In the quest to build out Zoukei-Mura Horten Ho 229 we have already set of with the engines and in keeping with ticking to the instructions – well we kind of did – today we look at the birdcage – the frame and wings of this bat-like creature of the skies.
Zoukei Mura’s Horten Ho 229
Plastic Model Kit (No P/E or resin parts)
19 sprues of grey and clear plastic
Decals for two versions with many numbers.
This kit is now on sale at Volks directly at this link or their distributors worldwide.
We have already looked at the engines of this best and today we thought we would give them something to be housed in. We pretty much kept to the instructions and only varied a little in our build. We thought we would show you both the frames of the engines and the wings to a built up and painted stage in today’s build Pt III.
The preserved NASM Horten's frame is here in a state of bad repair - this one has faded paint- scratches and corrosion all over it and so it's an option. Ours was going to be in service so it will not be as beaten as this one.
Ok bear with us on this bit – as there are so many frames you may get a little snow-blind. – we will let you in on a few tips on where to streamline your build. Now we arent going to show you every single step which is simply gluing one bit another especially on the initial part of the frame build - it isnt rocket science and these initial bits are a cinch. Aided by great instructions which show joints from a few angles and notches in the frame which just slot into each other.
Firstly we found the large base of the fame –
Parts 3-2.A through till 3-2.D are pretty basic and simple in construction. I would say that there is a little clean-up of the sprues tubing here. So keep your scalpel close at hand to give anything you add to the frame free of seam lines. These will show up later and annoy the hell out of you and the nature of how the frames are set up in a complex way means you ill not be able to get to them later without some difficulty.
You will notice that I have not painted mine like in the instructions – do not paint them until the frame is all together – otherwise your parts just will not hold as well as they would under superglue – a plastic weld is always better.
By the time you get to step 3-2.E the bottom half of this frame is built up. It takes longer than you think but because of the excellent instructions it is hard to put a foot wrong.
3-2.F involves you making the left and right wing fastening frames. These teardrop shaped parts are sides – meaning whatever you do don’t mix them up.
These fit onto the sides of the bottom frame in step 3-2.G and as long as you have them right they should be shaped like an airfoil. Like a hump – and not like a spoiler!
****If you want to paint the frame and insert engines later***
From step 3-2.I through till 3-2.O I went right off the beaten track. i spoke to friend of ours Thomas Mayer who has already built the kit and who also is the author of the Concept Note guide on this aircraft. He advised me to place the engines in AFTER the frame was together. In that way I could paint the kit in sections and I agreed wholeheartedly and decided to join the two frames together in the centre connection points with glue after I had put the engines inside – it does take some wiggling about but I was happy to do the kit this way. Make sure your paint on your engines is “hard” so it does not scrape off if you want to do it this way – there will be some rubbing!
Also smaller parts like the battery box and drag chute I left out to paint and add later. Added later also was the actuator for the drag chute which was a silver colour and it travels right through the frame on both sides so it made good sense to also paint this separately. This means that step 3-2.J can be done up until just before you seal the whole frame up inside the fuselage. Again it is a wiggle – but it paid off for me as I could paint the silver actuators for the parachute in the tail without worry of RLM 02 all over them. I installed these AFTER the frames was together and painted.
Step 3-3.E – yes I jumped a little here – it involves you placing the steering actuators under the cockpit frame in. These linkages fit right into the joystick and like the rest of the frame glue in better unpainted rather than superglued in after they are painted. I will stress again – just skim through the instructions to find anything on the frame which can be glued on before you paint the thing. It will stay together better later on when you are handling the kit and actually it will become really strong for a model kit.
Step 3-2.L involves placing the MK 103 autocannons inside the frame. As mine were not going in 'till it was painted up I simply painted my cannons up as an exercise. I used a dark grey RLM 66 and then rubbed in Mig Metallic Gun Metal P231 till it shined just enough to resemble an unused cannon in gun metal. The Mig powered pigments hold on really well. You can see here a slight seam on the barrel which I removed after this photo. Notice the open ended barrels? They look pretty good. I coloured the two feeds for ammo and magazines the same gun metal colour instead of black as it just looks more realistic and not so clean.
Steps 3-2.L the placement of guns through 3-2.O the engines going in I left out for later as we have already talked about, 3-2.N is the next major step here – adding the top of the frame to the bottom section. I left the two centre joins between the two free from glue so I could jimmy open the frame after painting to insert the guns and engines.
I also built the cockpit parts minus the seats and instrument panel. These would also come later. The bare bones frame section looks pretty good already.
You can see the seats here – they are not to go in 'till later as they both slide in or out without glue. These can be interchanged depending on if you want to have a pilot in there or not.
To make it all stick and to create a ready-made shadow I used decanted and airbrushed Mr Surfacer 1500 in black. I NEVER used it straight from the can and if you do stop being a “slackass” and pour it into a cup and then spray it through the airbrush. It goes so far and holds so well I love it.
I then sprayed the frame from above with RLM 02 acrylic from Gunze Sangyo. I used this colour as it is a lot harder wearing than using something like Vallejo which is easier to shoot but unfortunately comes off with a scratch and we needed something hard wearing.
Here you see the bottom of the frame – I shot from straight on one coat to keep it a dark colour - much more so than the top but realistic when looking from underneath …
On the top I shot two or three coats of RLM02 – it makes the natural blended shade on the round curved pipe frame and it looks great.
You can see here I painted the cockpit frame parts the pilot would see with the same Gunze acrylic but the RLM 66 colour. I touched up with a brush to square off the colours on the frames i could not get to with the airbrush and then again with RLM 02. It was a good base to work on with a lot more detail to be added later on.
We jump forward a little to Step 3-6 with the wings next while the fuselage frame is drying. First you must remove all of the nodes and the seams you might find on these exposed areas. **Slacker tip*** - you need not paint ANY of these frame or fuel tanks if you aim to paint over the clear(ish) wing surfaces.
Once free of any seams (well we always find more later don’t we?) the wings got the same black undercoat/ RLM 02 internal colour as the aircraft frame. The bottom just one coat where the top got two coats and some even lighter highlights.
The tanks are next. Now I originally painted some Alclad White Aluminium on these – but they were not shiny enough. I switched to Model Master Chrome Silver which gives some great metallic shine and feel. Be careful this paint dries VERY slowly and you need to get a wide spray at lower pressure to ensure even coverage. DO NOT spray this over itself before it dries or you will have a rough orange peel effect. Otherwise it comes out very nicely and it is now my pick of metalizers. See the reflection of the bottle on this tank? It is still delicate to touch even after drying as well but so worth it.
The finished wings here – the actuators got the same metal colour as the tanks. When joining these you have to be very careful if everything is going to be added pre painted. There are two small connection points on the left and right of each tank and you will need superglue to glue these on. Any scarring of superglue on the tanks brings you back to stripping them out, then taking the paint on the tanks off then painting them again. Tedium – so get it right the first time.
They do look lovely though!
With some coercion, some wiggling and a LOT of patience the engines an now go into the frame. Once in you can glue up the slots you left unglued in the middle of the spine of the fuselage between the upper and lower frames in the centre. Also the guns slip into the fuselage pretty simply - here are some pics to help you locate yours a little easier.
The actuators for the tail-chute went in at this time as well - a bend and a fiddle but so worth it in the end.
A hint of what is to come – the two wings next to this fighter – this is what they look like with the engines, cockpit and canons installed - the wings are very wide and already this kit is looking awesome.
Tomorrow we put in the cockpit and some other bits – check in to see the progress of this kit which so far has not been a difficult kit to build and actually more than a little fun..
This kit is now on sale at Volks directly at this link – Also check out “ZM’s Old Man Blog” for more details on the company's musings as well!