Rocketship Friede from "Frau im Mond" (1929)
About the Design
In 1927, in the wake of his stunning success with his sci-fi opus "Metropolis," German director Fritz Lang decided his next movie would be a sprawling silent melodrama based on mankind's first trip to the moon. To make his movie as technically accurate as possible, Lang enlisted the aid of already-famous spaceflight cheerleader Wiley Ley who, in turn, corralled Romanian-born rocket pioneer Hermann Oberth into the project. The centerpiece of Lang's new feature, "Frau im Mond" ("The Woman in the Moon,") was the spaceship "Friede" (named after the movie's titular character), based on the Modell E rocket from Oberth's treatise "Die Rakete." An extra stage was added to the E, making the "Friede" longer and more cylindrical than its predecessor, but keeping in place the rectangular "legs" that provided support and aerodynamic stability for the spacecraft.
Although "Frau im Mond" was not a commercial success -- it had the misfortune of being a silent film released just when talkies were taking off -- it could be argued that it lead directly to the actual moon landing 40 years later. As a pre-release publicity stunt, Lang's studio, Ufa, agreed to finance the development of an actual liquid-fuel based scale model of the "Friede" that would be flown just prior to the film's premiere. (Note: In 1929, liquid-fueled rockets had yet to be flown in Europe.) Although the project failed, leading Oberth to suffer a literal nervous breakdown, the project was subsequently taken up by Germany's nascent VfR (German Rocket Society) whose membership included a then-18-year-old Werner von Braun. The rest, as they say, is history.
Additional note: After Hitler came to power, "Frau im Mond" was considered so technically authentic that the Reich ordered all prints destroyed for fear it could compromise its secret ballistic missile program. Those prints that currently survive tend to be highly edited versions of Lang's 2-1/2-hour-long original.
About the Kit
Released in March 2010, the 'Friede" was No. 2 in Fantastic Plastic's 1:288 "Classic Rocketship Series." Created exclusively for Fantastic Plastic by BLAP! Models, the kit was distinguished by its highly intricate hexagonal main rocket exhausts, which were true to the original Hermann Oberth design.
The 'Friede' was created with help from Jon C. Rogers of Rogers Rocketships.