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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Pacific Monograph PMAVI-003
Buzz Bombs! -- 1:48 Scale


The German V-1 was the first in their Vengeance Weapon series, or Vergeltungswaffen, designed for the retaliatory terror bombing of the United Kingdom.  The weapon gained several nicknames, and “Buzz Bomb” was one of the best known, referring to the distinctive sound made by the pulsejet powerplant.  The V-1 was the first operational cruise missile, and thousands of V-1s were launched at England and other Allied territories in Europe beginning in 1944.

Design work on the Fiseler Fi 103, better known as the V-1, started as early as 1939. It remained a well-hidden secret until August 1942 when a Danish naval officer discovered a V-1 test article that by pure happenstance crash-landed on Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea.  The wreckage of this prototype V-1 was carefully scrutinized.  Several threads of information led Allied intelligence to discover the location of Peenemünde, the German’s top-secret missile test site.  At Wright Field in Ohio, the captured V-1 was reverse-engineered, and in 1943, the USAAF began to develop its own pulsejet-powered cruise missile for wartime use. 

Designated the JB-2, the American flying bomb was a virtual copy of the V-1.  Republic was chosen to build the airframe, and Ford manufactured the engine (again, a faithful copy of the German Argus pulsejet).  The first JB-2 took to the air at Eglin Army Air Field in Florida in October 1944.  Another detachment of Wright Field’s Special Weapons Branch set up shop at Wendover Field, Utah, and began a parallel test program.  In January 1945, delivery started on production JB-2s, and by the time the war ended, more than 1,300 had been built.  Their use was rejected for the European theater but plans were in motion to deploy them for the invasion of Japan.  As Operation DOWNFALL did not occur, JB-2s were never used in combat.  JB-2s however did get in a lot of flying time following the war.  They became versatile flight test vehicles, evaluating navigational, guidance, and launch systems (including air-launched and submarine-launched delivery systems) for the next generation of guided missiles.  These efforts led directly to the development of the MGM-1 Matador and the MGM-13 Mace.

In this 1:48 scale decal sheet set, Pacific Monograph provides markings for a range of Buzz Bombs.  First, a complete set of maintenance stencils for a German V-1 are provided here, including the optional big red “X” that appeared on the warhead section of those missile fitted with the enhanced high-explosive Trialen warhead.

Other markings include three JB-2s (two appearing as late war versions and one post-1947) and four U.S. Navy KUW-1 Loons.  The range of color schemes here are very impressive and diverse, from the overall olive-drab wartime liveries to the overall white and yellow test vehicles and the various colors of the engine nacelles.   

The decals were printed by Microscale and the print quality is great.  Everything is in register, colors look solid, and carrier film is thin and restrained.  Further, all of the stencils are clearly printed and legible.  The decals are obviously intended for use on the Tamiya 1:48 Fi 103/V-1 kit, but I see nothing that would preclude their use on the much older Hawk/Testors kit.  Just do note that the engine nacelle’s forward mounting pylon on the JB-2 and the Loon differed a little than the V-1.  Their upper aft trailing edge tapered in and forward to appear more curved in profile. 

Also, coming in at just under $5.00, there’s quite a bit of value for what you’re getting here.

We extend our sincere thanks to Burl Burlingame of Pacific Monograph for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web and find this and many other products at their webstore: http://www.pacmonoshop.com/catalog/index.php.  They are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pacmonoshop and you can email them at pacmonoshop@gmail.com.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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