Text and Photos by: James Woody
The Reichenberg was just one
of the attack projects that the Third Reich attempted to develop. This aircraft
was designed to destroy a target by impact of the machine on the target by a
pilot. The pilot was to dive the plane on the target and bail out as soon as
the impact was certain. Around 70 pilots (out of thousands who volunteered)
were chosen for training. The training was done at Kampfgeschwader KG200 (Leonidas-Staffel).
The airplane that was to be used for these missions was a manned version of
the Fieseler Fi 103 (V-1 missile) The 'Deutsches Institut fur Segelflug (DFS)'
- German Institute for Sailing Flight - carried out the modifications of the
unmanned missile by placing a cockpit in front of the pulse jet intake. The
re-design was completed in just fourteen days and in September 1944 test flights
started. The first type was the Reichenberg I (Re.I), which did not have an
engine installed yet, but was fitted with a landing skid. It was mated to a
He 111, which was used to test drop the Re.I. During the initial testing the
Re.I crashed several times. This initial type was followed by four other variants
- the Re.II had an instructor's cockpit installed in the nose; the Re.III was
a single-seat trainer; and finally the Re.IV combat versions that had a 800
kg explosive charge in the nose.
The planned tactics had the Re.IV carried to within range of its target by a He 111 (since the Re.IV only had a flight time of 32 minutes and a range of 32 km, the mother ship had to get quite close to the target before launching). At this point the Re.IV would be launched toward the target by the mother ship. As the pilot sighted in on the target, he would begin a dive to impact the target. Once the target was locked on, the pilot would bail out. Several problems did arise with the bail out - the air speed of the Re.IV would have been in excess of 800 kph (500 mph) , and the tight cockpit was directly below the engine intake (which the pilot needed to avoid). This project did have influential supporters in the Third Reich and was only cancelled after many discussions into the problems of the project. Before the project was cancelled, 175 modified V-1's (Re.IV) were produced.
Upon opening the kit you see one gray parts tree with 20 parts and one clear canopy. The parts have just a little flash on the engine otherwise look good. The instruction sheet has only 5 steps. There is a camouflage and marking sheet that shows three different aircraft. The decals are protected in their own plastic pouch. There are no National markings on the decal sheet.
Assembly was fairly straightforward but there are some issues with this kit. There are ejector pin marks in the cockpit and motor that must be removed because they can be seen in the finished model. The wing halves would not fit correctly until the ejector pin marks were removed from the inside of the halves. The cockpit is very simple, but so was the actual airplane. There are no decals for the instrument panel, so you must detail it yourself. The seat bottom, which is molded into the fuselage, was not complete in my sample, so I had to fabricate a seat bottom from thin plastic sheet. The rudder pedals and stick don't have locator holes and the diagram does not make it exactly clear where to glue these two parts. Just take your best shot; because once the canopy is in place you won't see much. Once the cockpit is completed joining the two fuselage halves is next. The locator pins are too large for the corresponding holes, so the pins needed to be filed down or removed (there is not enough plastic around the holes to open up all of them). Several panel lines did not match up once the fuselage was glued together. The locator pins on the wings and horizontal stabilizer are too large for their locating holes. In both cases I opened the holes for the pin to fit into. The wing to fuselage joints needed filling since the fuselage is curved and the wings are flat where they join the fuselage (I checked several references and could not tell if the actual airplane had this gap). The inside of the pulsejet needs to be sanded because the thickness of the walls is different giving the jet opening an oblong shape. The opening for the impact fuse needs to be larger to fit the fuse into the nose.
The last two items to be installed were the canopy and the landing skid. Upon first inspection the canopy looks too tall as it covers part of the pulsejet's air intake. This is correct from the pictures of the aircraft that were in my references (internet and Warplanes of the Third Reich). The landing skid should only be installed if you are building the Re.III. The skid was not installed on the Re.IV. If you do build a Re.III, don't install the impact fuse as cast because the Re.III had a simple pointed nosecone.
Overall this kit had more issues than one would have guessed because of the small number of parts. However, nothing was found that a modeler of average skill could not fix. This was an enjoyable build of a different rare aircraft that was conceived but never used operationally by the Germans during World War II. I would like to thank Brent at Roll Models for the review sample.
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