Pavla 1/72 Fa-330
KIT #: 72015
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Mostly photo etch brass


The Focke Achgelis Fa 330 Bachstelze rotor-kite for use on submarines was designed by Heinrich Focke in 1942. The rotor-kite was of simple constructipon and small dimensions. It was assigned to German class IX ocean going submarines. With an observer the Fa 330 was to take off from a platform installed behind the submarine’s tower. Then it was towed  at the end of a 300 meter cable enabling cealing of 220 metres.  Two hundred production Fa 330s were built by Weser-Flugzeugbau factory at Hoyenkamp.

As Allied air cover in other theatres of the war was considered too much of a threat, only U-boats operating in the far southern parts of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean used the FA 330. The first Fa 330 first saw limited service in the Southern Atlantic in the summer of 1942, but more often it was used over the Indian Ocean. Despite its advantages, the use of the FA 330 only resulted in a single sinking when the German Navy submarine U-177 used one to spot, intercept and sink the Greek steamer Efthalia Mari on 6 August 1943.

The Allies came into possession of an Fa 330 in May 1944 when they captured the submarine U-852 intact. After the war, the British government did successful experiments towing Fa 330s behind ships and jeeps, but the development of the helicopter quickly occupied the attention of the military.

U-boats that deployed FA 330 kites included at least U-177, U-181, and U-852. One such survivor is Fa-330A-1 No 100503 which is on display at the RAF Museum at Cosford, UK.


The kit comes in a sturdy Pavla Models style cardboard box with a colour plan and side view of the kite on the outside cover. Opening the box there is an A4 size instruction sheet comprising of a history part, a clear comprehensive exploded view of all the items in the kit, which easy enough to follow and colour indication of all the parts.

 Although indicated as a plastic kit there are more detail parts in brass etch. The kit is so small yet one cannot rush with building in order not to miss any of the parts and manner to bend some of the components before fitting in place. The parts in grey plastic are the three rotor blades, holding brackets and central arm in shape of an inverted ‘T’, a small cylindrical gas container and a pair of landing skids. All the rest is in brass and these are detail crew seat, engine trust rings, seat straps, tail plane, fin and rudder, fuselage side structure and skid keeps, instruments with three gauges and rudder pedals. Support bracket to hold blades equidistant and other detail on top of prop blades are also in brass. A small decal sheet consisting four black cross markings complete the kit.


 Perhaps the most essential stage of construction is carefully separating the plastic parts from the usual thick runner which is done with a xacto saw blade, these are then trimmed and set aside. Using a pair of scissors I then separated each brass part and filing off any excess brass with a smooth needle file wherever that may have retained.

 The kit is them built into three separate sub assemblies, the propeller with all its detail, the central column with crew seat and all the lower propeller mechanism and foot rest, and in the end adding of the brass etch side bracket, skids etc. The propeller was the last item to be inserted on the column/shaft assembly. The only extra work added was a crew figure inserted onto the seat and this gives an indication of the actual size of the model at that scale.


 Apart from the seat, which has a black cushion and linen back with a green frame, the rest of the model is Grey RLM2. Any moving part on propeller is in silver. To go with my line of taste I completed my model in captured markings making it to represent a Fa 330 as used at the flight and experimental establishment at Boscombe Down in UK. This carried same colours as the instructions and had the British forces roundel in place of the German crosses positioned on the tail fin. Although it is a small model I airbrush the kit in preference to hand brush.

This is probably the smallest scale model that I have ever made and this adds another type in captured markings. It looks small and easy to build but it is also time consuming and is another good addition to those entire keen on German types or VTOL.

Carmel J. Attard

July 2013

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