Blohm & Voss Bv.P178 Nachtjager in 1/72...
...building the kit from Bronco Models
Among the range of kits from Bronco Models are some different variants of one of the planned jets that were on the drawing board at the end of the war. It features the Blohm and Voss P178 project which was one of those late war German designs which never actually got round to being built, but the odd looking asymmetrical design makes for an unusual and interesting looking aircraft. Using the same basic fuselage and wings Bronco have done a selection of the potential variants that could have been built on the airframe. This latest kit from them is that bit different to their earlier ones for having a very different shape to the forward fuselage.
The bulk of the kit in terms of main fuselage, wings and engine are of course the same as in the other kits. This one has a new sprue for the nose and additional parts used on this proposed night fighter variant. It does also remind you in the instructions to add some weight to the nose section if you want it to stand correctly on the tricycle undercarriage. The kit also gives you an option of fitting a belly gun pack, or fitting the two barrels of the Schrage Musik ('Jazz Music') installation of two 20mm cannons mounted to fire upwards, at a slightly forward angle, out of the top of the fuselage. This was used successfully on other aircraft types and was to fly beneath the British bombers and shoot upwards into the belly of the aircraft, which was one of the least well defended areas of bombers such as the Lancaster. With the fitting of the cannon in the fuselage, that displaced the fuel tank that was fitted behind the cockpit, so this version also carries a large external fuel tank underneath. This is a nicely moulded kit and having assembled one of the earlier releases from Bronco, it goes together well.
All conjecture as they were never built, but Bronco offer 4 alternatives in terms of colours and markings for this one. The first is in an overall light blue with dark grey mottle camouflage on the upper surfaces, and s a type fitted with the Shrage Musik cannon installation, as is the second, which has the same pale blue and dark grey mottle patches on the upper surfaces though with a black underside to fuselage and wings. The third and fourth options are for the aircraft fitted with the belly pack for armament, and one has pale blue undersides and a plain green upper surface while the final choice has a pale blue colour to the whole fuselage and wing undersides, while the top of the fuselage adds a green and dark green mottle to the top and sides of the fuselage and a green/dark green splinter pattern on the upper surfaces of the wings. There is a large sheet of transfers which have been included with all their kits of these P178 variants, and a send small one which provides additional markings specific to this Night Fighter variant.
Well, built and painted, I enjoyed building this one and the fit of parts is good. The only thing I didn't get right was to put enough weight into the nose for it to sit unaided on the tricycle undercarriage. Helpfully they do provide a clear plastic part for a tail support.
Thanks to Bronco Models for my example.