The legendary Fokker D.VII is widely considered the best German fighter aircraft to emerge from the Great War, it was certainly the most numerous and as such was the only aircraft specifically requested to be surrendered in the Allies armistice terms. In early 1918 the young Jasta pilots were mainly equipped with Albatros D.Va, Pfalz D.IIIa and the Fokker Dr.1 Triplane which were no match for the SE.5a, SPAD 13 and Sopwith Camels that they faced each day. Fokker’s prototype D.VII (the V.11) impressed the front line pilots present at the First Fighter Trials in January-February 1918 so much that word soon started to leak out about a new Fokker that would once again return air superiority to the Germans. So great was the need for this promising new fighter that, in addition to production at Fokker, Albatros were ordered to manufacture it under license at their Johannisthal (Alb) and Schneidemühl (OAW - Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke) factories, incidentally building almost twice the number of D.VII as Fokker!
In keeping with previous Fokker design practices the D.VII featured a welded steel tube fuselage and tailplane along with thick ‘high lift’ wings of conventional wood construction with steel tube frame ailerons. A few early production machines were powered by the 180hp Daimler-Mercedes D.IIIa but most production aircraft were fitted with the 200hp D.IIIaü, although a small number received the new Bayerische Motoren Werke 185ps BMW IIIa (rated at 230hp by the British) ‘altitude’ engine. Interestingly, although only shown in a handful of known photos, some late production Fokker D.VII were powered by the long outclassed 160hp Daimler-Mercedes D.III engine. Initially supplied in small number to the most experience pilots of the elite Jagdgeschwader 1 from late April 1918 the Fokker D.VII quickly started to make a name for itself and allied pilots suddenly found that they could no longer count on their superior performance at higher altitudes. Supplies of the BMW IIIa were very limited with almost all available engines being allocated to the Fokker factory who designated D.VII powered by this engine the Fokker D.VII F. A small number of BMW IIIa engines reached the Albatros and OAW factories and were fitted into D.VII airframes but they did not receive any special designation such as Fokker’s ‘F’. The exact number of BMW IIIa powered D.VII produced is not known. By the end of the Great War the Fokker D.VII was the main aircraft type equipping the German Jastas and despite the Daimler-Mercedes powered D.VII being very well received, it was the Fokker D.VII F fitted with the coveted BMW IIIa ‘altitude’ engine that all Jasta pilots longed to fly. Any history of this important aircraft here is of necessity very brief so we encourage you to seek out any, or all, of the references listed below.
WW1 colour schemes are contentious at the best of times and we have done our best to provide what we consider to be accurate painting information for this model. The colourful unit and personal markings applied to the various German fighters of the Great War have attracted more than their fair share of debate over the years and, while we have been as meticulous as we could be, I’m sure some will not find our choices to their liking. On Fokker built D.VII the fuselage framework and other welded metal components appear to have been painted light grey or light grey-green but often the front 3 ‘cabane’ struts appear to have been painted in the same darker green as the cowl panels. Approximately the first 150 Fokker built D.VII had their fuselage and tailplane painted/stained with a streaky green and brown finish similar to the Fokker Dr.1 but had their wings covered with 4 and 5 colour preprinted lozenge fabric with rib tapes of the same material. Later Fokker built D.VII also had the fuselage, fin and elevators covered with 4 and 5 colour preprinted lozenge fabric. In many cases it appears that the preprinted lozenge material was given a brown tinted dope ‘glaze’ finish to tone down the vibrant printed colours. Hermann Göring’s Fokker D.VII F 5125/18 was overpainted white at the factory with stenciling reapplied as necessary.