Eyes of the Kreigsmarine - AR 196
by: Bill Cross
The Arado Ar 196 is one of those iconic aircraft from World War 2. Float planes have been mostly left behind in the age of helicopters and VTOL aircraft like the Harrier, but between the wars, most navies felt the need for reconnaissance aircraft that could be launched via catapult and then recovered after their mission. The Arado 196 was developed to replace the Heinkel HE 60 biplane, and joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938, serving on most of Germany's capital ships and raiders.
Recently Revell of Germany released a kit in 1/32nd scale, which is a joy to build: it's the right mix of detail, but with some leeway for super-detailing. For this build, I used the Eduard interior, exterior and canopy mask sets. I also used HPH Models' seat belts and those of Radu Brinzan, along with an RB Models' brass barrel and sight for the rear-mounted MG15. Finally, the stenciling is from a custom set made by a member of another aircraft forum and no longer commercially available. They really "made" the detailing, so thanks, Alan in Austria!
The kit allows for both folded and unfolded wings. I decided the former looked cooler, and so went with that. The engine covers may also be shown open or shut, and I thought the engine too nice to cover up.
Since the 196 was usually launched from shipboard catapults, I went for the HpH resin catapult that is sold with their resin version or separately. The catapult was not an easy build, since several support struts required for the launching sled were not included and had to be scratched from plastic and metal lengths. After building the catapult according to the instructions, I found out the RoG bird wouldn't sit right on the sled. I don't know if the dimensions of the HpH resin model are different than that for the Revell, but I ended up having to modify the supports on the sled to make it fit the plane.