Revell 1/288 Sanger Space Transporter
History, shmistory. There isn't any on this kit. It is as much a paper project vehicle as any Luft '46 kit I've ever seen. What it does have is an essence of cool that most of us will react to. The theory behind this is one of a reusable lower stage that carries the spacecraft on its back. It would be able to take off from a normal runway and get the payload vehicle into the fringes of space where it would continue on. The lower section would then return to earth where it could be refuelled and readied for the next mission. Accoring to the box side panel, this vehicle was designed by MBB (Messerschmitt/Bolkow/Blohm). Frankly, I can see one big problem right off the bat and that is the two large fins on the 'booster' vehicle. I'd think that there would be a pretty good chance of the separating upper stage hitting those; but perhaps not.......
The kit is really simplicity in itself. The majority of the parts are the wheels and struts of the landing gear for the lower section. Best of luck painting those teeny tires! Both the lower section and the upper spacecraft are in two parts. For the upper payload the builder gets a choice of either a shuttle-like vehicle or a standard rocket booster. This booster rocket would be used either when the payload is too large for the shuttle or has to be placed into a higher orbit than the shuttle can reach. It would also be used for launching interplanetary or interstellar research probes.
The instructions are the typical 'universal' type with no written construction information. There are 15 steps and each are plain enough for anyone to understand. Painting is pretty simple as well with most parts in either black, anthracite, or metallic grey. There are decals provided, which includes a number of stripes for outlining the control surfaces of the vehicles. Frankly, I don't see these as being too visible once applied, but they are there for your use.
Well I'm really a sucker for these kinds of kits. I like space craft and 'what if' types of models. This kit combines them both into one so you can understand my attraction. What surprised me is not only that I'd never heard of the kit, but that it was released in 1991. Guess I just wasn't paying attention or something. Anyway, other than the landing gear, this one should be a snap to build. One thing for sure, when (actually, that is more of an 'if') I get around to building it, I'll do it wheels up on a stand!
Late entry: I have received an e-mail that explains a bit of the history of this much better than I so here it is:
"First of all, it's not a so called Luft '46 project at all! Saenger
continued a concept of his "America Bomber" that's true, but the Space
Transporter project was kicked of by the government of the Federal
Republic of Germany circa 1985 and is therefore a complete new design
and a complete new project-therefore it cannot be called a Luft '46
project. It has nothing to do with WW II or Nazi technique except the
basic aerodynamics. The DLR (German Institute for Aerospace Systems)
made some test firings with so called scramjet engines in the mid-60's
to the mid-90's to get the knowledge which would be necessary to use
these engines at speeds of mach 10 and over. The test firings were done
at the former "Raketenversuchsanstalt" at Trauen (visit:
www.lostplaces.de/trauen to see photos of the old third reich test
range and the new one by DLR). Due to a lack of public interest and
money the project was cancelled in 1995. The photos on the Revell box
side were taken from a scale aerodynamic prototype which exists in
reality and which is about ten metres long. The project was on it's way
when it was cancelled: The design with the two fins etc. was tested and
was the final configuration. So please correct the description of the
model history if you want to for historic accuracy. Saenger has
founded the Institute for Aerospace Propulsion Systems at the
University of Stuttgart where I'm studying Aerospace Engineering.
Another interesting fact about Saenger: he died due to a heart attack
while doing a lesson at the University in front of his students. You
can argue if he was a Nazi or not because with his bomber project he
supported Hitler's plans in a way, but on the other side he refused any
armed conflicts after the war and wanted to help Europe and the ESA to
build up a new generation of space transportation system. If they
hadn't cancelled the project, it would have been finished in 2005. And
now there we are: The Space Station needs a new reliable shuttle system
and every government has cancelled such projects as the Saenger one."
Submitted by Friedolin Strauss
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