Re: DML Fokker D VIII

Erik Pilawskii (
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 15:47:44 -0700 (PDT)

> Another question I would like to address about this plane is the cockpit.
> DML directions say to paint it interior green. I find this questionable
> and this makes me think twice about the MMP article. Anyway, what color
> would this cockpit be? Would you see some lozenge color on the inside?
> Was there a floor board? And why did DML leave out the instrument panel?

Hmmm... Well, I can't tell you the exact answer to your question, but, I
have doped and skinned aircraft myself, so let me tell you what I
experienced. The linen used on WWI a/c (and which I have used) comes in
a nice light 'tan-to-almost-white' color, and is very porous. When doped on
one side (the fabric tends to be somewhat translucent) the color 'bleeds'
through-- viewed from the obverse side you see a pallid shade of the dope's
color, particularly bright colors (I used bright blue). However, for any
fabric that will be located with one side potentially exposed (as in the
inside of the cockpit) it is, and was, I think, considered good workmanship
to dope *both* sides of the fabric. It is also considered good workmanship
to dope both sides in the case that the fabric is to be stretched over
any surface lacking a "goodly" number of stringers, as was the piece in
question. Indeed, forming the sides of the fuselage, the fabric I think
would tend to 'flap-about' nastily if not so stiffened (I seem to recall
that Cole Palen had these problems until he also doped both sides of his
fabric in this area).
This would give the Fokker engineers at least two good reasons to dope
both sides of the fabric in question. Fokker, however, was not particularly
noted for high quality workmanship (as opposed to high quality design, at
which I think Herr Platz did succeed). So, there's the problem. If both
sides *were* doped then the color would be whatever color the interior dope
was (how you can find that out I don't know). If not, it would be a pallid
shade of whatever was doped on the outside (being careful to remember what
color the dope was applied at the factory, as opposed to painted later),
*unless* the paint scheme over the dope was very dark (i.e. Black, when
it would appear dark grey, or so), OR in the case that the color was very
light AND a clear dope was applied (the Germans loved to use clear dope
during WWI), in which case the obverse fabric side would look like its
'natural' color. In fact, as one may see, it could end up being a
complicated combination of all these!! AAACCKKKK....

'Bet that doesn't help you at all... :-)
"The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
stake was the World. The forfeit was the Player's place at the table; and
the Game had no recess. It was the most dangerous of all sports-- and the
most fascinating. It got in the blood like wine. It aged men 40 years in
40 days; it ruined nervous systems in an hour. It was a fast game-- the
average life-span of a pilot at the Front was 48 hours. And, to many, it
seemed an Age....
Elliot White Springs, WWI ace