DML 1/48 Ba.349A Natter w launch tower

KIT #: 5516
DECALS: Simple set of crosses
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1993 release


The Bachem Ba 349 Natter (English: Colubrid, grass-snake) was a World War II German point-defence rocket-powered interceptor, which was to be used in a very similar way to a manned surface-to-air missile. After a vertical take-off, which eliminated the need for airfields, most of the flight to the Allied bombers was to be controlled by an autopilot. The primary role of the relatively untrained pilot was to aim the aircraft at its target bomber and fire its armament of rockets. The pilot and the fuselage containing the rocket engine would then land using separate parachutes, while the nose section was disposable.

The first and only manned vertical take-off flight, on 1 March 1945, ended in the death of the test pilot, Lothar Sieber.


This is one of Dragon's (then DML) earlier kits and one that was produced, to my knowledge, in only two boxings. One was a ground scene with a full engine and figures, the other being this one with the launch tower. The majority of the sprues are for the launch tower as it is a fairly large construct. The tower includes a section of thread as it represents the cable used to hoist the aircraft into position on the tower. Actually, the main portion of the operational tower was wood as metals were in short supply so not used if there was a viable wooden alternative.

The aircraft itself is actually quite simple. The fuselage is in four sections with the aft portion being separate to accommodate the engine provided in the other boxing. The rather basic cockpit is well proportioned and you will use most of the provided photo etch fret in this area. The canopy can be posed open or closed and you are provided with both a solid and clear nose cone piece.

Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. A decal sheet that consists of insignia is provided, but none of the aircraft built carried these. The painting guide shows one aircraft in overall light blue with dark green squiggles. Use whatever close RLM paints you have for this.  


Despite being a bit of an old tooling (at least in the minds of youngsters), this makes into a very nice kit. The addition of the launch tower just adds to the appeal.


October 2023

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