Dornier Do 17 Units of World War 2 Book Review

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Dornier Do 17 Units of World War 2

By Chris Goss, profiles by Chris Davey

Series:  Osprey Combat Aircraft 129

Softcover, 96 pages, appendices, 30 color profiles, and index

Published by Osprey Publishing, September 2019

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472829638

ISBN-13: 978-1472829634

Dimensions:  7.3 x 0.3 x 9.8 inches

State of the art when introduced in the mid-1930s, the Dornier Do 17 was fast approaching obsolescence at the beginning of the Second World War.  It was intended that the “Flying Pencil” would be able to out-run defending fighters, but such was the pace of aeronautical development that it was not considered fast even for a bomber by the start of the war.  Coupled with its poor range and limited bomb load it was destined to be replaced in short order, but along with the Heinkel He 111 the Dornier Do 17 made up the medium bomber arm of the Luftwaffe for the first year of the war.

The Do 17 served with the Condor Legion in Spain, and in the Battle of France.  In the Battle of Britain losses mounted and several units began transition training to the new Ju 88.  Surviving units fought in Greece and in Russia, but by 1942 front-line units had converted to the Ju 88 or the more powerful Do 217 development of the design.  Still, some Do 17s soldiered on in auxiliary roles through the end of the war.

This work tells the story of the units which flew the Do 17 in Luftwaffe service and in the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.  Much of the text reads as a loss list, with dates, places, and crew names given for the aircraft involved.  Being a type with marginal performance figures, attrition was constant and the detailed listing of losses soon becomes repetitive.  The profiles offer little relief, as the vast majority are finished in the same standard Luftwaffe bomber camouflage scheme of 70 / 71 over 65, with a little variation provided by the Condor Legion schemes or those aircraft wearing black distemper for night raids.

Overall there are no surprises here for those familiar with Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series.  The format follows the familiar formula with photographs and color profiles.  The repetitive nature of the writing provides some useful information for amateur researchers, but tends to make recreational reading a slog.  Good for picking a specific Do 17 as a modeling subject.

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Fine Molds Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 of Werner Mölders in 1/72 Scale

Werner “Vati” Mölders fought in the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War and was the leading German ace there with 14 victories.  He flew with JG 53 during the French Campaign, where he was shot down and captured, later to be released after France surrendered.  He was credited with 25 victories during the Battle of France and another 30 during the Battle of Britain.  Mölders was the first pilot to be credited with passing the 100 victory mark, which he did on 15JUL41.  This resulted in a promotion to Oberst (Colonel) at 28 and a ban from further combat flying.  Mölders effectively ignored the ban, leading his squadron on “instructional flights” against Soviet aircraft.  Mölders was killed while flying back to Germany aboard a transport for the funeral of Ernst Udet, the aircraft crashing during a thunderstorm.  He was credited with 115 official victories, and as many as 30 more were unofficially scored after his ban on combat flying.

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RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank Build in 1/72 Scale

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The Hotchkiss H35 was a French light tank used during the Second World War.  It had a two-man crew and was armed with a 37 mm gun.  The design was developed into the similar H38 and H39 series, and the Germans utilized captured examples in several modified forms.  This is the 2009 issue of the RPM kit.  I had no previous experience with RPM kits but thought the subject would make a nice addition to my small collection of French armor.

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The parts are well molded with no flash.  The sprues contain additional parts to allow for variations in engine deck configurations and armament need to produce some of the subsequent variants.  I am no expert on French armor so I cannot advise if everything you’d need for the H38 or H39 is present in this boxing but there will definitely be parts for the spares box when you’re done.

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I found the instructions a bit confusing, and had to stop several times during construction to try to figure out just what they were trying to show.  There is a parts map but the sprues do not have parts numbers which just adds to the confusion.  Arrows would be helpful, but RPM only superimposes numbers on or near parts which are shown floating near where they are supposed to be attached.  It can all be sorted with enough time, but it could be made much easier than it is.

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Tracks are molded as single pieces, built up by adding the running gear assemblies.  This is much easier to build than other methods, but imposes an inherent inaccuracy in how the guide teeth must be molded.  It’s a trade-off, this is not a bad choice if the guide teeth limitation is not too obvious on the finished model.

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The model has a lot of interior components, a good start for those who wish to super-detail the inside.  The hatches are molded separately so some of this could be seen if you wanted to display it that way.  No crew figures though, and the aftermarket is of little help here.  I decided to close the hatches on mine and leave the interior parts for the spares box.

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Here’s everything all built up.  I replaced the gun barrel with brass tube, and had to replace the padeye on the port side with stock as my part went pinging off into the ether.  The turret and tracks are posed together here for the picture, I left them separate for easier painting.

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Basic camo is applied in this picture.  The tracks press fit tightly without glue but are mush easier to paint when off.  The turret just sits in the opening and is not mechanically secured in any way.  I attached mine with LiquiTape, with provides a solid bond but still allows for some deflection if I want to traverse the turret.

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The kit decals were applied using MicroScale products over a gloss coat.  The decals are printed on a continuous sheet of carrier film.  I would advise cutting back the film as much as possible as the film does not settle well, as can be seen in the picture.  I trimmed mine back and got them to settle down but they resisted.

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The black border between the camouflage colors was applied with a drafting pen and then re-sealed with more GlossCoat before weathering.  The tracks have been coated with brown Tamiya panel line wash and dry brushed with silver.

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Here is the model after weathering.  The mud is weathering powder over brown artists oils.  The tank was sealed with a layer of DullCoat mixed with a bit of light tan paint to simulate dust.  An unusual subject and a nice little kit, but the instructions could have been a lot clearer.

Airfix Hawker Hurricane Mk.I in 1/72 Scale

This is the second boxing of Airfix Hawker Hurricane Mk.I rag wing kit.  I corrected the wing surface detail to eliminate the erroneous fabric texture at the gun bays and scribed the missing panel lines into the wings.  The sliding portion on the canopy is plunge molded as the kit part is too thick to fit properly on the spine.  The model uses the kit decals to depict a Hurricane of No. 85 Sqn at Lille-Seclin in May 1940 during the Battle of France.

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Airfix Hawker Hurricane Mk.I Build in 1/72 Scale

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Another Airfix quick build, this time it’s their Hawker Hurricane Mk.I.  This kit was released in 2014 in two versions, an earlier variant with parts for the two-bladed prop and shallow rear fuselage, and this one which contains the three-bladed prop and ventral ridge, among other associated bits.  These kits created quite a sensation among modelers who were pleased to see a rag-wing Hurricane kit.  This soon turned to disappointment when Airfix failed to release the obvious follow on tin wing Mk.I.

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Adding a little insult to injury, Airfix also got their rag wing wrong.  The areas immediately forward and aft of the gun bay covers were also aluminum skinned to allow armorers to service the guns.  Airfix has molded these areas with the same fabric texture as the rest of the wing.

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The fix is not overly difficult – sand off the fabric texture and scribe in the missing panel lines for the metal  panels.  At this stage I also added the missing panel lines at the leading edge of the wings and filed down the trailing edges to eliminate the step there.

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One thing Airfix does well are cockpits.  Here the major components are assembled prior to painting.  The cockpit floor is molded into the upper surface of the wings.

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The cockpit is painted and washed with black and then lightly drybrushed with silver to bring out the details.  Airfix provides a decal for the instrument panel, seatbelts are Eduard, leftovers from their Spitfire kits.

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The wheelwells are quite deep and well detailed, something some other kit manufacturers could learn from (I’m looking at you, Hasegawa!).  I have also scribed the leading edge panels on the underside of the wings.

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One miss is that Airfix provides four-spoked wheels instead of five-spoked wheels.  Fortunately the Eduard Spitfire spare baggie has several five-spoked hubs so the Airfix parts were drilled out and corrected.

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I cut out the wingtip lights and replaced them with roughly cut sections of clear sprue.  I also mounted the clear landing light covers at this point.  Both were attached with liberal amounts of superglue to hold them in place.

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Here are the clear parts on the wing after filing and sanding them smooth.  The parts were polished with 8000 grit sanding cloths to restore their clarity.  I find that it is difficult to get a good fit on these parts if you wait until the end of construction to install them, much better to fill the gaps with superglue and polish them smooth again before painting.

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Here is the Hurricane all masked up for the camouflage pattern using masking tape.  I used poster putty on last week’s Defiant build and wanted to compare both methods.  I was able to achieve the same results either way, but found the poster putty was faster.

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Mr. color paints were used, they are easy to use and go on without problems.  I still think the colors are a bit off, the Dark Earth should be lighter and the Dark Green darker.  I used an Eduard canopy mask set because I am old and lazy.

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I used the kit decals on this one, they behaved without any surprises and depict a No. 85 Squadron aircraft from the Battle of France.  I had intended to do a Battle of Britain aircraft but after checking serial numbers it turned out all my aftermarket decals were for tin-wing BoB birds.  The sliding portion of the canopy was plunge molded using the Airfix part as a form, the Airfix part was too thick to fit properly over the spine.