|PRICE:||$59.98 at www.spacemonkeymodels.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The V-2 rocket (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, i.e. reprisal weapon 2), technical name Aggregat-4 (A4), was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known human artifact to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight. It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union space programs, which gained access to the scientists and designs through Operation Paperclip and Operation Osoaviakhim.
The weapon was presented by Nazi propaganda as a retaliation for the bombers that succeeded in attacking ever more German cities from 1942 until the end of the war.
Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, mostly London and later Antwerp. The attacks resulted in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians, while 12,000 forced laborers died during the production of the weapons.
Operation Paperclip recruited German engineers and Special Mission V-2 transported the captured V-2 parts to the United States. At the close of the Second World War, over 300 rail cars filled with V-2 engines, fuselages, propellant tanks, gyroscopes and associated equipment were brought to the railyards in Las Cruces, New Mexico, so they could be placed on trucks and driven to the White Sands Proving Grounds, also in New Mexico.
In addition to V-2 hardware, the U.S. Government delivered German mechanization equations for the V-2 guidance, navigation, and control system, as well as for advanced development concept vehicles, to U.S. defense contractors for analysis. In the 1950s some of these documents were useful to U.S. contractors in developing direction cosine matrix transformations and other inertial navigation architecture concepts that were applied to early U.S. programs such as the Atlas and Minuteman guidance systems as well as the Navy's Subs Inertial Navigation System.
A committee was formed with both military and civilian scientists to review payload proposals for the reassembled V-2 rockets. This led to an eclectic array of experiments that flew on the V-2s and paved the way for American manned space exploration. Devices were sent aloft to sample the air at all levels to determine atmospheric pressures and to see what gases were present. Other instruments measured the level of cosmic radiation.
Only 68 percent of the V-2 flights were considered successful. A supposed V-2 launched on 29 May 1947 landed near Juarez, Mexico and was actually a Hermes B-1 vehicle.
The U.S. Navy attempted to launch a reassembled German V-2 rocket at sea—one test launch from the aircraft carrier USS Midway was performed on 6 September 1947 as part of the Navy's Operation Sandy. The test launch was a partial success; the V-2 went off the pad, but splashed down in the ocean only some 10 km (6.2 mi) from the carrier. The launch setup on the Midway's deck is notable in that it used foldaway arms to prevent the missile from falling over. The arms pulled away just after the engine ignited, releasing the missile. The setup may look similar to the R-7 launch procedure, but in the case of the R-7 the trusses hold the full weight of the rocket, rather than just reacting to side forces.
The PGM-11 Redstone rocket is a direct descendant of the V-2.
When I was contacted by Space Monkey Models about this my interest was immediately piqued. I've built V-2s in several scales and have always been fascinated by it, despite its nefarious history. Probably about as aerodynamic a shape as one can get, the V-2 kits produced have had rockets that were quite easy to assemble and this one is no exception from the look of things.
Ok, it isn't a snap kit by any means, but the parts are superbly molded and the assembly is very well thought out. The main body of the rocket is made of blown styrene with all the external detail one could hope for. One simply saws off the upper and lower globes to start construction. There are five additional sprues of translucent white plastic to take care of the nose cone, fins and various vents and vanes. These parts are also superbly molded and test fitting a pair of fin halves shows that they fit very well.
The detail on this kit is mostly raised detail because that is the way the real V-2 was. In addition to the fins, there are steering vanes, nose tips and various vents. There is also a piece of styrene rod. This is to be used to cut small discs for the upper/lower rocket body attachment area, which was held with fasteners. The set includes a guide strip that one wraps around the rocket body with the placement of each fastener shown on the strip. Sounds complex, but really, it is super simple and quite easy. Just as an idea of the size, the main body, minus the upper and lower globes, measures 18 inches. Adding the fins and nose cone will take this pretty close to 2 feet.
Instructions are superbly done and include a bunch of photos of each step of the construction. The folks at Space Monkey Models want to be sure you have no problems assembling this kit. There are markings for four rockets and the painting and markings guide for each of them is in full color. There are two museum vehicles; one from the USAF Museum in a splinter camouflage and the other from the Imperial War Museum in an overall olive green. Two others are of historical significance. One is the Operation Sandy missile that was launched from the USS Midway. The other is a 'billboard' missile that was used as a gate guard at White Sands for many years and has since been restored for the White Sands Missile Range museum. The decals are superbly printed by Cartograf. O
Of course, one is not limited to the decal sheet for this kit. If you can find a photo of one, then you can paint it in that scheme.
Also included in the kit for inspiration and reference is Rocket Aero's new DVD on the V-2/A-4 in America that will be reviewed separately.
For those of you who really like real space or are fascinated by the V-2, then this is a great kit. Well detailed, superbly researched and with a reference DVD that you'll be watching over and over again.
March 2011 Thanks towww.spacemonkeymodels.com for the preview kit. Order yours direct from the link. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks towww.spacemonkeymodels.com for the preview kit. Order yours direct from the link.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page