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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. Kagero Monographs 3D Edition #62 (3062) Arado Ar 234 Blitz Vol.II Publisher: Kagero Written by: Marek J. Murawski and Marek Rys Available here from Kagero for € 21,97 Today I’m taking a look at another unbeatable title from Kagero’s growing Monographs 3D Edition range. It’s the second volume on the Ar234. Where the first volume (click here to read the review on Volume I) focusses mainly on the earlier types and it’s 3D renderings on the cockpit and wheelbays, this volume picks up with the later types and 3D renderings of the engines, exterior details and external storage. It’s the volume that I was waiting for… The book features 115 pages filled with drawings, period photographs, 3D renderings and profiles. As a modeler these series provide me with all the intell I need. As an amateur 3D artist I can only marvel at the amount of work, research and craftmanship that go into the renderings… Introduction As always I’ll take you through the book chapter by chapter, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll get for your money. The smooth heavy paper and soft cover are typical of Kagero’s publications. As is the sense of quality, the in-register printing, and solid design. Inserted behind the cover is a foldable A2 drawing of the later Ar234C-series in scale 1/32. A nice touch, but to his day we don’t have a 1/32 kit of the C-series. But who knows? Fly might decide to widen their 234-line? Or maybe Radu? Next tot his set of drawings, there are two additional A2 sheets with line art taken from the original maintenance books. But more on these later. Other projects The first chapter deals with the various trials and prototypes the Ar234 saw. From bomber, to recon, to nightfighter, to V1 towing vessel. It illustrates the decision-less state of the Luftwaffe in the latter stages of the war. Ar234 in service with reconaissance units The Ar234 is often mistaken for a Luft’46 plane that hardly saw any combat. It did however in quite a few roles. The first was as a fast recon plane, without any built in armament. Speed that was obtained by the two Jumo engines, and RATO packs for extra speed during the volnurable take offs. This chapter gives us a range of witness accounts during operations, adorned with detailed information, like dates and plane codes. One short pilot note describes the encounter with a british Mosquito that flew in the opposite direction. Since the Mosquito had spent all it’s ammo, and the Ar234 recon plane didn’t have any ammo to begin with, all the two pilots could do was wave at eachother. Ar234B bombers in service with Kampfgeschwader 76 The Ar234 bombers were exactly that. Bombers. And like the recon version of the Ar234 they didn’t carry any machine guns. They were able to carry bombs under each engine gondola and one under the fuselage. This wasn’t a widely known fact amongst the allied forces, which caused some allied fighters to flee, upon encountering one of these strange looking jets. Again numerous eye witness accounts, dates and data give us an idea of the bomber missions these planes carried out. Drawings The next chapter is filled with original drawings from the Luftwaffe maintenance manual. Varying from the airframe construction, spars, landing gear, control surfaces, fuel system and cockpit layout. Photographs and drawings from these old manuals can prove pretty useful to a modeller, since they were enhanced and touched up to provide a better sense of detail and construction to the (ground)crew. As a matter of fact I myself used these drawings to scratch build some detail on my own 1/32 Fly model (like the entrance hatch). 3D renderings! And here we go. Starting at page 57 the 3D renderings take center stage. Starting with a beautiful 3D model of the Jumo 004 engine. Great to figure out how to add some wiring. If you plan to open up an engine bay, this is where to start. The renderings show us the attachment to the wings and give us a good sense of colour. These renderings are followed up by some exterior details, like the brake parachute installation, rudder, stabilizer control horns, Peil G6 radar (note not all Ar234B’s carried these!), power sockets in the fuselage, Lotfe 7K bombsight mirror tube (very nice indeed!) and steps and grips. On a bit of a critical note, some details are zoomed in to such extend, that pixilation in the fuselage textures become visible. Like the wire antenna spring at the base, which is soo small that all is forgiven. Details that are invaluable are the external store racks that carried either bombs or fuel tanks. You might also want to take a good look at the Rato packs. The ones’ Fly Models provide are nice and all, but you might want to buy some MDC resin ones’ from Radu’s model. They are more detailed and accurate. This piece did not have flushed rivets and looked medieval in real life with rivets like warts. Sweet stuff all around when at page 92 full renderings take up the pages. Both the Ar234B as the Ar234C get the attention they deserve. All we can hope the C will be covered in glorious 32nd scale. Additional A2 Drawings As said in the intro we get three huge black and white sheets with drawings. Two of them with ww2 era drawings, giving us the detail on gear and cockpit. On the rear we find a full set of plan views of the Ar234C-3 in 1/48 scale. This makes sense, since Revell has this kit in this scale in their range. Perfect when you plan to rivet your model. Whether these are 100% accurate I don’t know, and have no way of checking. I’ll leave that to the rivet-counters. The final set shows plans of the Ar234C-3 in 32nd scale revealing all panel lines and rivets. A nice offering, and I don’t want to say it again, but I will nonetheless: I hope this variant pops up in our scale soon! Verdict I totally love these 3D series and can’t get enough of them. The fact that Kagero deemed it worth to cover the Ar234 in two volumes illustrates their affection for this machine. The super low price of just over 20 euro’s makes me wonder if they can justify all the work that must go in the 3D renderings, but looking at the ever growing list of titles in this series, I guess it does! I can only rate this book a solid 9 out of 10! You plan on building an Ar234 in 72nd, 48th or 32nd scale?? Get both volumes. They’re worth it J Our sincere thanks to Kagero for the review sample. Get your copy here. Jeroen Peters
  3. Monographs 3D edition #61 (3061) Arado 234 Blitz Volume I Publisher: Kagero Written by: Marek J. Murawski, Marek Rys Available from Kagero for € 21,97 Ofcourse… Just finished my Ar234 build and then Kagero hits us with this pearl of a publication. I’ve said it before, but I just love these 3D editions. They have the ability to give us (the modeller) a very good sense of what goes where and how, by eradicating nasty shadows that obscure our view. Secondly these 3D renderings are a great colour chart, showing us in detail what lever is red and what tube is aluminium. The quality of the materialisation is very high, causing us to see, and above all understand, what we are building. This book being volume I makes me guess as to what to expect in volume 2. I’ll tell my guess later on… Please note that Kagero already has an excellent Monographs book on the Ar234. This book deals with the design, production and variations. Amazingly cheap at € 6,56 euro’s (!). Let’s walk through the chapters: Introduction Three pages lead up to the design and development phase of the Ar234. In the introductions we read a report of the first operational sortie of the Ar234 at Juvincourt. Design and development of the Ar234A About 20 pages describe all the different fuel tanks, armament, gear / trolley / skid setup and engines the Ar234 saw. These chapters are mandatory reading, but also pretty well covered in other titles. Lets be honest: these chapters are not the reason we buy this book! Arado 234B, followed by Ar234C These chapters are illustrated with the well known photo’s of the mock-up wooden cockpit that was used to determine what gauges and controls went where. 3d renderings And then what we came for: the amazing 3D renderings! Flipping through them we can check off the cockpit, cockpit glazing, gear (nose wheel and main gear) and outer fuselage. So my guess is that volume I will show us the engines, inner rear fuselage and fuel tanks. Maybe even the night fighter version with the observer’s seat and work area. The work that was put in the 3D model of the cockpit is staggering. I can know, since I work in 3D software myself on a regular basis. If you’re looking to add some extra detail to your Fly Models 1/32 Ar234, this is where you plan your steps. I just wish I had this book when scratch building my canopy hatch… The 3D drawings are revealed from outside to inside. The glazing is taken off to reveal the framing. The seat is taken out, as is the instrument panel. Rudder pedals, side consoles (in extreme close up), periscope gunsight and bomb release computer. All followed by several shots of the complete cockpit. Lovely… The nose wheel on the Ar234 is a bit tricky. Especially in the Fly Models kit. Dry fitting and adjusting is needed. These renderings let you understand how the springs are attached and how the wheel actually retracts into it’s bay. And yes, again I have seen a couple of things I would have done differently on my kit if I had the knowledge. The same goes for the main gear. Brake lines and small nuts and bolt-detail. Also featured in this book is a 4 page walk around of the Smithsonian Ar234 B-2. A nice addition. If you like these photo's, I suggest getting the AeroDetail book as well. The book ends with several renderings of the complete plane and four colour profiles. These are the same profiles that are featured in the #33 book. On top of this all we find two huge folded up drawings/plans of the Ar234 in 32nd scale and 48th scale. Ofcourse we, as Large Scale Modellers, don’t use the 48th scale drawings J These drawings show every rivet, which is quite convenient for the Fly Models Ar234, which has close to none. The front view comes in handy when positioning your gear legs and wheel angle. Verdict A damn good title with 3D drawings that seam to gain quality with every publication. I’m in love with these series. For the price of just over 20 euro’s, this is a need to have for anyone that wishes to tackle an Ar234. Who knows: maybe one day Revell will release one in 32nd scale, and then we all want this book. So better get yours now Very very highly recommended! A special thanks to Kagero for the review sample. Available here. Jeroen Peters
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