Monday, September 29

HK Models Do335 Pfeil in 1/32nd scale review: Pt I

HK Models next release is the much anticipated Do335 Pfeil. So, when Nicolas and François got the possibility to obtain an early just before release version, they were jumping up and down. Just one catch: it had to be built in only 10 days!  First before they started we thought you should see the kit in detail before they built it.
Review Build
HK Models
Dornier Do335 B-2
Model by Nicolas Deboeck & François Laloux
Kit Number: 01E07
1:32nd scale
7 sprues with 283 parts including nose weights & Photo-etched parts.
Wingspan: about 431mm
Length: about 443mm
Decals by Cartograf for three versions of the two aircraft made.
Ok so without further a’do let’s get into it…We already know from looking at the box art (and simple economics) that the Do 335 will be released by HK as four different variants.
The Do335 A-0-1 Fighter bomber
The Do335 A-12 Two seat Trainer
The Do335 B-6 Night fighter
And this version –the heavily armed Do335 B-2 “Zerstorer” - A little history on this version of the Do335 B-2 before we start.

The Dornier Do 335 was one of the Luftwaffe’s last hopes of the war. Not a Jet like the Me-262 or He-162 the Dornier designers went for a twin propeller set up that was laid out in the unconventional way of one engine at the front and the other in the rear of the fuselage.

The pictures here show the only Do335 B-2 photos we could find - a few of these shots are of the version in captured French markings.
The Luftwaffe long favoured the small twin engine heavy fighter “Zerstorer” concept throughout the war. Twin engine fighters often suffered from more drag than their single engine counterparts and the necessity to have both of the engines in operation unless the power plant was strong enough to operate on one engine. This in itself led to problems with torque and the balance of the aircraft. A twin engines aircraft on one engine usually didn’t last for long!
The Do335 had the advantage of having both engines in the one fuselage and mounted centrally. Apart from the technical achievement of getting this done the advantages in drag reduction, engine balance and torque concerns and the fact that you could still run the aircraft on one engine - and land it with the front engine off and prop feathered – made this a very viable proposition.
Many variants were planned and none saw real combat experience. The aircraft was the fastest piston engine-driven aircraft in the world at the time of its first flight in 1943. By the end of the war, only 28 units of the pre-series (A-0) and 11 of the first production aircraft (A-1) were completed. 50 more machines were already in an advanced stage of construction.
The B-2 “Zerstorer” (Destroyer) vision of the Do335 featured a main difference from the A-1 fighter with heavy wing mounted MK 103 automatic cannon. There were only two prototypes of these heavy fighters made M13 (W-Nr. 230013) and M14 (W-Nr. 230014). These two airframes featured a revised nose undercarriage arrangement - the larger wheel being tilted at 45 degrees when fully retracted, a V-shaped armoured windscreen and DB603E engines. It's weapons bay was replaced by an additional fuel tank, and the two 15 mm MG151 cannon in the nose replaced by 20 mm MG151s.
The kit:
The attractive long box arrived with the very final version before the production model. So a final prototype of a prototype you might say. This one is all but the same as the kit you will get when you buy it with decals and only lacking instructions which were emailed out to us. This kit was filled with bubble wrap but yours will be packed with single sprue to a sealed bag configuration.
There were seven large sprues in the box – filled with light grey sprues, a set of decals and two weights to make sure your arrow isn’t a tail sitter. These weights are shaped to fit into the engine which is smart!
The Photo etch covers the basic harness and lap belts of the aircraft. IT is nice to have the option but knowing a lot of modellers this easy to install but basic set might be replaced by their own choice.
The thing that I noticed when pulling the sprue out of the box was the excellent surface detail on the outer skin of the aircraft. Small, medium and larger rivets are there to help you create a very nice surface on your finished kite.
The under and upper side of the wings really does show off the variety of rivet sizes on display. These are tiny the option is there for an easy thick undercoat and sanding to eliminate these rivets if you wanted to.

Panel line are recessed throughout and although there are some raised ridges on overlapping metal none of these are too thick. There were some ejection holes (not too deep) that needed filling in some of the internal access panels. We will show you them in the build. The rest of the plastic is in great shape with the usual seams on landing gear while there are weld seams on the gear legs. So it’s a feast and a famine with just a scrape of the blade you can clean this up. 
The Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine is a great feature of this kit. It builds up easily and look nearly as good as any we have seen on an injection moulded kit. I would say with only a few wires added this could be a great representation of the real thing. The front engine and rear are of course fully displayable option.
The other thing you notice right away is the nice work on the internal bulkheads that separate the engines from the rest of the aircraft. These could be detailed up a little nicer for those a little “anal” like most of us or left as is for a quick but still rewarding build.
The cockpit tub is another area that under careful treatment will be a simple thing to build up very nicely. Raised details on the side consoles are very nice looking and again when you look at pictures of the real thing a good match.

The instrument panel on the kit is a good facsimile of the real thing. It is the “sandwich” type of panel that gives you the front instrument bezels with the decals already in place that sit in behind it.  To the right are the MK 103 barrels for the two wing mounted Mk 103 cannons – these will either need to be painted creatively, drilled out or metal barrels used instead.
The front pods for the cannons are enclosed
The cannons are held inside the wings and unless you are showing them out of the aircraft they aren’t really needed here.
The gear doors are finely riveted on the outside and a linkage line is on the inside of the gear door
Air scoops for the engine are hollow so no excavation work with a drill and dremel is needed
The large internal fuel tanks are impressive in plastic but a little silver paint and these will look even better in the bomb bay.
The longer wingtips for the "B-4" version are included here as well – so you have a choice of making something a little different already.
Lastly plastic wise there is one sheet of clear plastic canopy included which is quite thin and transparent. The bubbles on the side of the canopy much talked about are included you will be happy to know!

These bulges housed rear view mirrors which are included as well
There were of course only two of the B-2 variants made - the decal marking choices are:
M13 (W-Nr. 230013 - ID RP + UP) - Optional Destroyer wing surface to 41m ²
M14 (W-Nr. 230014 - ID RP + UQ) - This airframe was captured by the French and repainted to a khaki colour after being moved to an airstrip near Paris for flight testing with an Me-262.

There is a mightily impressive site here that describes what happened to the French captured Do335 and how the paint changed from grey to green on this aircraft  - so that could be another scheme you could think about..
These two models can be made up in the captors colours which all three of these decal choices are provided for you. The decals are printed by Cartograf and the colours are strong while the decals are thin.
The small detail is shown here on the picture of the instrument panel with a massive 1 pence coin.
Ok we could talk about this kit all day – but its better to build it up for you to show you what it is really like. We will have the full build for you in tomorrow's news.
Full build of HK Models Do335 Pfeil in 32nd scale Pt. II: “Pfeil Vs Murphy”

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to HK Models for sending the kit to us to build.