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Arado 234 Nachtigall on Speed

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Hola fellow Modellistas,

after some positive resonance in another thread, I will do a WIP about my build of the Fly Arado 234. I bought the kit some years ago and always had the itch to built it soon and as a nightfighter.B-2N version. Now, that ZM announced a new 234, I felt it is about time to build mine without being tempted to buy a new one. I call that, err, stash management :D.

I always had a soft spot for the sleek and slender silhouetted Arado jet. It's technical advantages, design and engineering makes it a standout. Generally I don't really much enjoy to build German subjects, but some are so fascinating, that I make an exception.

The kit looks great in the seemingly small box, the plastic is a little crude in spots and the amount of cleanup is a little higher, than with some of the usual suspects, but nothing to worry about. The resin parts are breathtaking in detail and seem to fit very good to the plastic. on some of the bigger parts it's not even necessary to remove the pouring stubs.

I will not bore you with a review, because James made a brilliant one in our place in the web. This is a different version of the 234, but all the main components are the same. 

There is not a lot of AM around and I will use the masks from Fly, seatbelts from HGW, a Neptun antler from Master and last but not least the Yahu Cockpit set, which is not a PE IP-board, but single bezels with dials. This is clever, as the kit provided are good and very visible and the different panels which consist of instruments are in various different places in the cockpit. The dials and bezels are printed in Colour and in a very shiny finish, and the manual recommends, that you cover some flat base on the bezels and keep the dials like they are in high gloss finish.

I also have the two Kagero monographs along, which show a lot of plans, renderings and pics, but unfortunately don't show the night fighter layout. An here is where the trouble starts. I have no idea, how the window of the operator in the back looks. Even the Fly boxart of two different issues show a rectangle window on mine and a oval window on the actual version. If somebody can enlighten me, I will be pleased.



The Yahu set



Being a short run kit without locator pins test fitting is a lot and so I cleant the mayor components and was positively surprise, be the seemingly good fit.




I decided to start with the surgery of the fuselage and canopy, because if I would have had a mayor fail here, there would have been no WIP.

First was the fuselage opening for the operator in the back. It is necessary to remove a rectangle part from the fuselage, to insert the provided clear part. I used dynotape for the borders and cut with a saw and scalpels.


After a little sanding it looks like this.



And here is a little preview of what's in the fuselage. The backward facing place of the operator is supplied in resin parts, which seem to fit without cutting and grinding, splendid.
I only cut the cast block of the backward bulkhead, only to get the opening in it into the fuselage.




The second area of surgery was the canopy and it proved to be not too easy. you have to drill elliptical holes for the struts which carry the Neptun radar. Boy, how I hate to drill, grind and cut into clear parts. I used the measurements in the manual and copied them onto Kabuki tape onto the canopy. Then I drilled and grinded. You have to be precise while doing it, anticipating the angle of the struts.



The result looks like this. The upper struts are a bit to much to the back, but I hope, I can arrange the struts properly, because filling and drilling again is no option. I did all these surgeries, before applying a coat of Future to the cockpit, which hopefully enhances the clearness and makes applying the provided decals trouble free. Like James, I firstly wanted to open the front and rear canopy, but after the drilling job, I'm not that sure anymore. While cutting the fuselage with the dynotape, I noticed black residues after removing the tape, a killer for a clear canopy. So for now, the bird will stay closed up.


That's where I am now, reading my books about the 234. Be warned, that will not be a fast build, because there are others in line and I will do it proper.

Hasta pronto

Cheers Rob


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Muchas gracias Hombres,

19 hours ago, Ryan said:

Man, super cool!

Yeah Ryan, it is a super cool plane and tres cool kit.

18 hours ago, Mikester said:

Cool project!  I have the 1/32 MDC resin kit of this one that I purchased from his Royal Baldness (Jim).  One of these days....

Thanks Mike, I never looked for the MDC one, but will gather some information about it.

12 hours ago, Wumm said:

It's a great start Doc,

You've done the hard things first, so hopefully all well for the rest of this kit.

Thanks Wumm, exactly doing the hard things first is my general approach on kits, specially mixed media kits. If something goes terribly wrong it is the way to the bin without wasting to much time and effort.

9 hours ago, BlrwestSiR said:

Great start on the hard bits Rob. I don't recall any real issues on my build. I did make some changes to the nose to better reflect what you see in the Kagero books

Thanks Carl. The cockpit will be up next and I will dig in the books too. Definitely planned is wiring the instruments.

Cheers Rob

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Hola Senhores,

today I took all my cojones together and did more of the feared surgery work on the clear canopy. I want the cockpit to be open, so it had to be. 
I used some Kabuki tape for the borders and added Dynotape on the Kabuki. I did that, because the Dynotape left some black marks on the fuselage after removal. 
For cutting I used first a scalpel and then different kind of 0,1mm razor saws, because I want to use the cut rectangle as the opened canopy roof. After a nerve tangling hour, I'm now in line for a whiskey to cool down a little. What a relief, I didn't broke the canopy nor did I leave scratches.





I then glued the halved wheels together and evaluated, if I use them or if I source some resin substitutes.
Dimension wise the wheels seem a little bit off, if the Kagero book is correct.
The main wheels have a diameter of 29 mm, where 29,9 would have been right, the front wheel should have been 17,92 mm in diameter and is 18,7 mm.

Getting resin wheels, specially with a diamond pattern seems not too easy and therefore I measured all my German resin wheels. The closest was the Do-335 wheel wich has a diameter of 31 mm.

The kit wheels don't look too bad, so I might use these after flattening them a little.



Cheers Rob

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I've got one question for the experts here. In the pic you see the transparent part, covering the radio operators workplace. It seems, that only the oval part is transparent. But which part is opening for entering. Only the oval, or the whole rectangle?

I'd appreciate every information you possibly have, my Kagero books are no help here, because they didn't cover the nightfighter variant.

Cheers Rob 


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23 minutes ago, HubertB said:

I am anything but a specialist of Swastika-bearing aircrafts, but the logic would have the whole panel opening, with an oval window in the middle ...


Thanks Hubert, without evidence I had the same thought, given the rectangular openings in the reconnaissance variant fuselage for removing the cameras. 

Cheers Rob

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I would go the other way...

For structural integrity, I would expect that there would be a panel cut similar to the one shown between bulkhead 15 and 16, with the smaller glass pane situated within. For me, it would put too much strain on the airframe to have this whole top panel removable, along with the lower panel for access to the fuel cell.



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11 hours ago, Wumm said:

I would go the other way...

Thanks Wumm, you possibly could argue both ways. I found no real evidence, being it one way or the other.
What I found is a pic of the internal structure of a wooden mock up build. It shows, that there is no internal structure at the top of the fuselage behind the bulkhead of the backwards fuel tank (That is where the camera compartments were in the reconnaissance version. The upper hatches for the cameras have differently shaped outlines, than either the oval window or the full upper fuselage segment. They are bigger than the oval, rectangular with rounded edges.
The oval opening for the night fighter version (measured from the kit part) would have been about 60 cm x 53 cm. A very narrow hatch to an already cramped space. Not easy to access, with a flight suit and an attached parachute.

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8 hours ago, BlrwestSiR said:

Rob, nice job cutting the canopy open. I was too chicken to try it. 

For the main wheels, AMS Resin makes some. I have the smooth ones but I think he may have made treaded ones as well.

Hehe, thanks Carl, I almost chickened out myself, but for the fixated idea to leave the well detailed cockpit open to show everything in it. The very thick canopy is good, because of it's stability while sawing, but it takes some time to get through with trembling hands.

I know about the AMS wheelsets, smooth and threaded, but they seam not easy to source. Living on a little island with a dedicated tax system has it's benefits, but lots of vendors don't deliver here.

3 hours ago, GazzaS said:

Wow...  Interesting project and a nice start, Rob.  I know only too little about this machine.  But I'll be glad to watch.

Thanks Gaz, be my guest :D, The Nachtigall, of which existed only a few for testing purpose and the Arado 234 in general are really interesting subjects technically. A milestone in engineering, a twin engine layout and fast enough to outpace every allied plane in midair. The engineers didn't bother to install defensive weapons except some backward firing cannons for tests, which proved unsuccessful and therefore where not added anymore.
The reconnaissance version flew so high, with very little vibrations, that the delivered images where crystal sharp. There is lots to tell about that bird, which always fascinated me. By the time the Fly kit hit my radar, I knew I had to get one and I suspect, that a future one from ZM might not be looking better oob. The resin of the Fly kit is marvelous and the plastic is ok. The ZM may be easier to build, but until now, I found nothing too difficult to achieve on that Fly kit until now, beeing a short run one. If you do the reconnaissance version, even the needed surgery is limited.

Cheers Rob

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With respect to the radar operator`s station I recommend to see pictures and read explanations in the German JET & PROP Heft 6/95 pages 40 and 41.

These pictures are too poor to show here. But go to https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/arado-ar-234-projects-and-variants.5631/#lg=thread-5631&slide=4

Clear is that this aircraft version called "Nachtigall" existed. A description you can find here https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/arado-ar-234-projects-and-variants.5631/#lg=thread-5631&slide=5. Hope this helps. 

Cheers Alfons

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1 hour ago, abbadur said:

With respect to the radar operator`s station I recommend to see pictures and read explanations in the German JET & PROP Heft 6/95 pages 40 and 41

Thank you Alfons and by the way welcome to one of the friendliest and most helpful corners of the web, concerned large scale modelling.
I will dig into your link later and might try to get my hands on that old Jet & Prob mag.
My sources leave me to think that four to five Nachtigall Arados where built and flight. The Kagero book states firstly there were two converted from the reconnaissance version. Later one of those crashed and three (more?) formed a unit which tried to hunt Mosquitos, but without success.
Generally the suitability to the nightfighter role was put into question by the pilots, because of lots of light refractions in the huge canopy and the lack of frontal armor.

Cheers Rob 

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  • 6 months later...

Sloooww progress with the Nachtigall, It seems like there is always some destruction needed with every step in this build. As the cockpit is very visible under the glass canopy, I decided to use the Yahu instruments for this build. Yes, it's not an IP, it's single dials and bezels, because of the different panels where the gauges have to be built in. The manual suggests, that you should drill a 1mm hole in the middle of each instrument, get rid of the plastic instruments and then place the sandwiched dial and bezel in place. Before that, as suggested, I sprayed al the bezel frames with a matte coat. The dials are produced in high shine glossy finish, to reproduce the glass.

Cheers Rob


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8 hours ago, harv said:

Thanks Rob. Great work so far.....harv :popcorn:

Thanks Harv, it will be slow work, and I guess it will be prolonged by in between builds, but it is one of the 'it has to be finished kits for me.

4 hours ago, BlrwestSiR said:

I like the individual instruments. That way you don't have to worry about matching the panel colour to the rest of the cockpit.

I like that arrangement for the 234 too, on a really busy single IP it would be a pain to get all the instruments aligned, but here it is the perfect solution and you don't have to worry about matching RLM 66.

Because of the delicate nature of gluing tiny bezel frames onto the shiny dials, I want to try Future instead of CA here. Has anyone tried this, I don't want to have loose bezels in my cockpit.

I checked the Yahu instruments against the Kagero renderings and found obvious differences only for two types of instruments, Yahu 'R' (U/min) has a red and white bezel, which makes perfect sense, while the Kagero renderings show them black. Yahu's 'T' has a black bezel, where Kagero has them yellow (Whatever-pressure gauges).

Cheers Rob

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