Flettner Fl 282 ďKolibriĒ
Manufacturer : Huma
Scale : 1/72
Type : Injection moulded, short run
Paint : Humbrol, Vallejo
Accessories : scratch, Reheat models, Evergreen profiles.
: Eduard: German seatbelts WWII
Documentation :Das Waffen Arsenal, Band 65,
Die Deutschen Hubschrauber 1928 - 1945
: Scale Aviation Modeller International (SAMI) July 2004
The Flettner Fl 282 was a development of the Flettner Fl 265 dating from 1938. It was one of the first aircraft serving as a helicopter and the first with contra rotating propellers.
The test results were very good and an order to build 1000 aircraft was issued. War events meant that finally only 24 aircraft were delivered. A few aircraft were extensively tested in the Baltic Sea and in the Mediterranean from ships.
The Kolibri came in a single and two-seat version. The fuel tank was than removed from the centre and moved to the sides so that a passenger/observer could take place in the hull facing the rear and with his head under the propellers.
When WWII was over, the inventor of this aircraft, Anton Flettner, was rescued by the Americans to the USA. The principle of the contra rotating rotors can be found back in the Kaman helicopters.
As far as known, not one example of these aircraft has been kept intact except for a piece of frame with the controls and a transmission housing, found back in a British museum.
It comes in the typical Huma style of the period, one construction plan, one sprue and the decals in a sealed plastic bag.
All parts are on one sprue and it is very obvious that we are dealing with a kit of the short-run type. There is a lot of flash and a thorough clean up of parts is needed. The Flettner also has a tubular frame at the front and for its landing gear and the removal from the sprues as well as the cleanup of those parts is very delicate and demands extreme precautions.
There is only one general construction plan on which all parts are marked. It is rather easy to understand but I was very glad when I found the recently published article in SAMI. I decided to use this article as the basic reference and to use the rest of the documentation as an extra.
The kit brings two options, a B-0, prototype V6, (GF + YF) used in trials in the Mediterranean Sea and a B-2 two-seater, prototype V21 (CI + TU).
There are decals for both versions and there are even swastikaís provided.
I opted for the single --seat, equally the model on 1/48 in the SAMI article. This article showed me that some parts are missing for the aircraft that I wanted to represent and I needed to build those from scratch. I also felt back on the pictures of the real machine in the Squadron Signal book.
As mentioned earlier, ALL parts need thorough cleaning and this takes a lot of time and care because some of them are very thin.
Engine and transmission:
Parts 1 to 4 are the transmission housing. The kit is constructed so that both propellers should be able to turn when even only one is moved. This seemed to work on a dry run and I even added some grease around the shafts but once in place and glued they did not work any more. A set back but otherwise perhaps good for the propellers because better when transported.
The engine is a lump of plastic and there is no other propeller shaft provided. The construction plan does not give good directions regarding the right emplacement of the engine. There are exhaust pipes in three parts but here again there is a lot of guessing about their right place, especially the lower ones. I drilled them out and gave a drop of black paint on the inside, rust on the outside. The engine got Gun Metal with a dry brushing in Polished Steel.
The engine also had a tiny propeller on the inside of the hull. This served as a ventilator providing extra cooling for the engine and had nothing to do with the propulsion of the helicopter. Lack of space and the fact that nothing could be seen of it prevented me from making one.
Study of the article and pictures of the real machine showed me that I had to do something to the sides of the transmission housing. There is a number painted on both sides just beneath the propeller shaft. Those side parts are not clean and I cut out a piece of metal from a tea candle and glued them in place with super glue. This hid not only a dirty seem but gave it a more reel effect.
Part 9 comes on top of the transmission right between both axles.
Both parts consist of tubular parts as well at the engine bay as on the nose part. One has to be very careful when cleaning up. I painted both halves in dark slate grey on the inner side, added the transmission and the engine as well as a firewall between engine and rear compartment. This wall also serves as a back plate for the rear seat when the two-seat version is build but I omitted this.
The Kolibri had a fixed tail as normal aircraft have and the weight of this tails results in having a tail sitter. I added a piece of lead in the parts in front of the transmission and kept it in its place with Blu-Tack.
I than added the tail parts consisting of an upper and lower tailpiece, tail planes and a piece that completes the hull (parts 29 Ė31).
Do NOT cut away the extending piece of plastic on part 31 because you must add a part of the landing gear on this. Piece 28 is a cover for the part where the passenger sits on the two-seater. The fuel tank had its place there on the single seater and you need to add a fuel cap made from scratch on this part.
There is also a part 27, some kind of ventilation grille. When regarding the pictures, I saw that such part was only added on the two-seat version, not on the single seat and I omitted this.
A lot of filling and filing is needed.
We start with the bulkhead between cockpit and hull, part 24. The pilotís seat (21) needs some adjustments because it is too square. It is painted in the same colour as the rest of the aircraft and receives seat belts from the Eduard set.
Both tubular cockpit frames are joined together in the middle by a few tiny parts (14, 16 and 17). Part 17 also acts as an instrument panel and part 16 must join on the front wheel (15) that needs to be joined in part 14. This combination from small parts is very fragile and I can only advise to allow each part to dry before adding another one. Itís a time consuming construction.
The dashboard (17) was painted in dark slate grey. I added instrument decals from Reheat Models and sealed them with a coat of matt varnish. The real machine also had two smaller instrument panels on both sides of the pilotís seat. One part is provided in the kit, part 19 but the other one that needs to be fixed on the right side must be build from scratch. I also added some wiring up to the two smaller and the main dashboard.
The construction plan tells you that all of the control columns must be fixed to the pilotís seat. This is not correct regarding the real machine. Parts 22 and 23 must be placed on the left side of the tubular construction, not on the seat. I also replaced them by smaller and finer parts made from metal wire.
The control column (20) as provided by the kit also needs to be replaced. I cut of the horizontal part and glued the column on top of part 14.
The front wheel strut forms part of the forward frame. I removed the part that should represent the shock absorber and replaced it with a piece of recouped PE.
The rear landing gear is much more complicated. First fix part 33 because this part and the small piece of plastic on part 31 are the supports for the trapezoidal frame. You need to double-check each part to be sure that the wheels find their right place. They find their place in line with the firewall between engine and rear part of the hull.
Some cables running to the instrument panels and a landing light, part 46 of the kit. This part finds its place on piece 16, the V-frame on the forward landing gear part. I drilled it out, added a drop of silver and a drop of Kristal Klear.
The pilotís seat got PE seatbelts from the Eduard set. They are a bit too small and were therefore fixed on top of strips from Tamiya tape. Those long seat belts are shown on the real machines.
Complete aircraft in RLM02.
I used Humbrol ??? mixed 50/50 with matt white, sealed with a coat of Klir (Future). A light wash was added using a drop of Vallejo black, strongly diluted with water.
The areas that would receive decals got a coat of gloss varnish followed, after decaling, by a coat of matt varnish.
Pilotís seat in the same colour as the aircraft, transmission housing between hull and rotor in Gun Metal dry brushed with Polished Steel. Wheel and rims black, dashboards Matt Slate Grey, control columns at the sides black with a red dot.
The description in SAMI tells us that the decals in the 1/48 kit are not correct and those in 1/72 are not correct either. The German crosses in that period did not have the black outlining and the decals do have them. I cut those away very carefully taking care not to damage the rest of the crosses. I also cut away as much of the layer of film as possible. The decals had a good grip using Decal Cote 1 and 2.
Huma deserves more attention than it gets now because they provide us with a lot of German aircraft that would otherwise be left in the dark.
The Kolibri is a very unusual aircraft that can easily frighten even helicopter-minded modellers. Itís a pity that it is a short-run model that needs a lot of care and time to be cleaned up in order to get a rather decent result. The available documentation gave me the opportunity to detail in depth and this does the aircraft more than justice. The simple adding of the seatbelts and the small instrument panels does so much to the lay out of the cockpit. And an open cockpit it is, I do not know of any other aircraft cockpit that is so open than the one on the Kolibri.
The emplacement of both rotors gives the aircraft a surreal look, you think there is something wrong and you can not see what.
I found this Kolibri a very interesting aircraft to build but I would not advise it to people without any experience with the making of short-run models. Only for the enthusiast.
Keep Ďm building.