Special Hobby Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)/V-1
“High-Tech” — 1:32 Scale

The Second World War gave rise to a remarkable spectrum of new technologies that reshaped the world, from atomic energy to spaceflight.  Among Germany’s so-called “wonder weapons” and “vengeance weapons” was the Fi 103, or V-1.  In this recent release, Special Hobby has a new issue of their 2018 new tool 1:32 scale Fi-103A-1/V-1.  Let’s see what we’ve got.  

As the outcome of the war in Europe became clear, and Germany’s total defeat was inevitable, the Nazis began to develop the vengeance-series of weapons.  While they would have very little to no effect on Allied fighting forces or war production, V-series weapons were effective in terrorizing the citizenry of the United Kingdom, and were generally used as retaliatory weapons following the Allied bombing of German cities. 

Elements of the V-1, such as its autopilot and other subsystems, had been undergoing a slow development since the mid-1930s.  By 1942, the V-1 emerged under the codename Kirschkern (or Cherry Stone).  The fuselage, fabricated from welded sheet steel, carried both fuel tanks and a 1,000-kilogram warhead.  The wings were made of plywood.  The Argus pulsejet engine cycled some 50 times per second producing the V-1’s unmistakable buzzing.  The Allies nicknamed it the “Buzz Bomb” and “Doodlebug.”

The V-1 was the world’s first ground-launched cruise missile, though it could also be considered the first air-launched cruise missile since some were carried aloft and launched from He 111 aircraft.  Formally designated as the Fi 103, the V-1 could outrun almost everything in the air with its pulsejet powerplant.  Only the fastest of piston-engine aircraft of the day, such as later-model Spitfires and Tempests, could intercept the V-1, downing it with gunfire or “tipping” them out of control with their own wingtips.  Over 8,000 V-1s were launched against targets, and around half that number hit their targets in the U.K. and Belgium.  They wreaked havoc and killed non-combatants almost exclusively.  The accuracy of these early missiles was poor.  The early remote guidance systems were unreliable and not easy to come by towards the end of the war, since resources for weapons systems development were diverted elsewhere.  By late summer 1944, the V-1 threat to England declined significantly when the launch sites on the French coast were captured by the Allied armies.  The last V-1 launch was in late March 1945.  Following the war, captured V-1s were key in the development of far more advanced cruise missile technology by the United States.

Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)/ V-1 “High Tech” kit consists of 62 injection molded medium grey polystyrene parts on three sprues, 21 cast resin parts, and four photoetched metal parts on one fret.  The full color instruction booklet guides assembly over 17 steps.  Decals provide markings for three V-1s:

  • Fi 103A-1, no date or other information
  • Fi 103A-1, W. Nr. 707219, France, 1944
  • Fi 103B-2, Flakregiment 155/W, France, Summer 1944. 

Strengths:  This kit is the third installment in Special Hobby’s growing family of 1:32 scale V-1 kits.  Just like its predecessors in this series, it is a very well made and nicely designed kit.  It is based on their 2018 new tool release of the V-1 but has additional features and details as a “High Tech” offering.   

The parts breakdown is rather straight forward and it will be a relatively simple, hassle-free build.  For a 1:32 scale kit, it is well detailed, too.  Since there is no cockpit or gear, attention goes straight to surface details, and they look great.  There’s a combination of recessed panel lines, raised panel features, and raised bolt heads.  It all stands out as being very nicely manufactured.  Another nice touch is the single mounting rod that extends out the left and right sides of the fuselage to act as a mounting spar for both wings.  This will also assure correct dihedral angles for both wings.

The cast resin and photoetched metal parts are also excellent.  The resin casting quality is very good and they provide some great touches, such as the single-piece intake cowling (no pesky seams to eliminate on the inside of the intake).  The cast resin parts also provide for an outstanding set of details for the complex face of the Argus pulse jet engine’s intake.  It looks awesome.  I would even leave the intake cowling unattached and sitting on the ground next to the V-1 to show off these great details.

This kit also comes with a complete V-1 service stand/cart.  It’s a really cool touch, and you can assemble your V-1 with the wings unattached and stowed on the cart. There’s also an optional remove before flight cover for the nose of the V-1. 

The choice in paint schemes here are each a winner – with each one being quite attractive.  For me, the third option is most interesting, with a complex splinter scheme painted atop the wings looking like a very interesting challenge.  The decals were printed in-house by Special Hobby and look just fine – and it’s all mostly stenciling in this case.   

Weaknesses:  There’s not a lot that comes to mind with this kit.  It has many great qualities, but do note that some pour gates attaching parts to sprues are a little out-of-proportion, but really only with the smallest of all the pieces.  Use heightened caution when separating them.

Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Fieseler Fi 103 (FZG 76)/ V-1 “High Tech” kit is really impressive and it has a lot of potential.  It receives high marks in overall quality, design and parts breakdown, detail, and decals/paint schemes.  The V-1 also looks great in 1:32 scale.  The kit promises to be a pretty simple and quick building project, too.  Folks who enjoy multimedia kits should really have a good time with this.  For me, I’m thinking about what I would need to convert this to a postwar U. S. Navy Loon…   

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample. You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale