Thursday, June 30, 2011


SMN report:
Fantastic Plastic is at it again with an interesting ‘Luftwaffe 1946’ offering, a Heinkel long-range jet bomber design. The project never left the drawing board, but as with all these Luft 46 designs, offers a fascinating insight into the direction World War II could have taken if Hitler’s secret projects had reached fruition.

Last-ditch wonder weapon
As Fantastic Plastic puts it: “Even as the Allies were advancing on Nazi Germany, German aircraft companies were scrambling to create new ‘wonder weapons’ for the Luftwaffe.” And one of these is the subject of FP’s latest model kit.

Swept-back wing
The Heinkel project was a jet-powered 60-tonne weight long-range bomber. It reached only a preliminary design stage, but had several radical components, especially the cranked wing, featuring a 45-degree sweep at the root, reducing to a 35-degree sweep further out. This was echoed by later bombers that did ‘make the metal’, including the UK’s Handley-Page Victor and Vulcan V-bombers. 

Six engines
The Heinkel had a multi-glazed nose, a conservatory-like element that featured in most heavy bombers of the time, with a massive pair of air intakes to feed the engines. The design was good for four or six of these, and FP has chosen to model the six-engine version, powered by a sextet of Junkers Jumo 004s. Had the plane flown in anger, it could have carried a three-tonne payload up to 14,000 km (8700 miles) away, before returning to base - which was enough to bring the US West Coast in bombing range. 

What’s in the box?
It’s a resin kit, so you need to take more care than with a mainstream injection model, but with only 26 components, the 1:144 scale Heinkel bomber should be an OK project for anyone with reasonable modelling skills, though getting the wing dihedral right, and the landing gear assembly just-so are aspects for care and attention. When assembled, the Heinkel measures 140 mm (5.5 in) long, with a wingspan of 230 mm (9 in), and would look good if displayed with some other World War II bombers to the same scale.

Box art
The neat box art was created by Martin Letts, who has a fascinating site, XPlanes3D, which is well worth a visit, as he features other what-if designs from the US and UK as well.

Visit Fantastic Plastic here.

Visit XPlanes3D here.