Fokker D.VII World War I Biplane Balsa 1200mm Review

Cover changed by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor

Review by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor

Equipment Used/Overview:

- E-Flite - Power 15 Brushless Outrunner, 950KV

- HobbyWing Flyfun 40a ESC

- Spektrum AR400 4 Channel

- Spektrum DX6

- Aileron servos EMax ES08MA

- Elevator & rudder servos: ES3103A

- Extra servo leads: 2x300 mm along wing struts, 1x100 mm ”Y” connector for ailerons inside fuselage

- APC 12x6E

- Gravity 4s, 2200mAh, weight 225g

- Covering: Solarfilm, silver, two rolls

- Black Scrap pieces of Solite

- Testors decal paper for ink jet printer, waterproofed with cellulose dope

Pros:

- Nice ”scale” look although it’s not a perfect scale model

- Low wing loading, can be flown slowly

- Easy balancing thanks to the long battery compartment

- Very good manual

- Very good ground handling thanks to the large wheels

Cons:

- Small ailerons

- Ugly wheels

Summary:

This is a plane that looks very ”scale” in the air, despite a slightly simplified shape. If you want a WW I plane of moderate size (1200 mm wing span) that can be assembled without too much effort and that looks realistic in the air, this is for you. Its aerobatic performance is a bit limited because of the small ailerons though.

 

Assembly:

Everything you need is in the box, except for glue, some tools and the ”equipment used” that I’ve listed.

The construction is mainly of plywood and balsa, and with some clever use of bamboo. The large battery hatch, pilot and dummy engine are plastic. Oddly, the machine guns are made of wood and should be covered with self-adhesive decals to get the right look. The cowl is of fiberglass. The plane comes with a very neat and unusually thick red and white plastic covering that looks very durable. Some decals are already applied, and the rest are self-adhesive decals on a couple of large sheets. I stripped all the covering off since I had decided to use a Swedish Army paint scheme from 1920, when the plane was painted silver with black markings. Covering with Solarfilm was easy since there are hardly any double curved surfaces. There are two plastic bags with an incredible number of little nuts, screws and other tiny parts that you need for assembly. It’s easy to figure out where everything fits, but be careful so you don’t lose anything.

 

There are very good templates to make sure that the two main wings and the little wing between the wheels get the right incidence.

The holes for the servos are surprisingly small. My aileron servos fit perfectly and I believe they’re strong enough. The servos I chose for rudder and elevator are a bit bigger, but it was easy to make room for them. When you attach the tail wheel assembly, make sure that it’s the nylon fitting at the bottom and not the rudder that takes up the load. Once you have attached the top wing you will not want to take it off again, so be prepared to transport and store this plane with the wings attached. The lower wing can be removed easily for access into the fuselage though.

 

Assembly takes a bit of time because of the large number of little parts, but nothing is difficult. Everything fits together perfectly. (Keep in mind though that I never tried to put the self-adhesive decals on. I think you need to focus when you do that.)

I wish that the wheels that come with the plane were a bit more realistic. They’re the least ”scale” parts.

 

Flying:

It turned out that the the motor I chose has a lot more power than this plane needs. In the thirty or so flights I have made so far I have never used full power, and 50% power is about right for takeoff. However, the size and weight of the motor suit the plane very well.  I put my battery nearly all the way aft in the battery compartment to get the C.G. right, so I don’t think you should use a much heavier battery than I did.

 

To make turns look good you need to apply rudder, although turning with only ailerons is also possible.

I’ve tried a bit of aerobatics. Loops and stall turns are easy, but make sure that you have plenty of altitude when you try your first roll. There are ailerons only on the top wing, and they’re not very big. Takeoff and landing are very slow because of the low wing loading.

Handling on the ground on the club’s grass field is easy thanks to the large wheels and steerable tail wheel.

 

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