Blohm & Voss BV-40 Glider Fighter
The BV-40 was one of those ideas that never came to full operational capability. It was conceived in 1943, when the bombers were hitting all over the Reich, day and night. The concept was to build a small, light wooden aircraft which didn’t use much in the way of strategic materials but could shoot down bombers. Its small size would make it very difficult for bomber gunners to hit it. The armament was to be 2X 30 mm MK108 cannon, one in each wing root. The pilot lay on a mat in the armored cockpit. The BV40 was to be towed to altitude, above the bombers by a Bf-109, then released. The BV would then dive on the bomber stream and do as much damage as possible, then glide home. The wheeled landing gear were dropped on take off to save weight, and there was a skid under the belly.
There were 7 prototypes built. I can’t find if any of them had armament installed. I did learn from William Green’s “Warplanes of the Third Reich” that the small boxes under each wing were where the guns were to be mounted.
Like the original BV-40, the kit is fairly basic, with a cockpit (5 parts) fuselage (2 parts) 1 piece wings, single piece elevator and 4 parts for the wheels, axle and skid. However, there’s also a PE fret with rudder and elevator controls and flap hinges. In 1/72, the PE parts are quite small and delicate.
I started out with the cockpit. I painted the interior RLM 02, along with the couch, the panel and the control stick and chin rest. I then brush painted the couch pad Panzer brown, and the dials on the panel white. When I did the test fit on the fuselage halves, there were two mold pour sprues which wouldn’t let the tail section meet. These were removed and construction continued. I also found that Tamiya Extra-Thin cement works fine with the Brengun plastic. That hasn’t always been the case with Eastern European kits.
Once the fuselage was assembled, I did have to do some filling and scraping on the top and bottom seams. Normal for me, though. I then installed the horizontal stabilizer. The instructions want you to install the skid and wheels, but I wait until I finish with decals, because I have a tendency to unintentionally remove small parts during the handling for decals.
I then put the wings on. These started out disappointing, as there really isn’t enough surface area for the glue to successfully hold the wings at the correct (right) angle. HOWEVER, installing the gun bays at this time made the wing/fuselage joint solid and square. I had no problem with the fit of the wings to the fuselage. I found that one of the gun bays was not fully filled when cast, and had to fill the gap with putty. This wasn’t a huge gap, nor a huge problem, and the general fit was OK. Once I had these parts installed, I did the first part of the painting.
Painting, Part 1
Ya gotta love the color scheme here. RLM 83 green on top, RLM 76 on the bottom. I painted the top, then came back and painted the bottom. I didn’t worry about demarcation or overspray, as I was going to paint the whole thing again after the PE.
There is a piece of PE on the side of the rudder and 4 more on the elevators. Also there are PE pieces for the under wing flaps and the aileron actuators on top of the wing. There are also attachments for the wheel assembly and a tow cable.
Painting, Part 2
After installing the PE, I painted the model again, this time doing the bottom first, then masking the bottom of the fuselage, elevators and wing and painting the green top. This way I was able to get the paint job on without detaching those pesky PE parts. I also painted the canopy at this time.
I put a gloss coat of Future on the model, and when it dried I applied the markings. These decals are so thin that my usual trick of sliding the decal off the paper onto the model’s surface wouldn’t work. The decals were so flexible that they wouldn’t stick out from the side of the paper, but instead wrapped around to the other side. I got almost all of the decals on except the P on the bottom of the wing, which broke. I used the F from the sheet to fix the P. The half swastikas were just too much for me, and I used some from an old Micro Scale sheet. I then installed the skid and wheels, the supports for the horizontal stabilizer, the canopy, and the L shaped thingie on the top of the fuselage. And the project was finished.
Recommended. This starts out as a simple kit, but the PE can add the “WOW” factor which makes this a hit at the local chapter meeting and maybe even a regional. The fit is pretty good, except for the one part that didn’t get fully molded, and that was eminently fixable. Also, the subject is unusual enough that even the most rabid Luftwaffe fanatic may not have heard of it. I hope this is the beginning of a number of unusual aircraft kits from Brengun, and I hope they sell like ice cream on a hot day.
Many thanks to Brengun for providing this interesting project, and to IPMS/USA for letting me build it.