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1:35 Rheinmetall-Borsig Flugabwehrrakete Rheintöchter R-III


James H

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1:35 Rheinmetall-Borsig Flugabwehrrakete Rheintöchter R-III
CustomScale
Catalogue # 35019
Available from CustomScale for €89.00

 

 

 

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Germany produced some of the weirdest and not-so-wonderful weapons of the war, and most certainly some of the most frightening, in terms of possibility. There's truth in the fact that adversity influences innovation, and whilst some nations still operated biplanes in 1939, it's a chapter which ended with jet and rocket flight, and ultimately with the atomic bomb. On the positive side, many of those innovations, borne out of desperation, are still with us today in some form. Technologies which Germany played with in terms of aircraft design can be seen in modern military aircraft, and even in commercial airliners. Looking purely at the military side of things, the surface to air missiles which are a common weapon in today's military arsenals can be traced directly back to their origins in Germany's experimental weapons trials which were conducted throughout the war.

 

Enter the Rheintöchter. Whilst the name 'Rhine Maiden' might have sounded quaint (derived from the Wagner opera), its use was to be far more sinister. Whilst not actually used in anger, the very premise of the weapon would have shaken Allied bomber crews to their core, had they been deployed. The Rheintöchter was a multi-stage, solid fuel rocket which was designed to launch from ramps and gun platforms, and even possibly from a launch plane. Whilst the rocket had many test firings, it was thankfully never used in anger, although its concept heralded in a whole new deadly era in weapons technology.

 

The fact that CustomScale have now released the Rheintöchter as a resin kit goes to prove there's very little that escapes the keen eye of the resin manufacturers in our hobby. I must admit that when I was looking at the German experimental rockets at RAF Cosford, it never dawned on me just how cool these would be if produced in kit form, but now I am about to find out.

 

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CustomScale's Rheintöchter R-III kit comes in a sturdy, top-opening corrugated card box, with an attractive colour label on the lid, depicting the finished model. Very attractive it looks too. Inside the box, four zip-lock wallets contain all of the smaller resin parts, whilst there are five larger components, individually protected by a bubble-wrap sleeve. Don't let the relative simplicity of the finished model deceive you. There is a reasonable amount of construction to negotiate here. The first thing I looked at was the set of instructions, which we'll come to later. I found these a little lacking, to be honest, and I do think you need to consult the box imagery in order to clarify proceedings.

 

The first bag I come to contains the Rheintöchter's solid rocket boosters which are attached to the sides of the main rocket body. These are individually cast, with sharp, circumferential rib detail. Several casting blocks contain the booster's rocket nozzles, which are neatly cast with nice thin walls.

 

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There are four main fins for the Rheintöchter, and two of these appear to have a streamlining fairing on their tips. I might be wrong about the function of these. Detail, where applicable (fins were wooden on the actual rocket) is good, but my sample suffers from a deep scratch on one fin, and that of course will need to be filled and sanded back. Other parts included in this packet are for the forward stabilising fins, rocket launch arm parts, a couple of unidentified blocks which look like casting blocks without parts, and a number of other small parts; also unidentified. I will need to contact CustomScale to clarify what these are.

 

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The remaining packets contain an absolute mass of resin parts which construct the aiming and targeting equipment, as well as the elevating ratchet and hinged brackets which allow the platform stabilising arms to be deployed or folded away. Indeed, you can see. A number of parts on my sample seem to have remnants of rubber mould on them, BUT it also appears that I have been given what appear to be a second set of duplicate parts, and these are debris-free. I can't see any other reason for multiples, and it certainly seems that way, with additional parts being included where I know only a single element will be used. Whether this set is directly from the shelf, or put aside for review, it's good to know that CustomScale accept that some parts might not have been to standard, so included extras in there for you to work with.

 

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No such extra parts are given with the larger, bubble-wrapped components, but having said that, there is no casting debris to be been here. You will, however, need a large piece of abrasive paper. The base of the unit, into which the two folding stabiliser arms fit, has a full span casting block on the underside of the part, and this isn't even. With some care, this can be neatly ground back to the nicely defined lower edge ridge. There are a few minor bubbles to fill on this 'trailer' format part, and you'll need to touch them up a little with some filler.

 

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The rocket launching arm/ramp is really very good, with domed rivets on the exterior and structural elements within, even though you won't easily see this when built. There is a little damage to one of my parts, with a small section of resin missing, but I can replace this very easily. Both side faces of this arm are held apart by a top cap strip. Casting of these parts is nice and thin, and detail is really very good.

 

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Quality of the rotating base which supports the firing ramp, is a little hit and miss. Detail across both parts is very good, with some flash to remove here and there. One external face of one part does have some crazing in it, and it's perhaps a little more than micro-filler/primer would cope with. What makes this a little more difficult is the detail in and around this area. I've mentioned this to CustomScale and they will send a replacement with my next review samples package. No qualms, and very happy to sort it out for me.

 

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Onto the last two pieces. One of these forms the pivot base which separates the two arms holding the firing ramp. Detail here is minimal by design, and one of the locking clasps has broken away. The detail there is very fine, so I'm not too surprised. As pivot detail is present on both upper and lower sides, the casting block is connected to the edge of the part via a resin wall which needs cutting away.

 

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Finally, we have the main event; the body of the Rheintöchter rocket itself. This is cast as a single part, from the warhead down to the exhaust. The latter is cast hollow, and to a reasonable depth too, and detail over the whole part is very good, with the various hardware attachment parts, lugs and stage section panel lines being very neat. A very reasonable job has also been made of the seams too, with only a small length of the rear seam needing more work that the rest.

 

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I have previously said this, but the instructions are the real weak link here. Several sheets of A4 paper are included which contain rough, hand-drawn sketches of part assembly, and don't really seem to take into account the whole parts count. There is also no text notation on them, and the drawings aren't very clear when it comes for accounting for all the resin you get. I would check the box image against any reference photos you may be able to find online.

 

Conclusion
Whilst some of my text seems to bemoan the lack of real instruction and some damage to parts, in the whole, this is a very nice kit of a very unusual subject. That in itself makes this one of those models which you simply have to build at some point. CustomScale have been very helpful when it came to the defects I found here, and I imagine they will be equally as helpful with regard to further constructional information. Resin casting quality is above average, and is indicative of smaller resin manufacturers. It's by no means perfect, but if you are tackling something like this, I will assume that your skill level will allow you to overcome any hurdles with relative ease.

 

Recommended

 

My sincere thanks to CustomScale for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

***Keep an eye out on the CustomScale site, as their e-shop will be online soon. Email them for details about purchase***

 

James H

 

 

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