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Blohm & Voss BV222 "Wiking" - 1:72 Revell


Paul A H
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Blohm & Voss BV222 "Wiking"

1:72 Revell


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During the interwar period, flying boats were often regarded as the natural choice for long-distance passenger transport. This was largely due to the fact that expensive runway infrastructure was unnecessary for these aircraft, as well as the long range that larger types were capable of achieving. The Blohm & Voss BV222 was one of the largest flying boats to enter service during this period, and although it was originally intended to fulfil a civilian requirement, it was easily adapted to the needs of the Luftwaffe. Aside from its size, the design was innovative for a number of reasons. The wing-mounted balance floats retracted into the wing in order to reduce drag, while the long, flat cabin floor was ideally suited to transporting cargo. Unlike most other military types, later BV222s used a diesel aero engine, the Junkers Jumo 207C (an ancestor of the Napier Deltic), which permitted refuelling at sea by Kriegsmarine U-boats.

Following its first flight in 1940, just thirteen examples were completed. These were soon pressed into service on long-range resupply and casualty evacuation routes to northern Norway and the North Africa. During the course of the war, several aircraft were loss to enemy action, either shot down or destroyed on the ground. Several others were scuttled by their crew at the end of the war, leaving just three survivors. It was one of these aircraft, C-012, that was flown by legendary British test pilot Eric 'Winkle' Brown to RAF Calshot in 1946. None survive today, although it is thought that one aircraft scuttled by the Allies at the War's end lies preserved on the seabed in Norwegian waters.

Up until 2003, the only way you could add an example of Blohm & Voss's finest to your stash was to pick up one of the vacuum formed kits available from Airmodel or Combat Models. In 2003, everything changed with the arrival of Revell's excellent injection moulded kit. Arriving in a very large, top-opening box, Revell's vaunted BV222 is spread across six large sprues of pale grey plastic and a single clear sprue. There are a total of 282 parts, which is a lot, but not excessive for a kit of this size. If you have a number of large kits under your belt, then there is nothing particularly intimidating about this one. Having seen quite a few Revell kits released over the past 20 years, I have come to regard the late-'90s and early-'00s as something of a purple patch for the German manufacturer. This kit is right at home alongside gems from that era such as the Heinkell He-177 and Panavia Tornado. The quality of the mouldings is very good, with crisp surface structures comprised of engraved panel lines and raised detail where appropriate.

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The assembly instructions are divided into 71 stages, which gives an indication of the size and complexity of the model (although it's a fair few less than the B-17 released a couple of years ago). Construction begins with the extreme forward fuselage and flight deck. Revell have bestowed plenty of detail on the interior, and this shows through with items such as the two-part control yokes and access doors. There are dozens of windows that have to be fixed to the inside of the fuselage halves, but thankfully the smaller ones are moulded as a single, long part.

The main internal structure is comprised of upper and lower decks, which stretch almost the length of the aircraft. They are joined by a series of bulkheads, with the flight deck and other crew stations sitting on top of the upper deck. The front upper fuselage turret is a nicely detailed sub-assembly, and there are some nice finishing touches including the option to finish aircraft with the mooring hook deployed and the cargo doors open. A number of machine guns are provided as well, and you have the option to install these before you join the fuselage halves or, if you are deft of touch, afterwards.

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Once all of that interior detail is in place, you can join the fuselage halves and add the nose section. Construction then turns to the tail plan and the huge, squared-off wings. The tail plane is a two part sub-assembly which just slots into a groove in the vertical tail. Both the elevators and the rudder are moulded in place. Before the wings can be assembled, the upper-wing turrets must be sandwiched between the wing halves, as must the wells for the retractable floats. The floats themselves can be finished in stowed or deployed positions. The huge wings have large round pegs at the root to ensure a robust joint to the fuselage.

The arrangement of the engine pods is interesting, as all three (per wing) are moulded as part of the leading edge of the inner wing, which is itself moulded separately to the rest of the wing. Presumably this breakdown of parts was chosen in order to enable Revell to produce the later Junkers Jumo 207C in-line engined version at some point in the future. In some ways it's disappointing that Revell haven't taken this opportunity to do so, as I believe the captured example flown by Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown was the diesel engined variant. To add visual interest, the engine cowlings can be cut and finished in the open position in order to add visual interest.

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Finishing touches include the actuator rods for the ailerons and elevators , the paddle balances, navigation lights and various antennas and aerials. Optional radar aerial arrays are also included. While they would undoubtedly look better rendered from photo etched brass, they are pretty good. The cockpit canopy is the last clear part to be added and it's just as good as the others, being both thin and exceptionally transparent.

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Two colour schemes are provided:
BV 222 V1 'S1', LTS 222-See, Mediterranean, 1942-3; and
BV 222 V2 'X4+BH', SAGr, 130, Norway, 1944-45.
Both aircraft are finished in RLM 72/RLM 73 over RLM 65, but the Norwegian example has an additional disruptive white winter camouflage. The decals are nicely printed but have a slightly matt finish. A splash of decal setting solution might be a good idea.

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Conclusion

This kit already has a formidable reputation for detail, accuracy and quality, and this re-release only serves to cement that reputation. I don't know how Revell manage to pack this much detail and quality into a kits and still sell it for a price which is more than reasonable, but I'm glad they do. This is a great kit which should offer a rewarding and fun build, as well as value for money. Highly recommended.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif t_logo-a.png or facebook.gif

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