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  1. Dornier Do215B-5 ICM 1:48 The Do 215B-5 Kauz III followed the lead of the Do 17Z-10 "Kauz II", with a streamlined solid nose that housed 4 x 7.9mm MG17 machine guns and a single 20mm MG FF cannon (some sources state two cannons). An infra-red sensor was also fitted, part of the Spanner-Anlage system that was intended to pick up the hot exhausts of enemy bombers, with a small Q-Rohr display screen installed in the cockpit. In practice, the device proved to be of very limited value, as it was very unreliable and could not differentiate between friend and foe. The Do 215B-5 entered service with 4./NJG 1 in early 1941, with around 20 aircraft eventually being modified to carried the FuG 202 Lichtenstein B/C radar system. While the clumsy aerial array knocked around 15 mph off the aircraft's top speed, the first "kill" was claimed in August 1941, with additional victories soon following. The Do 215B-5 soldiered on in limited numbers until 1944, with its original armament augmented by an additional pair of cannon mounted side-by-side in a pack under the nose. The model The kit arrives in a very attractive flip top box with an artists impression of the aircraft in its natural nocturnal environment. On opening, all the standard sprues are contained in a single poly bag with only the clear parts separately packed in their own bag. The five sprues of medium grey styrene are very nicely moulded, with no sign of flash and only a few moulding pips. Whilst the details such as the panel lines are very finely done there are quite a few flow marks in the plastic, although these should disappear under a coat of primer. The clear parts though are blemish free and remarkably clear which is a good job as there is quite a bit of detail within the cockpit area, in fact the whole kit is well stocked with detail. Construction begins with the fitting of the lower side console in the port fuselage part, followed by the throttle box, a panel full of levers and the radio panel. The two part instrument panel is then fitted, decals being provided for the instruments, along with a large trim wheel attached to a tripod structure. The pilots seating section is made up of the floor, two rudder pedals, each made up of two parts, the control column with separate yoke and the floor support frame. The assembly is completed with the fitting of the seat and compass housing, before the whole assembly is fitted to the fuselage side. The lower rear longeron structure is then fitted, as is the rear side window. In the starboard fuselage more switch panels, a map case, and auxiliary instrument panels are attached, along with the front and rear lower longeron structures. The three piece co-pilots seat is then assembled and glued into position. There are three bulkheads to be fitted to one of the fuselage sides and the tail wheel before the fuselage can be closed up. The rear gunners seat is then assembled and attached to the two support frames in the fuselage. A fourth bulkhead is slid into position just aft of the rear cockpit bulkhead, whilst the panels underside of the cockpit are also attached, the clear section having an optional cut out panel replaced with one that doesn’t have a machine gun opening, probably a legacy part from the previous bomber version. The large fuselage mounted fuel tank is then assembled and slid between the the front two bulkheads. Moving onto the wings; the two lower sections are fitted with two part radiators and fairings, before being glued to the single piece upper wing, followed by the separate ailerons and landing lamp cover. The wing assembly is then attached to the fuselage and the aircraft begins to really take shape. The kit comes with complete with two complete engines, which whilst not the most detailed, certainly give the modeller a good starting point for some super detailing. Each engine is made up of a five piece block, separate rocker covers, inlet manifold and a three piece turbocharger. The engines are then fitted with the two engine bearers and put to one side whilst the nacelles are constructed. Each nacelle comes in two halves and are fitted out with the engine mounting bulkhead, radiator, radiator inlet and outlet doors, main gear bay rear bulkhead, exhaust stubs, gear retraction jacks and linkages plus the upper and lower cowlings, which can be left loose once the engines have ben attached to their respective bulkheads. Each main landing gear is made up of two part wheels/tyres, the two oleos, complete with crossbraces are provided as a single part and fitted with the mudguard and its associated mounting beam. The completed units are then slid in to the front of the gear bays and connected to the retraction actuators. The completed nacelles are then attached to the wings and fitted with the two part propellers. Meanwhile the bomb racks are fitted into the still open bomb-bay and the rear machine gun for the cockpit is assembled from the gun, ammunition drums and spent cartridge bag. The machine gun is then fitted to the rear of the canopy, whilst on top, the aerial, DF dome and armoured windshield, which has an option of being enclosed, or with an opening for an external “telescopic?” gunsight are attached. The canopy can then be fitted to the airframe along with the underside rear cupola glazing. The solid nose cone is fitted out with the machine gun and cannon barrels, as well as the extreme nose panel. On the underside the bomb-bay doors can be posed open or closed and just aft of the bomb-bay the HF aerial rail is attached. The horizontal and vertical tailplanes are each made up of two halves to which the single piece rudders and elevators are attached along with the elevator control arms. The vertical tailplanes/rudders are then attached to the horizontal tailplanes and each assembly attached to the rear fuselage. To complete the build the aerials for the Fug 202 radar are carefully assembled from four aerial masts to which four dipoles are attached to each and fitted to the nose cone. Although injection moulded the aerials are quite slender, but for those who wish to have some that are more to scale Owl models do an etched set that can be used instead. Decals The medium sized decal sheet, designed by ICM themselves appears to be well printed and in good register, there is minimal carrier film although the decals are quite matt. The national markings, minus any form of swastika, are accompanied by a nice selection of stencils as well as markings for two aircraft:- Dornier Do-215B-5, R4+DC of Stab II/NJG 2, based at Leeuwarden in the spring of 1942 Dornier Do-215B-5, R4+SN, flown by Obit. P. Gildner of Stab II/NJG 2, based at Giltze-Rijen in the Autumn 1941 Conclusion Although I have bought and built a fair few of ICM’s 1/35 scale vehicles, this is my first contact with one of their aircraft, and to be honest I’m happily impressed. The kit is pretty well detailed straight out of the box, but yet gives the super detailers a great base to work their magic on. It will certainly make an interesting addition to anyones collection. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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