Bronco’s 1/35 ‘Rheintochter’ German R-3p Surface-to-Air Missile

In 1942 the Allied air strikes against the German and industrial targets were increasingly fierce. As a result the Germans stepped up their exploration in the field of anti-aircraft rockets and missiles. On September 18, 1942 the German Ministry of Aviation Reichsluftfahrtministerium which is better known by the abbreviation RLM and the Rhine Metals Company (Rheinmetall) officially signed a new type of anti-aircraft missile research and development contract. The person placed in charge of the project was Dr. Crein who developed the Rhinebote (Rhine Messenger or V4) short range ballistic rocket. By November of 1942 a new surface-to-air missile had been developed named the ‘Rheintochter’ after the three mythical water-nymphs who appear in Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. The initial R1 variant was powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket. In August 1943 the improved R-2 version was now being manufactured altogether a total of 82 test firings were made but neither of them met the requirements of the military as they couldn’t get to the expected altitude.

  In 1944 The R-3 model was developed this had a liquid fuel engine with solid-fuel boosters strapped to the side of the main body. As it was a single structure it reduced the size and weight of the missile which in turn increased the speed and distance it could travel. In order to reduce the weight even more the wings were made of wood having the added bonus of reducing the cost. The R-3 was fitted with a 160kg high explosive warhead which was detonated by a radar terminal after the missile had been launched it was guided using the German Rhineland Radar System. The missile was designed to be launched from a modified Flak 41 88mm anti-aircraft gun chassis. Fortunately for the Allied bomber crews the missile was only capable of reaching heights of 12000 meters and after only six test firings, the project was cancelled in February 1945. Although the Rheintochter never became operational, the missile became a testbed for many different forms of guidance systems.

The kit

This is the latest offering from Bronco Models of a German World War II surface-to-air missile. Like all Bronco kits it comes packed in the usual cardboard box with a very striking illustration on the lid. Opening the box I was surprised by how full it was. The kit comes moulded in the usual grey plastic that we have become accustom to these days. There are a total of thirteen sprues in the kit each individually packed in their own plastic bag. Some of the sprues are duplicated for example Da and Db. Included in the kit are two small Photo-etched frets and a very small decal sheet which contains the faces of the various dials etc. There is also a twenty eight page instruction book which contains a history of the missile on the front cover, an index explaining the different icons used throughout and a colour chart. Construction is broken down into 43 stages although the last two are showing how the missile can be fitted to Bronco’s version of the  Versuchsflakwagen 8.8cm Flak auf Sonderfahrgestell (Pz.Sfl.IVc) kit number CB35062 but this configuration takes us into the realms of ‘What If’. The final four pages of the instruction book give you a colour guides for the missile and launcher.

  • Option 1 is in standard German Dark Yellow.
  • Option 2 has a Red/Brown undercoat on the launch ramp with a Dark Yellow and Green pattern on the shield.
  • Option 3 has the Dark Yellow base with Green and Red/Brown shield and Dark Yellow and Green launcher.

 There are some very small and delicate parts in this kit so great care will be needed when removing and cleaning up from the sprue. The shields that can be found on sprue Ea are paper thin and must be close to scale thickness. Having looked over the individual spures there is very little in the way of flash and any knockout marks are well hidden when assembled. The surface detail is very crisp and sharp and just lends itself to gentle weathering. Also included in the kit are the parts to make up a simple manually operated transportation trolley which gives the kit good diorama potential.

  Thank you to Martyn Chorlton for sending me this kit for review and potential build for Military Modelling.

Information

Manufacturer: Bronco Models

Type: Injection moulded, Photo-etched, Water slide decals

Scale: 1/35

Kit Number CB-35075

Price: Approx £27

Web Site: www.cn-bronco.com