Flettner Fl 282 by Huma

1/48 scale
Kit No. 6500
Cost: $18.00
Decals: Two versions – both German Luftwaffe
Comments: Engraved panel lines; Unusual and relatively rare kit; no pilot figure

History

The Flettner Fl 282 “Kolibri” (Hummingbird) was a small observation helicopter powered by a Siemens-Halske 150 h.p. Sh 14 radial engine. It has two counter-rotating propellers mounted in axes located very close together. The fuselage consisted of a steel tube frame covered in sheet metal and doped fabric. It could carry up to two passengers in addition to a pilot. It first appeared in 1940 as a direct development of the Fl 265 helicopter. The Fl 265 was the first helicopter to employ the principle of counter-rotating intermeshing rotor blades, as early as 1938.

The Kolibri possessed excellent flying characteristics and the German Air Ministry placed a development order with Flettner for a specific type of spotter aircraft. Even though the same method of propulsion was retained in the Fl 282, its engine was moved to a central position directly under the rotor head. As a result, the craft had a very stable flying attitude (having a central center of gravity), and the pilot had very good all round vision. Following completion the Fl 282 was thoroughly tested in the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Take-offs and landings were practiced from ships (mine layers and destroyers) under steam to which special 5 x 5 meter landing decks had been fitted.

The plastic detail parts for the engine and steel tubing are so thin and delicate that at first glance they appear to be photo-etched. Kudos to Huma for the intricacy of their mold on this kit.

Following the excellent test results the German Air Ministry issued a contract to BMW in 1944 to produce 1,000 machines, in part to fulfill a Kreigsmarine requirement for a craft to carry out submarine spotting duties. But BMW’s Munich plant was destroyed by Allied bombing raids, and throughout the war, only 24 Fl 282 were ever built. Of these, by 1943 over 20 B-1 models were in service in the Baltic, Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Their roles included ferrying items between ships, and reconnaissance. However, as the war progressed, the Luftwaffe began considering converting the Fl 282 for battlefield use. Until then, the Kolibri had been flown by a single pilot, but a position for an observer was added at the very rear of the craft, resulting in the B-2 version. The B-2 proved a useful artillery spotting aircraft and an observation unit was established in 1944, comprised of three Fl 282s and three Fa 223 helicopters. An improved version of the Fl 282 known as the Fl 339 was under development at the time of the German surrender, and was to incorporate lessons learned from experience with the previous model.

Specifications

Maximum speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
Range: 106 miles (170 km)
Service ceiling: 10,825 ft (3,300 m)
Rate of climb: 26 ft/s (8 meters/s)
Maximum Speed: 100 mph
Fuel consumption: 8.5 gallons/hour

Dimensions
Payload: 383 kilograms (840 lb)
Length: 21 ft 6.25 in (6.65 m)
Rotor diameter: 39 ft 2 in (11.96 m)
Height: 7 ft 2.5 in (2.20 m)
Empty weight: 1,676 lb (760 kg)
Useful load: 529 lb (240 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2,205 lb (1,000 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Bramo Sh 14A 7-Cylinder radial piston engine, 160 hp (119 kW)

The Kit

Huma’s Flettner Fl 282 is molded in grey plastic, consists of 69 parts and sports engraved panel lines. This is a fairly simple aircraft, and there are no resin or photo-etch extras, although Huma did such a good job with the mold that there is not much need for them. The heart of the kit is the detailed, conventionally mounted radial engine, together with a faithfully recreated exposed cockpit, partially surrounded by a tube framework, with a control stick, bucket seat and a decal for the instrument panel. The detailed landing gear are fixed and are part of the network of tubing, and it looks as if careful study of the instructions will be required to get the tubes properly aligned. The two main rotor blades each have a length of 25 centimeters or 9.75 inches, but as they are counter-rotating they will overlap slightly, making for a somewhat bigger total diameter when the kit is fully assembled — something to bear in mind should you build and display this little beauty. The instruction sheet shows two versions, neither of which are identified, but are distinguishable by their different paint schemes: one is green RLM 71 over hellblau RLM 65 undersides, and the second is overall grey RLM 63.

Conclusion

An interesting and detailed kit of a lesser known part of World War II aviation. Highly recommended.

References

  • Huma instructions
  • Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Random House Group Limited; London, 2001
  • Wikipedia.org
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