Blohm & Voss Bv 138 C-1
MPM 1/48th scale kit & Schiffer Waffen Arsenal Book
This is a combined review covering a new all resin 1/48th scale from MPM and a rather old Schiffer book ( an English translation of a previously published Waffen Arsenal book). They complement one another very well, this being a somewhat esoteric aircraft, being neither a sexy fighter or familiar attack/bomber aircraft. Only slightly more than 220 '138C flying boats were built between 1941 and 1943. This interesting flying boat was used mostly for long range reconnaissance in the Baltic, North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Numerous flights were made in support of U-boat anti-convoy operations. Often making refueling rendezvous with U-boats at sea, to lengthen an already long max flight time of over 16 hours. A few were modified with a massive dural loop attached to the unarmed aircraft, nick named the "Mouse-catching aircraft", used to sweep and detonate magnetic mines laid in canals, rivers and coastal waters.
The MPM kit is a fairly simple all resin model kit. There are many finely detailed parts contributing to a very detailed cockpit area. The body is a simple two sided structure. All surfaces are finely recessed, with all the major airframe sections being solid single piece resin castings. While this will make the construction all that much quicker, the added weight of the solid wing sections will call for some serious connections. I'd probably use short sections of wire to support the hanging structures. Another small negative of the resin kit format, is the tendency to have small or thin sections to easily break or chip off. Some of the parts I inspected would require simple puddy work to fill chipped parts. The up side, is that the resin process allows very fine and detailed reproduction of small and petite details and MPM goes to great lengths to properly protect and pack the pieces to prevent shipping damage. In looking at the instructions, which are very adequate, if not outright "Good", this will be a very easy build. The only tricky parts (for me at least) would be the vacuform canopies and gun turrets, and thankfully MPM have provided two copies of each clear part. A couple of different markings are provided for, while the Schiffer book shows some interesting Norwegian campaign paint schemes.
The Schiffer book by well known Luftwaffe expert Heinz Nowarra provides many general and in use photographs of the Bv 138 family of aircraft. The book is somewhat similar to Squadron "In Action" series, without the Squadron approach to cater more to the modeler. The black and white photographs also sometimes suffer from a build-up in contrast and lose in detail associated with certain copying techniques, making some of the photos less useful than they could have been if copied from the original copies. All that said, this is one of the only sources devoted to this aircraft, and by that reason alone if no others, is indispensable to a builder of the the MPM model.
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