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Facts on the 

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Copyright Thorsten Schrecke 2001-13

48 Special Models has published the DFS-346 as the first of a hopefully long row of modelkits. A Modell who's apperance is as interesting as its history of development.
48 Special Models owner  Thorsten Schrecke has a 30 years expierence as a modelmaker and is in first a film effects specialist. As a modelmaker the studied animationdirector has worked on a lot of movie projects, such as Independence Day. His privat interests are also the aircrafts of WWII and especially the exotic ones. So what is more natural than opening his own modelkitlabel, for all who share his passion.

The DFS-346 was one of his privat favorits and that is why it became the first kit of the newly formed label.

History of Development

The DFS-346 was a  middle winged fullmetal construction and was under developement at the end of the war in the Siebel Werke in Halle at the Saale (Saxony). The plane was designed for high speed sonic and supersonic and high altitude testflights. Due to problems faced by German engineers while designing the new jet airplanes, the construction of a scientific airframe was decided.

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Original drawing of the russian V1/V3 Version with sharp angled elevator (not used).
Picture via Helmut Walther

The end of  war prevented the finishing and testing of the DFS-346 called testplane. The red army captured the plane and sent it to the USSR. The in development involved engineers got the offer to continue their work in the USSR. Facing the alternatives the engineers took the offer. Almost like in the "Operation Paperclip", when German rocket scientists around Werner von Braun moved to the USA, it happended to the DFS-346 aircraftspecialists. They were moved, with families and  households to a small village called  Podbersje near by Dubna. Here two construction offices (OKB-1 & OKB-2) were established. OKB –1 was headed by  Brunolf Baade and OKB-2  by  Hans Rössing. Although the accommodation had nothing to do with a prison or one of the feared camps, the Germans were watched carefully. There was no doubt that the Russians only wanted their knowledge and didn't let them get new scientiffic results. This proofs the fact of  P.N. Obrudow and A.J. Beresnjak beeing established as deputizing heads of the construction offices.
At the beginning of the work in 1946 the DFS-346 produced in Germany was checked out careful at the ZAGI-windtunnel T-101. From its shape was built a more advanced, longer version of the DFS-346. It was still called 346.
The front fuselage of the 346 is a rotationbody based on the NACA-Prifile 0,0121-0,66-50. The middle part was cylindric and narrowed to the square diametre of the back. Presumingly for capacity and weight reasons the DFS-346 was equipped already in Germany with one of the loved landing skids. It was kept later on too and caused trouble several times. The wings were 45° swept-back and got 25% average depth and a NACA- 0,012-0,55-1,25 profile with 12% relative thickness. The area measured 19,87m2. The completely continueing profile shape caused a  stall in certain flight positions, which caused complete loss of control. This was stopped by use of fences on the top of the wings.
It was motorized with a German built two chaimber liquid rocket engine Walter HWK 109-509, which was renamed ShRD 109-510 in the USSR. It had  36.7 kN of thrust on the ground and 39.2 kN of thrust in operational hight. The DFS-346 could carry 1900 kg of fuel. It consited of hydrazinhydrant with methlyalcohol and water. The oxidizer was 82% Hydrogenperoxyd.

The pilot was lying on a plank bed in a pressureized cabine, which also worked as an emergency system. This kind of position was very uncomftable for the pilot and in certain flight situations almost dangerous. It was chosen for aerodynamic reasons.
The emergency system was very progressiv and worked, in opposit to the X-2, perfect. The cabine was seperated from the fuselage by four explosive bolts. A dragchute placed in the backwall of the cabine stabilized the cockpit. In an safe altitude the plank bed  including the glass dome was catapulted off the cabine. Another chute stabilized the flight and drew the pilot off the plank. Then the pilots parachute opened and returned him safely to the ground.

This operation worked automaticly and was tested several times successfully. Therefore a cockpitsection was lifted on altitude by a B-25J and dropped. The system saved the live of  German testpilot Wolfgang Ziese on 14. September 1951, when the aircraft went off control in 7000 m on a rocketed flight.

The DFS-346 was built in several versions. The DFS-346-1 and DFS-346-3 where used for flighttests.The DFS-346-P was a gliderversion without engines. What happend to the surely built DFS-346-2 is unknown. The aircraft differ very little in design. Only elevator and rudder showed differences in construction.

All aircraft where lifted to altitude by a carrier aircraft and droped. Therefore an original B-29 , which had had an emergency landing in the pacific territory was used. Some say there were also a JU-388 and a TU-4 in use. But there are no photographs of it.

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the carrier aircraft was one ogf the two captured B-29 not a Tu-4 as ofte stated. A rare picture of the lift off configuration.
This "DFS 346" is the unpowered glider version. As the only one it was painted in gray or red. Good to be seen are the spports under the wings and the outer fences. 
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The DFS346 mounted below the right wing. Note the position.
 See the flaps cut out on top ot the fuselage and note the fences on the wing.
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The DFS 346 below a russian B-29 wing. Nicely visible the pitot. 
A rare backview of the DFS 346. The engine exhausts are covered. Good to be seen the outer elevators are "hanging" in released position and the fences underneath the elevator.
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This shows how close the DFS346 is mounted to the flaps and wings of the B-29.
The landing gear skid in extended position
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Sheme of the emergency system for ejecting the pilot. It was developed by Germans and successfuly tested by the Russians.
View of the cockpit interior, without the pilots bench. At the lower side is the control lever.
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The cockpit capsule section from the rear. Good to be seen is the parachute pack and the four bolts which connect it to the fuselage. This one was used for droptests with a B-25J Mitchell.
The displays in the cockpit are mounted to the inner plexi dome.
Visible is also the front part of the pilots bench with its shoulder supports.
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The front section of the DFS346 consisted of two plexi domes. 
A spheric inner pressurized one and an aerodynamic shaped outer one.
The way into the cockpit wasn't easy. Good to be seen here how the cabin was opended. The bench was retractable and connected with the plexi domes. Note the support struts in the outer dome and the maintenance window.
Some of the pictures are taken from the magazine "Flugzeug Classics" and/or via Helmut Walther with kind permission

The
48 Special Models Modelkit can be built as the German version (without fences) or the Russian flightversion 346-1 and P.

So the Russian version doesn't show any markings and the German one never flew, the kit comes with no decals. Who wants to build the imaginary German version can choose from the standard decals of the warending, available in good modelshops.

The model is very good crafted an fits together well. It is recommended for expierenced modelers. A detailed construction plan explains the assembly steps and contains also the multi view plan in scale. The cockpit assembly and canopy asks for care, because the DFS-346 has two canopies, an inner pressuerdome and an outer aerodynamic canopy. Inbetween both the pitottube supports are placed. Assembling this section needs patience and care. The unique advantage is both canopies are snaped together and need not to be glued.  All clear parts are from vaccumformed PVC. The onfollowing assembly is less complicated and easy to do for resin advanced modelers.

Litrature on the DFS-346 is rare. Most books contain only short passages on this theme. The FLUGZEUG Verlag published a two volumes book entitled: „Deutsche Flugzeuge in russischen und sowjetischen Diensten“ a while ago.
The second one contains some good pictures but less data on this aircraft. In an article by the Magazin "Flugzeug" of the same  editor from 1992 the DFS-346 is talked about a bit more. Unfortunatly some of the statements and data are not up to date any more.  Called „FR-Edition 02-Skyrockets mit dem roten Stern“ the Fliegerrevue 1993 published a 15 pages publication containing some detailed pictures. This is almost all what is published on this aircraft. Hopefully there will be some new publications on it , now  this kit is published.

Article by Thorsten Schrecke 2001

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built by Th. Schrecke 2001
photographed by W. Hartmann 2001

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The DFS-346 in total. It shows its unique design completely.
The red band around the fuselage was the only insignia.
It marks the separationline between the cockpit emergency section and the fuselage.
Well to be seen are the differences in the sureface finish.
Rudders and gaps where painted  and polished with a polishable paint.
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The figures come from ICM-pilotfigures set of  Russian Pilots and Crewmen.
Good to be seen is the pitot tube. It is made from steeltubing in the kit.
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The pilots in detail.
They give an example of scale to this exotic airplane.
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The landing skid often caused problems in the original. On the model it is modelled from the original exactly
On this picture the etched parts are missing, because they haven't been ready at that time.
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The elevators where split in two. On photographs it can be seen that the outer flaps hang down a little.
To do so on the model they have to be cut out and cemented back in place again.
The engine exhausts have been sealed before flight and were open after flight.
The Painting
The model has to be cleaned from wax (used for separation from the moulds). Therefore benzine should be used.

After assembly is finished the whole model should be sanded slightly with a 600-1000 grid sanding paper, to improve paintcontact. Next spraypaint the model with a grey primer (i.e. Mr. Surface 500 or 1000 by Gunze) and let it dry completely.

The primer equalizes little defects and shows where work is still necessary. When  they are done the model is spraypainted in silver or aluminum (here Humbrol No.90). Next the red line is painted on. Therefore the front fuselage should not be cemented in place, so it can be separated. If not, tapeing of both sides is necessary.
The gaps on fuselage and wings can now be weathered. A polishable paint (silver, aluminum, magnesium etc.) from Gunze has been used here. The colour was sprayed in thin lines along the gaps and polished afterwards.

The cockpitglass was painted by hand from the inside. First silver than black and RLM02 grey. The order is important. Finally the clear parts have been cleaned and sprayed with Tamiya clear completely on the in- and outside. The clear paint should be thinned down a lot, to prevent paintnoses. After drying completely final assembly can be finished.

The whole model was sprayed with a clear paint to seal the surface. Therefore an acrylic paint should be used (like from Tamiya or Gunze), because solvents will ruin the metalfinish. Who likes to may put on a used-look by drybrushing etc. Now the model is completed and ready to see the diorama.


The Diorama

All my diorama boards are made from chipboard, covered with a veneer of  Mahagoni. Chipboard prevents them from warping. All dioramas have the same size 45 to 45 cm, except large models. This gives them  a unified design on exhibitions and in the display cabinet at home. This measure fits on almost every table and can be mixed all ways. It also helps on moving them. For example I made me two standardized boxes, in each fit in three dioramas. The boards can be slighted in easy and everything is wraped up quick.

The boards need to be taped around the border by the width of the tape. So a frame is made. The  field in the middle can now be designed as wanted. The model and all the extras should be put in place for test, to check the look. The model never should be placed parallel to the edges of the board. This looks boring and static.

To get the lawn less even I used epoxy resin which I thickened as much as needed to keep it from running away and applied it with a spatula and a brush. The resin is a slow drying one, which is also used for building fuselages. This is why it can be manipulated for quite a while. There can also be objects such as rocks,  reed or tracktraces, etc. put in. Just before the resin starts setting, the static grass is applied. It is stubed on with a broard brush careful. This makes the tiny hairs static and they are pushed to the resin with just one end. Now it has to set for at least 24 h.

With a brush and a vaccumcleaner the grass surplus is taken of.  You can recycle the surplus by useing a new vac-bag!
If the landscape is o.k. it will be sparyed with waterbased colours to make it look more natural. This also protects the grass from fading out from sunlight.

After painting the tape is removed and the whole board is finished. Now the model and extras can be put in place. Depending on what model and personal taste all can be cemented in place or not.

So all my prop-planes have electric powered engines and the models go to a lot of exhibitons, I prefer to cement everything in place. So nothing gets lost.

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