Kit: Dragon 1/48 Ba-349A 'Natter'
Kit #: 5525
MSRP: @ USD $22.00
Decals for one version
Kit included photoetched parts and crew members.
Review and Images by: Scott Van Aken
Toward the end of WWII, things were getting a bit desperate in Germany. Constantly under bombardment by the Allies day and night; the Brits and Americans advancing from the West and the Russians from the East. Frankly, the Luftwaffe was totally incapable of stemming the onslaught of aircraft that were bombing it's cities to rubble. Airfields were constantly under attack, making it even more difficult for defenders to rise to the attack. What was needed was a point defense interceptor that was fast, lethal and didn't need an airfield. Amongst several of the expendable fighters offered was the Bachem Ba-349A. Built mostly of non strategic material (wood and steel), the Natter was designed to fire a volley of R4M rockets in it's nose and for the pilot to then bail out of his aircraft. He and the engine would then float to the ground to fight again. The Natter was launched vertically from a mobile tower by four solid rocket boosters, after which the liquid fuel rocket (same as used in the Me-163) would ignite for the rest of the sortie.
The aircraft was quickly built and several successful unmanned launches were accomplished. However in late February 1945, when it came time for the manned launch, the canopy tore off the aircraft, it went over on its back and crashed, killing the pilot. No other manned launches are known and those Natters found by the Allies were taken and studied. Unless there is one in the Smithsonian, there are no surviving aircraft. The aircraft carried no national insignia or swastika. Since it was an expendable weapon (like a bullet or rocket), none was required.
The DML/Dragon kit consists of a Natter, two crewmen, a handling trestle and a large circular base (which takes up a great deal of the box) for all this to be placed upon. All the plastic parts are very well detailed with no flash. The stainless etched parts are mostly for the interior and engine. There is a choice of nose cones; either a wooden or clear Perspex one. There are also several extra rockets to be displayed along with the kit, though one would have to drill out some of the existing ones in the nose cone to have a diorama of them being loaded. A small decal sheet includes a few common markings as well as numbers.
Overall, the kit looks to be as detailed as any other DML/Dragon kit. The etched metal parts are appropriate for the kit and other than one mount, are not difficult to use. Dry fitting a few parts showed no problems with alignment or off-center panel lines. It looks like a great kit that I anticipate building with great eagerness.
Thanks very much to: Uncle Bill's Hobby
2601-Centre Street N.,
Canada T2E 2V3
(403)277-2762 phone/fax for the review kit.
Scott Van Aken