Internet Modeler : First Look : Aviation

Fox One 1/144 Bachem Ba349 Natters

By Matt Bittner

Introduction

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The Bachem Ba 349 "Natter" was a system that was meant to take out Allied bombers.  The purpose of the design was to streak upwards to the bombers - using its rocket propulsion - and as it approached a bomber, jettison its nose cone.  Once jettisoned then the pilot was to launch all the rockets in the nose, taking out one bomber.  Then, when the rocket propulsion quit and the Natter was on its way down, then the pilot was to strike the tail of another bomber, taking it out too.  Right before ramming the bomber the pilot was to jettison the canopy and jump out, using a parachute to fall to safety.

Unfortunately the only manned flight, on 1 March 1945 ended up with the pilot being killed. No other flights occurred and coupled with the end of the war looming, the project was never used again.

The Kits

Fox One provides two separate kits of the Bachem Ba 349. First is the Ba 349A, which was the example - according to sources I've read -  most produced, one reference showing 36 were made.  This kit has not only the Natter, but also the "simpler" launch tower.  This one comes with decals for one scheme, for a machine with green mottled uppers and sky blue undersides.

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The second Fox One Natter - Ba 349V - comes also with the rocket, but the launch tower has quite a bit more to it.  While you could think of the launch "tower" that comes with the Ba 349A as more of a "pole", the "tower" that's in the Ba 349V package is definitely more like a "tower", a more robust structure. This kit comes with three schemes - Ba 349V/M17, in what appears to be all over orange/yellow with stripes on the wings; Ba 349V/M23 that has gray mottling on the uppers with black on the underside, as well as some white in the tail and '2' on the port wing, and '3' on the starboard; and the last scheme is Ba 349V/M25 which is all over green with a black nose, and a white circle on the port wing and a white cross on the starboard. The decals that come with both Natters are top notch.

Although the steps are specific in the instructions, you could build one piece before the other. The instructions, though, have you build the rocket first, and then the "tower". The differences between the two Natters are very slight.  With the Ba 349A the nose cone is removed so you can see the offensive rockets mounted in the nose.  With the Ba 349V the nose cone is molded "on", so there is no seeing these rockets. That is the only difference between the two rockets. Both come with a decent cockpit, given the amount that can be seen through the canopy (clear resin, by the way).  When you attach the nose to the main body that creates the seat the included pilot sits on. The other part in the cockpit is an included control stick. Nice. The pilot is a keeper, even if you don't use it in the Natter.

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In terms of the towers, though, is where the work comes in. Like I already mentioned, the Ba 349A comes more with a launch "pole" than a dedicated "tower".  There are three parts to this "pole/tower" and once assembled, you're finished.  The kit also comes with a ladder to go from the ground to the cockpit.

The second tower, though, that comes with the Ba 349V has a lot more to it. There are 34 resin pieces that make up the three main sections to the tower. You'll definitely want to use epoxy gluing this one together, along with - maybe - a T-Square to keep everything true. Patience is definitely a virtue when dealing the the Ba 349V tower, even if all parts are resin.

Conclusion

These are quite exquisite kits. While the Ba 349A will be a little easier to build, due to its "simpler" launching "tower", the Ba 349V is one that will cause the most discussion. Mount everything on a nice diorama/display, and you'll have everyone talking. In fact, if you go to the Wikipedia page you can see photos of what the concrete pad on the ground looked like under the towers. This is another model - especially the Ba 349V - that I want to try and build a display/diorama for.  There are excellent possibilities with these kits.

My thanks to Fox One for supplying both of these excellent Natters for review. You can purchase both kits at RADJAPAN.


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