|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Ar 234C was equipped with four lighter (625 kg (1,378 lb) apiece) BMW 003A engines mounted in a pair of twin-engine nacelles based on those from the eighth prototype. The primary reason for this switch was to free up Junkers Jumo 004s for the Me 262, but it also improved takeoff power to nearly (31,300 N (7,040 lbf)). An improved cockpit, with a slightly bulged outline in the upper contour, and integrating a swept-back fairing for the periscope, and a simplified window design with 13 glazed panels reduced to 8. The BMW jet engines improved top speed by about 20% over the B series airframes.
During October 1944, the prototype Ar 234 V19 performed its first flight. Although an operational test squadron was being prepared, only 14 C-series airframes were completed by the end of the war, with fewer than half having engines. Some were found at the end of the war sitting in the open, complete but for empty engine nacelles. Flight testing of the new sub-type hadn't started yet when Germany surrendered. Three basic variants of the C-series were planned, with several more laid out as detailed proposals. Some of these would have had a pair of the higher thrust, but 950 kg (2,090 lb) heavier Heinkel HeS 011 jet engines, while others were to have swept or "crescent"-type wings.
The Arado E.381 (Kleinstjäger – "smallest fighter") was a proposed parasite fighter aircraft. Conceived by Arado Flugzeugwerke in December 1944 for Germany's Luftwaffe during World War II, the E.381 was to have been carried aloft by and launched from an Arado Ar 234 "mother" aircraft. It would then have activated its rocket engine, which would have propelled it to attack Allied (mainly American and British) bombers. Development was cancelled due to lack of funds and official support.
Here is a nice 'whiffer' that combines Dragon's nice four engine Ar-234C and a paper project parasite fighter. The kit itself is nicely detailed and if like their standard two engine Ar-234B, will build into a very nice model.
The interior is fairly well appointed for the scale and you will see it quite easily through the somewhat thick clear bits. The nose gear well is part of the cockpit tub and Dragon wants you to build it up right away. This is then fit into the forward fuselage section. The reason for the separate nose is that this and the 234B nose are a bit different. Each of the MLG and gear well are then built and installed. Now, this kit will be a major tail sitter without some weight. Put as much as you can behind the cockpit bulkhead before you close the fuselage halves and attach the nose.
Next the tailplanes are added along with the main gear doors and wheels. Constructions then moves to the engine pods and wings. There is also a piece that fits into the lower rear fuselage that contains cameras. Your option on the cameras. Normally this aircraft carried a large bomb on the recessed centerline. However for the E.381, some different holes need to be opened outside this recess so you'll need to fill the bomb holes. The Julia itself is a very simple little kit by itself comprising eight pieces.
You are provided two decals sheets. One is for the Julia and the other for the 234C. You have four different code options that you can use. The camouflage scheme is standard late war with RLM 76 squiggles over it. This latter is conjectural. Paint references are Gunze. Note that a small photo etch fret is included for antennas and the cockpit gun sight. It would have been nice to have had belts as well, but there it is. Decals are old school Japanese with off-white whites. However, these decals, though a bit thick, generally hold up well over time.
So there you have it. An interesting 'whiffer' that could easily be built as just the two airframes without having to mate them. Oddly, only Frog has ever done a four engine Ar-234, and this is still the best there is in this scale.
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