MiniWing 1/144 BV-138C-1

KIT #: mini011
PRICE: $43.00 from 
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin with vacuformed clear parts


The Blohm & Voss BV 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon, but nicknamed Der Fliegende Holzschuh ("flying clog")) was a World War II German flying boat that functioned as the Luftwaffe's main long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

A total of 297 BV 138s were built between 1938 and 1943. The aircraft was unusually powered by three engines, with one mounted high above the centerline driving a four-blade propeller, and one on each wing driving three-blade propellers. The preproduction prototypes and the BV 138 A-01 to BV 138 A-06, were powered by various makes of engines ranging from 485-746 kW (650-1,000 hp). The first standardized version, BV 138 B-1, was powered by three 656 kW (880 hp) Junkers Jumo 205D Diesel engines. Unusual were the aircraft's twin boom tail unit, and gun turrets at the bow and the stern of the fuselage, as well as behind the central engine. These features together produced the aircraft's ungainly appearance.

The first of the 227 standard service variant, BV 138 C-1, began service in March 1941. Although various versions of the aircraft carried a variety of armament, the standard included two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, one in a power-operated bow turret and one in a power-operated stern turret, up to three 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine guns, and a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun in the aft center engine nacelle. It could carry 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs or depth charges or, in place of these, up to 10 passengers. Most were fitted with FuG 200 Hohentwiel search radar for anti-shipping duties. Some were converted for minesweeper role. The BV 138 MS variant, with the "MS", signifying Minensuch (German for mine-clearing), carried a degaussing device, a hoop with the same diameter as the length of the fuselage and field-generating equipment, instead of weapons.


This neat little (well, actually not all that small) kit is only the second that has been done of this kit (at least, I don't know of any others). The other is the Supermodel 1/72 version that many of us have built and enjoyed.

This is another of those neat MiniWIngs kits, all to 1/144 scale, and made in the Czech Republic. The overall quality of the resin is very good with nicely engraved panel lines and well done detailing in terms of intakes and such. There are very few molding glitches, basically an air bubble or two, all quite easily handled by anyone who has ever built a resin kit.

The cockpit is nicely appointed with a floor, two seats, two control sticks, instrument panel and a rear bulkhead. Both the fore and aft machine gun turrets are included as is the Scarff ring upper aft engine nacelle gun. The vac plastic for the canopy and turrets is well done and you can actually see the frame lines (unlike some other vac products I've used). Miniwings thoughtfully provides spares for these and I appreciate that. All three spinners are drilled for the blades and these are well done. Unfortunately, somewhere between production and bagging, one of my blades went missing.

The instructions are basically a half sheet with an exploded view on one side and a color markings and camo guide on the other. More than adequate in this scale. No interior or detail painting info is provided. Two options are provided. One is the box art plane from 2/KüFlGr 406 in Norway during March of 1942 in the sea scheme of RLM 72/73/65. The other is from 1./SaGr 130 in Norway during April 1944. This one has a white splinter scheme painted over the standard camo. Decals are nicely done on a sheet with a single carrier film. This means cutting out each marking.


If you are like many of us who are quickly running out of display space, don't have much to start with, or just like 1/144 scale, then you should seriously consider this one.


August 2009

My thanks to for the preview kit. Get yours today while the supplies still last.

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