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Dornier Do.335B-6 Nightfighter (01E021) 1:32


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Dornier Do.335B-6 Nightfighter (01E021)

1:32 HK Models




The Dornier Pfeil (Arrow) lived up to its name, as it was one of the fastest prop-driven aircraft of WWII, however it came too late to the fray to see service in significant numbers, or make a difference to the outcome. Dornier had used the idea of the pusher-pull props on his earlier flying boats, and when asked to design a fast bomber, he experimented with a scale Do.17 fuselage without engine nacelles, but with a prop at the front and rear, which reduced parasitic drag of the nacelles, increased roll rate and removed the dreaded asymmetric thrust experienced when a traditional two-engined aircraft suffered engine failure. After the successful trial he began working on a bomber, but following cancellation of that project by Goering, it morphed into a heavy multi-role fighter. Capable of bearing the newest engines that promised increased power above the 2,000hp level, the lead engine was cowled in a similar fashion to the Ta.152, while the rear engine was buried in a deep fuselage bay, driving the prop by a hollow tubular shaft to reduce weight.


The aircraft is a big one due to the additional engine, but it also sits high off the ground on long tricycle gear legs to allow sufficient clearance for the large prop at the rear, which is protected by an additional downward facing fin and rudder, giving the tail a cruciform appearance. Sadly for those testing the Pfeil, this long undercarriage was a source of problems, as it was too weak and prone to failure. Powered by two DB603 engines (the variants differed between airframes), it was capable of around 470mph with boost enabled, and had a good rate of climb. There are stories of it outrunning Allied fighters on the few occasions when they were encountered, including the Hawker Tempest, which was no slouch.


Recognising the capability of the 335, the Heinkel He.219 was ordered to be cancelled to concentrate effort on building this promising fighter, but as Mr Heinkel politely ignored these instructions, only a few Pfiels had been built by the time their factory was overrun. The A series were designated for reconnaissance or fighters, both day and night, while the B series were the Zerstörer (destroyer) variant, with two MK103 cannons in the wing leading edges, and two additional fuel tanks to extend its range.  Other B variants included the 2-seat night fighter with the radar operator buried in the fuselage behind the pilot, with just an astrodome to look out of, and antennae bristling from the leading edges of the wing. There were plans to uprate the engine, extend the wings, and even place jet engines at the rear, or in pods at the side of the fuselage. There was even a mock-up done of a Zwilling (twin) that would be used for ultra-long range reconnaissance, but due to capitulation by the Nazis, none of these esoteric variants ever saw the light of day.


Despite numerous examples being taken as war prizes by the Allies, only one Arrow still exists, which was one of the early A series that were spirited away by the Americans at the end of the war as part of Operation Paperclip. The other airframe they had disappeared somewhere along the line, but 240102 survived and was later restored in Germany, then returned to America where it still resides, next to the only surviving Arado Ar.234.



The Kit

I can't believe it has been four years now since the release of the initial Zerstorer boxing of this kit, which you can see here if you wanted to have a squint.  A lot has gone on in the meantime that has delayed all of HK's projects, most notably their 1:32 Lancaster, but a lot of people will be very glad to see them back producing new kits, and wish them well with these projects, myself included.  I'm normally a 1:48 kind of guy, but I make an exception for interesting subjects and this is just one of those that appeals and will look awesome on the shelves when completed.  It is a fairly minor re-tool of the original that includes new leading edge inserts that don't have the cannon cowlings moulded in, a new spine to the fuselage to accommodate the 2nd crew member along with a bunch of extras on the same sprue, plus another small sprue of clear parts for the rear seater, and PE belts to keep him in touch with his seat during manoeuvres.  The final parts are a set of short wingtips, decals and of course a new sheet of decals for the occasion.  The box is long and narrow, and has an atmospheric painting of the subject flying toward us at an angle.  Inside are fourteen sprues in mid grey styrene, two clear sprues, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two chunks of white metal nose weight, a large sheet of decals and a rather large instruction booklet that is about the size of a tabloid newspaper (probably a little smaller).






Detail is lovely, and has been crammed in everywhere possible, offering various thickness of panel lines, overlapping panels and using sliding moulds to achieve more detail where sensible.  The instruction booklet is nicely laid out too, with clean isometric-style drawings showing how to put your Arrow together, with interior detail included on both engines, which have the opportunity of being displayed open due to some separate panels.


























Construction begins with the spindly-looking early ejector seat that was fitted to the Pfeil (a first in aviation), which has a high part count and some nice PE belts.  This is fitted to the rear bulkhead of the cockpit, which then plugs into the front section after you have added rudder pedals, control column and such.  The nose gear bay is fabricated from various panels and bulkheads, as is the bomb bay, which in this case houses an extra fuel tank that has been relocated from the spine due to the second crewman.  His cockpit is slightly less well-appointed with what appears to be a standard seat with the same belts as the pilot.  No doubt he'd be left to make his own way out in the event of an emergency, and would have to hope that the explosive bolts in the tail had done the trick and separated the pilot-dicing prop and cruciform tail fins before he gets out.  This and the shortened original fuel tank then fit to the roof of the bomb bay, while the pilot's cockpit glues to the roof of the nose gear bay.  Because the model has substantial internal structure, you're going to need to build up the two DB603A engines that push/pull the Pfeil before you even begin to think about closing up the fuselage.  It also has a Mustang-like intake under the fuselage that cools the rear engine, so that will need fabricating too.




The engines are identical in terms of function, but they aren't interchangeable due to their mounting within the airframe.  The forward engine has a fairly standard mount much like you'd see in a fighter, while the aft engine has cranked arm and trestle holding it steady.  The blocks are the same, but to fit the mounts, you need to drill out different holes for each engine before you join the two halves together.  The aft engine sits on the roof of the bomb bay behind the radar operator, and it is connected to the bulkhead by a couple of hoses, but if you're going to detail them, there are bound to be some additional wires you can add.  The forward engine is mounted on the bulkhead of the gun bay, which hides one of the nose weights, the other being hidden inside the forward engine – you did remember to put that in, didn't you?  Now is the time to put the assembled interior into the port fuselage half, at which point you may realise that you probably didn't paint enough of the fuselage interior – one of my favourite tricks!  The aforementioned ducting slots in behind the main assembly, and this is pierced by drive shaft for the rear prop, with the intake lip added later in the build.  A small PE part is lodged deep inside to portray the grille and it's all painted aluminium according to the call-out codes that are scattered throughout the instructions.  Now you can close up the fuselage, and soon after the new spine part can be fitted after you have drilled a few version specific holes and fitted the black boxes into the front of the rear cabin.  At this stage the top cowling on the nose and front inner cowling can be added too, which then allows you to put the windscreen and instrument panel in place, as well as the gun barrels for the two cowling mounted 20mm cannons and coaxially mounted Mk103 30mm cannon, all of which have slide-moulded hollow tips, although I'd probably be tempted by some lovely Master barrels that will doubtless be available for this variant soon (you can already get AM-32-108 for the Zerstörer, but will have some bits left over).


The fuselage has the vertical fins moulded in with separate rudders, and these are fitted along with the elevators, all of which use the same interesting construction method.  The main part of these surfaces are slide-moulded as a single hollow part to which you add either a convex leading edge for the flying surfaces, or a concave insert along the trailing edges, so that they can be posed realistically.  The elevators also have separate tips to ease moulding of the parts.  The radiator flaps that nestle around the empennage can be posed open or closed by adding a small actuator strut, or cutting off the mounting lugs respectively.  The tail is finished off with the prop, which is a single part trapped between the fore and aft section of the spinner.






Pfeil wings are large, but also thick at the root, as evidenced by the depth of the wheel bays moulded into the upper surface.  A short spar was added to the underside of the fuselage interior earlier, and this will enable a good strong mount for the wings later on.  First each bay is fitted out with additional detail parts, plus the sockets for the spar that will come in handy later.  The lower wing is glued into large pegs in the upper, and both sections have additional strengthening bracing framework moulded into the outer section to prevent the wings from flexing once built.  The newly tooled leading-edge insert is installed, and the same technique is used for the flying surfaces, with the addition of a hinge-tab within the flap sections, and separate new short wingtips.  Repeat in the mirror for the other wing, and then you'll need to resist the urge to put the wings on whilst you decide whether to follow the instructions and fit the landing gear at this stage.  Whether or not you do, the build process is the same, as they can be fitted now or later, although if you're posing your Arrow in flight, you can glue the bay doors in place by just cutting off the hinges on the inner doors.  Curiously, the instructions for building the gear is portrayed right-to-left in the instructions, beginning with a small actuator, which is then added to the main leg along with scissor-links and a large ladder-shaped retractor.  The two outer doors are captive to the gear leg, and the inner is connected to another H-frame and attached to the bay.  The wheels are in four parts, and have a weighted look but no surface details, leaving the door open for Eduard.  The hubs are separate, and there is one for each side, repeated again for the other leg.  The nose gear is built later in the instructions, but uses essentially the same steps and can be left off until later if you require.




Moving back to the fuselage, you can choose to have your Pfeil closed up, or have it all hanging out with canopies and cowlings propped open as if it is being inspected by the guys with the oily rags.  The same parts are used for both scenarios, and props are provided all round so that you get them all at the correct angle.  The canopy has two separate blister panels on its sides, and opens sideways for exit, leaving the windscreen in place.  The observation dome isn't shown open for some reason, so if you wanted that open too, you'll need to research how it hinges.  There is also a flush-fitting canopy that can be used instead, and this too isn't shown open.  The front cowlings open up like an Fw.190 in gull-wing fashion, as do the smaller doors on the gun pack.  The exhausts are each separate parts with hollow tips, and you need to put them in the correct order for accuracy front and rear.  The rear engine is exposed by a large angular D-shaped door on each side, with the slot for the exhaust stubs a separate part that fits into the aperture, and on the starboard side has an intake for the supercharger, while the engine in the nose has its intake on the port side.  The bomb bay doors can be left open to expose the fuel cell, and has similar slab-like doors to the nose bay, with one each side.  The inner doors on the main gear wells also fit to the slot in the fuselage, and on the port side is a fold-away crew access ladder in a small bay of its own, all of which is provided in the kit.  These can all be posed closed by removing the hinge tabs.


The nose cowling has been made as a three-part assembly, which allows the modeller to change out the cooling flaps part to pose them open or closed, and both have the impression of the annular radiator baths that can be seen through the rear.  This subassembly then slides over the cowling fitted to the engine earlier, and the prop is pushed into place after it has been outfitted with a two-part spinner, which is noticeably more rounded than the aft spinner.  Two of the decal options are theoretical in-service schemes, so HK have included a pair of drop-tanks, flame-dampers for each of the exhausts, and the four radar antennae that fit to the leading edges of the wings.  The antennae are each made from an L-shaped base, with two dipoles each.  Those with the longest bases are fitted above and below the starboard wing, while the shorter ones are both fitted to the top of the port wing, spaced apart.  The drop tanks are split horizontally, and have sway-braces and a short pylon between them and the wings, attaching by two pins outboard of the landing gear.  The flame dampers are each made up from four parts, and one is fitted to each exhaust port on the cowling, with the three-pointed star facing forward.  At this stage HK have you bringing the wings together with the fuselage for the first time, but we all know you'll have done this ages ago!


A couple of extra pages are devoted to the optional open/closed pose of each section of the airframe which initially confused me a little, but then that's easy to do.




There are three markings options from the box, two of which are marked as "what-if", the last one being a real-world captured example that was in France's possession at the time.  If you don't like squiggle or mottle, you'd best either make up your own equally valid camo, or do the French one, which was all-over khaki.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • Do.335B-6 W.Nr. 240312, 1./NjGr.10, Germany, Summer 1945 – RLM76 Light Blue with RLM75 Grey Violet mottle.
  • Do.335B-6 W.Nr. 240371, 2.NJG 11, Eastern Front, Autumn 1945 – RLM81 Brown Violet and RLM82 Light Green splinter over RLM65 Light Blue with RLM76 Light Blue squigle on the top surfaces.
  • Do.335 M17, W.Nr. 230017, CEV, Brétigny-Sur-Orge, France, 1947 – all-over Khaki.




Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  There are a number of stencils provided, plus an instrument decal for the pilot's cockpit, which can either be used intact, or you can punch out the dials and use them individually.  You could also use them as a base for applying the more detailed decals that are produced by our friends at Airscale, who do a Luftwaffe instrument panel sheet in 1:32.



It has taken a while, but the wait has been worth it, and we're one step closer to the Anteater 2-seat trainer, which is my personal favourite variant.  It's a big aircraft, and in this scale it makes an impressive model when completed, with superb detail throughout and a simple build process that shouldn't faze anyone that has built a few models already.


Extremely highly recommended.


Review samples courtesy of


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