Mach 2 1/72 Arado Ar-232
Kit #0004 MSRP $89.98
Images and text Copyright © 2007 by Gary Buchanan
The Arado Ar 232 was the Luftwaffe's only specifically designed combat zone transport. It was Arado's response to a specification issued by the RLM in 1939 for a general-purpose transport to replace the Ju 52. The design was the first truly modern transport designed and built during World War II. It embodied almost all of the features now considered to be standard for transports including a low slung box like fuselage, rear loading ramp, a high tail to allow easy access to the cargo compartment and features to allow it to operate from rough fields. It was capable of short field takeoffs utilizing Arado's own "traveling flap" design. These full span flaps effectively increased the wing surface area by 25% when fully extended. The take off distance could be further shortened using RATO. It was originally designed to use two BMW 801 series engines, but this became problematic when the Fw 190 series began large-scale production. Ten preproduction machines were built in the two-engine configuration. To solve the engine problem it was decided to use four BMW-Bramo 323R-2 engines of 1200 hp. The four engine versions were designated Ar 232B's and featured lengthened wings to accommodate the additional engines and a longer fuselage to compensate for the shift in center of gravity caused by the additional engines. Eight pre-production machines were known to have been built although 10 were thought to have been ordered. It is also believed that between twenty and twenty-two additional machines were built however very little reliable data exists on these. Five of these were believed to have been delivered to KG 200 for secret missions.
The 232's were uniquely equipped for field operations. Its set of small bogey wheels under the fuselage allowed landing on unimproved airstrips and was capable of spanning trenches up to 5 feet wide. It could carry nearly 10,000 pounds of cargo. The main gear was extended to raise the smaller wheels off the ground for takeoff. The high mounted tail assembly provided clearance for loading through the real cargo door which could be lowered to for a ramp to allow vehicles to drive on board. A turret with a MG 151 20mm cannon gun was located aft of the cockpit and a MG 131 13mm cannon was located in the nose and could be fired by the pilot. Another MG 131 was located in a position above the rear cargo door.
Letís see what you get for your money. The box is a typical Mach 2 two part box of thin card board. The parts were sealed in a single plastic bag. Inside the bag were two large sprues of light green styrene and one sprue of clear parts, shown below. Total count of the parts is 118 parts in light green and 20 clear parts.
The surface has a rough finish similar to all the other Mach 2 kits I have seen. The surface detail is recessed and uniform and the level of flash, though greater on the small parts seems to be a little less on the larger parts. The wings and tail are reasonably free of sink marks and other surface irregularities as seen on other Mach 2 kits. The fuselage halves seemed to be a bit worse than normal having several sink marks as well as carried through deformities from the ejector pin stubs on the inside. Cockpit details are sparse with a floor, rear bulkhead, seats and a couple pathetic crew figures. There are parts to box in the main wheel wells with some structural details inside. One of the engines on my kit had a broken cylinder that, from the looks of things, happened when the sprue was ejected from the molding machine. The box showed no external damage and the part was located near the center of the sprue and the surrounding parts were not damaged. The clear parts are normal for Mach 2, abysmal! One would think the least Squadron could do since they import and distribute this line would be to supply some vacuformed clear parts! As with all Mach 2 kits and most other limited run kits there are no alignment pins to aid assembly and there will no doubt be fit issues.
Decals and Instructions
The decals are supplied for one aircraft but do provide swastikas. They appear thin and well registered but I have no experience with them so cannot comment on their quality. The instructions are pretty minimal consisting of a single A4 sheet printed on one side with no history, marking location, or camouflage scheme although they do list the colors used in RLM numbers only. The instructions are three diagrams showing the location of most of the parts. If you are serious about building this one the Shiffer book titled "Arado Ar 232" by David Myhra has a wealth of technical data, photo's and diagrams of the interior and other pertinent information. Very little other information about this aircraft is available from other sources.
There are no after market goodies available for this one. Another Luftwaffe plane that might have made a difference had it been available sooner and in larger numbers. Like all Mach 2 kits this one will be a labor of love, testing both your patience and modeling skills. Recommended for experienced modelers only.