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Airfix To Release Fokker Dr.1 & Bristol F.2B Dogfight Double

The pace of aviation development during the First World War was nothing short of astonishing, with aeroplanes transforming from flimsy, unarmed observation platforms to deadly dominators of the sky in less than a twelve month period of fighting.

Airfix are re-releasing this classic kitset double. The artwork of the re-released kit is the same as the original - a classic painting by Roy Cross, one of Airfix's long standing box artists.  Photo: © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The year 1917 would prove to be a significant one for the air war over the trenches of the Western Front, as the British introduced their capable Bristol F.2B Fighter, a true multi-role aircraft and the Germans their Fokker DR.1, an aircraft which would be made famous by the feared Manfred von Richthofen. The scene was set for a period of unrelenting aerial combat, as both sides struggled for supremacy of the skies.

Now, well known plastic model kit manufacturer Airfix are about to re-release a classic Dogfight Double kit that was first released in 1968 and has not been available since its last limited release in 2001. This 1/72nd scale kit pack contains both the Bristol F.2B Fighter and Fokker Dr.1 Dreidecker (triplane), two of the Great War's most distinctive fighter aircraft and machines from the very early days of aerial warfare.

The red Fokker Triplane of Manfred von Richthofen, 'The Red Baron', is one of history's most famous fighter aircraft.   Photo: Airfix Blog

Designed by Dutch aircraft designer, Anthony Fokker, and first flying in 1917 the Fokker triplane is most famous for being flown by the German fighter ace, Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the "Red Baron". With its three wings stacked on top of one another, the Dr.1 had a distinctive configuration, was powered by a 110 hp Oberursel rotary engine ,and was armed with two 7.92mm machine guns.

The aircraft's design gave it excellent maneuverability and a high rate of climb, which made it well-suited for dogfighting. However, it had some drawbacks, including poor stability and a tendency to stall at low speeds. Despite these limitations, the Dr.1 was a popular aircraft among German pilots, and around 320 were built.

The Bristol Fighter F.2b stunned the Germans in 1917, who expected the aircraft would simply be another slow and lumbering British two-seater that would be easy pickings for their fighter pilots. It turned out that this was not the case at all!   Photo: Airfix Blog

Designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1916 to replace the earlier Bristol Scout, the Bristol Fighter F.2b was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft used by the RFC and later the RAF during World War I. The aircraft was powered by a 275 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III engine and was armed with two synchronized Vickers machine guns.

With a had a top speed of around 125 mph (201 km/h) and a range of approximately 300 miles (483 km), the F.2b was highly maneuverable and proved to be a successful aircraft in combat, particularly in the Middle East and on the Western Front. It was also used for reconnaissance and ground attack missions, and some aircraft were fitted with bomb racks to carry small bombs.

A faux World War One film showing three Fokker Dr.1 triplanes jumping and attacking a single Bristol Fighter F.2b, as seen from the F.2b's gunners position.

Check out this Airfix Blog by Michael Clegg who discusses the kit, the original Dogfight Doubles releases, and these two iconic aircraft in great depth. You can also order your own example of the double kit for the Blog page as well--if you haven't modelled for a while (or ever), then maybe now is a great time to start again.

In his blog post Michael comments:
We are always told that an image can say more than a thousand words and in the case of this magnificent piece of historic Airfix artwork, just take a moment out of your busy day and give your eyes a treat.
Now, thanks to the 'historic' video footage that we (HAFU) shot over twenty years ago, you can also see and hear these two aircraft in the skies as well. We hope you enjoy the chance to check out the action in our two F.2b vs Dr. videos.

Here's the second video of the same two aircraft : in this case several Fokker Dr.1 triplanes arrive at the front and scare the lone English Bristol Fighter F.2b, forcing the crew to head for home and land.

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