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Takom 1/72 scale Silbervogel suborbital bomber plastic model kit review

An unusual what-if subject with an interesting connection to NASA
Kit:03015017 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$54.95
Takom (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Interesting what-if; good surface detail; good parts fit
Finicky wing attachments; no pilot or stand; no weapons
Injection-molded plastic (light gray); 67 parts; decals
The German-designed Silbervogel was never built, but its wind tunnel studies and overall concept helped develop the X-15 and, in turn, NASA’s space shuttle orbiter. The rocket-powered concept was to be one of the bombers to strike America, proposed by many German aircraft manufacturers during World War II. The idea was considered “too extreme,” even by top Nazi brass, and was swapped for more conventional designs.

Takom resurrected the Silbervogel as a 1/72 scale plastic model. The overall kit is simple, with parts just for the aircraft. Takom released a second Silbervogel kit that includes ground support equipment and a nuclear bomb.

The parts have nice, recessed panel lines, which some modelers might consider too deep, and heat-shielding tiles underneath, similar to the space shuttle. The scale model kit provides two cockpit options: a single seat with a bubble canopy and a side-by-side arrangement with faired glass. The cockpit is simple, with a separate control yoke, seat, and instrument panel, however, it has no decals or dials molded in.

Construction starts with an option of gluing the gear doors and bomb bay doors open or closed. The lack of weapons or a stand made the choice for me in both cases. I left the gear doors off until final construction. Including a display stand and pilot would be a nice touch.

The airplane’s fuselage compromises three sections: a forward with the cockpit, a midsection, and an aft section that contains the rocket nozzles. Everything went together well, except for the tight squeeze of the gear bays. The nose-gear bay needs to be sanded down a bit so the cockpit floor doesn’t press into the top of the gear bay, which would then cause fit problems with the lower body panel.

The landing gear and tires are well-detailed, though a little finicky. To prevent the Silbervogel from sitting on its tail, I added 30kg of weight up front. Even with the extra weight, the undercarriage held up well.

The model’s wings are molded in one piece, with no separate control surfaces. The main wings have only two small tabs for attachment points. They didn’t fit too well, and, because of the version I chose, I glued them after painting and decals. I suggest you glue them in place and then deal with masking. Clear parts are well-molded and fit without problems.

Takom’s decals are thick and require a bit of persuasion to lay down. The clear transfer film around the decals will show up over metallic paints, so be prepared to trim them as closely as you can. The painting guide provides four fictitious versions of the Silbervogel, all similar to contemporary Luftwaffe aircraft — even one with a night fighter scheme and red crosses on the wing bottoms. Interesting choices, for sure! Have fun with the what-ifs. The paint callouts all refer to Ammo by Mig Jimenez; I used Tamiya spray paints.

Overall, Takom’s 1/72 scale Silbervogel model kit is easy to build with no real difficulties. If I were to build another, I’d paint it in polished aluminum, like the wind tunnel model which survives in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This model would be an interesting addition to a display with a 1/72 scale X-15 and space shuttle.
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