by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The DFS 230 was a German transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe in World War II. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - "German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight") with Hans Jacobs as the head designer. The glider was the inspiration for the British Hotspur glider.
In addition to the pilot, the DFS-230 glider had room for nine men sitting on a narrow bench located in the middle of the fuselage or up to 1.200kg of freight. The front passenger could operate its only armament, a machine gun. It was an assault glider, designed to land directly on top of its target, so it was equipped with a parachute brake. The V-6 depicted in this kit used three retro rockets as brakes. This allowed the glider to approach its target in a dive at an angle of eighty degrees and land within 20 metres of its target.
It played significant roles in the operations at Fort Eben-Emael, the Battle of Crete, and in the rescue of Benito Mussolini. It was also used in North Africa. However, it was used chiefly in supplying encircled forces on the Eastern Front such as supplying the Demyansk Pocket, the Kholm Pocket, Stalingrad, and the defenders of Festung Budapest (until February 12, 1945). Although production ceased in 1941, it was used right up to the end of the war, for instance, supplying Berlin and Breslau until May 1945.
The DFS 230 dropped its landing gear as soon as it was safely in the air, and landed by means of a landing skid. The DFS-230 could be towed by a Ju-52 (which could tow two with difficulty), a He-111, a Ju-87, Hs 126, a Bf 110, or a Bf 109. The DFS-230 had the highest glide ratio (18) of any World War 2 military glider other than the Antonov A-7. This was because it was thought that the glider had to be capable of a long approach during landing, so that it could be released a considerable distance from the target so the sound of the towing aircraft did not alert the enemy.
The kit sprues and photo etched fret are packed individually in bags. First impressions are of some good quality moulding although the ribbing effect is a little overdone. Contents include:
-4 x plastic sprues
-1 x clear plastic sprue.
-1 x unpainted photo etched fret.
-1 x small sheet of decals.
-1 x 11 page instruction manual
The cockpit has a control stick, rudder pedals, seat and a tubular frame to fit the seat on. There are no harnesses. Interestingly there are control cable attachment points for the control stick and rudder pedals under the floor. These will be visible from the windows to the side of the pilot’s legs. So you may want to replicate the cables before joining the fuselage. There is also an instrument panel with a decal representing the faces of the instruments. There is a separate floor that runs the length of the cockpit and cabin. The one piece bench has two sets of photo etched material representing the frame supporting the bench. There are also photo etched back supports for the bench to glue in place. The inside of the fuselage has moulded low relief framework, but there are numerous recessed and raised ejector pin marks to remove. The framework extends across some of the clear plastic windows, which is a nice touch. There are also a couple of lengths of plastic framework to fit under the floor and the ceiling of the cabin. A section of the wing spar needs to fit in the cabin. This acts as a stub for the location of the wings.
The cockpit canopy is made up from three pieces of clear plastic. You can display the canopy open, the canopy opens to the right similar to the Bf 109. There are a couple of clear plastic windows to put in the fuselage either side of the pilot’s legs. There are seven small cabin windows to put into the left side of the fuselage and four on the right side. The holes for the windows are recessed, which should make the placing of the small clear plastic windows a little easier. There are also three windows to put into the two doors on the left hand side of the fuselage. One of the doors needs a hole opening up to accommodate the clear plastic part. Where to cut is indicated by a recessed mark. There are three doors to insert into the fuselage sides. A huge temptation would be to leave one or more open to show of all that lovely internal detail. It will also impress any viewer on how little space there was in there for nine paratroopers and a pilot. There are three rifles to place in rack just behind the pilot. There are also the parts, a mix of plastic and PE for the upper gunner position.
The doped surface of the wings and tail has slightly saggy look between the ribs, a nice effect if not truly accurate. The ailerons, elevators and rudder are all separate so they can be positioned for a more realistic look.
Finishing touches include the fitting of the three retro rocket tubes in the nose and machine gun and frame on top of the fuselage. If you want the standard nose without the rockets then that is included. The landing gear comprises of a main and tail skid. A nice touch is the inclusion of a wheeled dolly which was jettisoned on take-off, but it will make a useful stand for the model.
There are two options both with the Luftwaffe:
-V-6 the rocket test aircraft.
Upper surface colours are RLM70/71 and RLM65 on the sides and under surfaces. The decals look fine, good register and colour density. There are pretty matt and the carrier film looks noticeable in places.
Built model images are from Bronco Models.
What a good looking and unusual kit this is. It will make a fine standalone exhibit and it will certainly shine as part of a diorama. The relatively small number of parts number and the apparent ease of the construction should make this kit very popular.