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Modelling is just fun!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Arado Ar. E381 "Julia" Dragon 1/72

 Near the end of World War II, in December 1944, the German aircraft manufacturers Arado, BMW, Gotha, Heinkel, Henschel, and Zeppelin submitted design proposals for small rocket- or jet-powered aircraft intended for pursuit or ground attack duties. All these proposals exploited the Luftwaffe's concept of "gaining a tactical advantage by placing excessive stress on the man in the cockpit. The g-forces envisioned in these proposals were feasible for aircraft structures but exceeded human capabilities in a normal sitting position. The designers attempted to alleviate this constraint by placing the pilot in the prone position, which increased the sustainable g-force limit. This also allowed a reduction in fuselage size, weight, and drag. A smaller cross section also decreased the likelihood of being hit by enemy gunners, and Arado exploited this opportunity to the fullest. According to their "specific design philosophy", the fighter was designed to fly close to bomber formations and open fire from its MK 108 cannon at point-blank range.

The E.381 began in a proposal from Arado Flugzeugwerke to the Air Ministry for a parasite fighter, carried underneath another aircraft, to destroy Allied bombers.Three variants of the E.381, named Mark I, II and III, were designed. Each version was essentially an armored tube provided with armament and a Walter HWK 109-509 rocket engine for power. The aircraft would have carried enough fuel for two approaches to the target as well as only sixty (some say forty-five) 30 mm (1.2 in) rounds. After using all his fuel during an attack it was intended that the pilot would glide the fighter to the ground, deploy its drogue parachute, and land the aircraft on a primitive skid landing gear. None of the designs were ever completed due to its cancellation, though some wooden airframes and a single mockup were constructed in 1944 to provide prone-position training for pilots. The E.381 was cancelled due to a lack of funds and interest by the Ministry of Aviation, along with a scarcity of mother Ar 234 aircraft — the Arado Ar 234C four BMW 003 jet engined aircraft intended for this purpose was never able to be flight tested before the war's end.

 The Dragon's kit is excellent molded in thin grey plastic meanwhile the trasparent parts are very clear and quite thin. The only issue of the kit are the decals - They are too thin and quite fragile. Personally I used masks to paint all signs and the shark mouth. Finally I think that the modeler must add the armoured floor made by plastic foil due it's visible through the front armoured glass. I think that it's a value for money kit.

 So a quite easy build and in just few hours the kit has been assembled without any big issue. Just before to close the two halfs of the fuselage I add a long piece of plastic foil as the armoured floor and some p.e. parts from my spare box (hinches). Also I use a metal cannon barrel as a MK 108 cannon (always from my spare box).

 Finally I painted all the airplane in RLM 02 as I found (in various sites) that it was the basic Luftwaffe's colour for all the prototypes. Marks, signs and the shark mouth have been painted using masks due the decals disaster.



 I hope you like it, thank for watching :-)

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