Glad you asked that!
From FineScale Modeler’s Questions & Answers
November 23, 2010
“Luft 46”: German experimental aircraft
Phil Pignataro reviewed Revell Germany’s 1/72 scale Me P.1099, one of the manufacturer’s kits of experimental aircraft on the drawing boards at the end of World War II. Box art from Revell Germany kit No. 04359
Revell’s 1/72 scale “Go 229” differed from other kits of World War II German experimentals in that the aircraft actually did fly. There were other examples of tailless aircraft, such as Northrop’s postwar YB-49 “Flying Wing,” but the design didn’t reach combat service until the U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, built by Northrop and Grumman, became operational on Jan. 1, 1997. Box art from Revell Germany kit No. 04312
What Gary thought he remembered as the Horten XVIII was actually the Arado E.555, another of several “Amerika Bomber” designs intended to bomb the United States on a nonstop round trip. (Revell Germany kit No. 04367)
Are you kidding? Focke-Wulf wasn’t, although no prototype was ever built of the vertical-takeoff/landing Triebflügel
. See it in “action” here
Q: Reading Phil Pignataro’s review of the Messerschmitt P.1099 heavy fighter (October 2010 FSM) reminded me that Revell Germany has manufactured other “Luft ’46” kits. I believe one of them was the Horten XVIII “Amerika Bomber.” I remember seeing the box art, which showed the plane in flight with the Manhattan skyline in the background. Can you confirm this? And did Revell Germany indeed make other “Luft ’46” kits?
– Gary Watson
Cramlington, Northumberland, England
A: Thanks for the letter, Gary. I was unable to find any Revell Germany kit of the Ho 18 — I did find a 1/72 scale model by Sharkit, and a 1/144 scale resin model by Anigrand.
I also found Revell’s misnamed Go 229 (the G owes to Gotha, the manufacturer, but the plane’s designation, Ho, was for the Horten brothers who designed it). You can also see this 1/72 scale kit on Revell North America’s website.
However, the cover you described sounded like that for Revell Germany Arado Ar E555, another of several “Amerika Bomber” designs in addition to the Hortens’ Ho XVIII. Messerschmitt, Junkers, Heinkel, and Focke-Wulf also submitted designs in response to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring’s call for an aircraft that could bomb the United States.
For readers who might still be wondering what “Luft ’46” is about, I would call it a sort of old-timey scientific fiction. True, these designs existed in one form or another, and some of them (such as the Ho 229) were prophetic. Others — such as Focke-Wulf’s Triebflügel — seem completely preposterous. All of them are startling, especially when you remember it was the mid-1940s and almost no one in the world had ever seen a jet airplane.
Although the Luft ’46 concept considers what could have come to be if the war had not ended research and development, it’s safe to say none of the modelers or artists in this area wishes the war had continued or that the Nazis had prevailed. In their efforts to depict what might have been, one detects humor and a sense of relief that it never was. I prefer to call this genre “Weird and Wacky Weapons of the Third Reich.” It’s even better if you say it like Porky Pig.
See more of Luft ’46 and scale models of German WWII experimentals here and here.