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Legends of Aviation in 3D
Fokker Dr.I

Kagero Publishing

 

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number, Description and ISBN:

Legends of Aviation in 3D
Fokker Dr.I
Kagero Publishing

Contents & Media:

Soft cover, 144 pages, 9 anaglyphs, 182 rendrs, 49 photos, anaglyph 3D glasses

Price:

USD$24.00 plus shipping available online from Kagero

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Visually impressive artwork with nearly all areas of the airframe covered in minute detail; some interesting use of 3D drawings; an excellent format that lends itself well to the large size reproduction of images.

Disadvantages:

Some avoidable errors in both text and illustrations.

Conclusion:

This is an ambitious series that should prove popular with enthusiasts. There will be some inevitable speculation regarding the finer details in each illustration and that is to be expected. Unfortunately some of the problems introduced in this particular book were preventable if more attention had been paid to research. That’s not to say the book should be dismissed out of hand as there is a lot of very useful information contained therein.  It’s just a case of being vigilant when assessing it.


Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

FirstRead

 

The “Legends of Aviation in 3D” series is an exciting new concept for Kagero.

The aim is to take a “classic” subject and provide detailed computer generated illustrations of just about every part of the aircraft and its accessories. A pair of 3D glasses is included to help in this regard and a few pages of text allow the reader access to the history, construction, and markings of the machine.

Between the soft card covers we find a generous 140 pages. The narrative takes up the first 31 which is followed by a further 4 of appendices and tables. The latter relates performance figures between the various engines fitted to the Dr.I and there’s a comparison of technical data with the Sopwith Triplane. Aerial victories of those flying the Fokker product are also included as well as production figures, Jasta service, and a listing of the most successful pilots that bettered the Dr.I in combat.

 

  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
  • Kagero Fokker Dr.I Book Review by Rob Baumgartner: Image
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Appendix 1 deals with the trials and tribulations of the rotary engine, while appendix 2 discusses the work of Reinhold Platz. This talented man did wonderful things for the Fokker Company but he was not the one-man design team that the author would like us to believe. Evidently the writer has been using the long since discredited Weyl information that has been reproduced at infinitum in other works.

Interspersed throughout the text are 45 black and white photographs. Inevitably they will be familiar to most triplane fans but this is unavoidable. Unfortunately the author has seen fit to apply the odd mischievous caption to these.

One example is a close-up image of Voss sitting in the cockpit of a triplane fitted with a headrest. The author says it’s “probably F.I 103/17”. A simple comparison of the streaked camouflage pattern with a known shot of 103/17 clearly dispels this. The likely candidate is Voss in a production V5 triplane at Schwerin.

Page 9 displays another example. The caption reads:
 “Probably, Fokker F.I 103/17 with yellow rudder….”, and also “A yellow rudder which is kept in the Imperial War Museum is said to be part of the aircraft in which Werner Voss died.”
Yes, a little further research will confirm it is F.I 103/17 but can we please put the fallacy about the yellow rudder to bed once and for all?

The “meat” of the book however is contained in the artwork.

As a result it needs to be both visually appealing and accurate. The former is easily satisfied as the illustrations are superb. The large A4 size format of the book is perfect for their display. This section starts off with 6 side profiles of well known triplanes before launching into the more detailed drawings of the airframe.

It’s here where the artist excels. Much of his work is displayed over a full page which allows maximum detail to be conveyed to the reader. All facets of the triplane are covered. Illustrations showing the internal structure of the fuselage, and wings are particularly interesting.

Cockpit details are not forgotten and various angles are shown to demonstrate the position of each fitting. The engine comes in for a lot of attention with multiple views of the Oberursel UR.II rotary. Once again the results are impressive. Other areas of note are the machine guns, ammunition containers, oil and fuel tanks, which are all shown in and out of situ.

The last 9 pages are where one makes use of the supplied 3D glasses. When viewing the images the results are quite impressive. The individual items do indeed take on a more three dimensional look and their placement in the aircraft is more readily put into perspective. But if you really want to study each item in detail, it’s easier on the eyes to revert back to the earlier “2D” renderings.

Unfortunately despite the obvious skill involved in creating the visually attractive artwork, there are some issues…

No surviving Dr.Is exist which means that much of the triplane’s detail requires interpretation. This can come from period photographs, informed descriptions, or extrapolated from similar designs. So understandably there will be some debate over certain features that are not clearly defined on the original aircraft. What is unforgiveable is when these attributes are clearly documented and yet fail to appear in the final rendering.

The most obvious of these is the cowling. None of the illustrations portray the characteristic inward curve of the upper “lip”. Nor do the pre-production aircraft have the lower “chin” seen on the cowls of these first machines.

Also disconcerting is the way that the rendered engine (and stripped airframe for that matter) has the ends of the carburetor intakes blackened. It’s almost as if someone is under the misconception that they are exhaust outlets. Speaking of which, these intake pipes should extend beyond the airframe yet none of the illustrations show this.

Pg. 37 shows that we are still dogged by the enigmatic fittings on the lower side of the undercarriage wing. And pages 48 and 49 show the aileron control cables erroneously passing through the large lightning holes. There were two smaller ones closer to the wing spar reserved for this.

Notwithstanding the above, the work is still admirable. Many of the subtle features missed in other publications have been included here so the aficionado can still benefit from this study.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Overall, this is a very interesting and ambitious book.

It gives the reader a wonderful insight to the workings of the actual aircraft and the quality of the artwork is some of the best you will see. Unfortunately it is let down by some basic errors that anyone interested in the Fokker Dr.I should have picked up before publication.

Despite these anomalies there is still a wealth of excellent information to be gleaned from the book. One just has to tread carefully.

Thanks to Kagero for the review sample.


Review Copyright 2012 by Rob Baumgartner
This Page Created on 1 March, 2012
Last updated 5 March, 2012

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