight, they were. So, I proceeded to gluing the upper
wing in place. Boy was I glad that I decided to do it that way. As it turns
out, all the inner struts needed to be shortened to fit. This was done one at
a time until all the struts were installed. I, of course painted these prior
to installing, so I had to touch them up once done.
The final installation was the propeller. Roden here also gives you 3
variations of props. Check pictures and references as to which prop to use as
all 3 are different. I went for the laminated look. I painted the whole prop a
wood color. After drying I then took small thin strips of masking tape and
taped over the wood to give it the laminated look. I then painted a darker
brown color for contrast. I removed the masking tape and there it was it
looked great. I then used Tamiya clear orange and gave the prop a coating of
this color to replicate a varnished look. I painted the hub silver, gloss
coated the prop, let dry and added the axial decals.
Since this plane had minimal rigging, I decided to try something different
other than stretched sprue. I bought some stainless steel wire from Sea Bird
in .006 diameters. I measured, cut and glued the wire in place. This worked
out well and looked great.
The decaling and painting process went well. Plan ahead when you paint or
apply decals. It’s easier to decal or paint a part before it is installed in
place. I used Testors Model Master and Humbrol colors along with Tamiya
acrylic for the prop. The decals were from Eagle Strike Productions. The only
airbrush I used was my reliable Badger 350 with a fine tip. The end result was
from many hours of hard work. This project took me over 3 months to complete.
The holidays cost me some building time, but I didn’t want to rush to finish
this plane. Hopefully by the photo’s you see here, you would agree with me
that it turned out rather well.
As far as references, the Fokker D VII Anthology Vol. 1, 2, & 3 were used
along with the Squadron Signal in Action for the D VII.