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Camouflage and Markings Topics related to the camouflage and markings of WWI aircraft

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Old 24 October 2005, 07:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Richtofen's 102 /17 color scheme?

I need some info please..
Since I was a kid building triplane models from Guillows, Revell, etc.. I have always seen Richtofen's triplane 102/17 painted in overall blood red, with white fields behind the black iron crosses, and white wheel covers.
Now, after doing some research I find out that 102/17 was an F-1, NOT a Dr1, had rounded stabilizer leading edges, narrow chord wings, no wingtip skids, and was painted a combo color of red tail, upper aft fuselage, red cowl, and wheel colors. The balance of the paint scheme being blue undersides and standard cammo.
Now as to my question. Since Richtofen only had 102/17 for a month (since Kurt Wolf crashed it) when exactly was it painted all red with white fields behind the crosses? Or was it? Have the model manufactures, and writers all these years been wrong?
Which plane of Richtofen's was painted all red with white fields and white wheel covers? I've looked almost everywhere for this info, and I can't find any record of Richtofen flying an aircraft with this color scheme. The closest would be 425/17 that was all red with iron crosses with a slim white border.No white tail, or white wheel covers. Yet that IS the color sceme you see in publications and models all the time.
And yes..I know that Richtofen flew several aircraft, around 4-5 that I can find so far....
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Old 24 October 2005, 12:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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MvR F.1 102/17 colors


I am looking at the color plates in the book Richthofen by A.E. Ferko. This is the description of Fokker F. 1 102/17 Jasta 11, August 1917
"Manfred von Richthofen's first dreidecker . In common with the first three pre-production triplanes it is finished overall in turquoise blue with the upper-surface streaked in olive brown/grey dope as shown. The cowling and wheel covers are a solid colour, probably olive but possibly red at a later date. Crosses on lower wings were applied to clear-doped panels; on production machines the fuselage cross was positioned further aft." Fokker Dr. 1 Aces of World War 1 by Norman Franks and Greg VanWyngarden also depicts this color scheme.

This may answer some of your questions about color. I'll leave it to other forumites to address the rest of your query.

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Old 24 October 2005, 07:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I personaly believe that the all red triplane with thinly outlined iron crosses is 477/17 not 425/17. Pictures of this all red triplane do not show any over painted cross fields, however the pictures of the fuselage crosses cut from the wreck of 425/17 does show at one time it did have the white cross fields and they were thinly overpainted in red. Did it have the white cross fields while red? I do not know. I have seen no pictures I believe to be 425/17 before it was shot down and cut up.

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Old 24 October 2005, 07:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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MvR and Fok.F.I 102/17.

MvR received F.I 102/17 on 28 August 1917. He flew Fok.F.I from 28 August to 6 September 1917, on which day MvR went on leave. MvR never flew this machine again. Ltn.Kurt Wolff took over the machine and was shot down on 15 September 1917. Photographs of the crashed Fok.F.I 102/17 show the machine was still in standard factory finish. You will find a discussion of what standard factory finish is. One group believes it is olive over sky blue and the other believes it is olive over clear doped linen. Both are based on opinion and not facts.
MvR also flew Fok.Dr.I 114/17, 127/17, 152/17, 477/17, 425/17 operationally and 161/17 and 525/17 on visits to Jasta 5 at Boistrancourt Airfield.
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Old 25 October 2005, 06:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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"MvR also flew Fok.Dr.I 114/17, 127/17, 152/17, 477/17, 425/17 operationally and 161/17 and 525/17 on visits to Jasta 5 at Boistrancourt Airfield." THIS is helpful! I was unaware of 114,127,161,and 525.
Could one of these aircraft be the one I am asking about? I too have seen the old photos of 102/17 crashed. And it is in factory cammo. So to be sure it cant be 102 that was the all red a/c with white fields behind the crosses.
Again..THIS is the paint scheme that is depicted in almost all models, and publications that I have seen, and yet the factory numbers on the sides don't match the actuals.
Where have the model makers and publications found their info on this matter? Where did this particular paint scheme come from. I am shocked to have NOT seen this matter brought up before here at the forum. Yes there have been discussions on cammo, etc. But when did Richtofen fly a red triplane, with white fields behind the crosses, AND white wheel covers?
Thats my question. I'm not interested in opinion, I would like hard data. Is it out there??
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Old 25 October 2005, 07:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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vongrube- Dan-San has spelled all the basics on the timing of F.I 102/17. After MvR went on leave, the Triplane sat until Kurt Wolff returned to flying status on 11 September after being badly shot in the hand on 11 July 1917. I have two original photos of 102/17 taken between 11 and 15 September which still show it in factory streaked camouflage with dark cowling and wheel covers, as do the crash photos. Most of the confusion on 102/17 comes from a poor quality inflight photo of F.I 101/17 from the Imperial War Museum files with the pencil markings on the back stating MvR in flight in his Fokker Dr.I or words to that effect (print at home). In this photo all that is visible for sure is a dark painted fuselage with streaking not apparent, an aluminum cowling, and light colored (actually CDL) wheel covers. This photo was reprinted in Von Richthofen and the Flying Circus in 1958 with the caption "Probably the best known of all Fokker Triplane pictures, but as one that was officially taken by the German authorities, to show von Richthofen's famous red machine in flight, its inclusion is inevitable. This picture, however, is shown in its original state, without the background 'blacked out' as in many previous reproductions."

This book photo caption is what lead to all the paintings, models, etc showing a red Triplane with aluminum cowling and white wheel covers. "Flying Circus" was the first serious history of MvR, Jasta 11 and JG I. It took historians a while to figure out exactly what that photo actually represented. Luckily there are tons of current references on MvR's red Dr.Is, but still disagreement on ID between 477/17 and 425/17. 425/17 was definitely all red, and some believe 477/17 was, as well.

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Old 25 October 2005, 10:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for that info. Mmmm...makes sense about that original photo, and the possible misconception as to the aircraft's true colors.
So, may I conclude that the model makers interpretations MAY be correct as to this particular color schemes on at least ONE of Richtofen's airplanes?
May I also conclude that not ALL details are in on all of his aircraft?
It would be nice to match the right paint job with the correct factory serial numbers.
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Old 25 October 2005, 01:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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vongrube- As far as I can tell and have read, MvR never flew a red Dr.I with either an aluminum cowling or white/CDL wheel covers. Even his partially red Dr.Is had red cowlings and red wheel covers. Red cowls, wheel covers, and struts (mostly) were Jasta 11 unit colors and MvR continued to use red as his colors after forming JG I in July 1917.

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Old 25 October 2005, 02:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just to agree with what others have said, No Red Dr1 with the white rectangular background to the crosses! The all Red birds had the cross fields covered in Red( or perhaps olive first) then Red. Jasta 11 routinely ( Not Always) painted out the Cross fields with Olive Brown matching the streaking.IHTH,
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Old 25 October 2005, 09:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have not seen or red anything about a MvR flying a red DR-I with white cross fields pre of post the march 20th directive.

I concure with much of whats been said here.

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