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Mike

Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Nachtjäger (40013) 1:35

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Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Nachtjäger (40013)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

 

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Toward the end of WWII the Nazis were desperately casting around for Wunderwaffe, or Wonder Weapons that would turn the overwhelming tide against their attempt to take over Europe and probably the world.  This resulted in some distinctly left-field designs being considered, that under normal circumstances would more likely have been dismissed out of hand.  One such project that has since gained traction in the minds of the Luft'46 community and beyond is the concept of the Triebflügel from Focke-Wulf, which was little more than a rocket-shaped body with a rotating set of blades tipped with ramjet engines providing the motive power.  This arrangement was to enable it to take off vertically, which was of greater interest as the front lines got closer and air bases became bombed-out rubble, as was the use of the simple ramjet that was propelled up to speed by single-use rockets, all of which used little in the way of strategic materials or complex technology and metallurgy.

 

 It went nowhere in terms of production of course, and had some critical issues that would have needed to be addressed if it had gone further, such as the counter-rotation required to offset the rotational friction of the blades was supposed to be supplied by the cruciform tail pressing against the air, it would have to land vertically with the pilot facing forward and the rear view obscured by the still rotating aerofoils and engines to name but two.  As usual with WWII German designs, they would have wanted to make it a jack of all trades, so a Nachtjäger variant was bound to have happened if it had gone into production.

 

Post war the Convair Pogo was to attempt a broadly similar flight profile with similar issues raising their heads and helping ensure its eventual demise.  If you've been following the Marvel Avengers film franchise (MCU), you'll have seen Red Skull absconding in a very Triebflügel-esque aircraft at one point, which although undoubtedly CGI could actually be attempted now with our computers and other technologies.  We just need to find someone with too much money and who is just daft enough now… Elon?

 

The Kit

Until fairly recently there hasn't been a modern injection moulded kit in any of the larger scales, and now we have two plus this new boxing.  This is the larger of them and should primarily appeal to modellers in 1:32 and 1:35 given the similarity in scales that should result in a "close enough" shrug from many, followed by the opening of wallets.  The original interceptor went out of stock at Creative Models very quickly, so I would advise you to get your order in for this boxing before they run out again, as I can see it proving very popular.  The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped standard sized top opening box and inside are twelve sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a small card envelope, a good sized decal sheet and the instruction booklet with a colour cover that includes all the painting and decaling profiles on three of the four sides.

 

I have one of the smaller models as well as the MiniArt Interceptor kit (reviewed here), and this is a simple update with new parts added to an enlarged sprue containing an amended nose cone and two antenna masts for the nose with moulded-in dipoles.  Detail is excellent, with lots of rivets and panel lines visible on the exterior, a nicely appointed cockpit and the cannon armament included in bays either side of the pilot, who was hopefully supplied with ear protection.  There is also extra detail in the wingtip motors and the landing gear is substantial, partially from the increase in size, but also because of the design of the main leg.

 

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Construction is almost identical to the Interceptor boxing and begins with the cockpit with a floor part forming the basis and having rudder pedals, control column and bulkhead added, then the seat, pilot armour and a full set of PE seatbelts.  The side consoles are attached to the upper section of the cockpit that is added from above and also forms part of the gun bays.  To the consoles are added a number of PE levers to busy the area up, after which the instrument panel is fitted across them with decals provided for the instrument dials.  The larger cannons are built up from a good number of parts and will look good if you pose them open, and benefit from hollow muzzles thanks to some sliding moulds.  The smaller cannons are added after their bays are boxed in, again raising the level of the cockpit walls, which you'll need to take into account when you're painting things.  These weapons are slightly less detailed and don't have hollow barrels, so break out the pin-vice when you're ready.  The cockpit can then be surrounded by the nose, which is in two halves and has a short tubular section that helps support the spinning wing section.  A rear deck is dropped in behind the pilot's station and the nose cone is added to the front, with careful alignment key to obtain the best join.  The gun bay doors can be left off to display them or put in place for a streamlined look, in which case you don't need to install the cannons as nose weight isn't an issue.  If you're closing up the lower bays, there is an additional barrel stub that fits to the back of its door to simulate the cannon being present.  The canopy is a three-part unit with fixed windscreen and rear plus opening central section that hinges sideways if you're going to open it.  There is an additional dome-shaped part included in the kit that makes one wonder if there will be another night fighter version with a radar operator's blister in the aft section?

 

The wings spin perpendicular to the direction of flight on a short section of the fuselage, which is built up with three sockets for the wings on a toroidal base, over which the rest of that section is installed and left to one side until later when the assemblies are brought together.  The simple ramjet engines are built up on a pair of stator vanes and have multiple fuel injectors moulded into their rear with a rounded cap in the centre.  These are installed inside the cowlings that are moulded into each wing half so it would be wise to paint this and the interior of the engine pods a suitably sooty colour before you join each wing.  There are three and all are identical.

 

The final main assembly is the aft of the aircraft, and the four retractable castor wheels are first to be built.  Each single-part wheel sits in a single piece yoke, which in turn slides inside a two-part aerodynamic fairing.  One half of this is moulded to a strut, which slides into the trough within the fins in one of two places to depict the wheels retracted or deployed.  If showing them retracted you ignore the wheel and yoke and install the clamshell doors, turning the assembly into a teardrop shape, but if using the wheels you glue the fairings folded back exposing the wheel.  The main wheel is in two halves, as is the yoke, and should be capable of taking the weight of the model when finished unless you intend to load it up with motors or other silliness (go on, you know someone will!).  The aft fuselage parts are brought together with two of the castor assemblies trapped between the moulded-in fins, and the other two trapped within the separate fins that fit at 90o to the seamline.  The main wheel then slides into its bay if you are going wheels down and has the clamshell doors fitted open, or you use just the doors for an in-flight pose.  It's good to see that some detail has been moulded into the interior of the doors, as they are quite visible on a landed display.

 

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The three sections are brought together at the end by placing the wing-bearing part onto the upstand on the aft fuselage then adding the nose, with its upstand sliding inside the lower one.  This traps the rotating portion in place, and hopefully allows the aforementioned rotation to continue after the glue has dried.  All that remains is to plug the three wings into their sockets, add the PE D/F loop and the aerial on the spine, then install the two commendably fine antennae into the small slots in the nose cone.

 

Markings

There are six decal options provided on the sheet, and they vary from each other and their smaller competitor quite substantially with some plausible and just plain silly options given for your delight.   From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Nachtjagdgeschwader 1. Germany 1945-46
  • Nachtjagdgeschwader 200. Germany 1946
  • Nachtjagdgeschwader X. 2nd Battle of Berlin, Germany 1946
  • Nachtjagdgeschwader 310. Germany 1946

 

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Decals are printed by DecoGraph and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  The instrument decals have just the dials to place within the painted panel, outlined on the sheet for your ease, and there are split Swastikas there if you want to use them and your locality doesn't have laws preventing displaying such insignia.

 

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Note that this excellent build shows the top cannons omitted, whereas the instructions show both used.  Check for interference with the antennae and make your own mind up.

 

Conclusion

This is a really nice rendition of this weird aircraft design with some interesting decal options and those antenna "whiskers".  I'm sure some purists would still have preferred to see it in 1:32, but the size difference isn't too severe to stop you from adding one to your stash.  We already have a winner in the Interceptor with this one probably following in its footsteps.  The intriguing additional clear blister hints at more versions to come, which will be fun.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Can you imagine this?  Those tip jets would be visible for miles to the bomber gunners.  It'd be a nightmare for a single crewman to fly, operate the radar and find and shoot at a target. Then of course, he has to land...vertically...in the dark.....probably in a clearing in the woods.......without being able to see behind him!

 

Not well thought out really.....

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33 minutes ago, Devilfish said:

Can you imagine this?  Those tip jets would be visible for miles to the bomber gunners.  It'd be a nightmare for a single crewman to fly, operate the radar and find and shoot at a target. Then of course, he has to land...vertically...in the dark.....probably in a clearing in the woods.......without being able to see behind him!

 

Not well thought out really.....

ein Stück Kuchen - Piece of cake! :lol:

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