In-Box Review
Fokker D.XXI
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Special Hobby have released a new semi-short run kit of the Fokker D.XXI, famous for its desperate clash against the Luftwaffe, despite facing overwhelming odds in the defence of Holland in 1940 and, later, in Finnish hands as a rugged fighter against the Red Air Force. Despite its antiquated appearance and obvious obsolescence, the D.XXI soldiered on with the Finnish Air Force until 1949 and wasn't declared officially surplus to requirements until 1952!

The D.XXI fist caught my eye as a child back in the '70s thanks to the Flypast compilation of Profile Publications, but it's an aircraft that's never appeared as a mainstream kit. Classic Airframes released a mix-media model over 10 years ago and this new Special Hobby kit really serves to show just how far short- and semi-short run technology has progressed over the intervening period.

The kit arrives in a solid conventional box with a new-style artwork that is very eye-catching. The main sprues, clear and resin parts are all bagged separately, while an etched fret is seal in with the decals. The kit comprises:

93 x Grey styrene parts
3 x Clear styrene parts (5 unused)
29 x Beige resin parts (6 spare)
30 x Etched metal parts
Decals for 4 colour schemes

The parts show all the hallmarks of the MPM group of companies - so, that means quite soft styrene, with finely engraved panel lines and (in my opinion) some of the nicest-depicted fabric surfaces in injected kits. The moulding is pretty clean, with just a hint of flash on some of the smaller parts. There are some knock-out pin marks to deal with (a couple are very prominent in the cockpit), but my kit was free of sink-marks except for a couple of small ones on the tailplane.

Now, I'll state straight away that my references for the D.XII are limited to the above-mentioned Profile, so I can't judge the kit for accuracy. It does differ considerably from the old Classic Airframes kit though, both in the fuselage - particularly in the position of the stabilizer - and in the wings, which are both longer in span and have a much deeper airfoil at the roots. A test fit looks very positive. There are no locating pins but the fuselage halves line-up perfectly and the wings fit well, with nice thin trailing edges.

The kit includes quite a complex interior, with a comprehensive framework structure that extends way back towards the tail - hopefully a sign that a P&W Twin Wasp-powered Finnish aircraft with glazed fuselage spine is also planned. The seat is fitted with an etched harness, and the flying controls and other details are also good. It's a shame that an etched instrument panel isn't included - the injected version isn't bad, but the details aren't a patch on the old Classic Airframes etched version. That said, the injected canopy is moulded closed (and, with only one included, it'll be tricky and risky to try to slice it up to open the access panels), so the instruments may be largely hidden on the finished model. The canopy itself is nice and clear with a crisply defined framework.

Resin radial engines are often a highpoint in Special Hobby kits, and the D.XXI's Mercury is no exception, with separate cylinders, pushrods and crankcase - 19 parts in total.

There are alternative stabilizers, depending on the colour scheme, plus a choice of undercarriages with wheels or skis.

Instructions and painting
The assembly diagrams are excellent - clearly laid out, with additional info-views and Gunze Sangyo paint matches keyed to the details in most of the 19 stages. The 4 Finnish Air Force colour schemes are illustrated in colour on a separate sheet:

a. Fokker D.XXI FR-98, "White 3" of 1, LLv 12, Nurmoily, May 1942.
b. Fokker D.XXI FR-98, White 3" - the same aircraft as above, 5/LLv 24, January 1940 and 1/LLv 32, June 1941.
c. Fokker D.XXI FR-97, "White 2", flown by Lt. Jorma Sarvanto, 1940.
d. Fokker D.XXI FR-100, "White X", 1/LeLv 14, Tiiksjärvelle, August 1942, flown by Lt. M. Tainiem.

The decals are very nicely printed; thin and glossy, with minimal carrier film. The Finnish Hakaristi (swastikas) are split into sections in a pointless exercise to keep the "politically uninformed" happy, but the colours look good. The camouflage diagrams include F.S. equivalents along with Gunze Sangyo matches.

Special Hobby's Fokker D.XXI looks a very nice little kit that should really appeal to anyone looking for something beyond the usual WW2 fare. The tricky interior structure probably makes it unsuitable for inexperienced modellers but, other than that, the well moulded parts and basically simple airframe makes it an ideal first short-run kit to cut one's teeth on.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Verdict: A well produced semi-short run kit that should have great appeal for modellers with a little experience who are looking for an attractive WW2 subject that the major manufacturers seem to have passed over.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: SH48078
  Suggested Retail: £17.99
  PUBLISHED: Mar 30, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Netherlands

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Nice review Rowan. That's a cracking little plane, espeicially with the skis on. Andy
MAR 30, 2008 - 06:35 AM
Nice! And I was about to ask if people had just forgotten or ignored this release. What's best about this release is: 1) It's accurate, and it's a dedicated Finnish version. No cutting up the fuselage to fit the extra clear panel found on Finnish machines (like with MPM's 1:72 version) 2) It's 1:48, meaning we can ditch the decade-old CA kit! Let it be the first of the company, it's still "interesting". (although it has a few slight advantages over this new one, I'll have to admit, it just looks like the folks who did the masters just neglected their references) To answer your speculation in the review, yes indeed, a wasp-engined variant is supposedly coming. A picture of the longer canopy was posted here some time ago: http://www.modelforum.cz/web/view.php?cisloclanku=2008020001 A comparison with the old CA kit? I've done some too as I got both kits. Classic airframes' offering is quite appalling to be honest. For example, differences in the fuselages is amazing. Dimension are widely off the map all around on CA's fuselage, with the front section being the worst. While it should be rounded, it's almost rectangular when viewed from the side. The cowling lenght is several millimeters off, featuring inaccurate shapes and separate resin bumps, which look like a pain in the rear to attach accurately. To put it short, there's not much to comparing to do. The only aspect where CA seems to be better (and saying this without having building experience of either kit) is the PE & film instrument panel, the inclusion of the 20mm wing cannons (which were used on as many as one Finnish plane IIRC), and the PE fret including landing flaps. Too bad it looks like the PE instruments in CA's kit are of a wrong version for a Finnish plane. Judging from a quick comparison of the basic components of Special Hobby's kit against scale drawings in Keskinen / Stenman's Fokker D.XXI (Mercury) book (enlarged 150% from the original 1:72 scale), it looks accurate. Extremely accurate if compared to the CA kit, but it isn't flawless. The wings look a bit too long in span, and the cowling appears to be millimeter (give or take) too long. Nothing serious. I've haven't got much to add to the review, just a few things. -Though engine indeed looks gorgeous, it leaves things to be scratch-built: 1) the two prominent air-intake tubes for the oil cooler 2) exhaust pipes (2 per cylinder) are missing and not even mentioned in the instructions 3) support struts connecting to the exhaust collector ring are omitted 4) the oil line (at least that's what I suspect it is) going to the crankcase isn't there -The inclusion of a Revi3 reflector gunsight used in some planes would have been a nice addition. ( some photos here) -Decal options are exactly the same as in the (first) 1:72 MPM kit. -Wings are moulded without the anti-stall slots introduced later and installed on most planes. While they could be made by the modeler, this limits the potential of the kit somewhat. Such slots are much easier to fill and sand than make yourself if missing. (and the wing doesn't really have much details to worry about ruining) I'll be they'll release a slotted-wing machine later as happened in 1:72, but it really wouldn't have hurted to throw them in right away. I mean, there's the smooth engine cowlings included already, which will go straight to the parts box with this Finnish version. With the longish griping section, don't get me wrong, I've been waiting for this kit for a quite a while and now that i't here, it look sweet. With that Aces High campaign would be a nice opportunity to get crackin' on it.
MAR 31, 2008 - 03:37 AM

Click image to enlarge
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  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Clear_Parts
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Resin
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Etch
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Decals
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  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Cowling
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  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Instruments
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Propeller
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_UC_Spats
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_UC_Legs
  • SH_Fokker_DXXI_Skis