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Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor Kit# 40002 Miniart Available from Hannants for 43,99 pounds Background For some reason the Luft ’46 subjects appeal to a lot of modelers and aviation enthusiast. Designs that never made it to mock-up stage, wind tunnel or prototype. Since I have gotten the question many times in the past, let me be clear: this concept is no different. It was drawn up and as far as I know, only one propeller blade with one Ram jet shape made it to a vertical wind tunnel set up. Ofcourse a lot of material was destroyed by German engineers at the end of the war, a lot of factories were bombed by the allies and a lot of material was captured and researched after the war. But since no records were found from the RLM, it looks like the idea for the Treidbflügel was born and died inside Focke Wulf walls. The only found Focke-Wulf drawings of the Triebflügel: Drawing of the ramjet: Overall drawings. Damaged, but readable: Drawing of the retractable landing gear: Here's a not so clear picture, but of utmost importance. One ramjet powered wing, placed in a wind tunnel setup: Let me start at the beginning This concept is based on the use of ramjet engines. Not to be mistaken by the pulse jet (like on the V1), the rocket engine or jet engine. The jet engine is capable of compressing air by itself and can thus create thrust from stand still. The ramjet however needs speed (or air to be blown in the engine). This does not happen when it’s standing still on the ground. The idea came from the French René Lorin back in 1913. He however lacked the proper materials to make it work. Still, we call the concept of the ramjet after him: Lorin engine. The advantage of the ramjet is that it’s cheap, powerful and does not use up too much fuel. The concept of the ramjet was further developed by Hellmuth Walter in 1936 and research continued by Eugen Sänger and Focke Wulf throughout the war. Still the problem remained on how to get enough speed (or air) through the ramjets in order to get them started. A few ideas were suggested. A small external jet engine, simple engine with propeller and a rocket motor. The latter seems to have been preferred. So inside the ramjets on the tips of the rotating wings were small rocket engines. These were started first, and these gave the ramjets the airflow the needed. The rotating wings had variable pitch. During the first stage of the startup procedure the pitch would be zero. When the ramjets were activated by the rockets inside the pitch would gradualy be turned up, creating lift. It was important to prevent the wingtips to exceed mach 0.9. This could be managed by increasing the pitch, thus slowing the wings down, but creating more lift. Even though the shape and lay-out of the Triebflügel (Power Wing) looks alien, it made sense. The reason the Treibflügel concept made it a few steps beyond the drawing board (windtunnel stage) is because the material needed for the power consisted of low grade steel, and as said: the ramjet engines were fuel efficient. Also: it needed no runway, had an amazing climb rate (670 ft p/sec), high altitude capability, low weight, simplicity and was able to run on different types of fuel (as long as they could be vapourised). The landing procedure is still a little sketchy. The aircraft would vertically reverse into the ground and deploy it’s 5 wheels. 4 in each tail tip and one big wheel in the main fuselage. Concepts for a catching / hook device were also found (maybe for naval use), but not further worked out. In terms of armament a possibility would have been 2x MK103 (100 rounds each) and 2x MK151 (250 rounds each). With these teeth and a top speed of 620 mph this would have been a serious threat for American high altitude bombers… Onto the kit As soon as I posted an image of this kit, mentioning I would review it, some Facebook member yelled: Toy! Even though that seemed like an immature reaction at first, it made me think. This is a kit of something that never really existed. It never even made it to the mockup stage. This makes it more fiction than airplane and moves close to the realms of Star Wars. So when does a kit become toy or makes it to scale model? Is the Ho229 a toy? The Huckebein (which only made it to mockup)? I like to think of this kit as a small step beyond. I would model mine without paint and puttied rivets. Like many Me262’s and He162’s were found. To be honest: mdoelling this kit in winter, navy or eastern front camo is what will make this a toy (In my honest opinion). I search the net high and low and managed to find the Focke Wulf drawings (number 0310 240-004 and 005), dated September 30, 1944. These show the main shape and lines of the Triebflügel. Everything beyond that has had to be conjured through the years. There have been kits before. Like the resin Antaris 1/32 version, the Arba 1/48 resin version, the HUMA 1/72 version and the most recent: the Amusing Hobby 1/48 offering. A great kit by the way, reviewed by James Hatch here. It’s interesting to see how different companies interpret (and fill in the gaps) when it comes to rivets and panel lines. Here's a drawing showing some the insides, that give some idea of where panel lines would be situated: The only thing that eludes me is why Miniart places their range of aviation subjects in their armour line-up: scale 1/35. They even categorize this kit in their ‘What if?’ section alongside their Soviet Ball Tank. I can imagine (like the Tristar 1/35 Storch) that it makes a good subject for a diorama with US soldiers crawling all over it. But can the same be said of their Flettner? Or coming Rota? It’s as if they ignore the presence of a popular 1/32 aviation scale norm and set sail on their own journey. For me it’s not a problem, since this baby will be displayed alongside the Takom V2. The part breakdown of this kit is pretty simple. Forward and rear fuselage halves. Rotating wings in halves with variable pitch, open gunbay (which is a section where less imagination is needed, since we know it would carry 2x Mk103 and 2x Mk151) and a cockpit that feels like the cockpit of a He162. All in all the part count is very manageable. Tail sprue A: Instrument panel: Armoured seat: Rivet detail. I love the smooth surface and sharp detail: Tail sprue Ab: Nose sprue B: Opening for the gunbay: Gunbay detail: Sprue Ba: Cockpit tub: Some simplified detail, but this area will benefit from the spares box. Add your own rudder pedals, instruments, seatbelts. The cockpit does come with PE levers... Gear: Sprue Ca and Cb (2x) Armament: Mk103 cannon: Mk151 cannon (I will replace the nozzle for the Master barrel version), or you can drill out the holes with a fine drill: Sprue Db, Nose cone: Sprue Cd (2x) holding the wheels, tailplanes, gear parts: Rudder pedal. We will replace this for a PE version: Sprue C (3x), ramjet and wing: Ramjet detail: Sprue D, Clear parts, including the Revi gunsight. Even if it's in 35th scale, I will replace this for a Quickboost version: Photo etch parts. I think I'll only use the levers Decals: The red text looks to be 'What if' too. I can't make out what it says I love the instructions. Nothing fancy. Clear and comprehensible: Schemes: Air Defense of Berlin 1945 All aluminium with puttied rivets and panel lines. 5thpre-production model in one of the training fighter aviation schools. Germany 1945. An all red brown appearance with a large V5 marking. Jagdgeschwader 333, Eastern Front, 1947 This is where we enter the realm of Star Wars… Jagdgeschader 54 “Grünherz”. Eastern front, winter of 1946. A winter camo version. Zerstörrergeschader 1. Germany 1945-1946 With the Bf110 Wespe art on the nose. Aircraft carrier “Hermann Göring”. Mediterranean, 1947. Based on the concept notes of landing this aircraft by a catching hook device. Verdict This kit has balls. It’s based on mere drawings and an idea. All panel lines, cockpit layout, smaller details, are interpreted by looking at other subjects. There is a pretty big market for Luft ’46 subjects and this will be a bulls eye if you ask me. Even if the scale is not compatible with the usual 1/32 scale. The night fighter version of this kit, is a step too far if you ask me, since this is already a step beyond where a scale modeler would go. The first scheme in the instructions (all aluminium with puttied rivets and panel lines) would be my choice (air defence of Berlin). The quality of the plastic, decals, research, creativity needs to be applauded and I can only hope their ‘What if’ series expands. A Huckebein? Lippisch? Bring it on! Word of warning: There is an error in the instructions Aaron Scott pointed out. Do not glue the armoured seat backplate before you install the top part of the cockpit! A special thanks to Miniart for supplying the review sample. Stay tuned for a build of this subject here on LSM!
1:48 Focke-Wulf Triebflügel WWII German VTOL Fighter Amusing Hobby Catalogue # 48A001 The Focke-Wulf Triebflügel, or Triebflügeljäger, literally meaning "thrust-wing hunter", was a German concept for an aircraft designed in 1944, during the ﬁnal phase of World War 2 as a defence against the ever-increasing Allied bombing raids on central Germany. It was a vertical take-off and landing tail-sitter interceptor design for local defence of important factories or areas which had small or no airﬁelds. The Triebflügel had only reached wind-tunnel testing when the Allied forces reached the production facilities. No complete prototype was ever built. The design was particularly unusual. It had no wings, and all lift and thrust were to be provided by a rotor/propeller assembly, a third of the way down the side of the craft. When the aircraft was sitting on its tail in the vertical position, the rotors would have functioned similarly to a helicopter. When ﬂying horizontally, they would function more like a giant propeller. The three rotor blades were mounted on a ring assembly supported by bearings, allowing free rotation around the fuselage. At the end of each was a ramjet. To start the rotors spinning, simple rockets would have been used. As the speed increased, the ﬂow of air would have been sufﬁcient for the ramjets to work and the rockets would expire. The pitch of the blades could be varied with the effect of changing the speed and the lift produced. Fuel would be carried in fuselage tanks and piped through the centre support ring and along the rotors to the jets. A cruciform empennage at the rear of the fuselage comprised four tailplanes, ﬁtted with moving ailerons that would also have functioned as combined rudders and elevators. The tailplane would have provided a means for the pilot to control a tendency of the fuselage to rotate in the same direction as the rotor, caused by the friction of the rotor ring, as well as controlling ﬂight in pitch, roll and yaw. A single large and sprung wheel in the extreme end of the fuselage provided the main undercarriage. Four small castor wheels on extensible struts were placed at the end of each tailplane to steady the aircraft on the ground and allow it to be moved. The main and outrigger wheels were covered by streamlined clamshell doors when in ﬂight. When taking off, the rotors would be angled to give life in a similar manner to a helicopter. Once the aircraft had attained sufﬁcient altitude the pilot would tilt it over into level ﬂight. The rotors continued spinning in level ﬂight maintaining 220 rpm at the aircraft's maximum forward speed. Forward ﬂight required a slight nose-up pitch to provide some upward lit as well as primarily forward thrust. Consequently, the four cannon in the forward fuselage would have been angled slightly downward in relation to the centreline of the fuselage. To land, the craft had to slow its speed and pitch the fuselage until the craft was vertical. Power could then be reduced, and it would descend until the landing gear rested on the ground. This would have been tricky and a probably dangerous manoeuvre, given that the pilot would be seated facing upward and the ground would be behind his head at this stage. The kit This is Amusing Hobby’s first ever aircraft release in any scale, and it’s not only an unusual subject, but extremely welcome for those of us that like something a little esoteric. This is the first injection plastic kit of this subject in this scale, as far as I can see. In the past we have had 1:48 resin kits from the likes of Arba, Planet Models and Reheat, all of varying quality and standards. A new-tool kit of modern tool standards is definitely an exciting addition. The kit itself comes in a relatively small box with an artwork showing two Triebflügel in flight, and apparently not long from take-off due to the angle of the machines. This kit has bubbling on the back burner for a little while now, as is evident from the artwork which is dated 2017. Lifting the lid reveals EIGHT sprues of tan-coloured styrene and a single clear sprue. Although the sprues aren’t generally bagged separately, they are packaged with multiples in the same sleeve. It’s evident from the outset that this isn’t a complicated model and could be a nice, quick project. A decal sheet is included, as is a short instruction manual. No PE is included in this release. Whilst the cockpit opening is quite small and you won’t be able to see too much in there, no seatbelts are supplied, so I do suggest you source some aftermarket solution. Sprue A Our first sprue contains the four clear parts on this release. Two of these are for the canopy (windscreen and hood), plus the gunsight reflector. Two of these are provided, so you have a spare. The canopy can be posed either open or closed, and framing looks well-defined, therefore easy to mask the transparency before painting. No masks are supplied, so you may have to look towards an Eduard release for those. Clarity on all parts is also excellent. Sprue B (x3) These three sprues cater to the rotors and jet engines for the aircraft, with one of each on each sprue. The rotor foils themselves are very simple in construction, being built from an upper and lower panel. Surface detail is exquisite and very, very fine. Each jet engine comprises a fan, intake vane, 2-part main body shell and a forward cowl. The main body is recessed to neatly accept the rotor tip. There are two other parts on here which aren’t on the instructions. One is a small ring and the other, a compete impellor face. Sprue C (x4) Where the Triebflügel has three rotors, for stability, it has four fins that create the cruciform appearance of the rear fuselage. Each fin is supplied as halves, and within this, fits a gear support leg that can be positioned to suit either a gear-down or in-flight scenario. A gear fork and wheel then fit to the end of this. Clamshell gear covers are also supplied. When on the ground, these fold back 90 degrees out of the way of the ground. Sprue D This is the largest of the sprues and contains all of the parts for the fuselage, cockpit and central landing gear. Building commences with the cockpit which is built into the separate nose section. The office comprises an integral floor and rear bulkhead, onto which sit the consoles, rudder pedals and pedal bar, control stick, pilot seat, instrument panel and rear coaming. A gunsight is also provided. There are no seatbelts with this kit, so you’ll need to source some. Whilst fuselage detail is superb, there isn’t any sidewall detail within. It might be a good idea to add a little styrene or spare colour PE components to make it a little busier there, especially as the canopy can be posed open. Four gun muzzle tubes also fit to the exterior. The fuselage itself is split into three sections; nose, rotating ring assembly, and the rear fuselage/tail unit. There are two discs on this sprue which fit to a separate rotor mounting unit, which will then allow it to be positioned by the modeller. The rear unit consists of halves into which a bulkhead is fitted, and then the central landing gear wheel. None of the wheels are weighted, so you might want to fix that. Again, a clamshell unit is supplied which would have enveloped the main wheel when in flight. They thought of everything! The last parts here are a whip aerial and a DF loop. All details across these parts is very good, with perhaps just the pilot seat letting it down a little. I think I’ll make a few changes here. Externally, detail consists of delicate panel lines and access ports, plus some very subtle riveting. I really do like this one. Miscellaneous One part was originally moulded to the exterior of another sprue but has been removed for safety. This slide-moulded part forms the rotating fuselage ring into which the rotors and their jet engines will plug. Just a minimum of clean-up is required here. Decals A single decal sheet is provided in this release, covering four scheme subjects. No instrument or stencils are supplied; this is a pure scheme sheet. There is nothing on this sheet to suggest where they are printed, but overall quality looks very good, with minimal carrier film, solid colour, and perfect registration. You can have a good rummage through the various markings and come up with something quite unique due to the variety of national insignia. No swastikas are included (surprise, surprise!), so if you want to add them, you’ll need to look through your spares box. Instruction Manual and scheme sheets This eight-page manual is all that’s needed to cover such a simple assembly job. Construction is shown over 10 stages spanning just 4 pages. Everything is perfectly clear to understand. I can’t see any problems arising. The four schemes are included as two separate fold-out sheets with all profiles supplied. Colour references are supplied for AMMO paints. AMMO have worked in conjunction with Amusing Hobby on this release. Conclusion For a first foray into aircraft, Amusing Hobby has sort of stuck to their leftfield approach to subject matter, and again, a machine which we’ve been crying out for in injection-moulded plastic. The model is superbly and simply engineered with a very passable cockpit (albeit, sand seatbelts), exquisite surface detail, and excellent moulding standards. It also looks very easy to assemble and shouldn’t provide the modeller with any issues, if their test shot imagery is anything to go by! As this aircraft never existed, you can also play around with the supplied schemes, or create something even more esoteric. In all, a lovely looking kit that I can’t wait to dive into! Watch out for my build in a forthcoming issue of Model Airplane International magazine. My sincere thanks to Amusing Hobby and Kai for sending this kit out for review. Available very soon from your favourite model retailer!