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Reviews : German Last Updated: Aug 21st, 2020 - 13:06:35

Fokker TVIII, MPM. 1/72 scale
By Steve Woodward, MM Publications
Oct 23, 2005, 10:59

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The Fokker TVIII was a twin-engine mid-wing monoplane designed to operate on floats as a torpedo-bomber/ reconnaissance aircraft. In size and appearance it is not dissimilar to the Bristol Beaufort, Blenheim or any of the other twin engine light/medium bombers which seemed to emerge from the drawing boards of many manufacturers during the late 1930s.
One fact contributing to make it an interesting model subject is that it saw active service on both sides, firstly for the Dutch Navy, then those that escaped the German onslaught were taken on, with their crews, by RAF Coastal Command. It also saw service with the Luftwaffe, mainly in the Mediterranean/Aegean Seas when the captured Fokker factory was forced to complete and continue production after the Netherlands capitulated.
No shortage of options there then; and this model comes with decals for all three services. The Dutch machine is all over aluminium, the RAF in Dk Earth/Dk Green and Sky and the Luftwaffe in two-tone green (RLM72/73) and Light Blue (RLM65). (A word of caution here - the TVIII was built in several versions, differing in construction and dimensions. It is not entirely clear that the kit options are right for the airframe as moulded! Check with other references.

The Kit
Most of the kit is short-run injection moulded, in the pale grey plastic typical of this kind of production method. Unlike some though, the surface detail is mostly recessed and very finely done. Engines and major internal details are cast in resin and there is a sheet of etched brass parts comprising the smaller details such as seat belts, instrument panel etc. The canopies are I am told, in a kind of clear resin, which looks far nicer than acetate, but the box says they are injection moulded. Iím not too sure on this as they donít feel like styrene, but they do look very good. A well detailed instruction sheet completes the package and all parts are numbered for ease of reference during assembly.
Construction is reasonably straightforward if you follow the instructions. With most of the interior being aluminium painted (same as the exterior) and it all being under one large opening (covered later by the large canopy) it is easy to assemble most of the interior and fuselage first, then paint everything in one go. This is especially useful if you are spraying the model. Small details inside the cockpit can then be easily picked out afterwards, although the instrument panel will require masking off to avoid damaging the film dials and gauges fitted to the rear of the brass panel. I thought I could add the instrument panel later with fine curved tweezers but this was not at all practical to do.
Wings and tailplanes are butt-jointed to the fuselage with no locating tabs present. Using liquid cement, this gives a far superior joint to the more standard approach, although a little more care is needed to ensure the fit is accurate before cementing. The engines are an extremely tight fit inside the two-part nacelles, so great care is needed here too to ensure everything fits correctly.

The only struggle I had was getting the main struts that support the floats to fit properly. Even following the instructions and cross-referencing to plans and photographs didnít make it clear. When I eventually did have everything in place, the aircraft had a curious "nose-down" sit to it in comparison to the floats so in the end, I pulled one of the floats apart and measuring against the other, cut down the struts to give a better sit to the aircraft. Once happy, I re-glued it in place then removed the other one and did likewise. A bit of mucking about but worth the effort.

It was only once I reached this stage that I sprayed the model in overall Aluminium on a white undercoat, returning to the small internal details before adding the decals and canopies. I decided that the Dutch option was for me, the large orange and black triangles contrasting nicely against the aluminium structure. The decals are very fine and care is needed if they are not to be damaged, but as is always the case, the finer the decals the better the eventual finished model.

Finally, I added the aerials and pitot tube (replacing some of the kit items with 11 thou stainless steel wire Ė a great use for broken guitar strings!), replaced the forward-firing gun barrel with hollow steel tube and added the canopies using white PVA glue.

In summary
An excellent and accurate model of an interesting and relatively obscure subject. There is a lot of well-manufactured detail in this kit. Maybe a bit much for the novice or child, but no problems for modellers with just a little more experience and patience. It goes together well, looks really good when completed and as with most of the MPM range, represents good value for money.

Steve Woodward

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