Airfix 1/72 BV-141
KIT #: A0314
PRICE: approx 30 DKK second-hand
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Nicolai Plesberg
NOTES: Used Airfix replacement decals and instructions plus swastikas from an Xtradecal sheet


This asymmetrical airplane was the most unorthodox to appear during the Second World War. Designed by the chief designer of Hamburger Flugzeugbau (the aircraft division of the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg), Dr. Richard Vogt, it was a proposal to meet a Luftwaffe requirement for a short range, reconnaissance and light ground attack single engined aircraft. Initially conceived as a private venture the design was chosen as the most appropriate way of achieving the best possible all around vision from a single engined aircraft.

 The first prototype flew on February 25th 1938 and proved absolutely airworthy; only minor snags appeared; therefore three prototypes were ordered. The original cockpit design was altered to reassemble the FW 189 (which also was competing for the same order). However, despite the good performance these prototypes delivered, a lack of enthusiasm of Luftwaffe officials, only five more BV 141’s were ordered. These were fitted with a more powerful engine (the same engine used by the FW 190A) and an asymmetrical tail plane as well (the first prototypes, BV141A’s, had a symmetrical tail). The change in the tail plane layout was however problematic since the aircraft’s behavior in the air had somewhat deteriorated. Furthermore the engine was more urgently needed to FW190’s production lines, so the plans for establishing an operational squadron in Russia was subsequently abandoned and all further development ceased in 1942. It may be noted here that the competing aircraft, the FW189, became quite successful and had a distinguished career in service of the Luftwaffe all though it didn’t fulfil the original requirement of a single engined aircraft (the FW 189 was a twin).


This is a truly Airfix Classic kit with all what is remembered from the golden age of Airfix in the 60’s and 70’s: chunky crewmembers, over scale surface detail, crappy decals which breaks up when soaked into water, Spartan design of sprues and… well actually I find it quite amazing that Airfix could produce a pretty accurate kit (which is in fact the case) of this unusual aircraft without having an original example to examine (all though I have read something about the British recovering of one example when Allied forces advanced into Germany in the final stages of the war) and it might have produced the material that Airfix made their research on before tooling the mold.

 Anyway my example was exactly that; a release from the early / mid seventies (with the crappy decals all right), but I was determined after my monstrous Draken builds to build this OOB.


 Before I started construction I realised three issues:

-        the front canopy piece (part 19) unfortunately had a crack, presumably a molding error

-        the decal sheet had yellowed over the years and seemed to be of the ‘breaking up in water’ kind

-        the instruction sheet was little informative regarding some detail painting (cockpit interiors, wheel bays etc

Since I was bound to get a new canopy piece and decal sheet anyway, I decided to throw in for a new set of instructions as well, hoping for some better information regarding detail painting. While I waited for the spares to arrive, I began construction by gluing wings and fuselage together, while some filler took care of the sink marks that were present in the cockpit area. When cleaning up the join lines some filling and sanding was necessary thus removing the surface detail in the immediate area around the join lines (but so did the rest of the rivets later!). Also the wing joints need some attention from filler/sanding to be perfect. The issue with the too long supporting strut for the horizontal tail plane was come around by almost removing the locating tab going into the underside of the tail plane; the resulting ’half moon’ hole was filled and sanded smooth.

 When the parts from Airfix arrived, I went in a bit of question sign mode. Sure the instructions and decals were there but the clear parts? Definitely not for the BV141 kit; it looked more like they came from their Dauntless kit! However after contacting them (again and they admitted the fault) I got the right parts a few days later. When it comes to the spare parts service, nobody beats Airfix in that department! At the time of writing, I am waiting for some spare parts from Revell, but I haven’t heard from them yet. (Late note: As often happens, once something is commented upon, it comes in. So it was with the parts from Revell. Thank you Revell).

 Now back to track. As I discovered from the new instructions the interiors should be painted one color so I decided to assemble the complete crew gondola as well before painting it since painting would anyway be an easy task. The cockpit interiors were painted Humbrol 67 Tank Grey (which could be a substitute for RLM66 Schwartz Grau), instrument panel console plus stick Flat Black and the two flex mounted machine guns Humbrol 53 Gun Metal. The crewmembers were painted as per instructions and once the paint had dried, glued to their respective stations with a drop of CA glue. The clear parts were glued with Humbrol Gloss Cote; only the rear piece (the half conical one covering the rear machine gun) was glued with ordinary glue (the Gloss Cote being too slow drying for this!). When completely dry the canopy framing was painted next using the finest brush and the steadiest hand for this! However where paint did accidentally get on the glazing, it was, when dry of course, removed carefully with a piece of heat stretched sprue used as a scraper. The only places I use masking tape were on the windows around the pilot, as they are not as properly etched as the rest of the frames. The gear and bays were also painted at this stage but I will later in the painting section state what paint I used for these things (as is the case with the canopy framing).

 The gondola was then glued to the rest of the aircraft, as was the right wing to the gondola and the join lines received the same treatment as before with filling and sanding. My attention then turned to the engine; it was glued together and painted Satin Black, as was the interior of the cowling. The propeller and spinner was glued together, then painted Humbrol 91 Black Green and Flat Black respectively. Now I deviated a bit from the instructions; I took the rear piece (part 36) rounded up the exhaust stubs and glued it to the fuselage. The reason for this was that I would avoid attaching the propeller to the latest possible stage. After the engine had been glued to the cowling I took the propeller shaft (part 32) and ensured it was level with the rear face of the engine (part 30) simply by sanding it until it did; then pressed it through the engine and finally gluing a piece of adapted plastic sheet to the rear engine block (part 30) securing that the shaft still revolves! Then I will be able to press the propeller onto the shaft without the shaft disappearing in the fuselage!

 The wheel hubs were painted Satin Black (Humbrol 85) and the tires Humbrol 67 Tank Grey. Gear doors were thinned a bit then painted and attached to the gear. The gear was then attached in the bays and after the final touch ups the model was going to the paint shop!


In the new set of instructions there were two different color schemes; one of the tenth prototype in a standard RLM70/71/65 scheme (the same as in my boxing) and the other in an all grey-green scheme (which caught my attention). The grey-green color (which is also used for the gear, bays and canopy framing as stated earlier) calls up for a mix of 60% Humbrol 64 Light Grey and 40% Humbrol 91 Black Green. Well I am not fond of mixing colors and especially not in these quantities! So I decided going elsewhere to get around this issue. First I had to decide what the color was. After a little research and considerations I came to the conclusion that it could only be RLM02 Grau. Well then it was easy because I recently came across some old Humbrol Authentic Colour tinlets. Among them was the color ‘RLM Grau 02 HG.6’. It worked fine! After two layers the model was prepared with Gloss Cote for the decals (actually it were only the actual places were the decals were supposed to be or else I will soon run out of Gloss!). The replacement decals themselves worked fine they just had to be ‘helped’ off the base paper. The only snag came when the large crosses on the underside of the wing should be moved into position; they interfered with the control linkages for the ailerons which I had left untouched. Cutting a slot in the decal was necessary, but only with the second I did that before it was soaked in water! White and Black touch up became necessary also (the linkage is located in the borderline between the black and white on the cross), because the cut off slot pieces were unusable anyway. The swastikas came from an Xtradecal sheet and I must say that Xtradecal are some of the finest decals I have ever worked with! They stood up for several sessions with water because my attempts of fixing them made them move on the gloss surface. Despite this treatment they stood up to it! Upon completing decaling the final details were glued (with CA glue to speed things up). The antenna mast as well as the pitot probe was thinned considerably before glued into place then painted in their respective colors.

 After a complete overnight drying time the final coat of Humbrol Matt Cote finalized things; actually one odd thing happened; when moving the brush over the control linkages (which had been touched up in white and black paint remember) the Matt Cote seemed to dissolve the black paint! What the… I thought to myself! Well I dried the brush in a piece of towel then finished the job and left it overnight. After some further experiments left me with the conclusion that Revell 8 Flat Black (which is the Flat Black I used) is not very fond of Humbrol Matt Cote! So I decided to paint the black again then leave it without disturbing it further with the Matt Cote touch! The exhaust stubs were painted in a mix of  75% Humbrol 53 Gun Metal and 25% Humbrol 171 Antique Bronze (I just love those small pots of acrylic paint from various Airfix gift sets).

 After the absolute finals, such as position lights, I squeezed the propeller onto the shaft (it revolves perfectly) the model was finished.


I can say this is probably one of the finest of the old Airfix Classic kits one can build without any real obstacles (other than self inflicted ones of course). It builds fairly easy and I found it absolutely a relaxing job, so if you’re halfway through a ‘mission impossible’ project grab this one; I can only strongly recommend it.


 Kit instructions

Nicolai Plesberg

February 2013

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