There can be few more divisive subjects among WWII modellers than the so-called "Luft '46" genre, which explores the stillborn paper-projects of the German aircraft industry and brings them to life as though WWII had continued. Based on often at best sketchy data, the resulting models are viewed by some as pointless leaps into the world of fantasy, while others see them as worthwhile studies of interesting designs. In the middle there is a third group who simply see them as a bit of fun - a chance to build something a bit "weird and wonderful" without fear of being hounded by "rivet counters" (although I do remember a story at Hannants in London many years ago where someone complained that the camouflage on a Triebflügel was "wrong"...).
Based in Japan, Amusing Hobby has recently released its second Luft '46 model - a 1:48 kit of the Weserflug P.1003/1. This was a 1938 VTOL design somewhat akin to the present day V-22 Osprey. It's an attractive aircraft with large rotor/propellers at the tips of tilting wings, but it seems hopelessly ambitious for the time it was conceived when one considers how long it took for the Osprey to reach service. Where it differed from the Osprey was in having a single fuselage-mounted engine, driving the rotor/props via geared shafts. Most sources I've consulted refer to the P.1003/1 as a 2-seat design, but Amusing Hobby's kit is a single-seater. However, as goes with the territory, who's to say that a single-seat version might not have been envisaged?...
The kit arrives in an attractive conventional box with the parts and accessories bagged separately for protection. It comprises:
54 x sand-coloured styrene parts
1 x clear styrene part
Decals for 3 x colour schemes
With little over 50 parts, Amusing Hobby's P.1003/1 is clearly a pretty simple kit. But what there is has been done to a high standard. The mouldings are produced in China and are very clean with just a few wisps of flash here and there. Ejector pins have been mostly kept out of harm's way, but there are a couple on each cockpit wall which might need attention. I spotted one faint sink mark for sure - and what may be two more on the wheel hubs. It's hard to tell with the latter, because they're in the same spot on each wheel. Whatever, I might just dress them up and call them tyre inflation points!
The satin surface finish is very nice, with crisply engraved panel lines, embossed vents, and quite restrained rivets and fasteners. It's all pure conjecture, of course, but it's logically done and should look convincing with subtle weathering.
A quick dry-assembly of the main parts reveals no problems. Runner attachments are often on mating surfaces, so a little extra care is needed to prepare them, but once that's done the fit is very good. I noticed the seam along the belly is unsupported for some of its length, so I'll add a couple of tabs to stop it flexing. The wing centre section clips into place neatly and has internal "mini-spars" to set the pronounced dihedral, while the horizontal tailplanes are a precise fit.
A Few Details
Although references state the P.1003/1 was to be a 2-seater, the kit's simple single-seat "office" is quite nicely done. It's pretty bare bones - instrument panel and side consoles, seat, control column, rudder pedals and throttle, but the instruments have correct Luftwaffe-style bezels and should look good dressed up with decal faces (not included). Add an aftermarket set of seatbelts and the finished cockpit should look fine - especially since there's no option to pose the canopy open.
The main undercarriage is neatly done and rather reminiscent of an He 162. The wheel well shows some decent detail, and the crisply moulded legs have separate oleo scissors and retraction arms. The tail wheel is separate with a 2-part fork, and the main gear doors have a some detail on the inner surfaces. Wheels are moulded "unweighted", so I'll file small flats to prevent the model standing on tip-toe.
The engine's supercharger intake has a tropical dust filter - which makes sense with all the debris kicked up in VTOL operations - and the simple exhausts should look fine tucked away under the wings.
The all-important tilt-rotor system looks very straightforward; the outer wing panels are completed separately and are a push-lock fit into the roots. The rotor/props have forward-canted blades and can be left to spin if you wish.
The closed canopy is crystal clear with crisply defined frames.
Instructions & Decals
The assembly guide is nicely printed on glossy stock as an 8-page A4 booklet. With so few parts, there's little scope for confusion and the general sequence is logical enough - although, obviously, experience modellers will alter things to make painting easier.
There aren't any painting suggestions for the interior and other details, but Amusing Hobby is tied-in with MIG, so all the exterior colour matches for the three schemes offered are for MIG Ammo paints. The fictional schemes give options based on typical Luftwaffe night and day camouflage, with some tropical colours added for good measure. There aren't any unit or personal markings provided, so it's a chance to give some of those decals most of us have stashed away in the spares box an outing.
Amusing Hobby's decals look to be very nicely produced. The registration on the satin-finished items is spot-on in my set, and excess carrier film is kept to a minimum. Swastikas are included in a split style.
I'm really looking forward to building Amusing Hobby's P.1003/1. It's a well-produced and affordable kit that's suitable for modellers of pretty-much all abilities. It's so easy to get bogged down in pursuit of authenticity, a kit like this offers an ideal antidote by offering a fun project that you don't have to take too seriously. It's the type of subject which would have only been available as an expensive limited run resin kit in the past, so it's great to see it available as a very affordable mainstream kit to build as a simple bit of good old-fashioned fun.
Kit #A48002 is available now from Amusing Hobby. I bought my example from The Scale Model Shop for £26.95.
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