2021-04-04_Fokker E.III (English version)

Contribution to the website "Model of the Month" at the Aviation Museum Hannover-Laatzen

Let´s go hunting

From original to model


An independent part of the collections of the Aviation Museum Hanover-Laatzen are the round about 1,000 scale models, mainly of the international standards 1/72 and 1/48.

Such true-to-the-original miniatures give observers of the history of technology in museums an "overview", not only of the individual exhibit (sometimes even as the only possibility of a three-dimensional display if there is no surviving original), but also of the lines of development of aircraft construction through the arrangement and comparison of the exhibits. Sometimes they even close gaps in the presentation of the originals. The quality of their craftsmanship alone is a pleasure to behold.

Today we present the world's first fighter aircraft as "Model of the Month": the Fokker E.III. It is on display as a faithful replica in hangar 1 of the Aviation Museum. This model can also be found as a large-scale version under the ceiling and several times in 1/72 scale in the  display cabinets.


The kit: Fokker E.III (Revell, 1/72)

As long as I have been building models - for  about 50 years now - this kit with 26 parts has been available from Revell. Company logos and packaging changed, every now and then there was a new cover picture and a new set of decals, but in the shape the kit remained unchanged; like its original a true classic by now...

The prototype of our kit is the 1:1 replica of the Fokker without camouflage or decorative colours in the museum. The pilot figure has been omitted, the cockpit has been supplemented with a control stick, etc., and instead of the sewing thread that has always been recommended, the model has been braced with plastic pulled over a candle. The appearance of the aircraft corresponds to its condition when it was delivered to the Fliegertruppe.

And still, even though there are now far more detailed kits of this type, this kit, if carefully built, can be added to any collection...




A look into history

In 1915 the world war has already lasted for nearly a year. Planes are used as reconnaissance and artillery observers. The military thought about dropping bombs with them. To fight off these three dangers, an aircraft is needed that can search for, hunt down and shoot down the enemy, or at least push them away. All combat parties are working on this task. The English, Italians and French are experimenting with great promise.

But the 'Fokker Aeroplanbau', founded by the Dutchman Anthony Fokker in Schwerin, northern germany, was the first to find the solution: its designers presented the first practicable fighter aircraft with the Fokker E.I, developed from the unarmed multi-role aircraft M.5k. This single-seat monoplane is equipped with a machine gun mounted rigidly on the nose of the fuselage, which fires on the line of sight. By means of a breaker mechanism it is possible to fire through the propeller circle without damaging the blades. This invention makes it possible to act offensively and to attack other aircraft in a controlled manner. Within months, the E.II became the most widely built and used version, the E.III, powered by an Oberursel U.I rotary engine, a reproduction of a French engine. A total of around 340 Fokker monoplane fighters were produced - a large-scale production at the time, but not many if one considers their historical impact.

The "Fokker scourge"

In fact, thanks to this new design, 140 km/h (95 mph) top speed and moderate manoeuvrability were enough for the German pilots to be feared by the English and French as the "Fokker scourge" after Lieutenant Kurt Wintgens achieved the first aerial victory with this plane on July 1st 1915 and the Allies' losses subsequently soared. While both sides entered into an increasingly bloody competition in the skies with new bomber, reconnaissance and fighter designs, Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann developed the operational tactics of air combat on the E.III, which have been valid ever since. A strategy of air warfare, however, only began to emerge as the war progressed. 



Were we able to arouse your curiosity? If so, we would be delighted to welcome you to Ulmer Straße opposite the Hanover exhibition grounds as soon as the building is allowed to reopen its doors: please check our website

EIII 4         


BU 1: Ancestor of all fighter planes - the Fokker E.III. Here in 1/72 scale.

BU 2: Wood, canvas and metal. Some rubber and many metres of tension wire. In the model all this is plastic.

BU 3: The wingspan of 9.50 m has been reduced to just over 13 cm.

BU4: This faithful replica of a Fokker E.III in the Aviation Museum is the prototype of our model.    

2021-04-06_Junkers F13 (English version)

Contribution to the website "Model of the month" in the Aviation Museum Hannover-Laatzen


Boarding, please – The Junkers F 13

f13 001

From original to model

An independent part of the collections of the Aviation Museum Hannover-Laatzen are round about 1,000 scale models, mainly of the international standards 1/72 and 1/48.

Such true-to-the-original miniatures give observers of the history of technology in museums an "overview", not only of the individual exhibit (sometimes even as the only possibility of a three-dimensional display if there is no surviving original), but also of the lines of development of aircraft construction through the arrangement and comparison of the exhibits. Sometimes they even close gaps in the presentation of the originals. The quality of their craftsmanship alone is a pleasure to behold.

This month we want to take a closer look at the world's first commercial aircraft, the Junkers F 13. It is staged as a faithful replica in Hangar 1, alongside with this the museum presents several scale models of this type in its exhibition. Here´s a closer look on one of them.


f13 002

Our model: Junkers F 13 (Revell, 1/72)

From Revell GmbH in Westphalia comes this plastic kit, reissued in 2020 and a kit as beautiful as it is sophisticated with some 75 parts and a picture set for two versions in 1/72 scale.

In the model display cases opposite the 1:1 replica of the type, various versions of the F 13 are to be found. Shown here is an aircraft of the Danzig Airmail in 1923.

The Free State of Danzig, created by decree by the victorious powers of the First World War and detached from the German state, balanced politically and economically between Poland, the League of Nations as "guarantor power" and Germany. However, the arbitrary and painful separation also offered opportunities - especially for aircraft construction and exports, which were de facto prohibited in Germany, and for air traffic. Thus, the Danzig airport developed into a traffic hub between Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Poland and the West - and into a "sales salon" for German aircraft manufacturers, primarily Junkers. The various Danzig aviation companies, such as Lloyd Ostflug and Danziger Luftpost, were closely linked to the Dessau company.


f13 002

The original:The world's first commercial aircraft

Prof. Hugo Junkers, inventor, designer and entrepreneur, is also one of the great figures in aviation history. The owner of a large number of patents, he built the world's first all-metal aircraft in 1915, and in 1919 the first commercial aircraft, the Junkers F 13, which became groundbreaking for the entire civil aviation industry. Like many of Junkers' designs, the type achieved various world records, and for nearly a decade it was the most widely used passenger and mail aircraft in the world. This was despite massive restrictions and impediments imposed by the World War winning powers and their 'Allied Control Commission' on the production and operation of aircraft in Germany. The design idea of this low-wing aircraft with duralumin ("corrugated sheet") planking led to the G 23/24 and W 33, and culminated in the Ju 52/3m, the world-famous 'Tante Ju' or "Iron Annie". Incidentally, original parts and various models of this aircraft can also be seen in the museum.

f13 003

High-tech as civilizing mission

The F 13, which was built a total of around 320 times in various motorizations and versions, also stands for the aeronautical exploration of the earth as a "cultural and civilizing mission that unites nations," as Hugo Junkers put it.

When it first flew in June 1919, it was a marvel of engineering - with an enclosed, heatable cabin for four passengers at the safest point on the aircraft: on the thick wing. Full-length windows on both sides of the cabin provided excellent visibility, and entry and exit were via secured steps on the fuselage and wing as well as doors. The two pilots sat between the cabin and the engine in a cockpit with dual controls that was only half enclosed. The landing gear was spring-mounted, and the wing and tailplane were optimized for stable flight attitude. The entire design adhered to the requirement for the highest possible safety and comfort as well as reliability in operation. And in doing so, embodied a timeless technical aesthetic.

Exploration and development of air routes on almost all continents are associated with the F 13. It flew in the colours of most aviation nations and formed the backbone of the Deutsche Luft Hansa aircraft fleet for a time.  And as a true classic of aviation history it can of course be experienced in the Aviation Museum Hannover-Laatzen - in original size and as a model!




Data sheet:

Length, height, wingspan: 9.60; 4.10; 17.75 m

Weight: 1,170 (empty); 2,000 (total) kg

Crew + passengers: 2 + 4

Engine: 1 BMW IIIa or Junkers L5 6 cyl/inline with about 250 hp

Speed/ max. range: 160 km/h/ 950 km

                     F13 4                     


Could we make you curious? Then we would be pleased about your visit in the Ulmer Straße opposite to the hanoverian fairground (as soon as the museum is allowed to open its doors again: please inform yourself on these pages)    


Bildunterschrift (F13_1): “Die Junkers F 13 schuf im Jahr 1919 die Kategorie Verkehrsflugzeug.“

Bildunterschrift (F13_2): “In den Farben des Freistaates Danzig. Die Junkers F 13 von Revell in 1/72.“

Bildunterschrift (F13_3): “Der werksseitig schwarze Teilanstrich der Maschinen war den stark ölenden Motoren geschuldet.“

Bildunterschrift (F13_4): “Diese Aufnahme der Teilmontage zeigt u.a. die fein strukturierten Oberflächen des Modells.“


Macchi-Castoldi M.C.72

For quite some time after the beginning of aviation, there was a performance competition for seaplanes. The first one took place in 1911 and was donated by the French industrialist Jaques Schneider. After Schneider it was called either Schneider Trophy or Schneider- Cup.

In 1913 it was won by the French plane Deperdussin Monocoque with 73,5 km/h in a triangular course of 280 km in Monaco, pilot was Marcel Prevost. In 1913 the British Sopwith Tabloid with Howard Pixton won, the speed was already close to 140 km/h, also in Monaco. The statutes stipulated that the next meeting should always take place in the country of the winner, but the World War intervened.

"Schneider"-Winners cup


Die Sowith Tabloid, Winner 1913

And so there was never a chance of a German participation due to the lost war and its for the German aviation devastating dictum of the Versailles treaties (but for the same reasons gliding was invented here).

In the following interwar period, the competitions were resumed and were won sometimes by Italy, sometimes by the USA and of course by the British. In 1931, the last Cup was to be held, as the British had already won 3 times in a row with Supermarine aircraft.

And here the MC.72 comes into play, which was supposed to bring the victory to Italy. But there were technical problems that its designer, Mario Castoldi, could not successfully solve until 1932, when 3 out of 4 planes built had already crashed.

The M2 was a wire-rigged monoplane on 2 floats with a FIAT twin engine consisting of 2 water-cooled 12-cyl V-engines mounted one behind the other, each acting on a propeller.  This unit first developed 1900 kW/2600 HP. later even 2282 kW/3100 HP.

With this over-bred racing aircraft, the Italian Francesco Agello took the world speed record to Italy in October 1934 over Lake Garda with 709.202 km/h. This also  delighted  Duce Mussolini and his people. This record lasted for a few years.

The record attempts for land aircraft ("Bendix Trophy") and seaplanes ("Schneider Trophy"), which were still separate at that time, neither Howard Hughes/USA with his Racer H-1 at 567 km/h in the fall of 1935 nor Messerschmitt in Germany with the Bf 109 V13 in November 1937 at 610 km/h achieved a surpassing of this record, but the world record for land aircraft. That happened then only with the German planes Heinkel He 100 in the spring of 1939 with 746 km/h and little later with the Messerschmitt  Me 209 at the end of April with 755 km/h.

The comparison of these record planes following the MC.72 show that it was a matter of consistent drag reduction with series engines with about 1000 hp at the beginning, because the huge floats and the wire cowls of the Macchi needed, in order to produce this performance, twice the hp figure of the later winners.


Technical specifications:

Length 8.32 m, wingspan 9.48 m. Height 3.30 m, wing extension 6.3, empty weight 2800 kg, take-off weight 3025 kg, v / max 709.202 km / h. Engine see above.

Macchi Castoldi MC72


You can also find out more about this type of aircraft in our aviation reference work.


Heinkel He 51 in the Spanish Civil War

The Heinkel company was founded in Warnemünde/Rostock in the early 1920s, after Ernst Heinkel had worked as a designer first at Albatros, then at Hansa-Brandenburg and finally at Caspar in Travemünde.

He knew well how to build and sell aircraft in these difficult times. Partly this took place in Sweden to avoid the provisions of the Versailles treaties, as other German companies did to escape existential hardship.

Even in Weimar times, when a German Air Force was secretly prepared via the Reich Ministry of Transport, Heinkel designed fighter aircraft, e.g. The HD (Heinkel HD = biplane, Heinkel HE = monoplane) 23, 37 and 43 up to the immediate predecessor HD 49 (this type nomenclature was changed with the "transfer of power" over to the RLM (Ministry of Aviation) Now all Heinkel aircraft were called He.

The HD 49 was technically at the height of its time and was 200 km/h fast. The resulting He 51 flew for the first time in May 1933, and was the first "real" fighter in the Third Reich after the Arado Ar 65. It served as basic equipment for the coming Luftwaffe, which only existed secretly and officially bevor 1935. The first fighter squadrons were equipped with it until the arrival of the even more powerful Arado Ar 68, also still a biplane.

The Third Reich, together with Fascist Italy, interfered in the emerging Spanish Civil War when General Franco putsched against the elected left-wing socialist government, which was then in turn sponsored by the Soviet Union.

And so it was that the He 51 entered service in that war in 1936 via the German Legion Condor Expeditionary Corps. Initially used as a fighter, it soon fell behind in military tactics, because the Soviet fighters of the Republicans, such as the Polikarpov I-15 and later I-16 ("Rata", "Mosca"), the first braceless single-deck fighter with retractable landing gear) were clearly superior to the He 51. The latter then served only as a ground combat aircraft with which new tactics were tested. One of its pilots was Adolf Galland, who later became a fighter pilot general.

It was also used by the Franco-Spanish forces, and by the end of 1936 more than 50 aircraft were in service there. The fighter role was then taken over by the first proto-types of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 with great success.



Technical specifications:

Span (above) 11.00 m - (below) 8.60 m, length 8.50 m, height 3.30 m, wing area 27.20 m², empty weight 1615 kg, take-off weight 1900 kg, engine: 1 x standing water Cooled V-12-cylinder BMW VI with 550 kW / 750 hp take-off power, 430kW / 585 hp continuous power, tubular steel fuselage, structure: fabric-covered wooden wing. Range 730 km / 2.3 h. v / max 330 km / h, v / trip 310 km / h. Service ceiling 7700 m, armament 2 x MG 17 / 7.92 mm.

Heinkel He 51 B 1  s

Heinkel He 51 W (He 51 B 2 U1) s

LFG Roland C.II Walfisch

Here at the LFG company (not to be confused with the LVG company!), they used a similar method for construction as already carried out at Albatros or Halberstadt: a half-shell wooden construction in so-called clinker construction. This allowed clean aerodynamically shaped hulls, which had already been examined and optimized in the wind tunnel by the AVA in Göttingen (Prof. Prandtl).

In detail, thin strips of wood were glued over frames to form half-shells and then joined together (actually a process that was also used later in the large-scale production of the deHavilland Mosquito or even later in today's FRP aircraft, except that the wood was replaced by fiberglass/carbon and liquid resin). So it was a very progressive process at the time.

LFG (Roland) C II  Walfisch   s

The C.II was a two-seat aircraft and served as a reconnaissance plane. It was of very small size. Otherwise, it was a conventional multi-story braced biplane. Its manufacture was very elaborate. The aircraft arrived on the Western Front in 1916, the observer served the reconnaissance technique and had a machine gun on a swivel turret for defense, later on the pilot also got an unsynchronized machine gun firing over the propeller circle. From 1917on the aircraft were gradually replaced and ended up in flight schools.

Technical data:

Length 7.70 m, wingspan 10.33 m, height 2.90 m, wing area 27.06 m², empty mass 789 kg, take-off mass 1309 kg. Powerplant: Daimler-Mercedes water-cooled 6-cylinder inline engine with 118 kW/160 hp. V/max 165 km/h, service ceiling 4000 m, flight duration 4 h, crew: 2

LFG (Roland) C II  Walfisch   v