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In-Box Review
BMW IIIa Engine
Fokker D. VIIF Engine/BMW IIIa
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by: Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]

Originally published on:


The superiority of the Fokker D.VIIF was principally down to the performance of the BMW IIIa ‘altitude’ engine. Equipped with the BMW IIIa engine, the Fokker D VIIF could outclimb any Allied opponent it encountered in combat in the later stages of WWI. This was the first engine created by BMW and was based on the Rapp III engine. The BMW IIIa followed the single overhead camshaft [SOHC], straight-six configuration of the Mercedes D.III that was fitted generally to the D.VII. The engine incorporated several improvements that saw increased displacement, higher compression and an altitude-adjusting carburettor. The configuration produced a significant increase in speed and rate of climb at high altitude as well as much improved fuel consumption. As the BMW IIIa was over compressed, using full throttle at altitudes below 2,000 m (6,600 ft) risked premature detonation in the cylinders and damage to the engine. At low altitudes, full throttle could produce up to 179 kW (240 hp) for a short time. Compared to the 134 kW (180 hp) Mercedes D.III. The Fokker-built aircraft with the new BMW IIIa engine were designated D.VII(F), the suffix "F" standing for Max Friz, the engine designer. About 700 engines were built by BMW, however, the large demand for the new BMW IIIa aircraft engine in Munich (coupled with a lack of production capacity) caused part of the production to be transferred to the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim.

The kit

The BMW IIIa engine fitted to the FokkerD.VIIF looks considerably different to the Mercedes D.III engine [see my review here of Eduard's Mercedes D.III] fitted to the Fokker D.VII
The components for the BMW IIIa are packed in a pretty sturdy box. The resin parts and photo etched parts are placed in resealable plastic bags. The instructions are folded to provide a little more cushioning for the contents. There are nine resin parts including the two removable panels on the upper nose. Extreme caution is need to remove some of the parts, though Eduard has tried their best to keep the attachment points on the casting blocks as small as possible. The small photo brass fret has the electrical wiring, radiator face, fuselage frame work for the inside of the engine bay, as well as the engine mounts and a couple of other small parts.
The crankcase, six cylinders, and dynamo are one piece. The carburetor, intake and air manifold are aso one piece. Where the manifold fits into the cylinders, there’s an indent in each cylinder that marks the attachment point. The photo etched ignition cable and harness needs to be carefully manipulated to fit each cylinder and the ignition harness need to be carefully formed around the magneto. The magneto and water pump are moulded together and attach to the rear of the engine block. The one-piece resin exhaust manifold fits on the other opposite side of the air manifold. There’s an indentation at the end to suggest that its hollow.
You do have to fabricate some of the lines yourself, such as the carburetor and water hoses. The instructions provide the diameter, using the wire of your choice. The prop shaft is a separate resin part and there’s even a photo etched handle for decompressing the system. The photo etched radiator face needs gentle bending with a straight edge to fit onto the kits plastic part. The instructions suggest that you don’t need to remove the detail on the plastic. The fire wall/bulkhead is another additional resin piece. All I all a mazing detail for 1/72 scale.
To display the engine at its best the kit needs to be modified by cutting of the access panels from the nose of the fuselage. Eduard supply replacement resin parts so these can displayed detached as if the mechanics were accessing the engine. The instructions show which area of the plastic to remove. There are two photo etched parts representing the frame work inside the engine bay. The photo etched engine mounts are attached onto the frames.
The instructions are clear to help you get the best out of this detail set.


This is a superb looking detail set for anyone looking to show more detail around the engine bay of the Fokker D.VIIF particularly for the purposes of creating a diaroma. Looking at the BMW photos of the engine it looks spot on in accuracy. Make no mistake though there is some intricate work to do here, but you will be rewarded with an excellent scale representation of the BMW IIIa. A must if you want to achieve an accurate representation of the Fokker produced D.VIIF
Highs: Quality casting and accuracy
Lows: None
Verdict: This is a superb set from Eduard and comparing the parts with images of the BMWIIIa they have come up with a pretty accurate representation. Highly recommended.
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 672224
  Suggested Retail: £7.16
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 07, 2020

Our Thanks to Eduard!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Tim Hatton (litespeed)

Aircraft are my primary interest from WWll to present day.

Copyright ©2021 text by Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Nice review of a good product. However, Reinhold Platz was not an aircraft designer. He was the head of the welding shop at Fokker with the title Werke Meister. There was a design team responsible for the aircraft including the use of Gottingen 285 airfoil. The late Peter Grosz had pointed out that the Platz myth came from the biographer Weyhl who had a falling out with Fokker and made out Platz to be the brains of the outfit.
APR 08, 2020 - 10:17 AM
Thanks David, corrected
APR 08, 2020 - 10:48 PM

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