Thank you for your research, Jock123
You are welcome - Iâ€™ve always liked what I have seen of these images, but probably not paid enough attention to how and why they were produced; funnily enough, only last week I was making a brief note to do something about that, and lo and behold, this week I have a reason to!
One of the little details I like about how things come together in the world of HergÃ© which I did
know, was a connection between the aviation chromos and The Calculus Affair
. I donâ€™t think anyone has mentioned this before, so itâ€™s a fragment of original research, and possibly worth mentioning.
In Calculus Affair
, Tintin famously holds a copy of a real book, Colonel Leslie E. Simonâ€™s German Research in World War II
, which shows a German rocket in the red and white colours now connected with Calculusâ€™s moon rocket. It also shows the outline of a small â€™plane, which in the real world had a swastika on it, but which HergÃ© removed in his version. So far, so good.
In the Companion
is said to be a prototype Messerschmitt, but this is a mis-identification: it is in fact a Bachem Ba 349 â€œNatterâ€ (â€œThe Adderâ€), a somewhat unlikely prototype rocket plane, built partly of cardboard, and which unfortunately killed its three test pilots before the end of the war brought trials to a halt.
Although the cover appears to show it with under-carriage, it had no wheels, and is in fact pictured on its transport bogey, from which it was removed before flight. It was then set in an upright position (like a moon rocket) on a sort of launch ramp or rail, and fired into the air nose first, pointed in the general direction you wanted it to fly (as it wasnâ€™t very easy to steer); it was then supposed to land on skids on its belly (it was the landings which killed the test pilots, so no wheels was not a good idea!), or, perhaps even more scarily, come apart, releasing a payload, then letting the pilot and parts of the â€™planeâ€™s body parachute to the ground, to be re-used in future flights (this never worked!).
More interesting perhaps, and directly relating to Tintin, is that this particular model of â€™plane, in spite of never seeing active service, was drawn by Studios HergÃ© as one of the â€œchromosâ€ in their History of Aviation, 1939-45
, where it looks to be flying better than it ever did in real life!