Hasegawa 1/48 Ar-234B-2N 'Nachtigall'

KIT #: 9820
PRICE: $55.95 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: SAC Landing Gear, True Details Wheels, True Details Vaccuformed Canopy and Aires Cockpit.

HISTORY

The Arado AR234 was the first ever jet bomber.  It gained some notoriety when it was used for strikes against the Ludendorff bridge located in Remagen which was first intact bridge captured by the Allies for crossing the Rhine.  Despite its fast speed, it didnít do anything to blunt Allied Air Supremacy or their inevitable victory against the Nazis.

 

In late 1944, the Luftwaffe decided to convert some 30 airframes into a night fighter by adding a twin 30mm gun pod and Naxos radar.  The two prototypes were sent to Kommando Bonow, but in their evaluations they found the Nachtigall to be useless and the whole project was soon abandoned.

THE KIT

Here is Scottís preview of the kit.

CONSTRUCTION

 

It all began with the two engine pods internal parts painted and then glued together, but I left them off the model until after I was done painting.  At the same time I glued the RATO rockets together.  I left the model to sit in the box for four months as I was dealing with some personal issues and had no desire to build models.  When I started again the RATO units seams were carefully filled and gently sanded so as not to remove much of the raised detail.  They were painted Tamiya XF-56 Metallic grey and Talon Aluminum as per instructions.  The parachute packs needed to have prominent mold marks removed and then painted various shades of tan and black.  Any raised details that were lost were redone with incorrect recessed detail.

 

Next I worked on the resin cockpit as I preferred the more detailed Aires one over the kit cockpit.  I cleaned the parts with dish soap, dried them and then removed the from the casting blocks with a razor saw.  The only problem I had was when I removed part of the floor at the front of the cockpit as it cracked when I was trying to gently remove the casting block.  I was fortunate that it was in a location no one would really notice. 

 

Once all the parts were removed, I painted the various pieces RLM66 and then hand painted the details with various colors based on color photos found on the internet.  It took a fair amount of time.  I sprayed the back of the cellophane cockpit details sheet flat white, cut out the dials and then glued them to various PE instrument panels.  After all the pieces were painted then I carefully assembled the cockpit tub as each piece needed to be carefully glued and put in place which would be very noticeable in the glasshouse canopy.  To add more detailed I used black fishing line some of which was sprayed flat yellow to represent cables and wiring harnesses.  These were glued on using fine drops of CA glue.

Meanwhile I started assembling the fuselage and wings.  The wheel wells were painted RLM02 as per instructions.  I wasnít going to add the landing gear until after sanding/filling and painting so I had to spend some trying insuring that the parts would fit in without too much trouble (they fit, but they were a lot of trouble.)  The radar operatorís station was painted and I attached pre painted PE seat belts from an Eduard Luftwaffe PE set to the seat.  Once that was done, the wheel wells were added and the main fuselage was glued together.  The wings are a touch problematic as I used the alignment pins, but I should have read the reviews because they mention that one wing (port?) is off by a little bit.  Later I ended up having to tear apart the wing, cut off the alignment pins and align it to the shape which made for a better fit.

 

All the parts were thrown in the box to let the glue cure for a week and a half.  I started sanding and filling the seams with CA glue.  Certain seams gave me a headache and required a lot of work to do.  Once done, I added the wings and then worked on the seams from the wing to fuselage join.  Details were rescribed using a pin chucked into a pin vise.

 

I returned to the cockpit and spent some time working on the clear nose assembly.  I masked off the interior portions and painted them RLM66.  Next I carefully glued the two clear halves of the nose together.  It didnít fit as well as I hoped and had to use CA glue for the very thin topside attachment.  The nose sat in the box for a week till the glue cured sufficiently.  Meanwhile I was done with with all the priming and polishing with various grades of polishing cloths on the fuselage.

 

I glued the cockpit/nose assembly to the fuselage with CA glue after I primed the rest of the plane.  Later after priming I noticed that the gaps were still there and used Vallejo Plastic Putty to fill in the gaps.  I did not attach the engines at this point as I couldnít paint the inside sections well.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

The AR234 was primed a couple of times using Tamiya Fine White Primer from the spray can.  Very useful stuff especially with those fine seams that you just canít fill any other way.  I did prime twice because I found flaws in my sanding or something I missed. The primer coats were polished with various grades of polishing cloths.

 

It was at this point I glued the cockpit assembly to the fuselage.

 

After that the windows were masked off and the plane was painted flat black for the underneath.  Once the paint was dry, certain areas were masked off and sprayed Poly Scale RLM76.  The mottling was added a day later to avoid Gunze from reacting with the Poly Scale, I loaded Gunze Sanyo RLM75 into my airbrush and set it for 10 PSI for mottling.  I started off making mottles very large and then got them smaller as time went on.  It looks like four or five different people sprayed each section slightly differently.

 

The engine pods were polished a little more throughly as they were supposed to be burnt bare metal.  They were first painted XF-56 Metallic Grey then when dry, the areas were masked and the engine pods were painted along the same lines as the rest of the plane.

 

The canopy frames were painted gloss black.

 

I used the Hasegawa decals for Kommando Bonow.  They were easy to do with minimal fuss.  It seemed to me that the Hasegawa decals were missing the intake warnings and fuel stencils that are quite noticeable on all German WW2 jets so I added them from an old Aeromaster sheet.

 

I used a light watercolor wash to highlight some of the details and the excess was removed with many damp Q-Tips.  The Arado was sprayed with a couple of coats of Vallejo Flat Varnish.

 

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

I added the radar to the nose piece which was pre painted with RLM66 and hand painted red/white for the warning markings.

 

The RATO units were glued to the wing, but this proved to be very fiddly.  It took some extreme patience and a very steady hand to get the parts on without smashing them in rage.

 

Next I added the painted SAC landing gear which inserting the main landing gear turned out to be more of a headache than I thought.  They were glued in place with CA glue.  I only attached the painted rear True Details resin wheels as the nose wheel didnít fit and I had to use the kit nose wheel.

 

The various bits like fuel tanks, gun pod and stabilizers were glued on as per instructions.  I replaced a lot of the straight rod pieces with brass wire which was attached with CA glue.

 

It turned out the vacuformed canopy was the most difficult part of the build.  I made a mistake and cut off too much of the forward part of the top section of the canopy.  I ended up having to replace that with 5 thou plastic card which was trimmed several times and painted gloss black.  The hatch with PE parts from the Aires cockpit set was added with no issues.

CONCLUSIONS

 

Hasegawaís AR234-2B/N isnít the easiest kit in the world to assemble thanks to the aftermarket cockpit (although it wasnít as bad as it could have been.)  Based on my own experience I found that the nose is the most problematic part and requires some careful work.  Any modeler who has a few kits under their belt can maker a nice looking kit if they are careful.

 

The aftermarket stuff can improve the look of the kit, but adds to the complexity and as mentioned above adds its own headaches.

Dan Lee

June 2013

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