With the release of 1/32nd scale Dornier Do 335 Pfeil by Zoukei Mura and HK Models imminent what better time for aftermarket decals to make your own model a bit different (and better?) than everyone else’s kit boxed decals. But ARE these any better than what you might find in the box? Are they a better quality or better researched? Let’s see how these decals fare against some of our own research and examination…
Review: Eaglecals #164 Dornier Do 335 Pfeil
4 aircraft schemes
Sheets are available from Eagle Editions directly
Eaglecals are always there or there-abouts when a new and interesting kit is released. Recently they have announced Mosquito Decals for the new Tamiya kit just after the outing of this kit but today we are looking at something that is very soon to land with modellers – the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil from Zoukei Mura. This kit WILL be popular and it will need some quality decals to go along with it.
The good news is for modellers that there is not only the ZM kit but the HK Models kit in the pipeline not far down the road. So we will see two different kits with different price points and modelling philosophies that cover more hobbyist’s pallets – so more people will be interested in this sheet.
However all of this good news is a bit “previous” as we haven’t even looked at this sheet yet. Let’s do that – look at the decals, schemes and package to see what we think of this decal set.
The decals are printed by Cartograf. The industry leader in decal printing, these are presented in the usual schmick style that even after 3rd look over them it was impossible to see anything out of register or misprinted, the fairly limited colours featured (navy blue and yellow) look good to my eye as well.
The first sheet houses the aircraft codes and the USAAF stars and bars. Werk Number codes are supplied as are a small amount of the most necessary stencils. Some of these decals may need to be applied and sliced to fit if you wish to display the engine open (and that is a real possibility on this kit from ZM.) On this sheet the Pfeil W/Nr.240108, VG+PN the researcher was not 100% sure if the code was a “PO” or a “PN” so EagleCals have supplied both code sets - nice.
The printing on the decals is not too thick at all and the finish of the decals is a glossy one. The carrier film is pretty minimal but not completely invisible. You can see the company has done their level best to remove as much as they can. The decals are quite small in some places and even those tiny stencil data sheets are sharp as you can see here with the comparison against an English 1 pence coin.
On the second sheet in this pack lies the German standard aircraft markings, with the second sheet carries the German markings, Balkenkreuz and swastikas here all in black and white. From looking at these you see that the whites are strong and not opaque.
Interestingly the Swastikas are printed in two different sections that allow you to place first the inside of the decal and then the outside on top of that. When the kit comes around I will have to try these out but it seems a pretty logical way of getting around the banning of these symbols in some countries. It’s great they are included and I think personally it’s a bit of a cop out when companies don’t choose to get creative and save you money by adding this historical feature (no matter how distasteful some may find it.)
The Instructions. The instructions for this kit were done by the well-read Mark Proulx. This isn’t his first rodeo and I have come across his attention to detail before and it’s something I am pretty confident with.
We are also provided with upper and lower views of the Do 335 as well as some very nice profiles of the aircraft to aid with your decal selection and then application. Arrows pointing out where your decals will need to go.
Mark also provides us with where he found the information of these schemes and also two of the pictures from his own collection to prove his findings and maybe to help the modeller improve the realism of his own kit.
The profiles featured in the fold out sheets are done by Simon Schatz. Although Simon is fairly new to working with EagleCals he is equally well researched (and published.) I have found his work also very nice and he doesn’t disappoint here. The profiles look convincing enough and the subtleties of the research and photographical evidence sourced by the team comes through on these sheets.
The schemes. Although four schemes are presented in this release the inclusion of the standard Do 335A-0 converted to A-4 at Dornier's Rechlin-Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, plant on April 16, 1945. It featured the standard German markings of W/Nr.240102 which are provided on this decal sheet unmolested to sit underneath the captured US markings. This allows you to model this Pfeil in the original owner’s marking before it was captured at Roth bei Nurnberg in 1945. (Pictures of the bird at this time below.)
The same aircraft on the ferry flight to the port before the aircraft was put on the ship. Note the silver front cowling.
Dornier Do 335A-02 Pfeil (Arrow) (Wk Nr. 240102), VG+PH at NAS Norfolk.
After capture and the shipping of this bird by HMS Reaper (along with many other war prizes) to the USA where the makeshift American markings were applied over the German markings. A standard splinter camo of RLM 81/82 over RLM 65 in colours. This is the well-known version that was allocated USN (BuNo. 121447) and flight tested at the Tactical Test Division, NAS Patuxent River, MD and assigned to for storage In 1961 at NAS Norfolk.
The restoration of this last remaining historically important bird by the Smithsonian NASM before it was shipped back to the Dornier factory in Germany in Oberpfa to complete the restoration. It now resides in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Chantilly, Virginia.
You have the American national markings that are applied over the blacked out German codes and swastika. You will have to do a thin coat of black or smoke over these to partially hide them as seen in the photos below.
Do 335A-0, W/Nr. 240105, München-Riem, in April 1945
This Pfeil is seen again in the splinter camo of RLM 81/82 over RLM 65 and the Werk No 240105 identifies it as the machine found in a revetment at the northeast corner of the München-Riem airfield in April 1945 where the battered machine was eventually scrapped not much after that date. So no illustrious timeline here...
An interesting debate is to whether this aircraft was coded like its brethren. The hard fact is in the picture we have here (and also supplied in the sheet instructions) was that this bird had no codes at the time of its capture on the aircraft and it was scrapped none would have been put on later.
A picture of the same ship with no front armament and no front nose gear door.
Do 335A-0, W/Nr.240108, VG+PN, December 1944
This is a pretty interesting bird. A fair bit of history is included by the researcher on the sheet that goes along with the decals which is nice. Shot down on the 24th December 1944, this is the only Do 335 that we can prove saw actual combat. As I mentioned earlier no one is certain of the codes of the aircraft for sure so both the suspected “PO” & “PN” are supplied here on the sheet. Sorry I could not find a picture for this and I am not getting any younger so....
Do 335A-1, W/Nr.240162, Bavaria April 1945
Captured at Oberfaffenhofen in 1945 – this bird was seen in a splinter camo of RLM 82/83 over natural metal undersides which is a little more interesting than the usual camo. Another natural metal feature was the fuel tank access panel on the fuselage top behind the cockpit. Simon’s profile was used in the “Dornier Do 335 Pfeil – Arrow the Luftwaffe's Fastest Piston-Engine Fighter” book so it is already well known.
We have a picture of the aircraft only partially together as it was when captured by the US in April of 1945. Interesting to do, this scheme would take some better than average modelling skills to represent in this get up, but part of me thinks that this beaten up scheme with the natural metal would be the most interesting to do...
Well there you have it – some well-presented, nicely printed and well researched decals for your next Pfeil/Arrow/ Anteater in 32nd scale. Again we see a very nice combination of care and good product from EagleCals. They would be a great choice for your kit.
Thanks to the guys (and gals) at Eagle Editions for sending these out for review.