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Mike

Blohm & Voss BV141 1:48

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Blohm & Voss BV141
1:48 HobbyBoss


boxtop.jpg


In 1937 the RLM (Luftwaffe High Command) issued a request for proposals for a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft with a three-man crew. The initial concept by Richard Vogt, chief designer for Blohm & Voss, was a conventional layout with the cockpit behind the engine. However this provided a limited field of view, leading him to come up with possibly the most radical aircraft design ever. The crew cabin was moved onto the starboard wing, resulting in an asymmetrical configuration which looked as if it would be unstable and uncontrollable even if it could get off the ground. In effect it was a twin-boom aircraft with the starboard nacelle removed! However the RLM saw the potential and authorised the construction of three prototypes.

The first BV141A took to the air on 25th February 1938 and proved to be surprisingly easy to handle. Vogt redesigned the cockpit to improve the field of view before the second prototype was built. This machine was lost when it crash-landed following an undercarriage problem. However the RLM gave its approval for further aircraft to be built. Along the way the plane got a more powerful engine, an asymmetric tailplane which improved the rear gunner’s field of fire, and a change of designation to BV141B.

Then the project was suddenly cancelled – not, as some historians have believed, due to any misgivings about the aircraft’s design or performance, but for purely logistical reasons. The engine used in later models was the same one fitted to the Do217 and the Fw190, and the factory where these engines were built found itself unable to meet the demand after it was bombed by the RAF. Understandably, the RLM felt that the war effort would be better served by bombers and fighters rather than reconnaissance aircraft, and the BV141 was consigned to history without ever seeing active service. Its role was filled by the Fw-189, even though it did not meet the initial request for a single-engined machine.
Records show that twenty aircraft were built before the plug was pulled, but none survived the war.

The Kit
Until now the only mainstream kit available – so far as I’m aware – was Airfix’s 1:72 offering, which was first released in 1970 and has reappeared periodically since. It’s fair to say that they took some liberties with the design – for instance, to accommodate the wing attachment tabs they created a non-existent step in the cockpit floor, which led to the rear-gunner having to be moulded with no legs below the knee so that he would fit! This left anyone interested in the aircraft keen to see a new more accurate kit, preferably (for me at least!) in a larger scale. And now we have one: HobbyBoss have come up trumps with their new 1:48 offering.

The kit comes in a sturdy top-opening box and consists of three sprues of light grey plastic and four small ones with the transparencies.

sprue2.jpg


HobbyBoss have got round the attachment tab problem by moulding the entire starboard wing, including the base of the cockpit, as a single piece. Surface detail is nice, with finely-engraved panel lines and some good detail in the wheel-wells.

detail-wheelbay.jpg

sprue1.jpg


The main fuselage halves are here and it’s clear how slender this component can be when you don’t have to include room for the crew! Of course this is the case for twin-boom aircraft but it’s odd to see just one in the box. There’s some lovely internal detail for the cockpit, including the mat on which the rear gunner lay and the rails on which the observer/bomb-aimer’s stool ran. The kit doesn’t actually include crew figures so if an in-flight version is required these would have to be obtained elsewhere. The asymmetric tail has some odd sink marks in its surface that will need correcting before assembly, but it occurs in the centre area where there is minimal detail, so it's not the end of the world. Unfortunately, they don't show up well in the picture below.

detail-cockpit.jpg

sprue3.jpg


The BMW801 radial engine is reproduced in fine detail and some careful painting will bring this out, even though much of it will be concealed by the cowling. The undercarriage was the source of teething problems in more than one aircraft and again this is nicely detailed. This sprue also carries the machine guns and ammunition plus other internal items, all of which will be visible through the big cockpit transparency. Most of this was absent from the Airfix kit so its inclusion here is good to see.

clear.jpg


The transparencies sprues are packed individually, each one wrapped in a soft foam material and sealed in a plastic bag, which will avoid any scratches. This is particularly important with the main cockpit canopy, which is moulded as a single piece – masking that should be fun! The shape bears a strong resemblance to that of the Fw-189 and a side-by-side comparison might make an interesting display. The various access hatches are moulded separately so can be fitted open if desired.

decals.jpg


Markings are supplied for two aircraft – NC-RA, the second B-version to be constructed (the tenth machine overall) and GK-GH, which was found in a wrecked condition by the US Army. There are, of course, no swastika decals as such but the sheet does include the “mirror-image question mark” things, meaning that the model can be completed without having to resort to aftermarket sheets.

Conclusion
A long-awaited kit which should satisfy anybody with an interest in this odd aircraft. Also an ideal basis for some what-if projects! Nicely tooled, with plenty of detail inside that goldfish bowl of a crew compartment.

I obtained details of the aircraft’s history from this book:

book.jpg


It contains numerous photographs and diagrams of the real aircraft, plus some beautiful digital renderings of the plane in action. My copy has been on my shelf for years so I’m not sure how easy it would be to get hold of, but it’s worth the effort.

bin.jpg



Review sample courtesy of
logo.gif

Thanks also to GordonD for the majority of the text in this review :)

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Thanks Mike,

I did nearly include it in an internet order that I've sent this morning, but I decided at the last minute to wait.

How big is the box, compared to other HB releases?

Edited by Antoine

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Pretty much the same size as most of their "fighter sized" boxes 40x26x6cm - I happened to have both the box and a tape measure nearby ;)

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The box says length is 284.5mm and wingspan is 365mm. If you have the GWH Fw.189, it's not far off that size really - as well as looking remarkably similar in some respects :)

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Looks not too bad. The fabric flying surfaces are overdone (as they always seem to be today) and is that a solid cowl front behind the fan/spinner? Also not sure about shape of bulge on engine cowls but that might be the picture. FWIW there's some useful stuff here:

http://aircraftwalkaround.hobbyvista.com/bv141/bv141.htm

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2106731

HTH

Andy

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Some good info there Andy :) The engine fits in front of the bulkhead - fan in front of the block, and that piece then slides inside the two-part cowling with the exhaust stacks on another bulkhead at the back of the cowling. Here is a link to the instructions on 1999.co.jp. It should be plenty of detail for most of us. As to the flying surfaces, they're easy enough to cut back with a sanding sponge to give a more natural look to 'em. Having had a looksee, I'd say that the bulges on the cowling should be more blended than they are, but not by a massive amount. This pic from Wikipedia shows roughly what I mean :)

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-2005-0725-526%2C_A

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Thanks Mike .. great review

I'll have to order one to go with the GWH FW.189 I have (courtesy of your review), they'll make a good diorama together :thumbsup:

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They will... I'm a little bit tempted too, as I built my Fw.189 a while back. :hmmm:

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Some good info there Andy :) The engine fits in front of the bulkhead - fan in front of the block, and that piece then slides inside the two-part cowling with the exhaust stacks on another bulkhead at the back of the cowling. Here is a link to the instructions on 1999.co.jp. It should be plenty of detail for most of us. As to the flying surfaces, they're easy enough to cut back with a sanding sponge to give a more natural look to 'em. Having had a looksee, I'd say that the bulges on the cowling should be more blended than they are, but not by a massive amount. This pic from Wikipedia shows roughly what I mean :)

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-2005-0725-526%2C_A

Ah,now I see it. Suppose you'd have to look really hard to notice there is only one bank of cylinders.

Thanks,

Andy

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That looks really nice Mike, the way they have done the glazing looks really good,and the interior moulding is really well defined. It should make a nice model, especially to Mike standard.

In between the Airfix one and this, there is/was another one (in 1:48) from HIPM about 15 years ago.

BV3_zps5c26ec11.jpg

Cheers

John

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That's an impresssive looking kit, especially the way they've handled the glazing.....Hope they release it in 1/72 too, allegedly it was on the cards. :pray:

PS - I thought a couple of the BV.141 prototypes were sent to the front for operational evaluation? :hmmm:

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I'd definitely like to see one in 1/72nd scale. Sgt., I think there were plans to test it on the Eastern Front, but I don't believe anything came of that.

Regards,

Jason

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I didn't see it mentioned in this thread so do note that Hobby Boss molded the prop backwards. Compare the sprue shot to the period photo or John's model and you'll see what I mean. If you happen to have an Eduard 1/48 Fw 190 in your stash, the paddle-blade prop from it is a perfect replacement. If not, you can either wait for an aftermarket replacement or just not worry about it. :)

There's also been some discussion regarding the cowl accuracy with suggestion of using one from a DML Ju 88G-1 kit as replacement but that might be a bit extreme. On mine, I'll replace the prop and live with the kit cowl.

Cheer,

Eric

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Thanks for the heads up... as the proud owner of one of these kits I too will look for a replacement prop and live with the cowl....although to be honest I wouldn't know if the prop was wrong but now I know I'll be sure to correct it.

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If you haven't an Eduard kit to rob then there is THIS little beauty from Ultracast. Now to find a way of not having to rob a Ju88 cowling....

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