MPM 1/48 Arado Ar231 V1 Parasol-Winged Monoplane Kit w/Floats
Item #: MPM-48047
Suggested Retail: $34.00
Sale Price: $22.10
Shipping: This item normally ships within 2-3 business days.
Prior to the start of WWII, it was felt that it would be an advantage to have a scouting aircraft that was capable of being carried aboard a submarine. This would effectively extend the visible range of the sub and allow for greater information regarding finding and eventually sinking enemy shipping. To the goal, a specification was presented to Arado in 1940 to build such a plane.
The requirement was that it be able to be stowed inside a 2 meter container. As such, it had to be simple in design and easily assembled for flight and stowage. Six prototypes were completed in 1941. The aircraft appearing rather odd with its kink in the wing to enhance stowage and the shortened tail fin. Since speed wasn't really a requirement, a 160 HP Hirth six cylinder inverted inline air-cooled engine was installed.
It was obvious from the beginning that this was a design that wasn't going to work well. It was difficult to handle both on the water and in the air. It was also realized that the U-boat would have to stay stationary during the recovery period, rendering it vulnerable to enemy attack. As a result, the program was cancelled in 1941, later to be replaced by the much more useful Focke-Achgelis Fa-330 towable helicopter.
However, the story of the Ar-231 does not end there. One was actually used by the auxiliary cruiser (often called 'Q-ships'), Stier and perhaps a few other similar ships during WWII. The main difference in the aircraft was the addition of small plates on the end of shortened tailplanes (undoubtedly to improve stability). From the photos I have seen of these planes, other than the prototype, only wing insignia was carried with the fuselage and fin being bare of any markings. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with additional info on operational use of this interesting little floatplane.
Kit contains PUR details: interior, engine parts. Marking and decals for one prototype version.
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