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JeroenPeters

1/35 Miniart Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor

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Focke-Wulf 
Triebflügel Interceptor

Kit# 40002

Miniart

 Available from Hannants for 43,99 pounds

treibflugel1.jpg 

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:

archives-trip-2-1823.jpg

Drawing of the ramjet:

archives-trip-2-1810.jpg

archives-trip-2-1825.jpg

Overall drawings. Damaged, but readable:

treib_sketch1.jpg

treib_sketch2.jpg

treib_sketch3.jpg

Drawing of the retractable landing gear:

treib_sketch4.jpg

Here's a not so clear picture, but of utmost importance. One ramjet powered wing, placed in a wind tunnel setup:

5treib.jpg

 

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). 

 treibflugel2.jpg

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:

6treib.jpg

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:

treibflugel3.jpg 

Instrument panel:

treibflugel4.jpg

Armoured seat:

treibflugel5.jpg

Rivet detail. I love the smooth surface and sharp detail:

treibflugel6.jpg

treibflugel7.jpg

treibflugel8.jpg

Tail sprue Ab:

treibflugel9.jpg

treibflugel10.jpg

Nose sprue B:

treibflugel11.jpg

Opening for the gunbay:

treibflugel12.jpg

treibflugel13.jpg

Gunbay detail:

treibflugel14.jpg

treibflugel20.jpg

treibflugel19.jpg

Sprue Ba: Cockpit tub:

treibflugel16.jpg

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...

treibflugel17.jpg

treibflugel18.jpg

Gear:

treibflugel21.jpg

Sprue Ca and Cb (2x) Armament:

treibflugel22.jpg

Mk103 cannon:

treibflugel23.jpg

Mk151 cannon (I will replace the nozzle for the Master barrel version), or you can drill out the holes with a fine drill:

treibflugel24.jpg

treibflugel25.jpg

Sprue Db, Nose cone:

treibflugel26.jpg

Sprue Cd (2x) holding the wheels, tailplanes, gear parts:

treibflugel27.jpg

treibflugel28.jpg

treibflugel29.jpg

Rudder pedal. We will replace this for a PE version:

treibflugel30.jpg

Sprue C (3x), ramjet and wing:

treibflugel31.jpg

treibflugel32.jpg

treibflugel33.jpg

Ramjet detail:

treibflugel34.jpg

treibflugel35.jpg

Sprue D, Clear parts, including the Revi gunsight. Even if it's in 35th scale, I will replace this for a Quickboost version:

treibflugel36.jpg

treibflugel37.jpg

treibflugel38.jpg

Photo etch parts. I think I'll only use the levers ;)

treibflugel47.jpg

 

Decals:

treibflugel39.jpg

treibflugel40.jpg

The red text looks to be 'What if' too. I can't make out what it says :)

treibflugel41.jpg

treibflugel42.jpg

I love the instructions. Nothing fancy. Clear and comprehensible:

treibflugel44.jpg

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.

 treibflugel43.jpg

treibflugel45.jpg

treibflugel46.jpg

 

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!

miniart.jpg 

 

 

 

 

treibflugel15.jpg

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This is right down my alley, not because it is some 'Luft 46' stuff, but because it might have flewn at least as a prototype. Maybe not for practical use, to complicated to start and land and not enough benefit to rectify the strange design. But I generally like obscure objects, real, semi real or complete fiction. To me the story told is important not the feasibility. I was a little disappointed to see the Triebflügel in 1/48 from Amusing Hobby with seemingly lack of detail. The Miniart offer though looks great and the strange choice of scale will not hinder me.

Thanks for the great review combined with your personal opinion Jeroen, I like it that way, not only facts but biased in an accountable and reasonable way.

Cheers Rob

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