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Mike

Heinkel He 111H-16 (48263) 1:48

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Heinkel He 111H-16 (48263)

1:48 ICM via Hannants

 

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The He.111 was originated in secrecy, disguised as a civilian transport in the mid-30s, but once Nazi Germany came out of the closet and disregarded the Versailles agreement, it immediately became clear that they were rearming in a major way.  The early civilian and military variants had a more traditional stepped canopy, and there is a famous piece of film that is used and reused in documentaries showing a D or "Dora" variant dropping bombs during the Spanish Civil War as part of the Condor Legion, which was Hitler's proving ground for his new designs and Blitzkreig tactics.  Various revisions followed until the P, which introduced the now-iconic stepless fully glazed cockpit, which improved both aerodynamics and the pilot's situational awareness.

 

The P series saw limited action in WWII as it was replaced by the more competent H variant, substituting Junkers Jumo 211 engines, detuned to give it the throbbing beat that was to be heard over Britain almost until the end of the war.  The H-16 was a product of the experience of the Battle of Britain, and from the H-11 onward, improved armament and armoured glass for the gunners was introduced along with additional armour around the crewed areas, some of which could be jettisoned in an emergency.  Additional improvements were made to the -16 in communications and radar equipment, with the capability added to carry an external load over the bomb bay by the installation of a rack.  The H series continued until the H-23, although there were also a number of side-projects such as the Z, Zwilling with two airframes joined by a central aerofoil and sporting five engines, designed to tow the Me.321 Gigant glider.

 

 

The Kit

This is a revision of the recent new tooling by ICM, who have raised their game substantially over the recent years.  The kit arrives in their lidded top-opened with a glossy card lid and painting of a care-worn example on the front, with ten sprues in medium, grey styrene, two in crystal clear styrene, an instruction booklet in line-drawn colour, and a long decal sheet that can be found ensconced within the booklet.  On opening the bags, it is very apparent that this is a modern tooling, with lots of lovely details, crisp moulding, and some very clever engineering on display.  The cockpit and partial interior will require some thought for painting, but if you get the order right, you should minimise the swearing when you have to reload the airbrush for the Nth time.

 

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The new parts include a new insert for the dorsal gun station, the choice of two under-belly trays, guns, props, wheels and bombs, which are spread over three sprues, two of which are identical.  The clear parts are augmented by a new sprue that contains armoured and adapted parts to accommodate the double-Zwilling mounts that were used in the gondola and flank gun positions in this variant.

 

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Construction starts with the two wing spar parts, which are separated by the gear bay roof assemblies and a walkway part.  Additional detail is added to the bulkheads along with the fuselage walkways and a smaller bulkhead toward the tail, with the lower portion of the mid-upper "turret" ring attached to the floor.  The cockpit floor is then assembled with rudder pedals, instrument panels, seat and control linkages, slotting into the front spar once finished.  An additional chair and the overhead instrument panel are installed later in the build.  As a prelude to closing up the fuselage, the tail wheel is fitted together, which has the wheel moulded-in, and consists of three parts.  Preparation of the fuselage halves involves adding the inserts into the wing roots and making good the join; inserting the paired side windows which now have alternative parts and twin machine guns; adding ammo can racks; radio panel; the pilot's control column, and more glazing in the ventral gondola.  The spar/cockpit assembly is then fitted to the starboard fuselage half and the port side is added along with some glue.  The rudder is separate and fits to the fin with actuators, then the missing fuselage panels between the spars are added, which of course will need painting and fettling in if you're bothered about the endoscope-equipped viewers.

 

The mid-upper insert is designed to cater for the revised gun installation, and has a lovely serrated ring moulded-in, with controls and bracing strut added before it is installed into the fuselage opening, closing off much of the rear fuselage.  The bomb bay is left on the sprues in this boxing, with the opening covered either by a large raised area with five sets of bomb shackle slots, or two raised sections that can carry two larger bombs.  The bombs themselves are built up from two halves that have two fins moulded-in, and a single part that fits on the tail forming the other two fins in a cruciform layout.  To these are added stiffening brackets, with either five smaller bombs or two larger ones to fill the station layout that you have chosen. 

 

At this point the wings are begun, with the lower sides added to the fuselage/spar assembly first.  The ailerons are separate, and are built up before the uppers are added, as are the elevators, and the two engines, which are provided in their entirety, along with much of the ancillary equipment and engine mounts.  The completed Jumo 211F-2s are fitted to the front of the spars and depending on whether you want to display them or not, and then enclosed by cowling panels, radiators and the intake/outlet ramps.  The bottom cowlings can be split to reveal the engine detail, which is a good way of showing off the detail without ruining the lines of the aircraft.  The upper wings and ailerons are fitted, the remaining cowling panels with the flame damping exhausts are added, which could do with drilling out to simulate being hollow, and finally the nose glazing, which has a machinegun and the aforementioned overhead instrument panel moulded in clear styrene, has a decal for the instruments.  The nose "cone" is a separate clear part, and it too is fitted with a machine gun with a single drum mag and dump bag for the spent brass.  Another two MGs are fitted to the new rear glazing part on the gondola, and the mid-upper gun is added to the new rear-facing armoured glass, along with the protective clear shroud at the front.

 

The main wheels are each built up from two halves, and placed between the twin legs that have the main retraction jacks moulded in, and secured with a number of cross-braces between the two legs.  An additional ram is fitted within the bay, attached to the rear cross-brace.  The gear bay doors fit to the bay sides with large tabs, and the new props are made up from a single part with two part spinner and back plate, which fit onto the engine's output shaft through the vented front of the cowlings.

 

 

Markings

There are four decal options included in the box, two in winter distemper finishes, the other two in RLM70/71 splinter pattern over RLM65 with the unit markings and codes to differentiate between them.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • He.111H-16 5./KG4, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3
  • He.111H-16 2./Schleppgruppe 4, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3
  • He.111H-16 Stab II./KG53, Eastern Front, September 1943
  • He.111H-16 2./KG100, Eastern Front, September 1943

 

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Decals are printed by ICM, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas with a few exceptions around some of the fuselage codes.  These can easily be cut off before they are applied however, so it's not an issue.

 

 

Conclusion

The He.111 is a truly iconic shape, and we're long overdue a new tooling of the type in this scale.  This new variant adds breadth to the range, giving the modeller a number of Eastern Front options that played an important part in the war there.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Available from UK Importers, H G Hannants Ltd.
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Review sample courtesy of

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I have the H-6 and this just blows every single He-111 kit out of the water that was ever produced. 

 

I've got a few too many projects on the go but this is something special. It is also an absolute bargain as you can pick it up for around £35 if you shop around. 

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