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V-1 Kit

Bronco Models 1/35 V-1 Fi 103 Re-3 Trainer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer Bronco Models
Subject V-1 Fi 103 Re-3 Trainer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35060 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $34.98

First Look

V-1
V-1
V-1
V-1
V-1

The Fieseler 103 was designed as a simple-to-build and simple to deploy cruise missile. Powered by a pulse-jet engine that fired 50 times per second, the noise from the motor earned its nickname as a 'buzz bomb'.

As the Germans were always tweaking designs to get more performance out of their weapons systems, a few V-1s were build with cockpits and no warheads. The V-1 was reportedly easy enough to fly, but the type was still killing test pilots when they tried to land. Famous test pilot and German aviatrix Hanna Reitsch was called in to test-fly the V-1. With her experience with high-speed landings during test flights with the Me 163, Reitsch was able to safely land the V-1 and showed that the V-1 had a high stall speed which required approach speeds in excess of 200 kph to get the aircraft safely to the ground.

Late in the war, KG 200 established a suicide squadron whose flying bombs were to be carried by a mothership to within range of the manned V-1s, where they'd be launched and guided to their targets. In theory, the pilots were to attempt to bail out of the V-1 before impact, but the chances of survival were next-to-nil. Nevertheless, for nearly a year, versions of the Fi 103R Reichenberg and the competing Me 328 were developed and tested. A two-seat trainer of the Fi 103R was build to train the volunteer pilots before their 'final' missions. The program was finally cancelled in March 1945 before the squadron became operational as the concept of suicide attacks were not consistent with the German warrior tradition.

Bronco Models has produced this manned variant of the V-1 as a new-tooling in 1/35 scale and if you look in the dictionary under 'simple kit', you'll find this model listed there. Presented on three parts trees molded in light gray styrene, plus a small tree of clear parts and two small frets of photo-etched parts. The production of this kit is as simple as the full-scale version.

Assemble rear airframe halves, insert the shutter assembly on the engine faceplate, add the intake fairing and the forward nose. The tip of the nose is molded separately and allows for the propeller-driven generator to spin freely on the front of the model. Plug in the wings and you've got a V-1.

Two simple cockpits are provided here to replicate the trainer version and these parts include seats, seatbelts and harnesses (photo-etch), control yokes, rudder pedals, and instrument panels.

The project doesn't end there. The V-1 comprises two of the tree included kit sprues. The third sprue is a dolly which allows the full-scale V-1 to be moved and for the model to not rest on its belly. Construction of the dolly is as simple as the buzz bomb, but it will definitely improve the presentation of the model.

While V-1s were not usually given national or distinctive markings, they were produced to be deployed and serviced in the field, so a good set of maintenance stencils are provided to replicate the instructions used by operators to mount, fuel, and launch the missile.

Bronco Models continues to turn out some impressive models and this one is no exception. This model will look nice on the dolly or hanging from the ceiling. In any case, it is nice to have a 1/35 scale styrene kit of this historic aircraft.

This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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