German Tactical Assault Glider DFS 230 B-1 with Fallschirmjäger
by: Darren Baker
The DFS 230 B-1 assault glider was designed and built in the early 1930’s and on into the early years of the war. The glider is a tubular steel structure with a plywood and cloth skin, the troops sit in a line behind each other down the centre of the fuselage. During war time service it was decided that changes were needed; firstly a drone shoot was added that could be deployed to allow a steeper angle when coming into to land and shorten its stopping distance. Also forward firing rockets were fitted to further shorten the stopping distance. Lastly a removable section of roof was added to enable the loading of bulky items.
The model is packed in the usual cardboard tray with a card lid as favoured by Bronco Models, this will do a perfectly good job when stored at home but further protection will be needed when posting is involved. Taking a look at the sprues and I found that for the most part the sprues are packed in their own plastic bags except where they are duplicated or small in size. The photo etch and decals have been packaged together inside a Ziploc bag and finally the instructions have been provided in a glossy booklet style.
When it comes to the accuracy of this model I found data to be very thin on the ground, and that is despite the fact that there is a surviving example of the DFS 230 in Germany, but I have not been able to determine what example of the glider it is. So I have had to restrict myself to commenting on accuracy from period photographs, surviving fuselage frames and a few images of the preserved aircraft. So if I make a mistake please state such as I will not be offended.
Looking at the tubular steel frame reveals that Bronco Models has gone to a lot of effort to replicate this aspect of the glider. The framework down each side appears to be a very good match for surviving frames with the exception that Bronco Models has not provided the tubular frame for the nose. Closer examination reveals that the tubes that support the wings and going from the wing to the towing point should be of a heavier grade than the rest. The frame for the floor and roof of the fuselage has me a little concerned due to being able to see the detail provided present in the floor, but the detail for the roof would seem to be either straight tubes or the angled offerings in the model, I have been unable to lock this detail down to a specific version.
The glider carried nine Fallschirmjägers and their equipment plus of course the pilot. The passengers sat in a row one behind the other, five facing forward and four facing backward. This detail has been correctly depicted in this example, but no harness detail is present that I can detect and that would seem to be a must to me even before the days of health and safety. The frames of the bench and in particular the back rest frame is well detailed and accurate.
Moving onto the cockpit area of the glider and we find that Bronco Models has again done a pretty good job of replicating the detail present. The tubular frame behind the pilots seat and to which it is mounted is accurate, but the seat attaches where it meets at the top of the backrest and another frame that should be around the seat base attaches at the lower point. The location used by Bronco Models is where the harness should attach; however Bronco Models has not supplied the lower seat frame or the harness detail for the pilot, a real shame when they have supplied photo etch harness detail for another aspect of the model. The controls and instrument panel all looks to be well placed, complete and accurate. They have even supplied the tubes to the right of the pilot that I believe are signal flares. My last critique of this area is that the seat has been supplied in two halves.
This version of the DFS 230 has a roof mounted MG 34 for self defence and a weapon that could be used on the ground either from its mount or demounted from the aircraft after landing. The MG 34 has been well replicated even though the muzzle is solid and will need to be drilled a little or replaced with a turned metal barrel. Bronco Models has supplied the harness detail for this aspect of the model. A padded back rest is supplied as in the glider, but a quick release wide strap that is located between the pilot and the gunner is not included. I have included some photographs I found but I cannot accredit them as I have been unable to find that data. Kar 98 rifles have been supplied for the Fallschirmjägers and these are better detailed than the Dragon Models offerings as regards the muzzle end of the rifles, but the raised disc on the rifle butt is missing. The Bronco Models offerings also have separate bolt cocking mechanism. The modeller can also add addition weapons to the foot wells if desired.
Moving onto the exterior of the Glider and everything appears to be very well replicated and that includes a very nice subtle cloth texture to the exterior surfaces. The flight control surfaces are supplied as separate elements some of which are workable and others not, my gut instinct is to secure the flight surfaces at the angles desired remembering the rules of flight controls of course. The pitots for the flight instruments are correctly supplied on right side of the aircraft. The canopy of the glider can be displayed open or closed and while on the subject of the clear aspects of the model I am pleased to see that they are of a good thickness and do not distort vision when looking through them. When looking at the pictures I had taken I noted a mark on one of the transparencies and this turned out to be a flow mark in the moulding.
The landing skid and its construction appears to be accurately replicated, but this is an area of the glider that is not easily seen as regards close examination. Due to this issue I have restricted my observations against the surviving example in Germany. The wheel assembly attached for take off and which is then jettisoned is another area that is difficult to assess, but it does match that of the preserved machine. The wheels are especially well done when looking at the wheel centres, but the tyres are not weighted; this bothered me a little until I looked at the preserved example that also shows no discernible deformation of the tyres.
Included with this offering from Bronco Models is a set of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 3 [Sicily 1943] 1/35 '39 - '45 Series by Dragon Models, rather than add a short review of the figures I have included a link to a dedicated review of them below. Fallschirmjäger Regiment 3 review by CK Tang
Highs: The effort that has been put into the interior of the glider and the subtle texture on the exterior.Lows: The lack of harness detail for the pilot is a disappointment.Verdict: A great addition to the 1/35th scale glider range that is also of a manageable size.