While I arrange modelling competitions, I don’t compete, mainly because I’m just not good enough, but when we were at Model Expo in Helsinki last year, one of the IPMS Finland guys pressed a Frog Fokker D21 in my hand as a parting gift. I could but take it as a challenge.
Finnish Fokker (as FR-92 was one of the decal options), but that seemed too easy, and instead I decided I would make a Danish Fokker, inspired by the picture in [Munson 1969]: J-50 of 2. Eskadrille of Hærens Flyvertropper, based at Værløse. A historical note is that while the Fokker D.XXIs in both Dutch and Finnish service acquitted themselves well in the beginning of WWII, the Danish ones were never used in combat, for reasons that are fully covered in [Ancker 1997, 2001a].
The Frog model, while older than I, is not completely horrible. The shape is OK and it has separated control surfaces, which, when offset, would make for a nice effect, as I decided to build it in flying configuration (which otherwise would not affect the exterior, considering the fixed landing gear). But there are deficiencies: The cockpit is completely bare, there are no wing guns (not relevant for the Danish version, but definitely for the Finnish), the engine is such a pathetic effort that all around the building table burst out laughing when I showed it, and the rather prominent exhaust pipe is completely missing. All of this is of course amenable to scratch building, which I did (I didn’t bother with the engine, though) and in addition I made elevator actuators and the large landing light present on the Danish aircraft. The rather shapeless original pilot figure was replaced by a Matchbox pilot, sculpted and painted to look as much as possible as flying suits I found in [Ancker 1997] (photographs of Danish pilots in 1940 are really rare, not to say nonexistent, on the web). A length of thick soldering wire turned out to be perfect for making the exhaust. The hemispherical landing light lens was created by heat-smashing a bit of transparent sheet. (Or rather, heat-smashing several sheets until I got a decent shape.)
By this time it was just a week left before the competition was on (as getting my Tunnan done had had priority up to that point) and I had to start the painting process. Since I persist in using Humbrol colours, which take considerable time to dry, I set up a schedule where I would paint a layer in the evening, get up before dawn to paint the next layer, go to work, come home, paint another layer, sleep a few hours, etc. In the middle of it all I ran out of adhesive tack for masking, so had to run out and buy some, but my favourite Sense 60 g tack just didn’t exist anymore, all shops suddenly carrying Pritt Multi Tac instead. I had to buy this instead. To my horror I found the next morning it would actually lift the underlying paint. I’d never seen Humbrol do that, but apparently I was cutting it a bit too fine with the drying times. In all, the paint job is pretty horrid, you can even see a couple of obvious fingerprints in the photo below. I added the decals the same morning as we were leaving, using some leftover Danish national insignia, unfortunately somewhat undersize.
For the camouflage I went with [Eberspacher 1994] and its suggested colour scheme of Olivengrøn/Brun/Skyblå, which is not inconsistent with the high-contrast camouflage apparent in contemporary photographs, using Humbrol 131 Satin Green, 9 Gloss Tan, and H.G.3 Hellgrau 76 as matches. Acquaintances frowned at this and wondered if I’d purposely chosen the most garish combination.
So, it’s not a great model by any means and will never win anything, but I did get it done in time for the competition.
LiteratureDe danske militære flyverstyrkers udvikling 1910–1940, Bind I, Paul E. Ancker, 1997, Odense Universitetsforlag.
De danske militære flyverstyrkers udvikling 1940–1945, Bind II, Første halvbind, Paul E. Ancker, 2001, Odense Universitetsforlag.
“A Design of the Times—The Fokker D.XXI in Development and Service”, Srecko Bradic, in Military Aircraft Monthly International 9(7), July 2010, pp 32–41.
Fokker D.XXI—Dutch & Danish Service, Vol. 1, Warren Eberspacher, 1994, Phalanx Publishing.
Fokker D.XXI, Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 3, 2. uusittu painos, Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman & Klaus Niska, 1977, Tietoteos.
Fighters 1939–45—Attack and Training Aircraft, Kenneth Munson, 1969, Blandford Press.
Fokker D.21, Seria „Pod Lupą” 10, Przemyslaw Skulski, 1999, Ace Publication.