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  1. 1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2/S3 Fly Model Catalogue # 32025 Available from Fly Model for £70.90 (at time of writing) The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first, purpose designed and built jet bomber. Its high ceiling capability also saw it operate mainly as a photo reconnaissance aircraft. Lack of room within the fuselage saw bomb pylons being fitted to the underside of the engine nacelles. The dual Jumo 004 engines and operational ceiling saw the type operate with almost total impunity over the UK in the latter stages of the war. It has the distinction of being the last Luftwaffe type to have flown over Britain during the war. Whilst the Ar 234 only entered service in the latter part of 1944, its design requirement was implemented in 1940; around the time that the Battle of Britain had ceased. Unlike many aircraft of the time, the Ar 234 was quite smooth and streamlined in overall appearance, and had its wing mounted to the shoulder of the fuselage, with a Jumo 004 under each wing. The pilot sat in an extensively glazed cockpit which formed the nose of the aircraft. Problems in the design and manufacture of the jet engines saw the project stall until 1943, and by now, the tide of the war was turning against the Germans. Making its first powered flight in mid-1943, the performance of the Arado was exemplary, despite falling short of the RLM's requirement for overall speed. The original design saw the Ar 234 take off on a detachable trolley and return to earth on a landing skid. Changes in the design saw the Ar 234 being fitted with an undercarriage which fully retracted into its fuselage. Numerous other design changes were tested, such as the use of four BMW 003 engines in both separate and duel nacelle layouts, and also the two-man night-fighter, which saw the rear fuselage being taken over with a radio operator's cockpit. Cannon was also fitted to a pod which was slung underneath the fuselage. That specific type is the subject of this review. By the war's end, 210 Ar 234 had been built, of all types, and despite numerous technical issues with the machine, the type was liked by its pilots, and proved manoeuvrable enough to even perform aerobatics! A key drawback of the type was the long take off distances, which led to accidents. To counter this, RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) units were suspended under each wing. When jettisoned, these fell back to earth on a parachute which was fitted to their nose. The kit Has it really been four years since we first say the initial Ar 234 kits from Fly? I built one of the initial releases for Military Illustrated Modeller, and I have to say that it was one of the most pleasurable projects that I’d tackled in a while. So, it was very pleasing to see that Fly has slightly altered these kits in terms of parts and/or decals and given us two new releases with some really nice and unusual schemes. At the moment, if you want to build an Ar 234 in injection plastic, Fly’s kits are the only game in town. There is a superb and accurate resin kit in 1:32, from MDC and mastered by Radu Brinzan. If whole resin kits frighten you, or you just don't like the medium, then Fly Model's latest releases will positively delight you. In this review, we’ll take a look at the Arado Ar 234B-2/S3. Model by James Hatch The first thing that might surprise you is how small the boxes are for these multimedia releases. Fly Model produce low pressure, injection moulded kits which incorporate resin and photo etch parts. I'm no stranger to their releases, and I have built their Bachem Ba 348V 'Natter', Hurricane, Westland Wessex and original Arado kit, two of which have featured on the cover of Military Illustrated Modeller. Fly's packaging and artwork is very attractive, even if the box itself isn't a super-glossy production as we see from the likes of Hasegawa etc. A rather nice image of a an Ar 234 being tailed at duck by a P-51D, adorns the lid, and the under-belly bombload is clearly seen, as are the engine-mounted bomb racks. Inside the box, there are FOUR tan/fawn coloured styrene sprues which have been packaged into a single re-sealable sleeve, including three bags of resin parts too, and an individually sleeved clear sprue. Unlike the other Ar 234 releases, this has a separately packed part which extends the length of the forward fuselage. Plastic in low-pressure injection kits does tend to be a little softer, of course, and my sample has some very minor scuffing that will need to be buffed out. Also included is a comprehensive sheet of decals, a photo etch fret, some wire and cord, and an A5 instruction booklet. The sprues themselves don't have ID letters, with the part numbers starting with the fuselage sprue, and running in sequence to the last sprue. For the sake of this review, we'll still call them 'A' and 'B' etc. There has been discussion on the release of the original Fly kits with regards to accuracy, and what some perceive as issues, but if you want to read those, feel free to Google it. For me personally, I don't know enough about the Arado to comment on some details. Having already built the original release, all I can say is it looks just like the Ar 234 I know and was great fun to build. I'll leave any accuracy issues for another man on another day. Sprue A For the first time, we seen the unmistakable lines of the Ar 234. Whilst the fuselage is conventionally split into halves, the forward nose section is a single, separate piece. This will allow the cockpit to be built and installed before the nose is married to the fuselage. I give Fly real credit for just refined the surface detail is on this. Panel lines are extremely subtle. You feel that they will only just hold a wash. They are also evenly scribed, with perhaps the slightest loss of detail around the underside seam. This is no issue as I'd only have to replace the detail once I've sanded back the joints. As is correct, the forward main gear door is moulded closed, with only the strut door of course being an open area. A little flash will need to be removed, but nothing major. External surface detail is quite sparse, which is probably correct for the type, but there are a number of neatly engraved access ports, and some fastener detail. The rudder is also separately moulded, and the wing slots into a quite thin slot on the fuselage shoulder. As with the rest of this kit, there are no locating pins between parts. This is very common for short-run kits. The RATO units are included here, moulded as halves, and with some pretty neat filler port and strap detail. These parts are for the actual RATO unit, and not the accompanying parachute. The latter are included as resin parts. Other parts on this sprue include the two-part nose-wheel, main gear doors, and also the bomb pylon mounting units which fit to the underside of the engine nacelles. I do think the wheel looks rather simplistic and will need a little work to bring it to scratch. The inside of the gear doors are also devoid of any real detail, and could use a little work. Sprue B Both of the wing undersides are moulded here, with integral ailerons and landing flaps. I would quite like to have at least the landing flaps as separate parts, but again, this is usually the approach with short-run kits, and it's only a minor criticism. Surface detail really is excellent, with numerous, fine panel lines and access ports. Also scribed are the external lines which indicate where the Jumo 004 nacelles will be fitted, minimising guesswork. This aircraft, whilst capable of carrying a bomb, doesn’t have one supplied. That is available separately, and I’ll post info on that as soon as I have one here. However, the pylons are occupied with fuel drop tanks, should you wish to fit them. The tanks are moulded as halves and look every bit as good as those you'll see in conventional, contemporary kits. Detail includes hard mounting points and fillers. The main wheels are also far prettier than the nose wheel, with excellent internal and external hub detail which looks very convincing. Fine raised lines radiate from the centre of the tyre, outwards. Again, this looks very good. Wheels, however, aren't weighted, so you'll need to solve that issue yourselves. Other parts on this sprue include the recessed, belly weapons mount which is superbly detailed, engine nacelle breather inlets, and also the rudder and elevator counter-masses. Sprue C Engine nacelles are supplied in halves, and into these will go a resin intake, and a resin exhaust which will be supplemented by the variable position 'onion' that controls thrust. Fine panel lines and fasteners adorn the exterior of the nacelles, and internally, a small raised step helps to locate the internal resin parts. A two-piece rudder is included, which is the only real part of the exterior to exhibit any rivet lines. Until now, we haven't seen any cockpit parts, but that is because the main parts are produced in resin. However, there are still a number of injection moulded parts on this sprue. One of these is the instrument panel. My only qualm with this is that it has moulded instrument face detail. In actuality, that detail is very good, if not better than many contemporary kits, but decals are also supplied for the faces, and raised detail makes them a little tricky to successfully attach. I do think the panel itself is good enough not to use the decals, but should you wish to, you could easily scratch-build a new panel. Having a glazed nose, the rear of this panel is very visible, and Fly include a series of resin instrument bodies that will be seen here. Just wire them up! For me, the cockpit is one of the really attractive areas of the Arado and would be either a deal maker or breaker. Fortunately, Fly have done an amazing job of this key area, and the side consoles are testimony to that. Detail is excellent, and there is plenty of it too. This will also be enhanced further with photo-etch levers etc. These are very busy areas of the pit! Numerous other cockpit details can be found here, including the rudder pedal slide mount rods, highly detailed control stick, and other ancillary instrumentation panels. Two internal side wall parts are also included. The undercarriage parts are to be found here. Main strut gear detail is quite simple, but certainly sharp, and the various struts and forks are certainly more than passable. Other parts include the fuel tank/bomb pylons, Funkgerat loop base, and nose gear doors. Again, I'd suggest a little extra detail work within the doors. Sprue D Here we have the upper wing panels, exhibiting the same refined levels of detail as the rest of the airframe. When I built my original Arado, I used the MDC flush rivet tool on the airframe, and I think the result really did transform things, especially in the bare wing panel areas. Those Jumo 004 'onion' parts are found here, moulded as halves. These are simple looking by design. I can tell you that if you have a spare Jumo sprue from a Trump Me 262, the engine will fit nicely in the nacelles. Stabilisers are moulded with integral elevators. This is a bit of a shame if you wished to pose them. I may do that for my own build. Detail is supplied by means of finely engraved panel lines. Sprue E Again, clear parts are another area where low-pressure kit manufacturers can, and often do, fall flat with. I have always found the clear parts in Fly kits to be very good, and these are no exception. This clear sprue contains ELEVEN parts, but only eight will be used. The forward canopy comprises two of these. Framing is very good, and so is clarity. I used to recommend dipping canopies in Klear to help enhance clarity, and level any imperfections. With this canopy, Klear (or similar) could be doubly important because the black framing with the bolts is supplied as a series of decal strips, in the same manner as the MDC kit. You may want to paint the frames and then attach the decals, but that would be pointless. You can simply apply them directly to the Klear'ed part. Ok, I do have another criticism here. With such a detailed cockpit, it would have made sense to mould the entrance hatch as a separate part, allowing it to be posed in an open position. Fly haven't done this, so when I built mine, I drilled this out and make a new door so that I could pose it open, allowing for a cockpit view. Plastic Summary I don't really have any complaints about the styrene in this kit. There is a little flash and a few seams to remove, but there are no visible sink marks or other production defects. There is a lack of locating pin presence, but as I have said, this is very typical of kits of this type. Resin There are THREE bags of resin parts here, providing the real detail in this kit. All resin parts are produced by Artillery and are cast in medium grey resin. Artillery do some great work, and these parts are no exception. Casting is flawless, and mastering is very detailed. Let's take a closer look, bag per bag. The first zip-lock wallet contains a god few chunks of resin. I say chunks because there are some quite hefty parts here. One of the largest parts forms the rear cockpit bulkhead with its associated detail (wiring looms, tanks, and junction boxes), including an integral nose wheel bay which internally forms the section to which the pilot's seat fits. The wheel bay is chock full of pipework too, and I'm sure will present more than just a little difficulty in access for painting. A large casting block exists to the rear, but this should be kept in place due to it housing the wheel bay. Port and starboard main gear bays are excellent. The box structures feature the various frames and constructional elements, as well as the row of access plates, numerous wiring looms and gear actuator jacks. Test fitting these within the fuselage shows that there's nothing to worry about. The location of them is pretty obvious. A little thin CA to initially fit, followed by a bead of epoxy, should do the trick nicely. A single casting block contains the bomb sight and pilot seat. Fantastic detail throughout, as you can see from my photo. The other parts in this bag are the front and rear Jumo engine faces, with superbly sharp fan faces, and also the parachute packs for the RATO pods. These have been made to look like folded fabric, and really are very good. You'll need to employ some craft shading and highlights to compliment the detail. A casting block will need to be removed from the rear. The second resin bag contains more casting blocks which contain around another FIFTY parts. These include the numerous instrument bodies for the rear of the IP, oleo scissors, various cockpit parts (battery, map case, fuse board and oxygen regulator etc.), undercarriage parts etc. Some parts here have broken from the casting blocks, but the parts themselves are thankfully intact. One more bag contains a single part. This is to extend the length of the fuselage slightly, just to the rear of the cockpit. I’m thinking that the one scheme that uses this part, was perhaps assigned to an experimental unit, as the nacelle undersides are painted in RLM04 Yellow. Photo-etch This etch fret contains one full sets of seatbelts, and whilst I admit that these will be very useable, I think I would opt for the more photo-realistic HGW option. This fret also contains the forward edging for the cockpit consoles, console levers, rudder pedals etc. Other parts include control surface actuators and the dipole array for the fuselage spine. The PE is superbly made, with small tags holding all parts in place. Errata A small bag contains two pieces of cord of different diameters, and also a short length of rigid wire. I'm sure the cord is partly for the cockpit, with a length being used for the drag chute cable. I'm unsure what the wire is actually for, but it can be used to pin some key parts of resin/plastic to other main components, giving a little extra rigidity. Decals A single decal sheet is included, which contains both national markings, codes and serials and also a full suite of stencils and dashed walkway lines. As I have mentioned, the canopy framing lines are supplied as strips which you'll need to cut to length. Cockpit instrument decals are also supplied, but I used the superior Airscale decals on my previous build. Whereas the original release had awkward multipart swastikas, this new kit has the complete symbol printed, so it’ll be far easier to apply. Decals are thinly printed and contain minimal carrier film. The colours are solid and authentic, and registration is perfect. You could wish for no more. A glossy A4 sheet depicts the three schemes, and these are: Arado Ar 234B-2, flown by Major Hans-Georg Bätcher, Commander of III./KG 76, January 1945 Arado Ar 234B-2, flown by Obstl. Robert Kowalewski during attackon Remagen Bridge by Gefechtsverband KG 76, March 1945 Arado Ar 234B-2/S3, W.Nr.140103 Instructions This is a 20-page A5 manual, printed in black and white, with shaded line drawings for stage illustration. All looks very easy to follow, and very comprehensive. You will need to study things closely to decipher what is plastic, etch or resin. Colour information is basic, so please check your references. I still think the manual is pretty clear about construction, and you should find no problem with it. Of course, the scheme illustrations are in colour. Conclusion It’s great to see this model released back to the market in this incarnation, with the subtle change and new schemes. I can only speak from personal experience when I say that it builds up beautifully into a quite a large and convincing replica of this dedicated jet-bomber. This is one where you can really go to town with extra details, such as riveting etc. but the resin parts really do help to create a great kit, straight from the box, with a gorgeous cockpit area too. Go treat yourself. I guarantee you’ll enjoy this project! My sincere thanks to Fly Model for the review sample. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  2. 1/32 Arado Ar 234 B-2 German Reconnaissance Bomber Fly kit # 32003 Available from Fly for € 55,- / 78 dollars Introduction I’m writing this review from a personal point of view, since LSM colleague is writing a review on this kit’s brother; the Ar 234 B2N. At the moment we are being spoiled to the brim with exotic and huge large scale releases. Some expected. Some not so much. Who would have dreamt to see a 1/32 Lancaster in his lifetime of B-17? And for the Luft ’46 fans a Ho229 or He219? Either of both would have kept me quiet for a decade. Well… maybe not. Being a Luft ’46 (or even late war Luftwaffe) fan myself I have almost bought the RB (MDC) full resin kit of the Ar 234 a couple of times. The price and the daunting idea of all this resin made me resist. I guess the fact that this amazing resin kit has been around for a few years and is still readily available in stores, never made me think or wish for an injection moulded kit. When Fly announced in may 2013 (I believe) that it was doing their version I thought: We’ll see it when it gets there. And if not? Then we’ll always have the MDC kit. A month ago an update on the kit’s progress was posted on the LSM Facebook page, showing the kit in a state where I didn’t expect to see it on Telford SMW by November. So you can imagine my surprise when I walked past Fly’s stand and spotted a built up version of the Ar 234 B2N kit. I asked what the release date would be and Jiří’s wife told me: ‘it’s out already! Here it is!’, pointing at a stack of boxes. I checked the price: 68 pounds. No jaw dropping there. The Night fighter version being priced a bit higher at 75 pounds. I’ll let Jim explain what the price difference is based on. No, I shall tell you myself: the Night fighter has a second cockpit halfway down the fuse, antennae and resin gun pod. The built up night fighter version of the kit as I saw it at SWM Telford. Accurate? This is only an in box review. In a later stage I’ll start building this kit and see if I need fit to correct parts if needed. I took a lot of photo’s of the completed model on the Fly stand and compared them to photographs. Photographs? Yes. Since I have no certainty that any of the drawings I own are correct and neither have any certainty that Radu Brinzan’s version is correct (other than I know he is someone who does his homework) this seems to be the best place to start. All I can say is that I can’t find any noticeable differences in engine, fuselage or wings shapes right off the sprue. All panel lines and hatches are present and no detail has been overlooked. At first glance I thought the tiny airscoops on top of the nacelles were missing, but on checking the instructions they were there alright. Then I started laying the fuse halves over drawings from the Aero Detail book. You can see in the scan that the tail on the kit is slightly shorter in height, the fuse slightly thinner (top to bottom) and the tail sets in later. For good measure I also checked the wheel size. These are 93.5 cm in diameter and should measure 29.22 mm in scale. These are spot on. Since Radu Brinzan already stated the Aero Detail drawings are incorrect, I’m still trying to source the 1/48 Hasegawa drawings. When you look at the wings and lay the Aero Detail drawings on top, you’ll see a much better alignment, with the most clear difference being the slightly shorter wingtip. In the end this kit will look like the Ar234 with the right characteristics and all the detail and to me that’s the most important aspect. There is only one examply of this remarkable early jet in existence today and that is at the National Air & Space Museum in the United States. No replica or restored wreck, but a captured example from KG76 / Norway. I guess it’s more of a miracle it survived the curious hands of British and American engineers and scientists than it did ww2! Walkaround photo’s of this plane can also be found in the Aero Detail book #16 as well as the Monografie 33 book. The Ar 234 B-2 in the National Air and Space Museum On to the kit! When you open the box the first thing that strikes is the enormous amount of resin. The plastic is limited run so you’ll see a little bit of flash around the corners (but not much) and no locating pins. I guess they are for Noobs anyway J This is a limited run kit, so don’t expect it to kinda fall together on shaking the box. Careful test fitting will be needed and I’m sure some putty here and there. The plastic is hard and sturdy, but is fine to work with. There’s one sprue with the fuselage halves, Rato-packs, gear doors and nose wheel, One with the upper winghalves and tail-planes, one with the lower wing halves and one with the cockpit detail and engine halves. The clear sprue needs some TLC to make the glass more clear. A buff and a dip in Future should do the trick. Not too many parts in plastic, compared to the resin that is supplied. The resin supplied make up the gear bay, cockpit, seat, instruments, Rato-parachutes, engine nacelles and rear and springer-arms for the gear. The resin is really one of the finest I’ve ever seen. The company behind these resin parts is Artillery. To be quite honest I have never heard of them, so as far as I’m concerned that’s one hell of a way to make an entrance. The same goes for the photo-etch which is done by Hauler. This however is a company I am familiar with. They make amazing stuff especially in the smaller scales. The decals are clean, vibrant and register nicely. Not Cartograph, but (bear with me) Bodecek Agency. I checked and this company is known for the airliner decals mostly. Antennae loop: Resin: Engine parts and Rato parachutes: Rato parachute: Cockpit parts: Undercarriage bay: Gear springer arms and bombrack details: Clear parts: The photo-etch: Let’s follow the instructions It all starts with the instrument panel. This has the potential of becoming a real gem. Since the rear of the panel will be visible, the instrument housings are featured as separate resin parts. When you add the wiring, this will be a model in itself. The front of the panel show nice detail and need the instrument decals which are supplied on the main decal sheet. The side consoles are also plastic parts with nice detail and are further detailed by Photo etch levers, resin and decals. The seatbelts are found on the Photo etch fret, but I know I’ll replace mine with HGW ones’ or RB production J The seat is my favourite part. Resin with plastic arm rests and sitting on a huge resin block. Beware! This plane has the potential of becoming a tail sitter. Especially if you’re building the Night fighter version, since it houses an extra cockpit for the radio operator in the rear. I’m saying this because this is the time you’ll need to figure out where to add some extra weight. Not around the waste like so many modellers, but as far up the nose as possible. Another great feature in this kit are the under carriage bays. Great detail, right down to the wiring. The big blocks of resin make up these parts. The bomb bay comes as one separate part and will give room for one bomb. I checked but the bomb is not supplied. A nice MDC resin bomb will have to be called into service here, and I’m sure that despite the different measurements of the Fly and MDC kit, it will fit J. Next up: the wings. Simple and with delicated surface detail. Nothing too exciting. The only thing that can enhance these is cutting the ailerons and flaps, since they’re moulded as one piece, except for the rudder, which is a separate part. Another nice addition is the drag chute wire which comes as a piece of rope, held by photo etch braces. In the same bag as the rope, you’ll find a very delicate piece of metal rod that makes into an antennae vertically situated under the left wing. The engines are about 50% resin and 50% plastic. As said: they have all the necessary detail, right down to the tiny airscoops. The same goes for the Rato-packs. The detail on the resin parachute is just amazing with convincing fabric texture. The wheels come in two plastic halves. To be quite honest this is something I would have rather seen in resin with flattened tires, but he! I’m not complaining. The wheels supplied are without pattern. When you look at photo’s you’ll see common use of both smooth and diamond pattern tires, so a choice between the two would have been nice as well. At least the size is correct! The final parts that need assembly are the gear doors (nice mix of plastic and resin (hinges) here as well and all the detail that needs to go to the inside of the canopy. Special care needs to be taken here, because you only get one chance. Even the flare gun is supplied and will poke through a hole in the glass (when done right). The decals: Colour schemes Arado Ar 234 B-2, W.Nr. 104151/T9+KH Flown by Oblt. Werner Muffey, Kommando Sperling, November 1944. A real nice profile of this plane can be found on the back of the Monografie 33 book. Arado Ar 234 S10, 140110/E2+20 used at Rechlin for tests with Hs 293 Missiles, October/December 1944 Arado Ar 234 B-2, ex 140476/VK877 Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, winter 1945/46 Arado Ar 234 B-2, No.303/"Snafu I" ex-W.Nr. 140148 Aircraft tested post-war by the US Navy at NAS Patuxent River, U.S.A. Sadly disregarded by the US Navy in the 1950’s. Conclusion / Verdict I’m thrilled to bits with this kit. Not just because of the kit itself, but mostly with the fact that we now have another company that is not afraid to tackle large scale subjects that flew. The Natter was just an appetizer and I’m sure there’s much more to come. The next release being a Westland Wessex I believe. Is this kit it a good rendering of the Ar234? I think so. It has all the details and right characteristics to convince. Is this kit an accurate rendering of the Ar234? Maybe not to the full extend. If you want to be ‘sure’ your Ar234 conforms to ww2 drawings the MDC kit might be the way to go. But at a price of around 60 pounds (I even saw my LHS listed it for 58 euro’s!) you can’t beat it with a stick and it will be slightly easier to build. Upsides: lots of resin, detail and bang for your buck! Shape and characteristics look good. Downsides: possibility of not conforming to ww2 drawings, clear parts not so clear and no bomb is supplied. If you do decide to add a bomb yourself, here's what to choose from: From 1 to 10 I’d rate this kit as an 8. Highly recommended If I may: Of course there isn’t any aftermarket available for this kit at the moment and I’ll doubt if Eduard will ever treat us to any (this being a short run kit and all and already very complete) but there is one small set I can recommend. It’s made by Peter Kormos from PK Tinyland. They are Intake covers for the engines made from Photo etch. Our sincere thanks to Fly for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  3. Hi folks, Here it is, freshly finished and photographed for Military Illustrated Modeller. You'll find the build log HERE. In all, it's mostly been a great build. It has been a little frustrating in places, but that's the nature of a short-run kit. I have to say that Fly have done a pretty good job with those, and if you're contemplating getting it.....don't....just go and BUY! Even though she's a pretty big bird, she's still sort of dwarfed a little in stature by the Dornier Do 335!
  4. 1:32 Arado Ar 234B-2N Fly Model Catalogue # 32008 Available from Fly Model for 1640.00CZK (approx £47) The Arado Ar 234 was the world's first, purpose designed and built jet bomber. Its high ceiling capability also saw it operate mainly as a photo reconnaissance aircraft. Lack of room within the fuselage saw bomb pylons being fitted to the underside of the engine nacelles. The dual Jumo 004 engines and operational ceiling saw the type operate almost with impunity over the UK in the latter stages of the war. It has the distinction of being the last Luftwaffe type to have flown over Britain during the war. Whilst the Ar 234 only entered service in the latter part of 1944, its design requirement was implemented in 1940; around the time that the Battle of Britain had ceased. Unlike many aircraft of the time, the Ar 234 was quite smooth and streamlined in overall appearance, and had its wing mounted to the shoulder of the fuselage, with a Jumo 004 under each wing. The pilot sat in an extensively glazed cockpit which formed the nose of the aircraft. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O_jcI4fQVw Problems in the design and manufacture of the jet engines saw the project stall until 1943, and by now, the tide of the war was turning against the Germans. Making its first powered flight in mid-1943, the performance of the Arado was exemplary, despite falling short of the RLM's requirement for overall speed. The original design saw the Ar 234 take off on a detachable trolley, and return to earth on a landing skid. Changes in the design saw the Ar 234 being fitted with an undercarriage which fully retracted into its fuselage. Numerous other design changes were tested, such as the use of four BMW 003 engines in both separate and duel nacelle layouts, and also the two-man night-fighter, which saw the rear fuselage being taken over with a radio operator's cockpit. Cannon was also fitted to a pod which was slung underneath the fuselage. That specific type is the subject of this review. By the war's end, 210 Ar 234 had been built, of all types, and despite numerous technical issues with the machine, the type was liked by its pilots, and proved manoeuvrable enough to even perform aerobatics! A key drawback of the type was the long take off distances, which led to accidents. To counter this, RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) units were suspended under each wing. When jettisoned, these fell back to earth on a parachute which was fitted to their nose. There are indeed a number of aircraft which large scale modellers have waited patiently to see in regular kit format, and the Ar 234 is one such subject. Up until now, the 1:48 arena has been well served by the likes of Dragon and Hasegawa, and the only 1:32 kit is the amazing MDC resin kit, mastered by Radu Brinzan. If whole resin kits frighten you, or you just don't like the medium, then Fly Model's latest releases will positively delight you. Yes, you heard that correctly...releases! There are in fact TWO Fly Model Ar 234 kits now on the market, and today we take a look at the two-seat night-fighter. The first thing that might surprise you is how small the boxes are for these multimedia releases. Fly Model produce short-run, low pressure injection moulded kits which incorporate resin and photo etch parts. I'm no stranger to their releases, and I have built their Bachem Ba 348V 'Natter', which featured on the cover of Military Illustrated Modeller. Fly's packaging and artwork is very attractive, even if the box itself isn't a super-glossy production as we see from the likes of Hasegawa etc. Inside the box, there are FOUR tan/fawn coloured styrene sprues which have been packaged into a single re-sealable sleeve, including three bags of resin parts too, and an individually sleeved clear sprue. Packing all of those sprues into the same wallet has resulted in a few scuff marks which will need to be polished out. Plastic in short-run kits does tend to be a little softer, and of course, this has suffered a minor issue. Also included is a small sleeve with injection moulded night-fighter antennae arrays, a comprehensive sheet of decals, a photo etch fret, some wire and cord, a glossy colour profile sheet, and an A5 instruction booklet. The sprues themselves don't have ID letters, with the part numbers starting with the fuselage sprue, and ending with the antennae. For the sake of this review, we'll still call them 'A' and 'B' etc. There has been some discussion online about the source of the drawings for this kit, and possible accuracy issues. For me personally, I don't know enough about the Arado to comment on some details. Having seen the built up model on the Fly stall at Telford, all I can say is that it looked amazing, and every bit like the Ar 234 that I know. I'll leave any accuracy possibilities for another man on another day. SPRUE A For the first time, we seen the unmistakable lines of the Ar 234. Whilst the fuselage is conventionally split into halves, the forward nose section is a single, separate piece. This will allow the cockpit to be built and installed before the nose is married to the fuselage. I give Fly real credit for just refined the surface detail is on this. Panel lines are extremely subtle. You feel that they will only just hold a wash. They are also evenly scribed, with perhaps the slightest loss of detail around the underside seam. This is no issue as I'd only have to replace the detail once I've sanded back the joints. As is correct, the forward main gear door is moulded closed, with only the strut door of course being an open area. A little flash will need to be removed, but nothing major. External surface detail is quite sparse, which is probably correct for the type, but there are a number of neatly engraved access ports, and some fastener detail. The rudder is also separately moulded, and the wing slots into a quite thin slot on the fuselage shoulder. As with the rest of this kit, there are no locating pins between parts. This is very common for short-run kits. The RATO units are included here, moulded as halves, and with some pretty neat filler port and strap detail. These parts are for the actual RATO unit, and not the accompanying parachute. The latter is included as resin parts. Other parts on this sprue include the two-part nose-wheel, main gear doors, and also the bomb pylon mounting units which fit to the underside of the engine nacelles. I do think the wheel looks rather simplistic, and will need a little work to bring it to scratch. The inside of the gear doors are also devoid of any real detail, and could use a little work. SPRUE B Both of the wing undersides are moulded here, with integral ailerons and landing flaps. I would quite like to have at least the landing flaps as separate parts, but again, this is usually the approach with short-run kits, and it's only a minor criticism. Surface detail really is excellent, with numerous, fine panel lines and access ports. Also scribed are the external lines which indicate where the Jumo 004 nacelles will be fitted, minimising guesswork. As this aircraft is not a bomber, its pylons are occupied with fuel drop tanks. This was necessary due to fuselage fuel capacity being removed due to the fitting of the second crew position. The tanks are moulded as halves, and look every bit as good as those you'll see in conventional, contemporary kits. Detail includes hard mounting points and fillers. The main wheels are also far prettier than the nose wheel, with excellent internal and external hub detail which looks very convincing. Fine raised lines radiate from the centre of the tyre, outwards. Again, this looks very good. Wheels, however, aren't weighted, so you'll need to solve that issue yourselves. Other parts on this sprue include the recessed, belly weapons mount which is superbly detailed, engine nacelle breather inlets, and also the rudder and elevator counter-masses. SPRUE C Engine nacelles are supplied in halves, and into these will go a resin intake, and a resin exhaust which will be supplemented by the variable position 'onion' that controls thrust. Fine panel lines and fasteners adorn the exterior of the nacelles, and internally, a small raised step helps to locate the internal resin parts. A two piece rudder is included, which is the only real part of the exterior to exhibit any rivet lines. Until now, we haven't seen any cockpit parts, but that is because the main parts are produced in resin. However, there are still a number of injection moulded parts on this srpue. One of these is the instrument panel. My only qualm with this is that it has moulded instrument face detail. In actuality, that detail is very good, if not better than many contemporary kits, but decals are also supplied for the faces, and raised detail makes them a little tricky to successfully attach. I do think the panel itself is good enough not to use the decals, but should you wish to, you could easily scratch-build a new panel. Having a glazed nose, the rear of this panel is very visible, and Fly include a series of resin. For me, the cockpit is one of the really attractive areas of the Arado, and would be either a deal maker or breaker. Fortunately, Fly have done an amazing job of this key area, and the side consoles are testimony to that. Detail is excellent, and there is plenty of it too. This will also be enhanced further with photo-etch levers etc. These are very busy areas of the pit! Numerous other cockpit details can be found here, including the rudder pedal slide mount rods, highly detailed control stick, and other ancillary instrumentation panels. Two internal side wall parts are also included. The undercarriage parts are to be found here. Main strut gear detail is quite simple, but certainly sharp, and the various struts and forks are certainly more than passable. Other parts include the fuel tank/bomb pylons, Funkgerat loop base, and nose gear doors. Again, I'd suggest a little extra detail work within the doors. SPRUE D Here we have the upper wing panels, exhibiting the same refined levels of detail as the rest of the airframe. I can't help but thinking that MDC's flush rivet tool, used with a soft touch, could really transform this model from great looking, to spectacular! Those Jumo 004 'onion' parts are found here, moulded as halves. These are simple looking by design. Stabilisers are moulded with integral elevators. This is a bit of a shame if you wished to pose them. I may do that for my own build. Detail is supplied by means of finely engraved panel lines. SPRUE E This small sprue is packed separately for a reason; it's simply so very fragile. It contains the dipole antennae arrays for the front of the machine, and also the small fuselage mounted loop. Forget the flashy appearance expected of parts like this with short-run. These are actually very good indeed, and could only be surpassed by using metal parts. SPRUE F Again, clear parts are another area where short-run manufacturers can, and often do, fall flat with. I have always found the clear parts in Fly kits to be very good, and these are no exception. This clear sprue contains ELEVEN parts. The forward canopy comprises two of these. Framing is very good, and so is clarity. I always recommend dipping canopies in Klear to help enhance clarity, and level any imperfections. With this canopy, that could be doubly important because the black framing with the bolts is supplied as a series of decal strips, in the same manner as the MDC kit. You may want to paint the frames and then attach the decals, but that would be pointless. You can simply apply them directly to the Klear'ed part. Ok, I do have another criticism here. With such a detailed cockpit, it would have made sense to mould the entrance hatch as a separate part, allowing it to be posed in an open position. Fly haven't done this, and instead, its moulded closed. I will drill this out and make a new door so that I can pose it open, allowing for a cockpit view. Three out of the four schemes here call for rear crew position to be installed. If you do this, you will need to cut away a section from the upper fuselage, and fit a clear panel in place. You will also need to open up two circular apertures in the side, and glaze them too. Those parts are here, as are those for wingtip lights, and Funkgerat dipole window etc. Plastic Summary I don't really have any complaints about the styrene in this kit. There is a little flash and a few seams to remove, but there are no visible sink marks or other production defects. There is a lack of locating pin presence, but as I have said, this is very typical of kits of this type. RESIN There are THREE bags of resin parts here, providing the real detail in this kit. All resin parts are produced by Artillery and are mostly cast in light grey resin, with a few parts in cream. Artillery do some great work, and these parts are no exception. Casting is flawless, and mastering is very detailed. Let's take a closer look, bag per bag. The first zip-lock wallet contains no less than eleven chunks of resin. I say chunks because there are some quite hefty parts here. One of the largest parts forms the rear cockpit bulkhead with its associated detail (wiring looms, tanks, and junction boxes), including an integral nose wheel bay which internally forms the section to which the pilot's seat fits. The wheel bay is chock full of pipework too, and I'm sure will present more than just a little difficulty in access for painting. A large casting block exists to the rear, but this should be kept in place due to it housing the wheel bay. You may need to shave a little from the top so that it doesn't protrude beyond the top of the bulkhead. Port and starboard main gear bays are excellent. The box structures feature the various frames and constructional elements, as well as the row of access plates, numerous wiring looms and gear actuator jacks. Test fitting these within the fuselage shows that there's nothing to worry about. The location of them is pretty obvious. A little thin CA to initially fit, followed by a bead of epoxy, should do the trick nicely. A single casting block contains the bomb sight and pilot seat. Fantastic detail throughout, as you can see from my photo. The other parts in this bag are the front and rear Jumo engine faces, with superbly sharp fan faces, and also the parachute packs for the RATO pods. These have been made to look like folded fabric, and really are very good. You'll need to employ some craft shading and highlights to compliment the detail. A casting block will need to be removed from the rear. The second resin bag contains a further six parts, spread over five casting blocks. Two of these comprise the rear radio compartment. In this area, the crew member sat facing rearwards, and the bulkhead for this section incorporates the side consoles, seat framework, avionics and padded headrest. The rearmost bulkhead needs to have its casting block removed because the centre of this is open. Again, this contains avionics/radios, and wiring looms. Another casting block contains a seat which is identical to that of the pilot. Three out of the four schemes presented in this kit, utilise the massive Magirusbombe gun pod, housing a pair of MG121/20 cannon. The pod is cast as a single piece, with separate barrels. Lastly, the third resin bag contains six casting blocks which contain around another FIFTY parts. These include the numerous instrument bodies for the rear of the IP, oleo scissors, various cockpit parts (battery, map case, fuse board and oxygen regulator etc.), undercarriage parts etc. PHOTO ETCH This etch fret is different to that of the single-seater, as it contains two sets of seatbelts. Whilst I admit that these will be very useable, I think I'll opt for the more photo-realistic HGW set which has just been released for this purpose. The fret also contains the forward edging for the cockpit consoles, console levers, rudder pedals etc. Other parts include control surface actuators and the dipole array for the fuselage spine. The PE is superbly made, with small tags holding all parts in place. ERRATA A small bag contains two pieces of cord of different diameters, and also a short length of rigid wire. I'm sure the cord is partly for the cockpit, with a length being used for the drag chute cable. I'm unsure what the wire is for at this time. DECALS A single decal sheet is included, which contains both national markings, codes and serials and also a full suite of stencils and dashed walkway lines. As I have mentioned, the canopy framing lines are supplied as strips which you'll need to cut to length. Cockpit instrument decals are also supplied, but I will use the superior Airscale decals on my build. I hate it when swastikas are supplied in 2 parts, but they are here too. Worse, they aren't equal halves, which adds some awkwardness to getting them into the correct position. Decals are thinly printed and contain minimal carrier film. The colours are solid and authentic, and registration is perfect. You could wish for no more. A glossy A4 sheet depicts the schemes, and these are: Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140146, SM+FF, Oblt. Bonow and Ofw. Marchetti, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945 Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140145, SM+FE, Hptm. Bisping and Phtm. Vogel, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945 Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140344, T9+EH, Oblt. Erich K. Sommer, Campoformido Air Base (Udine), Italy, April 1945 Arado Ar 234B-2, W.Nr.140173, F1+MT, 9./KG76, Hptm. Josef Regler, March 1945 INSTRUCTIONS This is a 20-page A5 manual, printed in black and white, with shaded line drawings for stage illustration. All looks very easy to follow, and very comprehensive. You will need to study things closely to decipher what is plastic, etch or resin. Colour information is basic, so please check your references. I still think the manual is pretty clear about construction, and you should find no problem with it. Conclusion Well, we have been waiting for an injection moulded Ar 234, but has it been worth the wait? ABSOLUTELY! Without a doubt, this is a great kit which drips with detail in all the right places, yet retaining the conservative appearance of the exterior. Detail fans will absolutely adore the cockpit and radio compartment, which are a seriously good multimedia effort. I can't vouch, as I have said, for any accuracy issues in cross section etc. I have no problem whatsoever with regard to what this kit offers, and how it is portrayed. It looks like a seriously fun build, and you'll be able to catch my build in a few months, in Military Illustrated Modeller. Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to Fly Model for the review sample, and accompanying can of Czech beer! To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
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