Pavla 1/72 Arado Ar-231
KIT #: 72014
PRICE: $13.00 from a vendor
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Brian Baker
NOTES: Very nice offering of a rare prototype aircraft


It isn’t often that a kit of a prototype aircraft is done with an injection molded kit, but this is such an example. Few countries’ navies used submarine based aircraft, and this example was developed for the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during World War II. The idea was to have a small floatplane that could be carried on a submarine’s deck in a small hangar, which could be rapidly assembled and launched at sea to search for suitable targets. The Germans had already developed small rotary winged glider-copters which could be towed behind a moving submarine, and these were used successfully, but obviously a powered aircraft was thought to be more useful.

The Japanese used some of these types, including one which actually flew over the Oregon coast and started a forest fire with incendiary bombs, but the problems associated with this type of aircraft precluded their widespread use.

The AR-231 V1 prototype was developed during 1940 and 1941, first flying on 25 April 1941. The 160 hp. Hirth engine provided enough power, and the aircraft was designed to be carried in a small, 6.56 diameter storage tube, being assembled and ready for flight within six minutes of the sub’s surfacing. After landing, the plane could be dismantled and sealed in its hangar in about the same amount of time. Flight tests proved that the airplane’s flight characteristics were unacceptable, with the aircraft only being able to take off and land under extremely calm conditions. Although six prototypes were eventually built, no production was forthcoming.

For more details, read Scott’s in-box preview.


This is a multi-media kit, having just over 40 injection molded parts, two clear plastic vacuformed windshields, and a small photo-etch sheet having about 25 metal parts. The wing is cast in one piece, assuring the correct dihedral angle. The dihedral angle is offset to allow for storage in the hangar tube. The parts are excellently molded, with very little flash. This is a very small and detailed model, and all of the struts are the proper lengths.


There is nothing unusual about this model in the assembly process. Start with the cockpit interior, then assemble the fuselage halves and the float sections. Once the main sections are assembled, the major assembly steps, including the wings, floats, and tailplanes, can be done. If you fill the cockpit with some kind of masking material (sponge rubber works fine) the plane can be painted, as it is entirely RLM 02 grey overall. There are some photo etch parts to add, such as handles under the rudder. There are no rigging or control cable wires to add.


The plane is RLM 02 grey overall. The float tips are apparently RLM 70 green, but these can be brush painted after assembly. Some of the box art hints that the undersides of the floats are also RML 70, and the photos in the little William Green Floatplanes, Vol. 6 book show this, but the main four view painting guide does not indicate this. The decals are of good quality and go on easily. Even a tail swastika is included.


For the price, this is a very nice little model that can be completed in just a few days. Painting is simple and uncomplicated, and major gluing can be done before painting, which allows use of solvent glues. Don’t miss out on this one. Get one while they are still available.

Brian Baker

17 December 2019


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