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Fa330 Bachsteize (Wagtail)

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The Fa330 Bachsteize (Wagtail) always interested me as a unique aircraft with an equally unique mission.  This was towed aloft to about 400ft (120m) by the U-Boat so the pilot could see beyond the horizon view (25 nautical miles) and report any enemy activity.  Stored in 2 water tight compartments by the conning tower a team of 3 can assemble and disassemble the Fa330 in about 20 minutes. 
U-boat commanders disliked the Fa330 as the prolonged time on surface make their boat venerable to an air strike or detection by enemy ships.  The Fa330 was abandoned in the North Atlantic due to allied air superiority but continued use in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
The only recorded successful use of the Fa330 was 5 August 1943 by U-177 on the Indian Ocean off the coast east of Madagascar.  Greek merchant ship Efthalia Mari was observed by U-177's Fa330.  U-177 proceeded to intercept the Efthalia Mari and sink her with 2 torpedoes.  Efthalia Mari lost 1 crew of 43. 
U-177 did not survive the war and was sunk 6 February 1944 in Atlantic west of Ascension Island by an American P4BY-1 Liberator.  U-177 lost 50 crew of 65.
Not a easy build as there was plenty of angst and head scratching moments.  This build also gave me an opportunity to practice rigging as a WNW bird will be landing on my bench soon.  WIP link here.

Build Details

  • Replaced over a dozen tubes with styrene rod
    • .5mm
    • .4mm
    • .3mm
  • Scratch
    • All Grab Handles on frame and underside rotors
    • Cleats on skids
    • Parachute Pack and all straps
    • Turnbuckles on Outriggers on top of rotor hub
    • Pitot Tube and mount
    • Instrument Panel mounts
    • Foot Pedal and Straps
  • Rigging & Cables
    • INFINI Medium 110 (.121mm) Black Lycra thread
    • EZ Line Medium
    • ANYZ Black .5mm Braided thread
    • Brown .4mm Braided thread
    • RB Productions P32023 Turnbuckles
    • GasPatch Rigging eyelets
  • Albion Aluminum Slide Fit Tubes
    • .3mm
    • .5mm
    • .7mm
  • Gunze
    • RLM 66
    • RLM 76
    • RLM 81
  • Vallejo
    • 306 Dark Rubber
  • Tamiya
    • XF86 Flat Clear
  • MiG Washes
    • Dark Wash
  • Decals
    • MDC Luftwaffe Instrument Dial
  • HGW
    • Luftwaffe Textile Belts

Thank you all for your encouragement and support during this build. 

I don't get many opportunities to follow and respond to many of the awesome builds on this site.  I wish I had the time to as there and many exceptional projects going on here at any given moment.













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Flying/sailing the Bachstelze must have been very close to flying with a jet belt for it's time. Not a lot of material around the pilot an no protection at all. Must be fierce to be the pilot in rough conditions say in the northern Atlantic area.
Your rendition shows this fragility perfectly, with all the detail work and the rigging. You made a piece of art out of that tiny kit.

Cheers Rob

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