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1:32 Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)/V-1


James H

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1:32 Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)/V-1
Catalogue # SH32071
Special Hobby

Available from Special Hobby for €20,16

 

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The V-1 flying bomb (German: Vergeltungswaffe 1 "Vengeance Weapon 1")—also known to the Allies as the buzz bomb, or doodlebug, was an early cruise missile and the only production aircraft to use a pulsejet for power. It was developed at Peenemünde Army Research Centre in 1939. Due to its limited range, the thousands of V-1 missiles launched into England were fired from launch facilities along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landings in Europe. At peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at south-east England, 9,521 in total, decreasing in number as sites were overrun until October 1944, when the last V-1 site in range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces. After this, the V-1s were directed at the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched. The attacks stopped only a month before the war in Europe ended, when the last launch site in the Low Countries was overrun on 29 March 1945.

The V-1 had a fuselage constructed mainly of welded sheet steel and wings built of plywood, and the simple, Argus-built pulsejet engine pulsed 50 times per second, and the characteristic buzzing sound gave rise to the colloquial names "buzz bomb" or "doodlebug". The V-1 guidance system used a simple autopilot developed by Askania in Berlin to regulate altitude and airspeed. A weighted pendulum system provided fore-and-aft attitude measurement to control pitch, damped by a gyrocompass which also stabilized it. An odometer driven by a vane anemometer on the nose determined when the target area had been reached, accurately enough for area bombing. As the missile flew, the airflow turned the propeller, and every 30 rotations of the propeller counted down one number on the counter. The warhead was originally 1,000 kg of Amatol-39, later and the aluminised explosive Trialen, was later used. Fusing was by a triple fuse system. The main fuses were an electrical impact fuse and a mechanical backup impact fuse. These were immediate action fuses, the intention being to detonate the warhead on the first impact with the surface, rather than allowing itself to become buried first.

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By September 1944, the V-1 threat to England was temporarily halted when the launch sites on the French coast were overrun by the advancing Allied armies. 4,261 V-1s had been destroyed by fighters, anti-aircraft fire and barrage balloons. The last enemy action of any kind on British soil occurred on 29 March 1945, when a V-1 struck Datchworth in Hertfordshire. The British operated an arrangement of air defences, including anti-aircraft guns and fighter aircraft, to intercept the bombs before they reached their targets as part of Operation Crossbow, while the launch sites and underground V-1 storage depots were targets of strategic bombing.

The kit

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I know that there have already been 1:32 models of the V-1 produced before, but these have tended to be in resin, with the only injection kit being from Bronco, and in 1:35, which can be a little unpopular for aircraft modellers who craved this subject as a mainstream 1:32. Thankfully, Special Hobby recently announced such a kit and started to post some images of their new moulds and sprues on social media. As soon as this kit became available, yours truly asked Special Hobby if they’d send one out for review article, and here we are! Now, this is a relatively simple kit, as befits the subject, and it packaged into a standard Special Hobby lidded box with an nice image of a doomed V-1 crossing the white cliffs of Dover, being chased by a Gloster Meteor which will doubtless come and save the day. Inside the box, we have THREE light grey styrene sprues bagged within a single, re-sealable clear wallet, plus a small decal sheet and PE fret which are bagged together and slipped into the larger wallet. An instruction booklet completes the contents.

 

Sprue A

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We are straight into the game with this first sprue, containing just two parts. These are fuselage left and right-side halves. Note that these are moulded with integral pulse jet engine and fin/rudder. As I said, this is a relatively simple model, but will still of course require some patience and care in removing all of the seams due to the integral pulse jet etc. The fuselage is moulded without any nose cone, for reasons we’ll soon see. 

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Externally, the fuselage detail looks very neat, with raised rivets and weld lines, where applicable, and other raised port access details etc. There are some engraved panel lines too, and raised strap detail with rivets, again where appropriate, and the whole effort does convey the single-use nature of the V-1, with nothing being too pretty and finished in terms of aerodynamics (those weld seams etc.). In all, I think Special Hobby have made a very nice job of recreating this terror weapon’s external appearance. Internally, there is of course zero detail, except for moulded locating rides for the pulse jet internals.

 

Sprue B

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The wings of this model are a traditional affair with port and starboard upper and lower panels. Where this model differs though is that these wings can be posed either on or off the fuselage, depending on how you wish to finally display things. Each wing has a two-piece wing root insert, between which a tubular spar is fitted, as per the real V-1. This allows the modeller to slide the wings into position easily, using a moulded channel within each wing. Those wing panels are moulded with no surface detail which looks correct with photos of museum V-1 examples, but the wing tips are defined as separate as per the moulded items of the real thing. That main spar is also on this sprue, as are the single-piece port and starboard stabilisers, with integral elevators.

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Now, the reason for the nose of the fuselage being separate is that there are three options for this area. These are for the uncovered nose instruments area, a protective cover for these instruments, and also the standard nose onto which the small impellor fits. The impellor is also included on this sprue, but a PE alternative is also provided. 

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Also of note here are the internals for the pulsejet, including the intake screen. You will need to provide a small length of styrene rod for the intake area. 

 

Sprue C

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Apart from a fuselage stiffening strake which seems to have been added to the outside of this sprue as some sort of afterthought, the rest of this last sprue concerns the transportation trolley for the V-1. The main frame itself is moulded as a single piece and the wheels are moulded as halves which insert to their brackets before being added to the main frame. To hold the weapon in place, some shaped standoff formers are provided. The trolley also has a drag handle and tow handle, as well as a facility to hold the wing spar for the V-1, prior to fitting the wings. Extra trolley formers are designed to hold the wings in place before fitting.

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Photo Etch

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Only four parts are included here. These are for the two straps that tie the fuselage down onto the formers of the trolley, a PE impellor alternative, and a rudder actuator. Nicely made, these should present no problem in fitting.

 

Decals

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Just because this is a flying bomb doesn’t mean that there’s no decals! In fact, the Germans like to add stencils to just about anything, and this is no exception. Here you’ll find a whole suite of various stencils to adorn the V-1, including serials etc.

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Printing is good, with minimal carrier film and thin ink layers. Registration isn’t an issue here as all decals are printed in single colours.

The schemes given for this release are:

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Instructions

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This instruction booklet starts with a brief history of the V-1, and then into a handy parts map on the second page. Construction is broken down into 16 easy to follow stages, with some colour to denote PE etc. and clear annotation. Paint references are provided throughout and colour codes are supplied for Gunze paints.

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Conclusion
A very simple but superbly executed subject which is nicely designed and expertly moulded. The only real effort you need to make in construction is the removal of the fuselage seam. The options to build this with or without wings, and the additional trolley, certainly adds to your final display options of what is essentially just a bomb with wings. This is also a relatively inexpensive kit and should be a nice little mojo-restorer to those jaded with long, arduous and aftermarket-filled projects that bog us down from time to time. Get them while they’re hot!

My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for speedily getting this new release out for review here on Large Scale Modeller. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.

 

  

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