Main Page
Airfix F-80C
Atomic Tank
BASF
D.510
  F8F Bearcat
Destroyer
P-65 X-Wing
Space Cruiser

My Models

Optimized for a 1024 x 768 screen width.
(You can get away with 800 x 600 but don't even try it at 640 x 480!)

Starting Back Up
On The Bench
The Flightline
IPMS Nats '07
Back to My Models
 

The Blohm & Voss P.211

The Special Hobby Blohm Und Voss P.211

History:

The Blohm Und Voss P.211 is one of those planes that never was - or at least was never more than a paper study.  Conceived in the dark days of World War Two Germany, Project 211.02 was B&V's response to the Luftwaffe's Volksjäger competition.  The Luftwaffe was looking for a simple and easy to produce jet fighter with which it could attempt to deal with the Allied bombers then devastating the Nazi's war machine.

As such the aircraft had to be simplicity itself to build and to keep flying.  It also had to accommodate the dire construction materials situation that Germany found itself in by that stage of the war, i.e. late '44.  So, preference was accorded designs which made the least use of the very scarce aluminum.  Accordingly, Dr. Richard Vogt, the B&V designer of the 211, spec'd out an aircraft which was only 13% aluminum in its construction.  Wood was to have been used in it at almost double that amount and the majority of the design was to be comprised of steel.  The design itself was extremely basic with few complex curves and a minimum of unique shapes so as to facilitate its manufacture.  The resulting layout looked almost toy-like in its stubbiness, its plank wings and tail and its diminutive size.  The core of the aircraft was something novel in that Vogt wrapped it around two sections of large diameter steel tube.  Blohm & Voss had a history of using tubular components as primary load bearing elements in their aircraft design and the P.211.02 was another example of this.

Here, the tube assembly formed the jet engine intake nozzle, the primary structural attachment point for the plane's weapons, cockpit, flight controls, landing gear, engine, wing and tail.  This was a very clever approach to minimizing the materials used in assembling the craft as well as simplifying its assembly to boot.  The plane's wings were to be made of wood with only the fuel tanks made out of steel.  The fuselage was to have been a mix of steel, wood, and aluminum.  The whole thing was made as minimalist as possible and well met its goals of being a simple, cheap, and easy to produce design.  Unfortunately for Blohm & Voss, the lads over in Heinkel's shop did them one better in designing their entry to be almost entirely of wood. 

Their P.1073 also differed in placing its jet engine atop the fuselage, not buried in its mid-section as did Vogt with the 211.  In the analysis of the competing designs, the RLM decided that the P.211 would be much easier to produce and might be a better aircraft to fly than the Heinkel design but that the long inlet tube of Vogt's design would rob the engine of too much power, that the plane's nose mounted inlet would invite too much debris into the engine and damage it, and that if the plane had to bellyland then that too would damage the plane.  With those factors in hand and with the fact that the P.1073 didn't use any metals for its structure at all, the RLM went with Heinkel's design over the one from Blohm & Voss.  Thus it became the Heinkel 162 Salamander which took to the air as Germany's "people's fighter" and not Dr. Vogt's design.  Whether or not the BV P.211.02 could've lived up to its design specifications is something we'll never know.  And had it not been for the interest in the Luftwaffe's advanced designs we might also never have known about this particular one either.  Fortunately for us, the interest in the various "Luftwaffe 1946" subjects has been strong enough over the years to have also generated a number of model kits of the various German aircraft proposals from that era.  Special Hobby, a Czech company, is one of those enterprises who have produced quite a few kits of "Luft 46" aircraft and this model is one of them.

The Kit

The Start

As befits its subject, this is a pretty simple little model kit.

The Bits

The entire kit is contained on just a single sprue of relatively soft plastic.  This is one of Special Hobby's earlier efforts and the sharpness of the mouldings represent that.  The sprue gates to the pieces are rather thick and take some care in cutting.  There are no locating pins and all the kit parts could stand some cleaning up.  But, given the subject and the size of the kit, the lack of parts and detail is not such a major thing.

After doing my usual soapy washing of the sprues, I set about building the kit.

First up was the cockpit.  While usually the starting place of most plane model buildups, here it was the unavoidable starting place as everything on the inside of the kit depends upon it.  Special Hobby designed this kit such that one piece forms the cockpit floor, the attachment for the nose intake and for the jet engine/ landing gear bay.  Pretty slick and economical bit of engineering.  Unfortunately, the fit wasn't all that great so it took a lot of sanding, filing, test fitting and then more sanding and filing to get the fuselage halves to come together with this piece inside them.  Once I felt I had a good fit achieved I painted the assembly up.

Assembled and painted cockpit

From the left you have the jet intake, the rudder pedals, instrument panel, joystick, seat, seat back, floor piece and under that is the forward landing gear back bulkhead, jet engine half and aft bulkhead.

The kit comes with a generic bit of photo-etch cockpit details but I didn't want to mess with its rudder pedals as the things are quite invisible once the fuselage is attached.  The joystick is very much out of scale but I didn't want to mess with it either.  I painted the interior the standard RLM Gray with leather for the seat bottom. The flip side of this view shows the instrument panel detail, such as it is.

With a satisfactory fit achieved I then spent some time trying to figure out how to squeeze in the necessary nose weight to keep the bird on its nose gear and not its tail.  Given the tight fuselage and nose mounted intake there wasn't much room left to squeeze.  Fortunately, this is a small and light kit so it didn't need a whole lot in the way of weight.  Just these two bits of fishing link sinker were enough.  I figured this out using the "tape the kit together, punch two nails through some cardboard right where the landing gear would be, and balance the model on them" method.  By incrementally taping weight to the nose of the model when it's balanced on those nails I eventually get to the nose heavy point.  Doing things this way avoids guesswork and thus I don't unnecessarily overload the landing gear and nor do I still wind up with a tail sitter.

With the weight figured out, I hammered the lead bits flat then hammered them around a large bolt that was about the same diameter of the nose inlet piece.  With a bit of work they fit in the nose just fine.

Lead Nose Weights

With the cockpit assembled and painted and with the nose weights attached, I then glued the fuselage together.  This took some care to ensure the cockpit piece was in the right position.  No locating pins to help things along here.  I had to align the seat back piece along with the forward and aft landing gear bay bulkhead pieces.  Not rocket surgery but it was fiddly.

After letting that assembly set up for a while I worked on attaching the wings.  Everything with this kit is but a simple butt joint.  No locating pins, tabs or slots.  I decided to enhance the wing to fuselage join by creating my own mini-spar out of coat hangar wire.  This too was a first for me.

Mini-Wing Spar

First I figured where I'd drill through the fuselage.  That done I then noted where the wire came through the wing root and marked that on the wings.  Some careful hand drilling then followed.  I got things more or less properly lined up.  I'm glad that I've a steady set of hands in doing this otherwise the holes I drilled would've been even further out of true than they came out to be.  Next time I'll do better than holding my workpiece with one hand whilst I drill with the other.

Drilled and ready for attachment

Actually, it didn't come out all that bad.  It coulda been better but then it coulda been worse to.

All glued and ready to go

I used superglue for all the kit seams and the wing / fuselage gaps were pretty big.  So, I did a lot of filling and sanding here.  In doing this I used superglue for filler and would hit it with an accelerator and then sand / file before it hardened too much.  Repeating this process a bunch of times got me a set of seams I could live with.

Looking the kit over I realized just how weak the landing gear attachment points for it were.  Just two very faintly moulded circles at the rear end of the landing gear bay / engine compartment piece.  That was neither much to attach to nor much of a guide for positioning.  So I decided to drill out the attachment end of the main gear and insert a bit of metal rod into it so that this could then be inserted in a hole I'd drill into the top of the landing gear bay/ engine compartment.  This was the first time I'd gotten so fancy with a kit and it showed. 

Trying to hold the main landing gear legs with one hand while using the other to drill a hole into them was not going to be an effective tactic.  So I rooted around on my workbench for something to assist in this and came up with a el-cheapo vise for the job.

Cheap Vise Take 1
Not bad but not good either.  The clamp held the cylinder of the landing gear leg well enough but when I tried applying pressure with the drill bit the piece would move around too much.



So I upped the ante with a bigger and better el cheapo vise.  This one had a bigger gripping area and could be ratcheted tighter so it worked better.  Here you can see where I've already drilled into one of the landing gear legs and inserted its metal pin.
A bigger and better el cheapo vise

Eventually I got both landing gear legs set up this way and felt good enough about the results that I moved on to painting the kit.  Here's where I diverged from the instructions in a major way.

The kit instructions called for painting the model up in either on of two schemes.  One being an aircraft in basic gray primer or one being in standard Luftwaffe dayfighter camo.  Neither of those schemes appealed to me.  I had recently seen some photos of Luftwaffe aircraft found very late in the war in which the planes were either left unpainted or had just the barest amount of camo applied to their upper surfaces.  As it  is very unusual to contemplate any Luftwaffe aircraft in an unpainted state I thought this would be a perfect thing to try for.  My idea here was to depict a machine produced under the most dire circumstances very late in the war for Germany when just about everything was either in too short supply or simply unavailable.  I'd seen pictures of an Me-262 in nothing but bare metal and putty so that was the effect I thought of going for here.  That this B&V P.211.02 would've been turned out of its factories as quickly as possible with no heed paid to whether it properly painted at all.  A bare metal and unpainted structure would result.  And as this was a plane to have been made from several different materials I thought the end result would be quite eye catching.  I also figured that this would be a good time to start learning how to use my new airbrush and use Alclad as well.  Two firsts here.

When working on my last model, the Heller Dewoitine D.510, my trusty old Badger external mix airbrush had finally given up the ghost and as my Aztec POS wasn't worth the pain of even attempting to use, I finally broke down and got me a brand new dual action airbrush.  Very nice, very slick, an Iwata knock-off, I'm told, and it seemed just the thing to do the job.  Once I could get it working that is.  You see, I had accumulated all the necessary fittings for the Aztec and Badger but the new airbrush had its own unique fittings for connecting it to the compressor airhose.  Going 'round and 'round and 'round trying to find something that'd do the trick was not fun.  Eventually, and after too many trips to hardware, automotive, and even welding supply stores, I finally got the right fitting to enable me to get air through to new airbrush and away I went.  Sort of.  Aside from still being very new to this airbrush thing, I was also new to using Alclad paint.  My first attempts here were not well received.

I'd thought to airbrush things in stages and progressively mask the areas as I went along.  My first color to lay down was on the portions of the airframe made out of wood.  This was the wing outer portions of the wing.  So, I masked off the portions of the rest of the airframe and applied some Tamiya acrylic gray.  With that done and dried, I then masked things off and put down a coat of Alclad's "Honey" clear primer on the rest of the airframe as it would be receiving various shades of Alclad.  That went on well enough and I let that dry for a day or so. 

Prepped for painting!

Then I with the Alclad steel.  The result was a crinkly mess and was very frustrating. 

Crinkly mess of steel

The problem with embarking on something like this is the multiple variables involved in trying to control or reduce any problems encountered.  I couldn't tell whether the problems I got here were due to the paint, the airbrush, the model, the weather, or me.

After much cursing and after removing the crinkled stuff and then reapplying the primer, I had at it again.  This time I tried the advice I'd gotten both online and in person from Phillip and Phillip's Hobby; I dropped the air pressure down and I held the airbrush much closer to the model.  My previous attempts being at higher pressure and further away may have meant that the paint had dried before it hit the model.  What ever the exact cause, the new approach worked.

With that behind me I then went on to go for the rest of the colors.  I applied Alclad aircraft aluminum, duraluminum, and polished aluminum to various parts of the plane.  The results were looking pretty good, all told and then I had to put working on the kit on hold.  I moved from the little duplex Julia and I were in over the summer of '06 into a bigger three bedroom place out in the 'burbs.  Aside from going through the move, the holidays, and two more job changes, it also took me a while to get the new office set up and even longer to unearth the airbrush from all the packing I did.  In the process of all this I had unlimbered the P.211 and looked it over to get my focus on it going again.  I left it out on the new model bench and, of course, in doing so I left its bits exposed and one of the main landing gear up and vanished in the process. 

This gave me reason to try my hand at using metal tube and rod to create a landing gear of my own.  While hardly perfect, I think the look achieved is striking enough and the process simple enough that I will be doing more of this in the future.  So, as of April '07 I have an airframe almost fully painted, and most of the kit bits ready to go.  Just a bit more time will bring this all together.  I'll have photos of that as they come.








If you would like to know more about me, then ask me directly.  Just click on my email address here:
email me

In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!

Madoc

This page was last updated on: 27 April 2007  


Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and images on this page are copyright protected property of Madoc Pope.  If you would like to use any of my images you must contact me first before you do so.

[Top]

[Main]


In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!

Madoc