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Flettner Fl 282 "Kolibri"

by Dave Orloff


Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri


Images by Milton Bell

Huma's 1/48 scale Flettner Fl 282 "Hummingbird" is available online at Squadron




As early as the 1920s, German engineers were experimenting with helicopters. One such visionary was Anton Flettner, whose development of a series of helicopters intended for naval use began in earnest in 1935 with the opening of his Berlin-Johannisthal factory.

Flettner’s first successful design, the Fl-265, was tested aboard ships in 1939, and was agile enough in trials to outmanoeuvre a pair of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters! This was the first successful use of twin intermeshing counter-rotating rotor blades, but a single seat aft of the transmission and the engine mounted in the nose combined to make this a less than ideal type for full service. 



In 1940 the Flettner company produced the first of their Fl-282 “Kolibri” (Hummingbird) helicopters. A direct development of the earlier Fl-265, the 282 was a neat little machine, using Anton Flettner’s revolutionary rotor system to produce a stable helicopter unencumbered by a complex tail rotor mechanism.  Moving the radial engine aft of the pilot put the cockpit up front in what would become the conventional layout for modern helicopters. The resulting craft was relatively easy to fly, extremely maneuverable, and mechanically reliable. Though 1000 were ordered, only 24 were delivered over the course of the war, and served as shipboard scouts and landbased battlefield spotters from 1940 right up through the Battle of Berlin in 1945.



Huma's 1/48 Scale Flettner Fl 282


Huma’s kit is their only 1/48 scale offering so far, consisting of 75 well molded styrene parts on two trees and decals for two machines. Parts are provided to build both one and two seat versions, with or without auxiliary fuel tanks. Also provided is a spotlight and the unusual trapeze-like bar used to carry sling loads. All scribing is engraved and very crisp. On opening the box I was immediately surprised by the quality of the parts, and the delicacy of molding. I honestly believe I have never seen so many tiny structures produced in plastic as are found in this kit! The engine alone builds up out of 15 individual components, and lacks only plug wires to be complete right from of the box. What a shame that it is all but invisible inside the fuselage! The many representations of tubular framing are well done, with only slight mold parting lines to clean up. A little patience and a fresh No 11 blade pay off big time here! Huma’s plastic is soft enough to allow for some flex in the small parts, a good thing as even the fuel lines for the engine are included and require a bit of bending to match the instructions.  

The instructions are adequate, though some steps require careful study of the exploded views provided. No assembly text is included, so reference to photos of the prototype and careful test fitting are required to get the cockpit and landing gear right.





My only fit problem was along the fuselage top aft of the rotor assembly. The right fuselage half on my example was rather warped, but careful bending and a spot of putty smoothed things out nicely. Care is also needed when capturing the engine between the fuselage halves. The only weakness so far as detail is the instrument panel and side consoles. There are no molded instruments, just decals affixed to featureless faces. This would be easy enough to enhance with PE aftermarket bezels.



I added a set of Eduard harnesses and an extra support for the foot step and was well pleased with the overall look of the cockpit. No problems here with hidden detail, it’s right out there for all to see. The landing gear is somehow sturdy without losing the delicate appearance of the original. As a bonus, my model required no additional nose weight to keep all three wheels where they belong, a good thing as there is precious little space to add anything inside. 



Painting and Markings


I elected to build the naval version, a single-seat model without the twin external fuel tanks. Several photos of the helicopter represented are in Heinz Nowarra’s book, depicting operations from aboard a ship at sea in the Baltic or Mediterranean. I used Aeromaster RLM 63 acrylic paint overall, with various Testor’s enamels for detail. The decals went on well over a couple of coats of Future, the model also was washed with Windsor & Newton Burnt Umber and Black oil paints thinned with mineral spirits. As usual with European kits, the swastikas had to be scavenged from the scrap pile, though for the adventurous Huma does include two odd outline squares with a black cross inside that could be meticulously cut into swastikas. A few light coats of Polly Scale clear flat and the little Hummingbird looks ready to fly!



Finishing Touches


As a display base, I cobbled together a Helipad from Plastruct odds and ends to represent the 5 meter square decks built atop turrets on the Corvettes and Destroyers that operated these fascinating machines. I could find very little precise detail, so this is a “best guess” based on a few fuzzy photos. The structure is painted a well weathered light grey, with the wood decking painted Model Master wood tan with washes of Burnt Umber and Black oils to bring out the scribed detail, and pastels used to “rust” the frame.



In conclusion, Huma has created a beautiful kit of a very obscure but significant WWII aircraft. With a little extra care and a lot of patience with the tiny parts a unique bit of history can occupy a space on your shelf, too.


  • German Helicopters 1928-1945 by Heinz J. Nowarra (Schiffer 1990)

Added Detail

  • Eduard Photo Etched Seatbelts Luftwaffe W.W.II #48 290



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Text and Model Copyright © 2001 by Dave Orloff
Images Copyright © 2001 by Milton Bell
Page Created 10 December, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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