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1/32 Fly Models Ar 234 B-2 Reconnaissance Bomber


JeroenPeters
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1/32 Arado Ar 234 B-2

German Reconnaissance Bomber


Fly   

kit # 32003


Available from Fly for € 55,- / 78 dollars

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Antennae loop:

 

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Resin:

 

Engine parts and Rato parachutes:

 

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Rato parachute:

 

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Cockpit parts:

 

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Undercarriage bay:

 

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Gear springer arms and bombrack details:

 

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Clear parts:

 

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The photo-etch:

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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).

 

 

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The decals:

 

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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.

 

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Arado Ar 234 S10, 140110/E2+20 used at Rechlin for tests with Hs 293 Missiles, October/December 1944

 

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Arado Ar 234 B-2, ex 140476/VK877 Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, winter 1945/46

 

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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.

 

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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:

 

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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

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I'll chime in with the nightfighter, Jeroen! I'm going to do the  Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140145, SM+FE, flown by Hptm. Bisping and Phtm. Vogel, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945 and will use the Master FuG-218 antennae.

 

Seriously? You're gonna build something? ;)

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I'll chime in with the nightfighter, Jeroen! I'm going to do the  Arado Ar 234B-2/N, W.Nr.140145, SM+FE, flown by Hptm. Bisping and Phtm. Vogel, Kommando Bonow, Oranienburg, 1945 and will use the Master FuG-218 antennae.

 

 

Seriously? You're gonna build something? ;)

 

ROFLMAO!

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Today Erik B. dropped in for a visit and brought with him the MDC Ar234. A great opportunity to compare the two kits and see what all the fuss is about.

Without further ado, here we go:

 

The wings match quite well when viewed from the top. The MDC wings show a bit more pronounced angle halfway down. Also the Fly wings don't feature the aileron and flap hinges, which are reproduced on the MDC wings. This should be an easy fix.

A more visible difference is the angle of attach. Fly being more thick and horizontal. The inner flap on the MDC kit is also a bit wider.

 

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The fuse matches quite well. Slight difference in cross section where the MDC is a bit more flat on the top. Also the Fly wheel well openings are a bit more forward. 

See photo's below for difference in wing root / angle of attack:

 

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The intakes and exhaust on Fly is smaller in diameter:

 

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The wheels have the same diameter. Actually the Fly wheels are quite nice. One thing that does show is the smaller diameter of the wheel hub on the MDC kit:

 

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The Rato packs. In reality these should have raised rivets. Neither kit features this. The MDC has maybe too smooth and delicate detail:

 

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And last the tail planes. The control surface should run all the way to the end of the tail plane. MDC is correct. Fly needs to be corrected, but thats easy:

 

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Cheers!

 

Erik & Jeroen

 

PS Erik... you forgot one MDC resin wheel. I'll take it to the next sticky afternoon.

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Perfect! Well, the differences I can see there are very easy to live with. I'll fix the elevator on my Fly kit, and add a small nozzle rig to the RATO pods.

 

To be fair, I think Fly made a very reasonable job of this. Thanks for taking one for the team.

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I presume that the MDC Ar 234B-2 is the more accurate. That presumption is based on the knowledge how "anal" (in the good sense of the word!) the pattern maker of MDC's kit; Radu Brinzan is on accuracy and the fact that Radu has got the elevators, flap and aileron hinges right and Fly don't. But still it's a presumption as we don't have access to Radu's research, so no hard proof! ;)

 

That said, the plan view of the wing is not that obvious as is the cross-section of the fuselage right behind the cockpit on the finished model. Because of the different angle-of-attack of the wing on the fuselage, the more horizontal positioning of the engine nacelles will be more visible.

 

So my recommendation would be:

1. If you find absolute accuracy important (presuming... you know... ;) ), have experience in building full resin kits and don't mind the price (GBP 129,95 on the MDC site:http://www.modeldesignconstruction.co.uk/mall/productpage.cfm/ModelDesignConstruction/_RBK32002/86930/Arado%20234b%20full%20kit%20by%20Radu%20Brinzan ) you should get the MDC kit. Beware of the resin transparencies though, they may/will contain air bubbles and irregularities.

 

2. If you can build a plastic model in the category of fitment like, say, a Monogram model of the '80's, and know how to fit a resin cockpit set and some photo-etch and can live with some shapes that are not totally spot-on, I would recommend the Fly model (+/- GBP 60,- incl. VAT from the Fly e-shop: http://shop.fly814.cz/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=33_59_95&products_id=825 ). 

 

PS I may be even a little bit too harsh on the "fitment à la Monogram 1980's"-bit. Just to say that it's a short-run injection-mould. 

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Radu,

Thank you for the clarification, I miss interpreted the photo on page 86  plus the incorrect scale drawing to state that they "appear" correct. The photo you posted is the NASM 234 which is the same as on pg. 86.  On a different note, like my new IAR 80/81 book & the IAR80 C conversion set.

 

Regards,

Vern

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  • 1 year later...

Quite some time since the last Post in this Thread.

You may have noticed that there is a PE-Cockpit-Detail-Set in the Market (Yahu YML-3201)

http://yahumodels.siemianowice.com/132-124

And there are Masks available for the clear parts (Fly NWAM0001)

http://shop.fly814.cz/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=41_53_108_46&products_id=832&language=en

 

I have the Nightfighter including the above mentioned Sets im my stash and I'm looking forward to build that bird

 

Greetings Rob

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