My Arizona Model Aircrafters 1/5 Scale Fokker Dr1 (almost ARF)
A few (slightly organized) pics
The Fokker was a Christmas gift from my wife (and a big surprise too!). I had wanted to get into WW1 scale, and had been working on a Balsa USA Bristol M-1c for about a year, and wasn't making much progress (I was having a hard time finding the time to build.). Plus, the R/C Dawn Patrol , the local WW1 R/C Group, needed some "bad guys". I had mentioned in passing to my wife Kathy that the Arizona Model Aircrafters Dr1 sure would be nice to have (I didn't want the Great Planes Dr1, as there are too many all-red triplanes already out there).
At some point in time I intend on writing a more detailed "construction" article on this ARF. While technically this plane is an ARF, I prefer to refer to it as an "AARF" (Almost-Almost Ready to Fly) or perhaps a "Builders ARF" is more appropriate. The plane comes from AZM built and covered (see pic above of the temporarily assembled plane, I just had to see what it would look like!) with a poly/fabric covering (of some variety). There is still a huge amount of work to be done. The instructions were extremely minimal, and Jamie at AZM was honestly not always as helpful as I'd hoped when I called or Emailed him with questions. There was a review of this Dr1 in MAN in June of 2002 that was helpful, but there are some discrepancies with it and the plane I received. Amongst them being that it is advertised as having a 60" wingspan (IMAA legal for bipes/tripes), the article had it at 62", but mine only measure 58" (yes, including the ailerons). I was impressed with the quality of construction though (as were some other more seasoned WW1 kit and scratch build flyers). There are number of other issues, and I'll only hit a few of them here, but I'd be happy to share these with anyone who interested.
I ordered the detail kit available from AZM (but not the spoke wheels, they look great, but not scale) from AZM. While the laser cut lite-ply and card stock gun kits are awesome (there were, thankfully, great instructions here), the wing tip skids and the leather cockpit trim and control cable exits nice, and Jamie at AZM did later send me some very nice laser cut interplane strut brackets (non-functional) that were not originally included in the detail kit, .the rest of the items are not of much use IMHO, I'd recommend just getting the guns and strut brackets. The Williams Bros. 4.5" Vintage Wheels provided are too small, and AZM did exchanged them for the 5.5" size. It was also pointed out to me (after I was done) that the covering is not correct over the turtle deck or the "cheeks" on the forward fuse sides (it should not fit to the contours, but over them). Had I paid closer attention to my documentation, I probably could have remedied this before it was too late. Live and learn.
While this is strictly a fun scale Fokker Dr1 Triplane, I wanted to make it as accurate as possible. After doing 3-4 weeks of research and mulling over the possibilities, , I decided on the markings of Lothar Von Richthofen's Dr1 (the younger brother of Manfred, the Red Baron). The finish is with latex exterior house paints custom mixed to my color specs, and brushed on with 2" wide foam brushes. As most of the German planes in WW1 were (when it came to personal markings and colors) painted with house/barn paint and 10" house painters brushes, the effect was just what I was after, and it turned out pretty well I think. The markings were hand masked and painted (with the exception weight data on the left fuse side which I had cut out of vinyl by CustomCut Graphics (these are a bit on the large side too....my fault). The paint was fuel proofed with a couple of light coats of semi gloss polyurethane spray paint. I am very happy with the final results, especially for a first time R/C scale!
I had the triplane ready to go on April 13, 2003. But then I had a little problem with a stripped aluminum prop nut (which I tried to force on). It would not come off (and was only half way on), and I ended up having to have it cut off with a band saw a few days later. May 3rd was the next possible day for me, but it was pretty windy. I waited for things to calm down down before giving it a shot. It was short, tense and exciting. A combination of not enough aileron, way to much rudder, my bad habit of not using rudder much when I fly and flying an airplane that needs rudder, wind and first flight jitters made for a wild first flight. But I got it down in one piece (somehow). I sought out the assistance of Herman Cholewenski, the area Dr1 guru, the next day and he trimmed her up nice for me (see the mediocre pic above). Hermann flew her twice, and as it was equally as windy (maybe worse) that day too. Upon Herman's advise, I'm waiting for a calmer day to make another flight (and getting some practice with rudder on the sim). I can't thank Herman enough for his help. Now it's up to me!
If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact Mike.