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V-1 Kit

Bronco Models 1/35 V-1 Fi 103 Flying Bomb Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2008 Manufacturer Bronco Models
Subject V-1 Fi 103 Flying Bomb Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35058 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $34.98

First Look


The Fieseler Fi 103, more commonly known as the V-1 'Buzz Bomb' was the first operational cruise missile developed by Germany for attacks against Great Britain. The Argus Schmidt pulsejet used a novel system of intake shutters and pulsed combustion to create a simple powerplant that could be started with a compressed air line before launching the V-1 toward its target.

The construction of the V-1 was simple metal and wood that housed an 1800 pound warhead. Because of the limits of the Argus engine's thrust and the V-1's stubby wings, a little help was required to get the V-1 airborne. A catapult system was created to accelerate the V-1 to flying speed and these were deployed around western Europe at locations within the roughly 150 mile range limit of the weapon. An airborne launch system was also developed from specially modified Heinkel He 111 bombers as a counter to the loss of ground launch sites to the advancing allied armies and concentrated bombing raids.

After the war, the US and Soviet Union evaluated the military potential of this new guided missile capability and its novel pulsejet engine. The US even experimented with the JB-2, a US-produced copy of the V-1, for use as a delivery mechanism for early atomic weapons which could be launched from a submarine. This experimentation pre-dates the advent of the ballistic missile and the later advancements of more powerful (and accurate) cruise missiles. While the warhead was never developed, a conventional version was also considered for use against North Korean targets during the Korean War.

Bronco Models has produced 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, 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.

The project doesn't end there fortunately. 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 (unless you care to replicate the launch rail and trolley, then you'd really have a conversation piece!

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, hanging from the ceiling with a 1/32 Tempest in hot pursuit, or as part of a larger vignette. In any case, it is nice to have a 1/35 scale styrene kit of this historic weapon.

This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!