by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Ar 196 was a shipboard reconnaissance aircraft built by the German firm Arado starting in 1936. The next year it was selected as the winner of a design contest, and became the standard aircraft of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) throughout World War II.
The Ar 196 prototypes were all delivered in summer 1937, V1 (which flew in May) and V2 with twin floats as A models, and V3 and V4 on a single float as B models. Both versions demonstrated excellent water handling, and there seemed to be little to decide one over the other. Since there was a possibility of the smaller outrigger floats on the B models "digging in", the twin-float A model was ordered into production. A single additional prototype, V5, was produced in November 1938 to test final changes.
10 A-0s were delivered in November and December 1938, with a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine gun in the rear seat for defense. Five similarly-equipped B-0s were also delivered to land-based squadrons. This was followed by 20 A-1 production models starting in June 1939, enough to equip the surface fleet.
Starting in November production switched to the heavier land-based A-2 model. It added shackles for two 50 kg (110 lb) bombs, two 20 mm MG FF cannons in the wings, and a 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine gun in the cowling. The A-4 replaced it in December 1940, strengthening the airframe, adding another radio, and switching props to a VDM model. The apparently mis-numbered A-3 replaced the A-4, with additional strengthening of the airframe. The final production version was the A-5 from 1943, which changed radios and cockpit instruments, and switched the rear gun to the much-improved MG 81Z. In all versions, 541 Ar 196s (526 production models) were built before production ended in August 1944, about 100 of these from SNCA and Fokker plants.
Packed in the standard end opening Revell box, the 13 light grey and 1 clear sprues are packed in two and threes in bags. The clear sprue is packed in its own bag, so that should avoid any scratching of the glazing.
The rest of the contents are the sizable instruction book and a set of decals.
For those interested in Revell's skill ratings, this kit has been classed as a "5 = difficult, models with over 500 parts requiring a high level of skill".
The kit does have over 190 parts, so although its not as part happy as some of the other leading brands, it is still a quite a complex kit.
The plastic has a slightly puckered effect but there is very little in the way of any distortion in the plastic. There is a few pin marks here and there but most of them do look to be in places that won't require any filling or removing.
I haven't a clue how accurate this kit is or not, as I haven't any books on the Arado, but it does look like its supposed too. Maybe Rowan can check the accuracy once he gets one (hint hint Rowan).
Detail wise for the exterior is very good with fine recessed panel lines and a nice fabric effect that the real aircraft sported.
Interior detail is well thought out and includes a detailed cockpit, engine, with separate cowling panels and wing fold mechanisms.
The cockpit has a tubular space frame structure. Levers, wiring and switches are moulded onto the two sides of the frame with various other parts needing to be attached.
The cockpit floor has recessed rivet detail, and once all the bulkheads, seats and paraphernalia go in the cockpit will look quite stunning.
The pilot and gunner/radio operator seats have lap belts moulded onto them, and although they are a little on the thick side, don't look to bad.
The pilots seat also has chair adjustment wheels that fit on the sides.
The instrument panel and radio have some nice looking raised dials and switches, and once painted should look quite good.
The gunner/radio operator station has several ammo magazines and a nicely detailed six piece MG 15 and mount. A nose cannon completes the cockpit area.
The BMW 132 engine is a broken down into about twelve parts, and is very nicely detailed. The engine firewall is adorned with raised detail and has a oil cylinder (?) to be attached, the barrel of the nose cannon is protruding from one side.
The cowling as mentioned can be modelled completely opened, and is broken into the several panels, each with its own support arm.
Both wings can be modelled in the folded position and inserts are supplied for the open ends. Wing restraints for the folded wings are present, and complete the look of the stowed aircraft.
The wings also have positionable flaps.
The floats are broken down into five parts each, two sides, the top, and two internal braces, and have some gorgeous rivet and panel line detail.
The float supports are rather thin and care will be needed taken them off the sprue trees.
Two propellers are supplied, one of which is the wide, adjustable three bladed prop and the other is thinner bladed. Checking your references will need to be done as you are not told which propeller to use for any of the schemes.
The canopy is supplied as individual glass panels so a little building will need to be done. This could prove to be the most difficult part as care will really need to be taken in gluing it all together. The canopy can be modelled open or closed. The frames are are raised so masking the canopy should be pretty easy, especially if you mask them before assembling it.
Two × 50 kg (110 lb) bombs are supplied for the external pylons on the wings.
A nice touch from Revell is the inclusion of a round stand for the kit, which gets the floats to slot into two inserts.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are printed as a book on A4 size sheets.
The build sequence follows a logical pattern and is spread over 58 steps. The typical black and white line drawings we are all used too is standard.
Internal paint numbers, optional parts and where drills and other tools are needed are given along the way.
The decals are thin and in register. The colours look quite good, with maybe the exception of the red, which to my eyes seems to be more pinkish then red.
There are no Swastikas for the tail supplied and no mention of them in the instructions, but all photos of the Arado I have seen do show them adorning the aircraft, so these will have to be sourced elsewhere.
The two schemes for this aircraft are -
Arado Ar 196A-3 of III./KG 100, at Kalamaki, Crete, January 1943.
Arado Ar 196A-3 of Bordfliegergruppe 196, on board the German battleship "Tripitz", summer 1943.
Both aircraft wear a upper splinter camo scheme of RLM 72/73, with RLM 65 undersides.
The first scheme also has yellow lower engine cowling and wingtips.
Both colour schemes are shown in profile views but are in black/grey/white drawings which doesn't help a great deal when trying to figure out what colours go where.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.