Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby # SH48120
Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann
1:48 Scale



The Luftwaffe operated a wide range of aircraft, from some of the most iconic airplanes in history to lesser-known but still intriguing airframes.  In this latter category was the Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann.  Originally designed as a trainer, it was employed in a variety of roles during World War II.  In this review, we’ll take a look at the new kit of the Bestmann by Special Hobby.       

(Return to top of page)

By the late 1930s, the Luftwaffe required a new primary trainer.  Drawing upon the long line of interwar German sport and aerobatic airplanes, the Bücker Flugzeugbau company developed new a low wing monoplane design that featured fixed landing gear and tandem seating for the student and instructor pilot.  The front end of the fuselage, including the cockpit, used a tubular steel frame construction while the rear fuselage, tail, and wings were fashioned from wood.  The prototype sported a civilian registry number on the fuselage and first flew in February 1939.  Shortly thereafter, it passed its evaluation by the Reich’s Ministry of Aviation with flying colors.  Production began in 1940, and it was named Bestmann which is a term for a deck crewman on a naval ship.

By war’s end, more than 3,400 Bü 181s had been produced, some by Bücker in their factory near Berlin and others under license by Zliner Flugzeugwerke, Fokker in the Netherlands, and Hägglund & Söner in Sweden.  The Bü 181 logged many thousands of hours as a primary trainer, but also served in courier and liaison roles.  A total of eight variants were produced, most being of the -B and -C variants.  Differences between any Bü 181 were very minimal.  The -B and -C were powered by a Hirth HM 500 A or B powerplant, respectively.  Primary differences between the B-1 and C-1 and the B-2 and C-2 sub-variants was the presence of pitot heating and cabin/anti-collision lights in the Dash-1 versions while Dash-2s lacked an electrical system and associated lighting and heating features.

In the final, desperate days of the war for Germany, some Bü 181s were converted to either so-called tank busters fitted out with four Panzerfaust anti-tank grenade launchers mounted to the wings or a more generic ground attack capability carrying three 50 kg bombs.  These Bü 181s saw limited combat and their survivability was very poor – nearly all were shot down.  It is fascinating to note consider that the the Bü 181 design persisted well beyond the end of the war and in some unexpected places.  The strength and versatility of the design underscored the fact that new build airframes continued to be sold as primary trainers produced in Czechoslovakia as the Zlín Z.181.  In the 1950s, Heliopolis Aircraft Works in Egypt began to produce the Zlín design under license with a 105 hp Walter-Minor engine, and the Bestmann became known as the Gomhouria or “Republic.”

(Return to top of page)

Special Hobby’s Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann is a multimedia kit.  It contains 54 gray injection molded plastic parts on three sprues (17 are not used), two clear parts on one sprue, 27 photoetched parts on one fret, five cast resin parts, and one decal sheet. Cartograf printed the decals for three airplanes which covers markings and the few airframe stencils worn by the Bestmann. The schemes included are:

Strengths:  This is a great little kit – high quality, well-fitting, and simple-to-build. The fidelity of surface detail is great and subtle where it should be, particularly on the fabric-covered surfaces of the wings and tail surfaces.  The photoetch metal parts for the seat belts, rudder pedal foot stirrups, and other cockpit details really enhance the otherwise basic cockpit, just as the photoetch detail parts used to provide some subtle and pretty cool touches on the airframe exterior.  The markings are also well-chosen and with decals printed by Cartograf, you just can’t do any better.  I particularly like the postwar Swiss scheme.  To me, the high visibility red and white stripes on that Bestmann are really attractive and different.  This Bü 181 was interned in Switzerland when it landed there in 1943 and was pressed into Swiss AF service, training their pilots well after the war had ended.      

Weaknesses:  I cannot offer any really substantive critiques regarding this offering.  However, as an observation, some builders may wish to note the control surfaces are not separate positionable pieces, and the canopy is a single piece and cannot be displayed open just out-of-the-box.  There are also no locating pins or tabs, so you can make your own using strip styrene (that would be my route) and test fit your part alignments.

(Return to top of page)

This is a great little kit by Special Hobby that stands to be a very fun, easy, and enjoyable build of a unique subject.  It also fills in a long-vacant niche in 1:48 scale injection molded kits, and among the few Bü 181 kits that have ever been produced, it is far and away the best in any scale.  I remember the 1:48 MPM Bestmann coming through my hobby shop many years ago, and that Bestmann did not impress.  Special Hobby’s kit is light-years better.  The inclusion of unused parts including a quartet of Panzerfausts suggests Special Hobby has plans to issue other editions of this kit, particularly the Bestmanns that were pressed into combat in 1945.  We’ll surely look forward to that kit as well.   

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample. You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

(Return to top of page)

** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


   

(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

**********