Monday, November 23

Our own "Spirited Brother" Thomas checks out Zoukei-Mura’s new 48th scale Horten Ho-229

When Thomas from Scale Plastic Aircraft Modeller told us we could share his review of the new Zoukei-Mura Horten Ho 229 in 48th scale we said yes straight away. Thomas does great reviews and has excellent insight into this aircraft so strap yourselves in and let’s look at what he thought about this smaller Horten...

In-boxed: Zoukei Mura’s Horten Ho 229
1/48 Scale
Plastic Model Kit (No P/E or resin parts)
13 sprues of grey and clear plastic; 198 parts
Decals for three fictitious versions with many numbers.
This kit is now on sale at Volks directly at this link

Zoukei-mura´s new 1/48 scale edition of their famous 1/32 scale Horten Ho 229 kit, having been received by modellers with a buzz, is finally available! Here, we will have a look into the box of this “Baby Horten” as a more thorough build review is coming soon here at TMN for you!
The kit is presented in Zoukei-mura´s known colourful top-opening boxes, adorned with a nice image of a Ho 229 diving away from a Boeing B-17G trailing smoke. Box dimensions are 30 x 22 x 10.5 centimetres (WxHxD).
Upon opening the box we are given 13 sprues in grey and transparent plastic, as well as a sheet of nicely printed decals 10.5 x 21 centimetres in size, and an assembly manual of the same size. The last one is printed in monochrome only, in contrast to the one given in the 1/32 scale kit. But this is no problem at all, for all CAD style assembly pictures are very clearly represented. Additional hints and explanations are given in text form where necessary. Only the drawing on step 16, well, hurts my eyes due to the sheer amount of lines indicating the exact placement of the upper fuselage frame and where it should glue to the lower assembly. But with some careful dry fitting this upper fuselage frame should drop in place and you should be able to add some glue wherever it meets the lower assembly.

Here we have the assembly manual for you:
There is no information given about who did print the decals, but colour saturation and accuracy of fit of the individual colours looks good. The one piece decal for the instrument panel is full colour again and will look great on the finished kit. Again you have the choice of a single decal with all instruments on for the IP, or to add all instruments individually.

Swastikas are given as full black or just the border version decals, printed in halves each due to the law in certain countries, as in mine. A set of generic numbers is given, printed in four colours. Stencils are in perfect German language without any spelling errors.
Let´s have a look at the sprues now. First, of course, is sprue A:
This sprue is given twice in the kit for it comprises the parts for the Jumo jet engines. Given this is 1/48 scale I was not surprised to see that Zoukei-mura didn´t go this far and again replicate the individual compressor stage blades here. Inside diameter of such a jet engine is just about 1 centimetre so one wouldn´t have seen anything here anyway.
Some few pipes and wires are given, though, as are parts on the sprue runner to assemble an engine stand as we have seen this on the larger edition on the Ho 229 before.
Sprue B was the one I really was looking forward to seeing, as it comprises the very detailed and delicate upper and lower fuselage skeleton frames!
The finesse of the parts shown here are impressive and shows how far Zoukei-mura have come after having started to do plastic models only a few years ago! Beautifully recessed rivets on the inner canopy frame, finest details on the fuselage frame and so many other parts here. While the 1/32 scale kit has given the modeller a choice to assemble either an ejection seat with seatbelts moulded on or another one without them here we are given just the latter without seatbelts. You will have to do your own belts or look for some Super Wing Options in future or maybe after market here.
C sprue comprises parts for the landing gear and wheels, among others. Again the wheels show manufacturer and size information moulded on the tyre walls. And again Zoukei-mura has intentionally given us “Oontinental” instead of the correct designation of “Continental”, the German manufacturer of those tyres. Trademark infringement well avoided, and easily corrected on your kit parts with some careful scraping. 
Again it is a pleasure to see the finesse of some parts here again, as are the linkage for the rudders as well as steering here.
The heavy 3cm autocannon parts are given on sprue D, among others.
Beautiful slide-moulding has created nice details not only on those cannons! Look at the muzzle break! Cool, and easily drilled open by a fine micro drill.
Back when Zoukei-mura was about to develop the 1/32 scale kit of their Horten 229 they had a survey, asking the modellers if they would like just a kit in standard grey plastic, or if they would like to get the outer fuselage parts moulded in transparent plastic to see the interior given in this kit. Well, we know that the last option was decided on. Same here on this kit, as to be seen on sprue E.
Here we have the outer fuselage shells, the two canopy parts and many other parts moulded in clear plastic. As you see the clear areas of the canopy are beautifully transparent as they should be. Most other parts, while moulded in clear, have a very fine grainy surface that makes those parts look frosty, as seen in my pictures. It should be noted that the macro shots tend to exaggerate this grain and it is less visible when looking at the parts.
This is a point that made me think about the feasibility, the usefulness, of those transparent parts. What might have worked on the larger scale in my opinion here maybe would only work after some polishing of these frosty clear parts to have better visual access to the interior detail of this kit. We will see what other modellers may think or what way they will go when building this baby Horten in the next months.
F sprue is just the same single slide-moulded part as on the larger scale kit: the fuselage front with the two jet engine inlets.
A wonderful one-piece moulding with just a very faint seam down the middle and beautifully rendered screw heads and access hatches! Absolut lovely!
I had lots of fun when cleaning the main wing spars and skeleton on the larger kit, memories coming back when looking at sprue G.
These are again very complex mouldings here in 1/48 scale! Zoukei-mura managed to scale down all the detail here as seen on the big Horten, down to the fuel tanks with fuel lines and the linkage of the drag rudders! Just take care when removing these large parts from the sprue and when cleaning them!
Has a flying wing a fuselage? Well, H and I sprue are the outer fuselage / wing ribs with the attachment points to mount the outer wings onto.
The outer wings are to be attached using 4 pins on each side, so the modeller has the option to attach and remove the wings, as on the real aircraft if he likes to do so. Again Zoukei-mura has captured the detail here as seen on the real aircraft parts.
J sprue has the main wing outer shells, the engine covers, drag rudders and rudders on it.
Parts show very fine recessed panel lines and detail down to some wing rib detail on the inside. No flash and no complains here. Aside from the frosty look on the clear parts, maybe.
Sprue K almost looks identical to the previous one.
Only the rudders and flaps are different here. I did a picture of a match below one of the outer wing halves just to see how some detail could look below those frosted clear parts. Please notice that the match is not placed in direct contact with the plastic part, but has some distance to it, further “blurring” the visibility.
The last sprue here! Sprue L comprises the four wing fuel tanks for each wing. Retaining straps, as well as fuel lines, are nicely depicted on each fuel tank.
Well, that´s about it. Having had a very close look at this kit when preparing the review, I have to say that Zoukei-mura has done a fine job to shrink their fabulous 1/32 scale kit of the Ho 229 down to 1/48 scale. They decided not to do the compressor stage blades here and omitted the ejection seat with the seat belts moulded on.

The only thing I have to admit I am in doubt about is the frosted look of the clear parts. I have heard that a mould has to be painstakingly polished to be able to produce highly transparent plastic parts. But this also means to erase all recessed panel lines, access or fuel filler hatches, and so on. This, on the other side, would make those transparent look boring being devoid of all this detail that could have been. So, in the end, a compromise had to be accepted here. One simply cannot have both worlds here.

But aside from this, they have done a really great job to produce this kit in smaller scale. Looking at the parts I must say the kit parts look as delicate as on the larger one. My sample looks pretty impressive in the box. I am looking forward to seeing a build review here on The Modelling News soon. Stay tuned!

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

Thomas Mayer
My sincere thanks to Zoukei-mura for the review kit.