The Flying Wing – Horten Go 229
The post-war revelation of a large multitude of Nazi Germany’s advanced aircraft designs have been the stuff of myths and what-if’s over the years. One closely guarded secret that was eventually passed on to Northrop for further development was the mysterious “Flying Wing” concept. As it turned out, Germany did haveseveral prototypes of a jet-powered flying wing interceptor called the Horten Go 229 that actually flew with Jumo jet engines. The design has a striking resemblance to the B2 bomber! Even the engines are located in similar arrangement, although that may have been coincidental. The Horten was largely made from plywood at the wing sections with only the middle frame made of steel tubing thus making it less visible to radar. It was also equipped with an early ejection seat.
In the test flights made in the Go 229, the test pilot reported that the aircraft outperformed the Me262. One could only imagine if the German Aviation Ministry had proceeded with plans back in February ’44 and the aircraft had been available for the summer and winter campaigns of that year, the war may have been very different!
Separated at birth!
This project started life as a Revell Germany 1/72th scale plastic kit enhanced by Eduard’s photo-etched fret for the cockpit and engine details. Hopefully one of the model kit manufacturers will decide to issue this subject in 1/48th scale on of these days.
The actual cockpit was enclosed in an open steel cage with the sides of the engine assembly partially visible. To correct this in the model, the side walls have to go!
The cockpit parts are small and fragile. The actual details are very sparse and the feeling one has of this aircraft was more like a go-kart strapped to 2 large turbo-jets! The space is extremely cramped and the pilot is sitting almost at the tip of the nose.
Then, I started working on the engine details. The plastic kit provided only the front and rear facades for the kit but the engine “cans” are partially visible from the wheel wells and the cockpit, so I added the rolled metal tubes provided by the photo-etch fret. There is precious little space enclosed within the fuselage. The engines share the parallel space with the 30mm cannons and their ammo boxes.
Once the two halves of the fuselage are joined together (phew!), the project moves quite a bit faster. The wing sections are very simple and join to the fuselage easily with some minor seam work needed to close the gaps.
I started to work on the underside details and painting the wheel wells. At this stage there are a lot more details to add into the wheel wells to prepare for the paint work coming up soon.
Then I seal up all the open wheel wells with either the doors themselves or masking tape. The cockpit gets sealed off using one of the spare canopies from my spare parts bin and wet tissue for the engine intakes and exhausts. It’s off to the spray booth. With Luftwaffe ’46 projects, you can pretty much choose your favorite color scheme but one has to keep it believable. Unless the Ardennes offensive succeeded in capturing a US paint depot, olive drab on Luftwaffe stretches the imagination quite a bit!
The underside gets painted with RLM04 Gelb and RLM76 Lichtblau.
The topside is a splinter camouflage pattern of RLM 74 Graugrun over RLM 75 Grauviolett.
Once the fuselage colors are settled and sealed under several coats of varnish, the decals get applied. I chose “Blaue 4” of Jagdstaffel 400.
The tricycle under carriage comprised of some very delicate parts. The front wheel is huge for an aircraft of that size and the supporting struts are very tricky to get into position. Finally the flying wing gets to sit on her own wheels.
Finishing touches include adding all the little bits of antennae and replacing the front pitot assembly with a steel wire.
The Flying Wing is all ready for a fight. Vorsicht, Amerikanischer Bomber!