Author Topic: Brian da Basher's Bolshie Build #3 - The East German VF-163 Wallowmander  (Read 2573 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
  • Holding Pattern
  • *
  • Hulk smash, Brian bash

The Heinkel He-162 is world-famous as one of the first jet fighters deployed at the end of W.W. II.

Far less well known is a further development of the He-162 Salamander, a piston engine trainer called the VF-163 Wallowmander.

The Soviets became concerned about the rising economic power and nascent military of West Germany. The Central Committee for Centralized Planning decreed East Germany should develop a native aircraft industry which would help equip the new Air Forces of the National People's Army.

Not only would this give the East German economy a boost but it would also act as a brake on the budding Czech aircraft industry.

The Soviets turned over what remained of Heinkel's Rostock works to the newly-formed Volksflugzeugfabrik or VF. Not comfortable with East Germany producing combat aircraft, the Soviets ordered VF to produce an un-armed trainer.

The Volksflugzeugfabrik determined it would be best to adapt an already proven design for the task, so the ground-breaking He-162 jet was modified with a new power plant better suited to fledgling pilots.

A prototype was produced in record time from mostly non-strategic materials and first took flight a mere four months after the Volksflugzeugfabrik began work.

Officially given the drab designation VF-163, crews called it the Wallowmander due to its sluggish flight characteristics.

Under-powered and slow to respond to control inputs, the Wallowmander was universally unpopular, especially with those seeking the thrill and excitement of flying. However, the aircraft's laggardness was actually a feature, allowing trainee pilots time to correct their mistakes and land safely.

Not often seen nor widely known in the west, it was eventually given the NATO reporting name Mole shortly before the last aircraft was retired from service.

None survive today and the VF-163 is utterly forgotten save for this 1977 short fun run kit that came in an un-marked box from a shadowy eastern-bloc maker who still wishes to remain anonymous.

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 06:47:54 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
  • Holding Pattern
  • *
  • Hulk smash, Brian bash
This all started with a bagged 1/72 Frog He-162 that a friend sent me recently (thanks a million, hamsterman!). While there's no box so no box art, the printed card certainly conveys the thrill of this early jet.

There's a very useful painting guide on the back which I totally ignored.

As you may recall, I'd amputated the jet engine for use on my Yak-16 Over-Under. I began by filling in the gap with a slice of card stock.

This left me with a very nice glider.

Obviously power was needed and a radial engine sent to me by the late, great HOG was stuck on front after I chopped off the nose cone. Here's how it looked before paint.

Speaking of paint, the old hairy stick was used loaded with a lot of a custom green I mixed up.

The underside was painted with Polly Scale Light Blue.

The canopy was tinted on the inside with semi-gloss Black and Model Masters Gunmetal was used on the engine cylinders which were dry-brushed with Steel used to pick out the detail.

Those cool East German markings come from a sheet for a MiG-17 and the codes are left over from an Italeri Fiat Cr-42.

I almost forgot to mention that the prop is from a 1/144 Connie and the antenna was cut from a bit of card and stuck on with a blob of Gator Glue.

I had a blast building this model which only took four day from start to finish.

I'd like to thank Bill for sending me both the He-162 and that MiG-17 which so bravely sacrificed its decals.

I hope you enjoyed the VF-163 Wallowmander and reading a little aircraft history that was hidden behind the iron curtain.

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 09:11:44 PM by Brian da Basher »

Offline finsrin

  • The Dr Frankenstein of the modelling world...when not hiding from SBA
  • Finds part glues it on, finds part glues it on....
Such a rendition of the Wallowmander.  :)
Seeing myself at a lazy summer picnic.  Laying back to watch Wallowmanders flying slow as they wallow around overhead.

Offline Tophe

  • He sees things in double...
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    • my models
Funny transformation, and well done! :-*

Offline KiwiZac

  • Once crowned Mango King by Brian da Basher!
  • The Modeller Formerly Known As K5054NZ
What an attractive little machine! I kinda want a real one! Nice work Brian, a very imaginative conversion and a good example of how to use a kit after the engine's been sacrificed.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline The Big Gimper

  • Any model will look better in RCAF, SEAC or FAA markings
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Great built Brian. I'll bet the '163 pilots preferred the Wallowmander over the He-162 as would never go fast enough to loose pieces of the airframe.
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

User and abuser of Bothans...

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Simple, effective, brilliant. Well done that man!  :)
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Camthalion

  • The man has done a pink tank...need we say more?!
very nice

Offline LemonJello

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Comrade Da Basherski! Once more, we of The Committee of State Sanctioned Modelling, Alternative History and Tractor Carburettor Production are in awe of the genius and dedication of your design bureau.  This design is a shining example of the resourcefulness and engineering prowess of our people!

I see that your latest contribution has drawn the curiosity of the Subcommittee for Decal Solution Quality Control and Tire Pressure Regulating of The Committee of State Sanctioned Modelling, Alternative History and Tractor Carburettor Production:

Вперед в будущее!

Offline Dr. YoKai

  • Was in High School when mastadons roamed the plains...
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 HA! The He-162 finally gets a engine worthy of it's airframe! Excellent presentation, Brian.