Monday, September 19

Build Review Pt II: Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229

Our good friend Thomas from Scale Plastic Aircraft Modeller forum has already shared his thoughts on Zoukei Mura’s new 48th scale Horten in an extensive review.  After a lively part I, Gary gets to detailing and sealing it all up in Pt.II before he paints and weathers the kit in Part III. Let’s see how he got along in this important part of sealing it all up...

Horten Ho-229 - Build Review Pt II.Zoukei-Mura Super Wing Series No. 3
Scale: 1:48th
Started: March 2016
Finished: ...
Instruction download link
Product Link…

Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 In Box Review
Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 Pt.I Build review
Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 Pt.III Build review Completed

Pt.II - Detailing & sealing it all up
The pair of Jumo 004 engines have now been painted and each section joined. All the piping and cabling shown here are provided by ZM in the box. If you look carefully you will notice that the lower engine has an oily wash applied. I like washes as they help to take away that (unrealistic) super new look of the parts and give more depth to the detail on the model. In this case, I used one of the MiG Ammo pre-mixed enamel based washes.

It’s now time to start assembling the interior parts into the framework. First up are the cannons and ammunition storage.

The cannons have been painted basic black and then lightly rubbed with powder ground from a plain old HB lead pencil. This works remarkably well to represent the sheen of gun metal. Some of the control rods buried in the fuselage are painted natural metal and attached now.

Another view of the assembled cannons within the body of the aircraft. These need to be installed now before we add the engines which occupy the bulk of the interior space in the fuselage.

The completed engines assemblies have now been lightly weathered using a mixture of washing and dry brush techniques. The heat shielding has been added to the lower half of the engine in preparation for mating with the framework.

I would suggest you ignore the assembly sequence here and assemble the heat shield halves (E16 + E13 and E12 + E17) together to allow painting as single units. You may be worried that once assembled the engine will not fit into the curved heat shield but I found that you could carefully spread the joined heat shield parts and slide the engines in with a minimum of fuss.

The engines are now in place, held firmly with positive locking tabs on the framework. When glueing parts that have already been painted like these I tend to use CA (Super) Glue. If possible, try and remove some of the paint from the mating surfaces to give a stronger bond.

Next step is to attach the upper frame. There are several mating points so examine the instructions carefully before committing glue. I had no trouble at all with alignment which says a lot for the quality of engineering from ZM.

With the upper frame attached, the model is starting to look very busy. I can understand now why ZM provides the outer skin of this model in clear plastic. I'm not into clear models but I can appreciate why someone would choose to build this model that way.

The internal framework when viewed from the rear. It's true that not much of this specific detail will be seen on the finished model but remember that the Ho229 had no sidewalls in the cockpit or in the wheel wells. This means that a considerable amount of the interior can be seen on the model thru open panels (such as engine covers) and cockpit.

This view of the bottom shows the engine heat shields and lower detail of the guns. It occurred to me that I could have spent more time fixing the seam on the heatshields when I saw this photo !! As luck would have it the lower panels cover most of this up so my laziness would not be so obvious.

It's now time to attach the cockpit framework assembly. Once again I deviated from the suggested assembly sequence and chose instead to build and paint the cockpit framing as a single unit.

Like most period Luftwaffe aircraft, the Ho229 cockpit was finished in RLM66 Black Grey. For this, I once again used Gunze Mr Color paint, specifically C116.

This photo provides a clear shot of the finished instrument panel and side switch consoles. For both these areas, I used the kit provided decals. Under a light wash and some minimal dry brushing, the cockpit looks weary but not overly worn.

This wider photo shows well how much of the internal framing will be visible thru the engine access panels. I did consider cutting some of the other panels away but to be honest got cold feet about the thought of working like this with clear plastic as it is much more brittle than normal plastic.

With the interior done its time to attach the outer shell to the fuselage centre section.

Remember that the outer panels are all clear plastic on this kit. The panels here are black because I primed them on the inside with black and over that applied the interior RLM02 Grey Green. What you see here is the black primer thru the still clear plastic.

It's worth taking note just how much of the internal framing and engine detail is visible thru the wheel wells. If you thought you could build a Ho229 and get away without painting the interior, then think again.

To get a tight joint between the upper panels I had to use a couple of clamps. This was the first time I could not achieve a perfect fit without some brute force.

Once the fuselage panels were set it was time to attach the wings. I had previously assembled each wing, including its outer skin. I felt this would give me an easier time working on the wing seams than attach the out panels now as indicated by ZM

The wings and fuselage were secured with Tamiya Extra Thin liquid glue. The alignment of the join was easy to achieve thanks again to ZM engineering.

One thing that caught me by surprise was the small (but very noticeable) step that resulted on both left and right joins. The step was present on both top and bottom of the wing and I scratched my head for a while wondering what I had done wrong to end up here. Perhaps my earlier decision to attach the wing outer surface panels before joining to the fuselage had come back to bite me ?

Regardless of why I ended up with the step on the wing join I now had to deal with it. I needed to use a filler that would be strong enough to be scribed (the panel line along the join had to be recreated at some point). For such situations, I always turn to Super Glue as a filler. Here you can see the layers of super glue I have applied along the join to build up the depth to match the step.

Once the glue had cured (not hardened) I got stuck into it with 400 and 600-grade wet n dry paper. I knew that much of the recessed surface detail would be lost along the way but there was no alternative. Surface detail can always be added back later.

After several filling and sanding sessions, the step on the wing join was dealt with. Panel lines were re-scribed, rivets re-added and openings such as cockpits, engine intakes and exhausts were masked ready for painting.

The main wheel wells were masked with damp paper towel, which is a cheap and fast masking material for deep openings like these. One tip for easily removing the paper masks after painting is to re-dampen them. This softens the paper and makes it once again soft and flexible, allowing it to be gently pulled out.

To double check all my seam work it was time to apply some primer. As a rule, I use either Tamiya Grey Primer or Alclad Primer. This photo is unusual as it shows both of these primers in use. Tamiya (the lighter grey) on the centre fuselage with the darker Alclad grey on the outer wings.

As a reminder, the main reason we prime is to find surface work that needs more attention. In this case, I found a couple of places which further filling and sanding. It's a cycle that sometimes needs to be repeated two or three times to get the desired result. By the way, the engine covers are being temporarily held in place for painting with a blob of Blu-Tack.

More repairs on the underside. For the most part, the seam work I had undertaken on the troublesome wing join came up well under some paint.

With all the hardcore sanding done it was ok now to attach the delicate control surfaces. I chose to drop the flaps as I prefer the way this looked on the model.

ZM have a done a good job a reproducing all the hinge detail for the control surfaces. Liquid glue was used to obtain a firm join here.

With the flaps and ailerons dry it was time for a final overall coat of primer. The Tamiya Grey Primer (which I decant from the aerosol can) gives a beautiful smooth finish right out of the brush. I thin it pretty heavily with Tamiya's own lacquer thinners (87077).

Always take the time to have a very close-up look to make sure that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you. Now is the time to fix any issues. Don't be tempted to rush onto final painting before fixing all your problems.

One thing to remember when using paper towel as a masking medium. When the paper drys out it shrinks. Notice here how the paper has pulled back from the edge of the wheel well. Before you start to paint just lightly dampen the paper again causing it to swell and close up those gaps.

For those of you building this kit, I thought you like to see the alignments of the dropped flaps I used. Wherever possible I like to avoid having everything on a model aircraft perfectly all lined up. WWII aircraft, in particular, were mass produced and tolerances were fairly wide resulting in less than perfect fitting panels etc in lots of cases. Making your model not so "completely perfect" actually make it look more realistic in my opinion.
In the next part, the model will be finished, painted and weathered to a great result. Check back in to see how it's going over the next few days here on TMN.

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Zoukei-Mura for sending this kit to us to build and review

See more of Gary's wonderful builds on his Facebook Page and his Scalespot Website.