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Mike

Heinkel He 111P-1

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Heinkel He 111P-1



1:32 Revell of Germany

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The He 111 was a pre-war development that masqueraded as a civilian transport for a while until it was unveiled as a fast medium bomber, once Hitler no longer cared what the Allies thought.

It served in an earlier incarnation in the Spanish Civil war with the Condor Legion, in the form of the more traditional D and E models with a stepped cockpit and a glazed nose. This was later replaced with a streamlined all glazed nose with the P model and beyond. It is in this guise that it is probably the most recognised German bomber of WWII due to its service in WWII, and most notably the Battle of Britain, where it suffered extensive losses due to the RLM's complacency regarding its defensive armament. Over 700 airframes were lost during that short period, due in no small part to that lack of foresight.

Although production of new He 111s was halted in 1944 when Germany went on the defensive, it continued to serve until the end of WWII, with the Zwilling (twin) being the most unusual - simply two He 111s joined by a custom designed central wing that held 3 engines. The outer wing stayed the same for ease of design, and it was initially developed to tow the Messerschmitt Gigant glider without incurring significant development delays and costs of a totally new airframe.

After WWII the original design was continued in Spain as the CASA 2.111, but the Junkers engines initially used were replaced with Rolls Royce Merlins, and it is these post-war aircraft that served as He 111s for the film Battle of Britain in the 1960s.

This has been one of those kits that has caused a lot of stir around the internet forums, and in the modelling press, in part because of the delays in it reaching our outstretched hands. Initially slated for a 2010 release the date slipped back a number of times until in July 2011 (also known as "now" at time of writing) when these large boxes started shipping.

The box is the standard "large kit" box from Revell, and is a top opener. Inside is a lot of plastic - 19 sprues of Revell's light green-grey styrene, three more of clear parts, a large decal sheet and a typical Revell instruction booklet printed on recycled stock that has a pre-aged yellow tint.

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wings.jpg

sprue1.jpg

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Construction seems relatively short, taking up only 8 pages of A4, but in usual Revell style, there is a lot crammed into those 8 pages, which my eye finds a little cluttered and overwhelming... but that's probably just me. The build starts with the cockpit, which has plenty of detail within, although I found some of the instrument boxes to be a little retro in their look, harking back to earlier times where moulding wasn't as crisp as today's CAD moulded kits can be. The basics are there however, and with careful painting and some additional wiring and/or scratch building will make the cockpit area shine.

Interior detail extends back from the cockpit with a floor and internal ribbing that goes back past the wing root to around two-thirds of the way down the fuselage. The ribwork is quite simplistic here, and there are a number of ejector pin marks to fill, some of which are on the large side. The side windows insert from within, so leaving them off until after painting won't be an option, sadly. They do have narrow contact patches though, so won't render the interior a mess as a result. Angled benches and spare ammo canisters for the ventral and dorsal machine guns are provided, as well as sundry equipment and radio boxes, all of which help to busy the large fuselage area.

The retractable tail wheel must be added to the rear of one fuselage half before closing it up, which could be tricky to avoid knocking off if you're a clumsy modeller like me. The small windows on the ventral gun position must also be installed before closing up the fuselage, although because of the construction of the central wing section, the bomb bay racks are added afterwards. The central walkway however is placed in through a large rectangular hole in the top of the fuselage, which is later covered by an insert that accommodates the dorsal gun position, pointing at further variants from the same basic mould.

Construction then switches to the twin engine cowlings, which have no engine detail within, just exhaust stubs that build up from two halves, leading to hollow lips. These are then installed through the side cowlings, meaning you're either in for a heavy masking session if you paint them before installation, or a slightly less onerous session if you paint them last. Radiator grilles are installed within the nacelle chin scoops, and a nicely perforated front face to the cowling is supplied, which makes this modeller wonder whether engines may have been on the cards at some point in the past.

The wheel bays build up from slabs, which have basic rib and equipment detail engraved, but the more adventurous modeller will doubtless want to improve on this, as it seems a little sparse at this scale. The bays mount into the lower inner wing half, and are sandwiched by the upper half, which has exits for the eight bomb racks built into its surface. The nacelles butt-join onto some detailed bulkhead frames, which are never to be seen again, and a few small outer panels close up the engine area completely with the addition of the chin scoops.

Two large bomb bay racks are then built up from flat parts with lightening holes already pierced through, and 8 250kg iron bombs with separate attachment lugs, tails and bracing struts hang tail-first in each "cubicle". These then attach to the underside of the inner wing assembly, which is offered up to the underside of the fuselage. Here it seems that test-fitting throughout the build will pay dividends, to ensure that you don't get the parts mis-aligned.

The outer wing panels are simply constructed, built up from two halves each, to which the flying surfaces are attached and positioned at your whim. Once attached to the inner wings, the large flaps are installed, and horn balances added to the outer flying surfaces. Both the ailerons and the flaps are built up from two parts each, which is especially good news for the flaps, as they are quite thick and would have suffered badly from sink marks otherwise.

There is no tail moulded into the fuselage, so the modeller must build and align all three surfaces, taking care to get the right angles, which aren't given anywhere in the instructions. All three movable surfaces are separate and can be posed to the modeller's choice, with actuation tabs and balance horns supplied where appropriate.

Construction of the landing gear is shown by use of a cut-away diagram of the wheel bay boxes, and involves a large number of parts. The main struts appear sturdy, although their attachment points look a little small, and subject to quite a shear force, calling into question the use of Super Glue (CA) here, as that is its weak point. A good joint will be needed, so ensure that you scrape away any paint under the join, and flood it with liquid glue, allowing it to set overnight before it takes any weight. Bay doors are supplied with retraction jacks, and the same parts are used whether you pose them open or closed on an in-flight model.

Once the four doors on the bomb bay are installed opened or closed, the focus returns to the crew positions, installing the ventral gondola and the dorsal machine gun ring. Detail on the two MG15s is poor, and they appear as caricatures of the real thing. Obtaining some better replicas would be advisable here.

The cockpit glazing is necessarily complex but very clear, and has a number of instrument panels attached, so using PVA glue or GS-Hypo cement would be wise, and careful painting of the panels will pay dividends when the model is complete. It might be wise to mask the individual canopy parts before assembly, as there are quite a few, and pressure during application might stress the joints of the parts. It won't be long before someone comes along with a masking set though, if that sort of work frightens you.

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The final steps involve adding the props, which are moulded as individual blades that plug into a central boss, and are then held in place with a plug inside the spinner cap. A side mounted aerial, some towel-rail aerials and the ventral aerial complete the build, and the modeller will have to use their own thread or wire to string a line between the ventral aerial and the rudder.

Decals are Revell's usual "printed in Italy" fare, which suggests Cartograf, and they are very crisp. Register and colour density is good, and plenty of stencils are included to add extra depth to the finish. From the box you can build one of three machines:

  • 5./KG 54 Totenkopf Geschwader, Coulommiers, France 1940
  • III./KG 27 Geschwader Boelcke, Delmenhorst, Germany 1940
  • II./KG 5 General Wever, preserved at the Norwegian Aviation Museum, Gardmoen, Norway

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All are painted RLM70 (Schwarzgrun) and RLM71 (Dunkelgrun) over RLM65 (Hellblau), which was typical for the period of operation.

Conclusion

The 1:32 builders can be happy that they have an injection moulded He 111 in their scale, and I think I will be tempted to "break scale" on this occasion, and join them. It is an excellent model for all but the novice (due to the size, mainly), and with extra work should look stunning. It is also the type of model that I expect the aftermarket companies will relish, and I would not be at all surprised to hear of a resin Zwilling conversion before very long, although where one would put it, I have no idea!

Detail is acceptable throughout, and a good basis for super-detailers to go to work, although there is little ground breaking in terms of what is provided. The 70cm wingspan is impressive in itself, and if you are planning on adding any weight to your build, you may want to consider some white metal landing gear struts.

Now we settle down and wait to see the builds commencing, and postulate as to which version will be next from these moulds, and when we can expect it.

Recommended

Review sample courtesy of

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Looks pretty darn cool to me, and have promptly ordered one, even though the Luftwaffe isn't really my scene.

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Oh, bums. I think I may have spotted a wee problem. :raincloud:

On the picture of the decals there are two white painted caricatures for the tail of one of the aircraft. As it so happened I was reading a book yesterday on KG55 by Hall and Quinlan and I saw photo's and a colour plate of G1+HP of 6./KG55 Wn. 1992 usually flown by Gerhard Pulver many times over England with these very same markings. However, none of the kit options are KG55. Now I don't have mine's yet (damn postie) so that I can check which one they suggest putting these markings with.

I may be wrong, but it's unlikely that two 111's had the exact same cartoon's on their tail.

If you bare with me I'll scan the pictures to let you see.

Steve

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They have those shown as III./KG 27 Geschwader Boelcke, Delmenhorst, Germany 1940 - coded 1G+ES.

Would be interested in any more info on this a/c as it's the one I fancy doing...

Oh - and no swastikas - fortunately I have an old MHW Decals sheet with some of a suitable size.

Iain

Edited by Iain (32SIG)

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Here are the pictures as promised.

I'm with you Iain, when I saw the pictures in the book I thought 'Oh if only'. However, I think I will stick to doing a blacked out blitz bomber.

KG55.jpg

Sorry if I've pee'd on anyones chips.

Steve

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The plot thickens...

Found an image of the tail of Wk Nmr 1992 showing those fin markings (http://www.btinternet.com/~air_research/kg55.html)

And the Revell sheet has the same 1992 number for that a/c (although mis numbered - '1' on sheet - '40' on placement instructions).

EDIT: So - same a/c flew with two units but kept fin markings by any chance? Definately same Wk Nmr and tail art...

Iain

Edited by Iain (32SIG)

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EDIT: So - same a/c flew with two units but kept fin markings by any chance? Definately same Wk Nmr and tail art...

Iain

Very possible. They may have passed it on after getting new aircraft. Although if the markings were personal to Pulver would KG27 have left them on? Mmm... a possible can of worms.

Steve

Edited by jacksdad64

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Nice one! Are you going to scratchbuild a 1:32 Me 321 to go with your Zwilling conversion Mike?! :lol:

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good work on the review Mike !

Dierich's German-language history of KG 55 shows Pulver as BS - ie he wasn't a pilot, he was a gunner. Met his end with his crew shot down by the RAF south of Horsham on 16/08/40. KG 27 is a red-herring

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KG 27 is a red-herring

Not necessarily. Iain could be right. The G1+HP that Pulver was shot down in was not W.Nr 1992.

6./KG55 were based at Villacoublay from 23rd June 1940 to 1st August 1940 then transferred to Chartres until 18 June 1941. It is entirely possible that 1992 was 'handed down' from a front line unit to KG27 who were based in Germany. I also think that given the subject Revell would have done their homework on the markings.

Steve

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Indeedy - Googling has driven me to conclusion there were indeed two airframes marked as G1+HP...

Iain

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Indeedy - Googling has driven me to conclusion there were indeed two airframes marked as G1+HP...

Iain

The book on KG55 mentions several machines bearing the code G1+HP.

Steve

P.s. I love threads like this.

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