Zoukei-mura (ZM) have released the sixth edition of their “Super Wings Series” the Heinkel He 219 A-0 Uhu (Eagle-Owl). ZM’s stated intent is “using the magical substance of plastic, we want to reproduce the genuine aircraft as a model”. A lofty goal. Do they achieve it?
A brief history
In early 1940 the RAF was forced to restrict the bombing of the German mainland to nighttime. This was due to the effective use, by Germany, of early warning radar and interceptor flights during daytime. In May of 1940 the Ruhr region sustained its first large scale bombing by the RAF, at night. As a reaction, the Luftwaffe re-established the night fighter wing Nachtjagd-Geshwader 1 (aka NJG1).
NJG1 was forced to use several aircraft that weren’t really designed to be night fighters, such as the Bf 110, Do 17, Do 215 and Ju 88. This was effective for a short time, but eventually failed against the intensifying RAF squadrons.
In the summer of 1941, Heinkel decided to revamp their P1055 escort fighter into a night fighter. However, the resulting design was unlike anything previously built, and was designated the He 219. Among the unique characteristics of this aircraft were:
• A “tricycle” landing gear arrangement, with a nose wheel rather than a “tail dragger”
• A long slender fuselage with tandem seating for the pilot and navigator/radar operator
• The first mass-produced ejection seat
• A split vertical stabilizer to avoid collision with the ejecting seats.
Early production models of the He 219 were designated as A-0 (the variation modeled). The first of these were sent to the Netherlands where Major Streib is credited with shooting down five Lancaster bombers in less than 90 minutes. He then “ruined his day” by crashing upon landing, but walked away from that. These early models were attributed with many other kills, including the de Havilland Mosquito which was previously considered “untouchable”. However, various sources indicate that records from both sides don’t support these claims.
The nickname Uhu meaning “Eagle Owl” I assume refers to the radar used to find targets at night. Due to politics, short supply of parts, etc. fewer than 300 of these were built, and even those saw limited service. Just one more thing that could have significantly affected the progress of the war, but fortunately didn’t.
This kit is packed as well or better than almost any I have seen, and it’s big! The “lid” comes off like any other kit, but then there’s a complete box under that – see pictures. Each sprue comes in its own sealed bag, with a bit of air for cushioning.
The kit consists of 17 sprues (ZM calls runners) as follows:
• A – Main fuselage
• B – Engine nacelles (two)
• C – Main wing
• D – More fuselage
• E – Tail and vertical stabilizers
• F – Cockpit and fuselage interior
• G – Engine (two) a kit of its own
• H – More interior structure
• I – Armament, front gear
• J – Landing gear, and engine
• K – Canopy and other clear parts
• L – Fuselage
• M – Canopy frame used with K
• N – One piece canopy. An option to K and M
In addition, there are:
• Masking for use with canopy N
• Cast landing gear replacements
• A metal bar for axels on the above (I couldn’t find this)
• A substantial nose weight.
The instructions are truly a “piece of work” in the best sense. The build is divided into several sub-assemblies, and each of these has several steps. See the picture of Teil (part) 3-1 the Motor/Engine for an example. The first page of each Teil has views of the completed assembly from various angles, and then the sub-steps have pictures of that phase of the assembly. Priceless.
To get some idea about the “magical” plastic, I decided to start building one of the engines. In general (as far as I got) the fit was quite good. However, there is a small bit of flash on some pieces, and some have a mold join line that needs to be removed. One other thing I noticed was that many of the attachment points are very thick, and my “tweezers” style cutter “didn’t cut it”; I had to use the pliers style instead.
The level of detail on the engine is remarkable. However, as I painted various parts, it became obvious that lots of dry brushing and wash will be needed to bring out this detail. Unfortunately, this detail will be mostly hidden if the model is built to completion – see below for options.
When I ordered the kit I also ordered a companion book entitled “Concept Note SWS No.V” not being sure exactly what that was. I am very glad I did.
This is a 130 page book that is both a reference, and modeling guide. Almost every page has several color pictures of both an actual aircraft and the corresponding model assembly. I have provided several examples.
Did ZM achieve its goal? Well, yes and no. Based purely on a review of the instructions, my mini build, and the above book, the genuine aircraft is reproduced in this model. The detail of various interior components is remarkable. However, if the model is completed with all panels, hatches, etc. in place, then this detail will be hidden forever.
The opening pages of the concept book provide views of a completed model with various components exposed – see pictures. I think this was intended to show how various components are finished. However, this would make a very interesting way to display the details of the “genuine” model.
As with previous releases in this series ZM offers “Extra Parts”. These include photo etch, gun barrels, figure sets, etc. which can be seen on their site HERE
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