Special Hobby 1/48 Fl-265






One aircraft: the prototype; TK+AN


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin and a vac canopy


Contrary to popular opinion, the first operational use of a helicopter (as compared to an autogyro), was not the US with the Sikorsky R-4, but the Luftwaffe with the Flettner Fl-265. The Germans had much success with the Focke-Wulf Fw-61, a rather ungainly twin rotor helo, however it wasn't able to carry any kind of useful payload. The Luftwaffe then turned to Flettner, who had a novel design using counter rotating intermeshing rotors. All Flettner helos had large tails for stability. Though it appears that this aircraft has a normal nose, there is no propeller there but a rotating cooling fan in the cowling of the 150 HP radial engine.

The 265 had a rather protracted development that is typical of highly experimental aircraft. Very few were built; only five airframes. However they were used for observation and anti-submarine work from the deck of cruisers in the Baltic during 1939 and 1940. Despite the ease of control, the design was quickly superceded by the much more advanced, but similarly designed Flettner Fl-282, a helo with an even greater payload capacity.


Special Hobby's kit is typical of their short-run efforts. All the parts come in a one-piece box with the decals and resin bits bagged separately. There is one large sprue of medium grey plastic with very fine engraved detailing. Personally, I wish the detailing was a bit heavier as any sanding needed (and it will be needed) will destroy the surrounding detail. All the parts had some flash on them which is typical of low-pressure injection molding. There is no problem with misaligned molds which is good as there are a lot of tubular forms.

The resin pieces are for the interior and the engine front. These parts look well molded with no apparent air bubbles. There is one nice and thick vacuform canopy. The decals are by Propagteam so promise to be opaque and stick well. They are for the first prototype.

Instructions are again typical being 6 pages of which two are history, parts and color diagrams. There are four construction steps that are quite logical in sequence. Like other Special Hobby kits I have built, you have to do some scratchbuilding. In this case it is the interior framework. There are two color schemes for the same aircraft, the difference being in that one has two red bands around the fuselage. Both are in overall RLM 02 Green-grey.

I look forward to building this kit as I have a fondness for early helicopters

Review sample courtesy of Squadron Mail Order