Planet Models 1/48 Focke Wulf P.11

Kit #224                            MSRP $87.50                  $78.75 from Great Models Web Store
Images and text Copyright © 2009 by Matt Swan

Developmental Background
       The Focke-Wulf P.11 aircraft was a paper project jet powered aircraft. The design was presented to the RLM in 1943 in competition with designs offered up by Messerschmitt and Blohm & Voss. The P.11 design proposed having the engine mounted under the fuselage to improve ease of maintenance but this was countered by the increased risk of foreign objects being sucked into the intake. Further compounding this issue was the location of the nose gear directly in front of the intake which could kick up addition material.
       The main focus of the design was to provide a fast, inexpensive point defense fighter that would carry sufficient armament to knock down an Allied bomber. Designed by Kurt Tank the P.11 would most likely have been powered by a single Jumo 004 engine as used in the Messerschmitt 262 project and would have carried an armament package consisting, most likely, of 2 nose mounted Mk 103 or Mk 108 cannons and two MG 151/120 wing root mounted guns. This project never made it beyond a wooden mock-up but the idea of a fast, cheap point defense fighter was later realized by Heinkel in the He-162 Volksjager. By that time it was of course, too little, too late.

The Kit
       This kit arrives in a sturdy, heavy duty cardboard box and consists of several well cast resin pieces along with some white metal landing gear pieces and two vacuformed canopies. Let’s begin with the large parts. Nearly every time I am working with a full resin kit I seem to always have some serious warpage to fix but that is not the case with this kit. All the pieces look good. The fuselage halves are well cast with no flash or pour plugs nor any micro-bubbles. The two pieces test fit together very nicely and all the panel lines matched up perfectly. The wings are solid cast pieces with no warp and recessed wheel wells with a medium level of detail. I did find three or four micro-bubbles in the wings but nothing serious and only about five minutes of clean-up time to fix the problem.
        The smaller resin detail pieces are of good quality with an excellent level of detail. The instrument panel features cast detail which may have been better if done with a PE part and acetate sheet. There are not instrument decals so all detail must be hand painted. The seat is a real nice piece with good cushion detail and good seat belt detail. All three main gear struts are white metal parts with very minimal mold separation lines and clean surfaces. Two vacuformed canopies are provided that both display very good clarity and well defined raised frame lines. Overall we have twenty eight resin pieces, three white metal and two vacuformed pieces for a total of thirty three pieces in the box.


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Decals and Instructions
        The kit contains two pages of instruction, one of which is totally devoted to advertising other Planet Models products so out of the three left that actually pertain to the kit we get a brief historical background of the design to begin. This page also contains a parts map and decal image. All text is provided in Czech and English. The assembly instructions consist of nine exploded view steps which actually do a pretty good job of getting the modeler through the project. Other than four RLM numbers that are given for the exterior paint job there are no painting prompts leaving the modeler to rely on previous Luftwaffe building experience. There is also a four view image showing a desert camouflage pattern and decal placement instructions.
        The kit includes a single small sheet of decals for one aircraft marking scheme. As you can see from the image at the right we only get the most basic markings, no service stencils or warning markings and the classic European market split swastikas. The decals do appear to be nicely thin with good print registry and color density.

Conclusions
        I’ve built several Planet Models kits and several full resin kits in general and have to say this is probably the best one I have gotten my hands on to date. Other than three or four micro-bubbles I did not have to fix anything on the kit, parts fit together properly and the kit builds up without any trouble. If you are a Luft ’46 fan you should really look to add one of these to your collection.

Construction
        As with any kit construction begins with a bath in warm soapy water to clean any left over mold release from the parts. Actual construction begins inside with the cockpit basics getting a coat of RLM-66 and the engine interior areas being done with Alclad steel in back and aluminum in front. The intake and exhaust spikes are done with more Alclad paints. I’m worried about this being a tail-sitter so several lead weights were installed behind the cockpit tub. There was not room further forward to place them or I would have gone up there. Inside the front office I did add a few photo etched details from the spares box such as a throttle lever, flap control and landing gear actuator. The gear wells in the nose and the wings were done with RLM-02 then the fuselage was closed up. I used medium superglue and worked from the nose back adding sections of glue followed by accelerator. When attaching the wings I hollowed out the mating faces a little with my Dremel then simply filled the hollow with superglue and placed the wings. I know some modelers like to do the whole pin thing for joints like these but I really did not see the need with a kit this small.


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        Once the stabilizers were in place and the seams dressed up with some Mr. Surfacer 500 I was ready to start painting. Since this is a paper project it means I can let my imagination run free with the paint job. Now where might this aircraft show up had it gone into production? Since this jet would have had a terrible time with unfinished runways due to that nose gear right in front of the intake it would need finished runways to operate from which would place it in central Europe or Germany. I took my inspiration from Frank Liesendahl’s 109F which actually operated out of Beaumont France. This resulted in a standard splinter scheme of RLM-74/75 over 76 with lots of yellow identification markings and some rather unusual side mottling using a combination of RLM-02/70 and 74. Liesendahl’s aircraft had light blue unit markings so I carried that idea over to the jet intake and put some light blue there to go with the final decals. Speaking of decals, many of these came from the spares box with only the very basics being used from the kit provided sheet.
        Painting begins with a good coat of thinned Mr. Surfacer 1000 as a primer followed by some very thin black enamel to preshade the panel lines. The blue and yellow marking are airbrushed on then masked off. Now the main colors go one beginning with the 76 then the top colors. Once the masks from this stage were removed the mottling was done with my Badger Renegade airbrush. Brake lines are added to the landing gear, they are painted and installed. Here is probably the single greatest weak point of the kit, the main gear are very delicate and I broke them off more than once before the build was completed.
        Wheels, gear doors and wing root gun barrels were added and the model was coated with Future. Decals were placed using Future as a setting solution then a sludge wash was applied. The final sealant was some Micro-flat. The canopy was cut apart, Futured, masked and painted. I did build a small tubular structure in the aft section of the canopy to provide some kind of structure for the open section to rest on. The front section was a terrible fit and I needed to fair it in with some putty then touch p with a paint brush.









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