Czech Model 1/48 BV 40 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||December 2008||Manufacturer||Czech Model|
|Kit Number||4802||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Nicely detailed prototypal German aircraft||Cons||Flaps and rudder molded solid|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Blohm und Voss BV-40 was a German glider fighter designed to attack Allied bomber formations. By eliminating the engine and positioning the pilot in a prone position (i.e., lying in the front), the cross-sectional area of the aircraft was much reduced, making the aircraft much harder for bomber gunners to hit.
It’s key features were a very narrow and fairly heavily armored cockpit, and two MK 108 cannons in the wing roots with very limited ammunition. The fuselage was constructed almost entirely of wood, a non-strategic material. During it’s short attack time the glider would fire it’s weapons, then glide back to earth. Although, for a time, the idea of carrying a bomb on a cable behind the glider was entertained to use against Allied bomber formations.
The first flight was in May of 1944. Several prototypes were completed, but the project was stopped later in the year as the end of the war drew near.
Czech Model, as the name implies, is based in the Czech Republic. The kit comes in an end-opening type box. The box art is a very grainy black and white illustration of the BV-40-V1 prototype. It carries the call letters HN + UA on the sides. This illustration is posed against a background of the words Czech Model repeated over and over again. The boxart also says that the kit is limited run, injection molded with some resin parts by True Details. The back of the box has a top and side illustration in black and white of the BV-40-V1 and a speculative side view for a scheme had the aircraft ever gone into combat (which it did not). The BV-40-V1 is in a standard Luftwaffe splinter camouflage of RLM 81 dark green and RLM 82 dark green above and RLM 76 light blue below. It has skeletal white crosses above the wings and the black letter code PN + UA on the fuselage sides. The cross between the letters is of the solid black type with white and black border. The usual swastika is on the rudder. It is black with white border.
The speculative scheme is the same two greens above in a splinter pattern. However, this is very high on the fuselage (not as low as shown on the prototype scheme). Also, these two colors are used as large spots over the light blue that extends high on the sides and covers the tail assembly. It carries a white fuselage number of 4 on the sides and a small skeletal white cross. There is a black – white-black fuselage band in front of the tail and the swastika on the rudder is white outline only.
Inside the box is a cello bag holding a tree of medium gray plastic parts, a smaller cello bag holding tan resin parts, clear vacuformed canopy parts, the decal sheet and the instructions.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that is folded in the center into 4 pages of 8 ½” x 11” format (stationary size).
Page 1 begins with an actual black and white photo of the BV-40-V1 sitting on a grassy airfield. This is followed by some general instructions about completing limited run kits and one paragraph history of the aircraft, in English. The bottom of the page has the parts tree illustrations. Nine parts on the injection molded plastic parts tree are X’d out, indicating that they are either not used or have been replaced with the resin parts enclosed.
Pages 2 and 3 have a total of 5 assembly step drawings. Only the first 4 are numbered. The 5th step just says FINAL ASSEMBLY.
Page 4 has a side, top and bottom view of the scheme for the BV-40-V1 prototype. These illustrations show the bottom of the wings, that was not shown on the back of the box. The black code U + A goes under the left wing and P + N under the right. The crosses are of the black skeletal type.
For the speculative scheme, already partly described above, the upper and lower wings are shown this time. The crosses on top are white skeletal and black skeletal below. There is a discussion here also about Scale Colors and lists of references where color information can be found.
The light gray styrene parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, upper and lower wing halves, horizontal tail surface, main wheels, cockpit floor, wing flap hinges, gun bay housings, tail plane braces, wing tip bumpers, nose battery compartment housing etc. (32 parts). As mentioned, some of these parts are to be replaced with duplicates done in resin. Panel lines are of the engraved type, the few that there are. The wing flaps, tail flaps and rudder are all molded solid and would take surgery to position them. There is a little flash on these parts and some mold lugs to remove inside the wing halves and fuselage halves. This is typically found on limited run kits and easily removed.
The there are 5 separate pour blocks of tan resin parts. The first one holds gun bay housings (2 parts) The second one holds cockpit levers and details (5 parts). The third holds main wheels (2 parts). The fourth holds the pilots COUCH (that he lies prone on), The fifth holds the cockpit floor with dashboard and foot petals molded to it.
Personally, I can see little difference…detail and quality wise…between the resin and the plastic main wheels and the gun bay housings.
The final parts in the kit are the vacuformed canopies. Czech Model has graciously supplied two of these, in case you mess up one.
The decal sheet, already described above, completes the kit’s contents. I could not get the white marks on the decal sheet to appear against the white background on my scanner. Believe me, they are on there.
This is one neat, late war prototypal aircraft. A welcome relief from all the Messerschmitts and Focke Wulfs. It looks to be an easy build and I recommend it to modelers that want to tackle their first limited run type aircraft kit.