Lt. Eberhard Mohnicke, Jasta 11, von Richthofen’s Flying Circus, Lechelle - France, 1918
As the air war above the trenches of the Western Front became almost as bloody as the carnage taking place on the ground, Allied and German air forces vied to gain supremacy of the skies. Just as one side introduced an aircraft that proved superior to those used by their adversaries, its dominance would be short lived, as new aircraft would quickly be introduced to counter it. The Sopwith Triplane provided British airmen with a fast and agile fighter aircraft that gave them a slight advantage for a period, but seemed to hold a particular fascination for the Germans, who immediately instructed their aircraft manufacturers to develop their own triplane designs.
Amongst the designs which progressed to production, the Fokker DR.1 series of fighters were arguably amongst the most famous of the entire war and were the chosen mount of many of the Luftstreitkrafte's most accomplished aces. Possessing an impressive rate of climb and superb dogfighting manoeuvrability, the Fokker Dreidecker was an exceptional fighting machine at lower altitudes, but for an aircraft that enjoyed such widespread notoriety, comparatively few actually saw service over the Western Front.
Designed in response to the highly maneuverable Sopwith Triplane, the Fokker Dr.I was first flown in 1917 and was one of the most successful and recognizable combat aircraft of WWI, attributing much of its fame to the German WWI ace Manfred von Richthofen â€“ the iconic "Red Baron". Light weight, small size and three wings made the aircraft highly maneuverable and deadly in the hands of an expert pilot but very unforgiving of less experienced pilots. Common for airplanes of that era, a fixed crankshaft configuration allowed the entire engine to spin with the propeller, creating strong gyroscopic forces that adversely affected the airplane's handling under power.
Corgi's 1:48 scale Dr.Is capture the unmistakable lines of the real aircraft, including ailerons that extend beyond the upper wing-tips. Fine gauge wire represents the structurally significant bracing wires found on the actual aircraft. Additionally, the mold faithfully replicates the complex contours of the entire aircraft, simulating a stretched fabric covering. A detailed pilot figure sits behind the twin Spandau machine guns. Up front, the propeller and engine are nicely detailed and free to rotate in unison behind the cowling. The model rests on rolling rubber tires that accurately reproduce the gray color vulcanized natural rubber takes on after prolonged exposure to sunlight.