Fiesler 103 "Reichenberg" R-IV (1945)
About the Design
When the Allies invaded France in June 1944, Germany responded by assaulting southern England with swarms of its newest weapon, the Fieseler 103 "V-1" -- the precursor to the modern-day cruise missile. Unmanned and primitive in design, the V-1 missed its targets more often than not, causing some German engineers to ask, "Why not put a pilot aboard?" The "Reichenberg" R-IV was the end product of manned-missile research in this field. In theory, the plucky pilot would steer his craft toward its target, put it into a suicide dive, then bail out. (In reality, G-forces would likely cause him to go down with his plane.)
In all, 175 editions of the suicide missile were built, but the Allies managed to overrun their launching sites before any of the weapons could be used in anger.
About the Kit
Only about four inches long, this 1/72 scale R-IV was released by Heller in a twin-pack that also included an equally tiny Bacham Ba 349A "Natter" (which has since been lost by this modeler). The kit was re-released by Heller in the early 2000s.
This model was built from an original 1960s issue.