Revell Horton Ho 229 Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

Revell Horten Ho 229 in 1/72 Scale

The Horten Ho 229 (also known as the Horten H.IX or Gotha Go 229) was designed to meet an RLM requirement for an aircraft capable of carrying a 1,000 kg bombload a radius of 1,000 km at a speed of 1,000 km/hr.  This “3 x 1,000” requirement was impossible to achieve with a propeller-driven aircraft, and challenging for a jet aircraft due to the high fuel consumption of the early engines.

The Horten brothers submitted a design for a flying-wing aircraft, which reduced drag considerably compared to a conventional layout.  Glider trials proved promising, and the design was refined by Gotha for mass production.  The first prototype flew on 02 February 1945.  Several additional test aircraft were in development when the war in Europe ended.  The V3 aircraft was brought to the United States after the war, it is currently under restoration at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The model is painted in an RLM 82 / 83 splinter camouflage derived from the pattern authorized for the Me 262.  Location of the “Yellow 2” individual aircraft markings is a guess, but locating them on the landing gear covers and boattail would allow the aircraft to be identified both in the air and on the ground so I thought it was plausible.

Revell Horton Ho 229 Re-build

This is an older build of Revell’s Horten Ho 229 flying wing. The model has not aged well, suffering the collapse of the landing gear which was the straw which broke the camel’s back. I also grew dissatisfied with the paint scheme, I had tried to duplicate “scale effect” by diluting the topside paint with white, but had gone too far and washed out the colors. I also applied too much chipping for a largely wooden airframe.
The underside shows the wing cross decals have yellowed badly. The upper wing decals had yellowed as well but were harder to see. I see this occasionally on a few of my older builds, but I’m not certain what causes it on some decals and not others.
I started by sanding off the bad decals and generally cleaning up the finish. I didn’t feel the need to strip the paint as it was generally adhering well and was laying smooth.
After consulting some photographs of the real thing I was able to figure out where all those landing gear pieces were supposed to go. However, I discovered that one of the nose wheel doors was missing and had to build a new one from sheet styrene. The Horten had always appeared to sit nose-high so I took the opportunity to shorten the nose wheel strut about 4 mm.
The Horten got a fresh coat of Mr. Color RLM 76 / 82 / 83, which looks much better than my previous attempt. I copied the splinter pattern on the wings from a Messerschmitt Me 262 but improvised a little on the center section.
Here is the underside with the new decals. The Mr. Color RLM 76 was a close enough match to the old Model Master paint I likely used so I was able to blend the outer wing panel in and leave the center area as is, which saved a lot of masking.
The new upper surface scheme is much better to my eye. One problem with this unusual configuration is where to locate the aircraft numbers and other markings. On this model there are no fuselage sides, so I put the aircraft numbers near the tail on the upper surface, and on the landing gear doors underneath. This would allow ground crew to see the numbers while on the airfield and the numbers would be visible on the underside with the gear retracted.

Dragon Arado E.381 Julia Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

The Arado E.381 project was symbolic of the desperate situation faced by the Third Reich in 1944.  Ever-increasing numbers of Allied aircraft pounded Germany both day and night, each raid reducing the ability to continue the war.  The Luftwaffe was on the defensive and was powerless to protect the Reich.  The Arado E.381 was designed to be easy to produce and operate.  The pilot lay prone in the aircraft, which was to be carried aloft by a conventional bomber to be released near an Allied bomber stream.  The E.381 was powered by a Walther HWK 109-509 liquid rocket engine and carried a single 30 mm cannon, the pilot was intended to make two firing passes before gliding clear and landing the aircraft on its belly skid.

Dragon Arado E.381 Julia Parasite Fighter Build

This sprue was included in one of the many re-boxings of Dragon’s Arado Ar 234. I had already built the Ar 234 as part of another project so the little E.381 Julia was an orphan in the stash. What better time to built this one than when I had several other late-war kits on the bench? The Julia project was a rocket-powered interceptor, this version was intended to be dropped from a parent aircraft when in a favorable position.
The pilot was to lay prone and accessed the aircraft from a hatch in the top side. The kit has no interior. I scratchbuilt a “couch” with Eduard PE belts and gave him a control handle on each side. The instrument panel is printed on photo paper using a desktop copier.
The Julia has only eight parts total and a simple configuration so there were no surprises during assembly. Instead of paying for one of the various “thin” hobby glues I buy MEK by the quart from the hardware store, which is about the same thing only much cheaper.
The model primed and cleaned up. There is a wire handle in the rocket exhaust to afford a place to handle the model while painting.
The model received a late-war RLM 76 / 81 / 82 scheme scheme using Mr. Color paints. This is very similar to the scheme worn by the Heinkel He 162 Salamanders.
The finished model with markings from the spares box. The support stand is built from Evergreen strip and is purely hypothetical.

Revell Focke-Wulf Flitzer Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

The Focke-Wulf Flitzer design had entered the mock-up phase at the end of the war in Europe.  It shares the same general configuration as the successful DeHavilland Vampire, but early drawings added a liquid-fueled rocked for added acceleration.  This feature would likely have been dropped on production aircraft.  I also thought the wings looked a bit short and extended them both by about ¾ of an inch (18 mm) at the tips.

The aircraft is painted in a late-war camouflage scheme with the blue-white-blue Reich’s Defense Bands of JG 300.  The Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles are spares from Revell P.1101 kits.

Revell Focke-Wulf Flitzer Build Part II

Here the Flitzer has been primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000, checked for flaws, and re-scribed as needed. With the extended wings the general configuration even more closely resembles the DeHaviland Vampire.
I painted the Flitzer in the late-war scheme of 76 / 81 / 82 with the light green fuselage color mixed from 81 and white. The Reich’s Defense bands are the blue / white / blue of JG 300.
Decals are from the spares box, but follow late-war standard Luftwaffe marking paradigms.
I cut out the flaps and replaced them with plastic card so I could show them dropped. The Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles are spares from the Revell P.1101 kits. I had intended to add drop tanks as well but the Fitzer was looking a little busy under the wings so I decided to leave them off.

Revell Focke-Wulf Flitzer Build Part I

This is Revell’s Focke-Wulf TL-Jäger “Flitzer”, initially released in 1996. The design is of the same general configuration as the contemporary DeHaviland Vampire, but had only entered the mock up stage by the time the war in Europe ended. I’ll be building this one as another “whiffer” in operational camouflage and markings.
The sprue layout is conventional. The parts on my example are well-molded with fine recessed panel lines. I will replace the main wheels with spared from the Eduard Fw 190 kit as they are more detailed, but you certainly don’t have to do this to get a good-looking build from this kit.
The seat is too narrow but I left it alone as it fits into the cockpit and will still look good through the closed canopy.
Nose weight in the form of fishing sinkers was added to prevent the model from being a tail-sitter. The further forward you locate the weight the more effective it is. Seatbelts are Eduard PE.
I thought the wings looked a little too stubby so I extended them each about ¾ of an inch (18 mm) with plastic card. That’s one of the advantages of building a whiffer, you can make any necessary modifications to the design!
The wing extensions were filled with superglue and sanded smooth, then the panel lines were rescribed. Superglue makes an excellent filler, and when used with an accelerator can be sanded and re-filled right away.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

The Messeschmitt P.1101 was a contender for the Luftwaffe Emergency Fighter Program which was eventually won by the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 design.  The P.1101 was ordered into production as an experimental aircraft to test the effects of various wing sweep angles.  The airframe was largely complete with a first flight scheduled for June 1945 but the war in Europe ended.  The prototype was shipped to the United States after the war for study, and the design was developed into the Bell X-5.

The model is a “what if” build in operational markings.  I prefer to finish speculative aircraft in actual camouflage and marking schemes, in this case the mixed camo colors are representative of the individually painted sub-assemblies seen on Luftwaffe aircraft during the last months of the war.  The Reich’s Defense band is the blue of JG 54.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part II

Here the major components are in place and seams checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 primer. No matter how carefully I think I have prepped the parts and filled the seams, the primer inevitably reveals an area or several which needs more work. I have applied a coat of Alclad and stippled liquid mask to the wingroots for chipping.
I am building one of the kits as a nightfighter in a scheme commonly worn in the Luftwaffe, overall RLM 76 with 75 Gray Violet mottles. I think one of the things which helps “sell” a whiffer build is to use realistic camouflage and markings as much as possible. The viewer is already being asked to take one leap of the imagination in believing the design could have entered service, adding fictitious paint schemes only complicates the matter.
The P.1101 day fighter received a hybrid mix of schemes which reflect the chaotic state of German aircraft production during the last months of the war. Production was de-centralized, with components being produced in smaller plants and shipped to a common location for final assembly. Each production facility camouflaged their components with what paints they had available. Several Fw 190D fighters were produced in these mixed schemes, with some even having additional field-applied colors oversprayed by the units once they entered service.
This is the underside of the day fighter. The kit provides four of the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, which I painted like the example on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. Given the fuel consumption of the early jets, I thought it more likely that drop tanks would be more desirable than a full missile loadout.
The nightfighter will need radar, so I ordered this beautiful FuG 218 Neptun set from Hannants. These are wonders of precision machine work from Master, and are quite fragile. They would appear impossible to machine effectively, yet here they are.
Both finished models together. This was a fun project and they went together pretty well for Dragon kits. They are something unusual for the display case, and there will be a few more “whiffers” on the way soon.