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Special Hobby 1/72 scale Blohm and Voss P.212.03 Strahljager

Kit: No. SH 72001
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Special Hobby, distributed by Military Model Distributors, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, 214-242-8663
Price: $19.98
Comments: Injection molded, 49 parts (13 photoetched, 1 vacuum formed), decals.

GERMAN "PAPER PROJECTS"" were perhaps some of the most visionary aircraft designs of the World War II era. Blohm & Voss' Strahljäger is no exception -- a radical jet fighter design that could have, if it had flown, spelled trouble for Allied fliers.

Special Hobby's Blohm & Voss BV P.212.03 is the first of a quartet of Luftwaffe "paper projects" to come from this new Czech manufacturer of limited-run kits. The soft, light-gray plastic parts are complemented by a photoetched fret of generic German seat belts and antennas. A vacuum-formed canopy is included, along with insignia and swastika decals.

The basic interior parts require a lot of sanding and test fitting before the fuselage halves can close around them. The instructions call for gluing the jet intake tube to the forward cockpit bulkhead, but you're better off gluing it to the intake ring for a good fit.

The mating surfaces of the fuselage halves need to be sanded to improve the fit, but watch out; the exhaust pipe area starts with an oval cross section, and sanding will only make it more so. I had to sand the exterior of the exhaust as well to make it look circular.

Take time fitting the wings as there are no tabs or slots to aid alignment. The wing halves should be sanded so they fit tight with thin trailing edges. After using a fast-drying liquid cement to attach the wings, I set the proper dihedral with thin super glue. You'll have to sand the winglets smooth since their surfaces are uneven.

Work is required on the small parts, too. I thinned down the control stick and landing-gear struts, but I replaced the main wheels with items from my spares box. I thinned down the edges of the main gear doors, but replaced the nosewheel doors with .010" sheet styrene. The canopy has imperfections, but they aren't too noticeable once cut to fit and dipped in Future floor polish.

I painted my model with Gunze Sangyo and Floquil Classic Military colors. The decals were sharp and thin, but they tended to curl up on the surface of the model. I used Super Scale national insignia instead.

Despite the poor fit, this offering is head and shoulders above resin and vacuum-formed kits that I've built of this subject. Twelve hours was all it took. Special Hobby has done a decent job of translating the design into three dimensions, according to the drawing in J.R. Smith and Antony L. Kay's German Aircraft of the Second World War.

If you have experience building short-run kits, you'll enjoy this one. It provides a fascinating glimpse of the brilliance and desperation of the German aviation industry at the end of WWII.

Barry Numerick

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