by: Adie Roberts [ ]
The DFS 230 was a German transport glider operated by the Luftwaffe in World War II. It was developed in 1933 by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS - "German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight") with Hans Jacobs as the head designer. The glider was the German inspiration for the British Hotspur glider and was intended for paratrooper assault operations.
In addition to the pilot, the DFS-230 glider had room for nine men who sat close together on a narrow bench located in the middle of the fuselage (half facing port, half facing starboard). Entry and exit to the cramped interior were by a single side door. The front passenger could operate its only armament, a machine gun. It was an assault glider, designed to land directly on top of its target, so it was equipped with a parachute brake. This allowed the glider to approach its target in a dive at an angle of eighty degrees and land within 20 metres (60 ft) of its target. It carried a freight cargo of about 1,200 kg.
It played significant roles in the operations at Fort Eben-Emael, the Battle of Crete, and in the rescue of Benito Mussolini. It was also used in North Africa. However, it was used chiefly in supplying encircled forces on the Eastern Front such as supplying the Demyansk Pocket, the Kholm Pocket, Stalingrad, and the defenders of Festung Budapest (until February 12, 1945). Although production ceased in 1941, it was used right up to the end of the war, for instance, supplying Berlin and Breslau until May 1945.
The box type is a quite solid cardboard bottom which gives it some strength which will help when sitting in a stash, the top is of thinner cardboard and with some great artwork that really catches your eye. Contents of the box are as follows.
1. 4 Medium grey sprue's for the main parts to the glider.
2. 1 Clear sprue for the gliders glazing.
3. 1 Colour instruction booklet.
4. 1 Decal sheet.
5. 1 Photo-etch sheet.
Bronco really seem to be trying many new different subjects which will only make it more interesting for us modellers long term. First impressions were I cannot believe just how impressive the details on the kit look, especially the interior for a 1/72nd scale plane.
The cockpit as with all gliders is fairly sparse, to say the least, but Bronco have done a very good job with it. Placing a pilot's seat with a separate frame to hold it in place a yolk and foot controls are also included the detailing is very good. All of this is built on a floor for the hull of the glider. This is followed by two frames for the which the seating goes on top of for the nine Fallschirmjäger (German Paratroopers) that would travel inside the glider. The seats inside have a tubular frame separating each individual seat, this has been faithfully reproduced but in the small scale that it is in makes this a very tiny piece that feels quite fragile. Behind the pilot's seat before you got to the seating area is a storage rack for the soldier's riflesBronco have even included scale rifles for this and are quite well detailed for the size.
A further framework goes in next to finish the structural work of the internal parts of the glider. Although most of the parts here are well detailed you will need to be careful when cutting and fitting the parts into this area and not to use a harsh glue.
With most of the interior made it is then time to fit the glazing for the windows inside the main body which includes four clear glazing on the port side and eight for the starboard side. The glazing is very clear looking but does give some distortion when looking through in lighted condition.
The Wings are as you would expect them to be huge needed of course to keep it airborne. Yet again Bronco have done a good job here with the detail especially in the stretching of the canvas over the wings spars giving it the ribbing effect. The wings come with separate ailerons these have little brackets to attach to the lever system on the top of the wings, the detail is very similar to that of the main wings giving a good effect for a realistic model. Two bracing bars are included one for each wing with inserts into the lower wing and fixing to the bottom of the main fuselage making it more stable. The plastic for this part again is very thin and fragile but is keeping within the scaled size.
The tail has the same ribbing effect as the main wings and comes with a separate rudder, the tailplane fits on top of the main fuselage and into a gap between the tail and fuselage. Joining onto the separate elevators with some fine recessed panel lines on the edge of the elevators.
The undercarriage is on a thin frame that attaches to the bottom of the main fuselage the wheels have good detail in the hubs also has some skid plates on the bottom of the fuselage. The parts to attach the skid is again very small and fragile and will require a sharp knife and patience.
The main cockpit glazing is very nicely done and has some subtle framework on it the glazing is very crisp and also clear with no distortion when looking through the glazing.
Instructions and decals
Bronco have impressed me with the way they write their instruction booklets it is clear and colourful and easy enough for a new modeller to be able to follow.
The instruction book breaks down into fifteen pages, the first page has some history on the glider. The build itself is broken down into six pages with fifteen build stages, the different options are marked during the build process making it easy to see which one you would like to build. There are two options for the glider early type and standard type.
Marking options is as follows.
1. Luftwaffe standard type H4 2-27, I/LLG 1.
2. Luftwaffe early type H4 2-13,2/LLG1.
3. Luftwaffe standard type LB 1-101, Unknown unit.
4. Aeronautica Regala Romania early type 2, 109th Transport squadron. Baneasa-Bucharest, Romania, November 1943
5. Aeronautica Regala Romania early type 7, 109th Transport squadron. Burzau, Romania 1944.
The decal sheet is very clear and the carrier film is very thin.
The photo-Etch sheet is quite small has two films of protective coating which not only helps protect it, but I have found this to be very helpful when cutting and removing from the etch. Main parts are the frame for the seating and the dividers again these are very tiny so care cutting will have to be exercised.
Bronco have started to produce a lot of kits that have not been covered by the mainstream model manufacturers producing such great subjects as the Airspeed A.S.51 Horsa Glider Mk1 and the Mk2, I believe it is their intention to produce this glider the DFS 230B-1 as a 1/35th scale kit too.
The 1/72nd scale German DFS 230B-1 the subject of this review is a great little kit with plenty of options some nice internal detail albeit fiddly, small and fragile to the feel it does present itself as a kit that will look nice once built. The detail for this kit is very high especially internally with some weapons, (German rifle) in a stowage bay behind the pilot's seat. Further detail is that of a mg 42 machine gun in place at the top of the canopy, the seating for the soldiers is good and with the photo-etch to separate each seat to make it more realistic. The wings are very well done and look very accurate to the few pictures that I could find on the internet to compare them too. The overall look is very good, but it seems that they have slightly over engineered some of the parts making more work than needed. But this said I have enjoyed looking at the kit and looking forward to having a go at building it soon.