Bronco Models 1/72 DFS 230B-1
A new release for the start of 2017 is this lovely injection moulded kits from Bronco Models of the German Assault glider, the DFS 230. Prior to WW2 gliders were popular in Germany as they enabled basic pilot training when the restrictions regarding flying from the Versailles Treaty were such that gliders were a way round those limitations. Prior to the starting of the Luftwaffe, and the casting aside of the old Treaty, many future Luftwaffe pilots cut their teeth on gliders before moving on to powered aircraft. The use of gliders in combat though was altogether new. The impact of glider landings during the invasion of Holland, and most famously in the pinpoint landings on top of the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael changed all that. Glider and paratrooper casualties in the invasion of Crete halted the German large scale use of glider forces, though they were used in missions such as the rescue of Mussolini from the Gran Sasso in 1943 and also for supply missions to places like Budapest in the late stages of the war.
The small DFS 230 carried a pilot and 9 passengers, 5 facing forward and 4 facing aft, seated very close together and in a confined fuselage. Describing it as 'cosy' would be an understatement. One of the passengers could also operate an mg34 in a mounting just behind the pilot. It has a two wheel undercarriage for take-off, but which then fell away and it landed using a long central ski underneath the fuselage.
There have been one or two models of the DFS 230 before, but this is the first from what I would describe as a mainstream plastic kit manufacturer. Bronco always produce very well detailed models, with plenty of fine and delicate detailing. This is also the case with this new kit as well. Inside the fuselage are not only the pilot's cockpit and the m.g. mounting at the rear of it, but also has the 9 seats for the paratroopers seated behind in the body of the fuselage itself. The seat supports and the individual seat backs are etch brass, and you will instantly see just how cramped they would have been during the flight. Each man has his legs astride the seat in front of him, as they was no room whatsoever between the seats for putting their legs, hence what must have been a very cramped and uncomfortable flying position for all involved.
The kit itself is very neatly moulded and will make up very nicely. The framework is also included inside the fuselage, and I like the way that those windows along the sides which have a part of the tubular frame running behind it have the appropriate length of frame moulded in the clear part, so you do need to be careful to fit each window in the right place. Even the individual rifle stowage is included. As you have the option to fit the cockpit canopy open or closed, this interior detail can be seen well on the finished model. The ailerons and the tail elevators as separate parts so can be fitted positioned as you like. The large ventral skit is there of course, and if you want the glider set at take-off, the small twin wheels undercarriage fitment can be fitted. Just leave it off if you want it in a flight of 'landed' configuration. There are five options for colours and markings. The first 3 are Luftwaffe machines, while the other two are for Romanian Air Force examples, in 1943 and 1944 respectively.
A couple of years ago Bronco had said they were going to release this in 1/35, and now this small scale one has been done, hopefully we will see their 1/35 kit as well before much longer. That will make an excellent companion to their 1/35 Horsa gliders already in their range.