Heller Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg in 1/72 Scale

The Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg was a manned version of the V-1 missile, intended to be flown by the “Leonidas Squadron”, V. Gruppe of the Luftwaffe’s Kampfgeschwader 200.  Nominally the pilot was intended to parachute from the aircraft before impact, but chances of survival were slim, at best. Approximately 175 were produced although none were actually used in combat.

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Heller Bachem Ba 349 Natter in 1/72 Scale

The Bachem Ba 349 Natter was a single-use point defense interceptor.  It was a desperate attempt to defend Germany against Allied bomber streams.  The Natter was powered by a Walter HWK 109-509C-1 liquid rocket engine supplemented by four Schmidding SG 34 solid rockets for take-off.  The Natter was constructed of wood and was designed to be disposable.  Armament consisted of 33 R4M rockets in the nose.  It was to be launched vertically when Allied bombers were overhead, flying into the bomber formation and launching its rockets.  The pilot was then to glide clear, the aircraft separating and both the pilot and rocket engine were to return by parachute.

The first manned launch resulted in the death of the test pilot, Lothar Sieber.  Subsequent manned launches were successful.  Several Natter were produced.  Most were expended in testing, none were used operationally.

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Curtiss SBC-3 Helldiver in 1/72 Scale

The Curtiss SBC Helldiver was the last biplane dive bomber used by the United States Navy.  It was replaced in Fleet service by the famous SBD Dauntless right at the end of the “Yellow Wings” era.  This is a kitbash of the 1/72 scale Heller and Matchbox kits of the Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver, built with an Engines & Things resin engine and Starfighter interior and decals.  It was backdated to the earlier SBC-3 configuration using the Starfighter conversion set.

The model is in the markings of the commander of VB-6, the dive bomber squadron assigned to the USS Enterprise (CV-6) in 1940.  The tail color assigned to Enterprise aircraft was blue, and the ship’s call sign “Blue Base” was a reflection of this.  There is color film of this aircraft launching from Enterprise in the Hollywood film “Dive Bomber”.

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Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver in 1/72 Scale

This is a kitbash of the 1/72 scale Heller and Matchbox kits of the Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver, built with a Quickboost resin engine and Starfighter interior and decals.

The SBC-4 represents a Marine aircraft from VMO-151, they flew from May 1942 until July 1943 in defense of Samoa. They would obviously have had a very tough time against Japanese carrier groups in the SBC, so they hoped to catch the enemy off-guard:

“The War Plan to repel the expected Japanese attack was not particularly orthodox. We assumed the approach of the Japanese invasion force would be detected and shadowed by U.S. submarines. When the force was in range, not radius, of the SBC-4, we would launch all available aircraft and fly out to the attack. Obviously, on the return flight, the SBCs would run out of gas and ditch in the ocean. Then, the commanding General’s PBY-5A would land in the water and pick up the crews. I’m not sure if the plan would call for an open ocean take-off, but it certainly was not the sort of plan that inspired confidence in our survival.”

– Col. John B. Berteling, USMC, Ret., in SBC Helldiver in Action, Squadron Signal Publications.

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