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Built Review
148
V-1 and Ohka
V-1 & Oka Bombs
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

Introduction
A long, long time ago and far away the pioneering model company Hawk released neat kits of a 1/48 V-1 and an Okha. Then they packaged them in a 2-model set. Thanks to www.Oldmodelkits.com we have images of the vintage boxes.

Hawk made respectable kits. They made an awesome 1/48 Westland Lysander, the model that inspired a friend down the road that eventually led to him literally becoming a rocket scientist!

I thought their landing gear and wheel well detail was better than Monogram and Revell offerings. They kitted a 1/48 P-51D and P-47B long before those two competitors. Those were armed with an assortment of air-to-ground munitions, including those cool bazooka clusters! A neat characteristic of early Hawk models was green-tinted canopies.

After Hawk's final flight many of their molds roosted with Testors. Probably the only difference are the decals and instructions. The Testors release is the subject of this review. Why review these oldies? Not just because it's fun to use "doodlebug" and "idiot" in a sentence, but because these are neat little models! I've built V-1s since watching the movie Operation Crossbow, and have been fascinated with Ohka since reading the USS Stevens story Ride The Baka** These two models were built by me between 15-17 January, 1984.

Cherrystones and Cherry Blossoms
Fieseler Fi 103 V-1 is the common name of the Fieseler Fi 103. During development the Nazis tried to disguise the true mission of the weapon by spuriously identifying it as the Flakzielgerät 76 (FZG-76). V-1 is short for Vergeltungswaffe 1, Vengeance weapon 1. It was code named Kirschkern (cherrystone) or Maikäfer (maybug) by the Germans, and called "doodlebug" and "Buzzbomb" by the Allies.

The United States reverse-engineered the V-1 and had several ready by September 1944. France, Russia and the United States experimented with V-1s after the war. The US V-1 was the JB-2 Loon, or designated KGW-1 for the US Navy.

Greencastle, Indiana claims to have one of only two V-1s in the U.S., the other being at the Smithsonian. Several other V-1s are listed as on display nationwide although they may be a JB-2 or KGW-1.
    The V-1 was launched from a 200-ft. inclined ramp using a steam-powered catapult. Launching accelerated the missile to about 250 mph, fast enough for the winged bomb's jet engine to operate. Since the V-1's range was only around 150 miles, launch sites were set up on the French coast in order to bombard London. Magnetic compasses, a timer and a system of gyroscopes guided Buzz Bombs along a preset course and distance at an average altitude of 3,000 to 4,000 feet. When the course was complete, the 1-ton warhead armed automatically and the engine shut off. The bomb then free-fell onto its target. The V-1's unique pulse-jet engine gave the Buzz Bomb its nickname: Louvers opening and shutting rapidly near the intake made a distinctive buzzing noise as the engine's "pulsating" thrust gave the V-1 a cruising speed of about 360 mph.

    A single Luftwaffe Flak (antiaircraft) regiment launched all Buzz Bombs in combat. These specially chosen troops had good technical skills, and they trained at Peenemunde and other sites for months before setting up V-1 operations on the coasts of France and later Holland. Each of the 64 original V-1 units consisted of 55 soldiers and could usually launch one missile in an hour. Some V-1s were also launched from Heinkel He 111 bombers, but this effort was mostly unsuccessful.

    Germany produced more than 30,000 V-1s in 1944-1945, and an estimated 8,000 actually reached England and Belgium between the first launch on June 12, 1944, and the last impact on March 30, 1945. About half the missiles fell within eight miles of their targets. Allied countermeasures included bombing launch sites, antiaircraft fire, barrage balloons with wires to snag the missiles, and fighter interception. The Allies dropped some 98,000 tons of bombs on V-1 launch and manufacturing sites. Combined defenses in England and on the continent destroyed a total of 6,176 Buzz Bombs, and an estimated 25 percent of V-1s launched crashed due to malfunction or manufacturing defects.

    In England, more than 6,000 people died in V-1 attacks, and another 18,000 were wounded.*


Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka The MXY7 Model 11 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) kamikaze suicide rocket bomb was developed as a guided missile by Japan against Allied forces. Pilots were wired inside with no provision for escape. U.S. forces nicknamed MXY7 baka - "fool" or "idiot". Originally an air launched weapon, Ohka was mated to a modified G4M "Betty" bomber and carried to the target. Approximately 25 miles from target the Ohka pilot would deploy his mount, ignite the rocket motor, and commence his terminal dive to target. A most tiny target, moving at almost 600 mph, Ohka was difficult to stop. Its 2,646 lb Ammonal warhead could be devastating.

Fortunately, G4M motherships were horribly vulnerable, usually jettisoning the Ohka far from target when fighters appeared. Only one ship was sunk by a MXY7, destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele. A few other ships were hit with varying degrees of damage. Post-war analysis concluded that although the Kamikaze was the most effective Japanese weapon system, Ohka was a failure. However, hundreds were built and intended to join the many thousands of conventional aircraft kamikazes against the Allied invasion fleet during Operation Olympic and Coronet (The invasion of Japan), launched from close range, V1-style off skids and ramps from caves and shelters. The prospect was chilling.

in the box
Hawk released these kits long ago. Hawk box art included Terror Weapons in the titles. Testors later acquired the molds. V-1 and Oka [sic] (Hawk and Italeri - associates with Testors - spelled Ohka correctly but Testors did not.) are relatively simple models: one-piece wings and tail planes; fuselage halves and pulse jet cowl halves; an Ohka pilot; parts for the V-1 interior; mass balances for the MXY7 control surfaces; ring and bead sight for "baka". Display stands. Perhaps 40 parts, max.

The parts are fairly molded with recessed and raised panel lines, some visible ejector circles. Probably some flash and seam lines - it has been a while since I built these (January 1984). Rivet detail is oversized. Trailing edges are thick. The canopy is, too, and distorted, although it has good raised framing.

The parts went together fairly well. The worst fit is the Ohka vertical stabilizers to the horizontal stabilizer; there are no seams or gaps between the wing-fuselage joints nor the fuselage halves. That may not be accurate as in color film from the 1945 display of captured enemy aircraft at Wright-Patterson shows the "baka" fuselage with a welded seam running from cockpit to contact detonator.

The Fi 103 fuselage is a top-bottom half assembly designed to squeeze together, unbonded so as to pop it open and see the interior. Those halves leave a noticeable gap.

I don't recall anything about the instruction sheet. Testors at the time printed everything in black-and-white with gray scale photos. They listed Testors Model Master paints.

detail
Surface detail includes both raised and relief panel lines and control surface gaps. "Baka" pilot is a one-piece figure which rests on a bulkhead seat.

Inside the doodlebug are compressed air spheres, a gyro, and warhead.

Remember that these are models from the late 1950s or early '60s. Hawk included simulated exhaust plumes for the rockets and jet, molded in tapering cones of translucent orange.

decals
Minimal. None for the buzz bomb. Airframe number and cherry blossom symbol for Ohka.

ConcLUSION
These are not world class models anymore. Tamiya kits a 1/48 V-1 and Fine Molds a 1/48 Ohka, both injection molded. There are some resin models out there, too.

Still, these little kits build up nicely. I like the exhaust plumes! A nice set to add to your collection.

We thank www.Oldmodelkits.com for providing the sprue shot and vintage box art for this review!
_____
Sources

*"Factsheets : Republic/Ford JB-2 Loon (V-1 Buzz Bomb)." Factsheets : Republic/Ford JB-2 Loon (V-1 Buzz Bomb). National Museum of the USAF, 4 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 June 2014.

** Ride The Baka - Our Army At War (1952) #248 - August 1972

"Factsheets : Yokosuka MXY7-K1 Ohka." Factsheets : Yokosuka MXY7-K1 Ohka. National Museum of the USAF, 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 June 2014.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: Translucent exhaust plumes! Fair surface molding and a rudimenary interior for the V-1.
Lows: Fifty-year-old molding quality.
Verdict: These little kits build up nicely. I like the exhaust plumes! A nice set to add to your collection.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 626
  Related Link: V-1 a walkaround
  PUBLISHED: Jun 29, 2014
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 80.00%

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Cool little kits. Since Rond2 is reissuing some of the Hawk kits (like the 1/48 Westland Lysander), I wonder if these kits will be reissued. Jim
JUN 29, 2014 - 07:41 PM
Hi Jim, I suspect not since Testors acquired the molds.
JUL 22, 2014 - 10:47 AM
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