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Shar2

Flettner Fi-282 Kolibri V-23. 1:35

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Flettner Fi-282 Kolibri V-23

MiniArt 1:35

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History

Although the first helicopter to enter service with the German forces in 1939 in the shape of the Fi-265, although the 6 machines built were really prototypes for what followed, the Fi-282. The Fl 282 shared the same "intermeshing" rotor design as the Fl 265, this arrangement involving two individual rotor blades crossing one another, without touching, while rotating in opposite directions and on individual masts to achieve the desired vertical lift. The Fl 282 was given an all-new engine in the Bramo Sh.14A, a 7-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine outputting at 160 horsepower.

 

Flight testing of the Fl 282 began in 1941 and eventually involved two flyable prototypes. These two prototypes were given enclosed cockpits while follow-up units were to feature the well-photographed open-air design. It was the German Navy that saw the value inherent in the Flettner helicopter and ordered a batch of fifteen for evaluation from its surface ships. Prototypes were designated Fl 282 V1 through V7 and followed by the Fl 282A-1 single-seat reconnaissance version for launching/retrieval from German warships. The Fl 282B-2 designation was given to the submarine-launched, single-seat reconnaissance variants, which were actually two seaters, with a second seat to the rear of the frame. This was for an observer in the scout, reconnaissance or mission liaison role.

 

The Luftwaffe was granted a production order for some 1,000 Fl 282 units sometime in 1944, these to be manufactured by the BMW for the sheer numbers required of the German war effort. But these plans were disrupted when the plant designated to build them was bombed by allied aircraft. In 1945, the Luftwaffe went on to establish a dedicated reconnaissance wing through Transportstaffel 40 (TS/40) which was to stock several Fl 282 helicopters and based out of the Muhldorf District of Bavaria.

 

It is interesting to note, that after the war, Anton Flettner eventually went to work with the Kaman Helicopter company, renowned for using the twin intermeshing rotors on canted masts that Flettner had introduced with his wartime helicopter, and these are still being produced today.

 

The Model

The third incarnation of the Kolibri, the V-23 comes in a nicely illustrated top opening box. As with the previous kit, this could have fitted in a smaller box as it takes up about half of the available space. That said, once the sprues are removed from the two layers of plastic bags, it does prove that the tightly packed sprues have kept the many fragile parts safe from damage. The model comes on eight sprues of grey styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a decal sheet. As usual with MiniArt kits the moulding is superb with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are an awful lot of moulding pips, particularly on the tubular framework which will require very careful clean-up. The detail variation between the earlier kits is minimal, but this one does show the helicopter in it’s final form as flown by the USAF.

 

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Construction begins with the frame work fuselage; with the main bulkhead drilled, out the two piece rear seat is attached. The floor is fitted with what looks like a keel beam, before the main and rear bulkheads are glued into place, followed by the two side sections. The rear roof section is then added, followed by the two piece fin and single piece rudder. Two tubular cross members are then attached, along with two tubular engine mounts.  The engine is a model in itself with a single piece block, which is fitted with one set of conrods on a circular frame and the single piece crankcase, the other conrods are separate as are the cylinder heads which are glued on next. The four piece gearbox is the attached to the crankcase followed by the output shaft. The forward section of the upper fuselage, containing the main rotor gearbox mounting frames is then attached, as are the horizontal tailplanes, control runs and, rather strangely, a two bladed propeller and protective ring to the front of the engine which sits inside the fuselage.

 

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The main rotor gearbox is made up from no less than thirty three parts, and includes all the control linkages, filters, rotor masts and other fittings. Probably the most complex part of the build is the assembly of what we could loosely call the cockpit. There are four sections of tubular frame that make the cockpit surrounds, then it is fitted out with the control column, all the control linkages, collective lever, rudder pedals, throttle quadrant with linkages attached and the two piece instrument panel with decal instrument faces, which you can then glaze with your favourite glazing medium is fitted into the new nose piece before the assembly is attached to the cockpit frame. With all this in place it is fitted to the fuselage and the rear of the cockpit fitted with its strangely shaped bulkhead and the two piece seat.  The main rotor gearbox assembly is then fitted to its mounting and enclosed with three panels.  There are two four piece side panels that enclose the rear seat area and a four piece under fuselage section that fits under the engine area.  There are two fuel tanks, each made up from four parts, the seven piece main undercarriage, and five piece nose undercarriage.  These are all assembled before being glued into their respective positions. The rear panel of the main rotor gearbox is then fitted, as are the two small instrument panels and two piece PE seatbelts which fit in the cockpit, which is then enclosed with two side panels and windscreen, which is held away from the panels by two PE struts.  Lastly the two six piece rotors are fitted to their respective masts completing the build.

 

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Decals

The single decal sheet provides markings for four schemes. Although all of the same aircraft they make interesting variations. The decals are very nicely printed, in register, and opaque. They do include two piece swastikas, should you wish to apply them. The schemes are:-

 

  • Captured, in the service of the USAF, Nellingen, Germany, June 1945
  • USAF, August to September 1945
  • USAF airbase Freeman Field, October 1945
  • USAF, Camden Airport, 1947.

 

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Conclusion

As with the first releases, it’s great to see this interesting helicopter in 1:35. If you buy all three, you can see the progression and adaptation of the aircraft as it became more mature. The colour schemes that the markings are provided for are also interesting and it shows how much interest that the aircraft provoked that it was still in use in 1947.

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Review sample courtesy of

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