I've always found the Focke-Wulf Fw 226 fascinating. Unlike many of Germany's Luft '46 paper projects, the Flitzer was both practical (in terms of the then current state of aerodynamics art) and came very close to actually being built. The design was developed extensively and was backed enthusiastically by the RLM. Several versions were envisaged and a full-scale mock-up was constructed.
The design featured in the kit matches a September 1944 drawing for a mixed propulsion aircraft, sporting the catchy designation of an "einmotoriger TL-Jäger mit R-Gerät" (basically - a single-engined jet fighter with a rocket unit). The main power unit was to be an HeS 011 jet engine, with an additional Walter rocket motor mounted under the tail-pipe. With the two engines running at full power, the Flitzer was predicted to reach 24,600 ft in 70 seconds. Top speed was estimated at 516 mph and the armament depicted in the original drawing was 2 x Mk 108 cannons in the the wings, plus 2 x Mg 151/20s in the nose.
Despite the promise of the dual-engine proposal, by October 1944 the Focke-Wulf designers were concentrating on a pure-jet version of the Flitzer. With the armament reduced to 2 x Mk 108s, the finalised Flitzer was expected to reach a top speed of 560 mph but, as with so many advanced German projects, time ran out before a prototype could be built and flown.
Although I'd been aware of them for years, I'd never actually bought a Planet Models kit before, so I was intrigued to see what arrived in the well-packed Hannants package. The Flitzer comes in an end-opening cardboard box, decorated with a B&W pen and ink illustration of the full-sized aircraft as it might have looked in service. On opening the box, I was confronted with a strip of sealed polythene pouches containing the resin parts. The box is a little flimsy, but the packing system obviously works well enough because none of the parts had been damaged in transit.
The kit consists of:
35 beige resin parts
1 x vacuform canopy
Decals for one colour scheme.
Opening the pouches, I was very pleasantly surprised; the casting is excellent, with just one or two very tiny bubbles to take care of. The casting-plinths are quite hefty in some cases - but this it to get sufficient weight of resin into the moulds to ensure clean casting, so I've no complaints there. Importantly, the fuselage halves are very much like those in a conventional injection-moulded kit, with just a tiny pour stub at the nose to deal with.
Surface detail is well done, with finely scribed panel lines, a few raised panels and neatly handled intakes and gun-ports.
Construction looks almost alarmingly conventional, with a cockpit tub (complete with a Fw 190-style seat), nose wheel and jet-exhaust trapped between the fuselage halves. I haven't tried a full test-fit yet, but the components seem to drop in neatly enough and the fuselage halves are free of any warping. It's not clear if any nose-weight is needed to prevent this kit being a tail-sitter.
The wings are cast as one-piece main units with good, thin trailing edges and split intake areas which allow for the interior curves. The mainwheel-wells are very shallow and bare but, seeing as there are no references of how they might have been detailed, I'm quite prepared to live with them. The crucial part in preparing the wings will be sanding off the casting-plinths while maintaining a flat surface with the required dihedral.
Probably the most critical part of the kit looks to be the tail assembly, which comprises separate booms, fins and stabiliser which simply butt-join together. I think it's going to be wise to drill holes for metal pins to get everything lined up in a dry-fit, and then use epoxy or slow-setting cyano glue to allow plenty of time to adjust everything to keep it all square.
The undercarriage is a multi-part affair and, again, a couple of pins added for rigidity won't do any harm. The nose-gear leg is cast "on the flat", so to speak, so extra care will be needed to preserve its circular profile.
The wheels are reasonable, but the reverse side of the mainwheels shows a set of what appear to be ejector-pin marks. These will be easy enough to remove, but I'm scratching my head trying to guess what the original "donor" tyres might have been.
Just a single vacuformed canopy is provided. It's very clear and certainly looks like the full-sized Flitzer mock-up. The windscreen will need to be trimmed to fit over the ZFR telescopic gunsight, so it's a pity a spare isn't provided in case of an accident.
Instructions & Decals
The assembly instructions are pretty basic, consisting of just 3 exploded views. This is a simple kit, so this just about works; but, if truth be told, the diagrams do need a minute or two's scrutiny to make sense. The painting instructions have RLM colours quoted for a "late War greens" scheme over the infamous RLM 84. I certainly don't want to stoke the debate here over the existence, or not, of this colour - anyway, this is a Luft '46 model, so an extension of the RLM numbering system is perfectly logical.
The markings included aren't particularly exciting, with just just one set provided for a Gruppenadjutant's aircraft of an unidentified unit, but the decals are thin and glossy and printed in excellent register. The swastikas are supplied as two-part items to avoid upset, which will, ironically, annoy some people... but, at least they're there - and you can always substitute aftermarket items.
What a neat little kit! I honestly didn't know what to expect and I'm really delighted with Planet Models' Flitzer, which would make a pretty good choice for modellers with a bit of experience who want to try an all-resin kit for the first time. We've got Luft '46 builds earmarked for the future, so expect to see this one on my workbench. It'll certainly be interesting sat next to a de Havilland Vampire for comparison.
I must admit that I bought Planet Models' 1/48 scale Fw Flitzer very much on impulse. I was actually looking for their new Koolhoven F.K. 58 when this Luft '46 twin-boom design caught my eye. I'm glad to say my instinct to buy it was right and I've been rewarded with a very neat kit.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...