Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20 of Dietrich Kornblum in 1/72 Scale

This is the 2004 Hasegawa He-111H-6 kit updated to H-20 configuration.  The model represents the aircraft of bomber “ace” Oberleutnant Dietrich Kornblum, Staffelkapitän of 4./KG 53, located at Piastow, Russia in June 1944.  Kornblum was awarded the Knight’s Cross after completing 400 missions.  The aircraft has been overpainted with RLM 76 “clouds” and black undersides over the standard Luftwaffe RLM 70 / 71 splinter scheme.  The dorsal turret transparency was formed using the “plunge mold” technique.

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Hasegawa Heinkel He 111 Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

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With major assembly complete I sprayed the model with Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Given the size of the underwing crosses I decided they would look best if painted. I painted these areas white and masked off the crosses with Tamiya tape.

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The uppersurfaces had a standard factory RLM 70 / 71 splinter scheme. The masking tape here is regular household tape.

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Here is the splinter scheme with the masks removed. Two hours of masking, fifteen minutes of painting. I laid this pattern out as it is shown in the Monogram Guide.

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The aircraft I’m modeling had black undersides for night missions. I have pre-shaded the panel lines with a scale black mixture, the same mix will be oversprayed in a light coat to bring out the highlights.

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Here it is with the black applied and the insignia masks removed. The panel highlighting is subtle but you do get some tonal variation between panels.

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This aircraft had “clouds” of RLM 76 Light Blue applied over the uppersurfaces. This photograph shows the colors used.

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Decals are in place and have been sealed with Future (Klear) in preparation for panel line washing and weathering. Decals are from Aims sheet 72D010.

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The kit pitot tube is easily broken off, at least by me. I have learned to replace this sort of thing with metal parts. I made this one with Albion Alloys tube and 0.005” Nitenol wire for the tip. The Nitenol wire does not break or bend, but returns to its original shape if bumped.

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There is a lot of glare from the lightbox in this photograph but even so you can still see much of the interior of the nose compartment. With the hatch open even more of the detail is visible.

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The finished model represents the aircraft of bomber “ace” Oberleutnant Dietrich Kornblum, Staffelkapitän of 4./KG 53.  Kornblum was awarded the Knight’s Cross after completing 400 missions.  The dorsal turret transparency was formed using the “plunge mold” technique.

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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I’ll be modifying this model to H-20 standard, the most obvious difference is the dorsal gun position of the H-20 was replaced with a turret mounting a 13.1 mm gun. Here I have inserted a section of PVC pipe to build up the base for the turret.

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The gaps in the opening were filled with superglue and the area smoothed with Mr. Surfacer 500.

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The turret ring was fabricated from various bits of Evergreen stock using the ring from a Revell of Germany He 177 kit part as a template.

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There is a tricky area on the Hasegawa kit which I have learned to respect from previous builds. The bomb bay at the heart of the aircraft is the junction of seven different parts and the fit is not optimal. There will be noticeable seams here if one is not careful. It is best to address the seams in stages to get the best result. Here you can see the wing to fuselage to bombay joint has been filled using superglue and Mr. Surfacer and smoothed.

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For my build the external racks are needed. Test fit these parts carefully, as the backs of these will need trimmed to get the best fit. Gaps at this point are filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and the excess wiped away with a damp swab.

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The Eduard canopy mask set is a big time-saver. The kit provides an overhead instrument panel with a decal for the dials but does not have the panel next to the sliding hatch, which is a PE part here. The canopy curtains were made from rolled up sections of masking tape.

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Aside from the bomb bay area the rest of the parts fit well. I use MEK from the hardware store which is the equivalent of the various “thin” cements on the market but vastly cheaper. This tends to melt any minor imperfections along the joining surfaces and results in a tight fit.

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Here is the canopy in place with the seam filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. The PPP is ideal for this application.

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The underside of the canopy join was not as tight as the upper side but close enough to fill with putty.

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The other major difference between the H-6 and the H-20 is the H-20 had fewer transparencies in the area of the ventral bathtub. The excess windows were simply sanded smooth. The fit of this clear part is extremely good.

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Here the RLM 66 interior color has been sprayed on the exterior of the canopy.

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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This is the Hasegawa He-111H-6 kit which was first issued in 2004. This will be my third time building this kit (fourth if you count the He-111Z as two) so this time I’ll be modifying it to H-20 standard, a rather simple conversion.

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The kit has been criticized in some circles for having over-emphasized panel lines. There is some justification to this, although there are many examples of kits with panel lines which are worse. They are not far enough out of scale to bother me so I plan on leaving them as they are.

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The detail sprues contain a few options. Hasegawa has provided three different types of exhausts which I believe covers all the major options. There are bomb bay doors or alternatively two different types of external racks which could be mounted in their place.

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I also have on hand some Eduard PE frets. These were intended for the He-111Z Zwilling boxing, but I got them at a discount several years ago so there is enough to outfit two standard He 111s. I’ll be using the parts which are useful, but PE can be a pain to work with and many parts do not offer a significant advantage over kit parts so I’ll only use some. PE can be helpful as it gives you a choice but I don’t feel every part should be used every time.

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Here is one application where the PE has some advantage. The kit wheelwells are a little on the shallow side and have some really inconvenient ejector pin marks. The top of the well is removed with a Dremel tool which deepens the part and then the interior is replaced with PE parts.

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Not much of the interior is visible on this kit. The front cockpit greenhouse is the exception, and well worth the effort to add some extra detail. The clear parts have minimal distortion, also there is a sliding hatch over the pilot’s position so much of the interior in this compartment can be seen.

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Here is the cockpit with several selected PE parts to enhance the detail. The most easily visible additions are the seat belts and the yellow wiring for the instruments.

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Throttle levers are 1/700 ship railing, this allows for several levers to be installed at once and ensures that they all point in the same direction. I find this much easier to deal with than the separate levers on the PE fret.

Revell Heinkel He 177 Greif in 1/72 Scale

This is the Revell of Germany He 177A-5 Greif kit number 04616 in 1/72 scale.  The clear parts could be a little better molded but overall it is an excellent kit.  This one is armed with three Henschel Hs 293 glide bombs instead of the Fritz X weapons, but I believe Revell provides either option depending on the boxing.  Decals are from Eagle Strike Productions sheet 72041 and represent an aircraft from II./KG 40 based at Bordeaux, France in 1944.

Upper surface camouflage is the standard Luftwaffe bomber RLM 70 Black Green / RLM 71 Dark Green splinter pattern.  The under surface colors are open to some interpretation, sources are not in agreement as to which colors were used.  Here I have chosen RLM 77 Light Gray spots over an RLM 02 Gray Green base.  Other possibilities are RLM 76 Lichtblau over RLM 65 Hellblau, or some combinations of these.  It is hard to be certain using black and white photographs, it is also possible different combinations were used on different aircraft.

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Revell Heinkel He 177 Greif Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

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The camouflage on this particular aircraft is unusual in that there was mottling on the undersurface. There is a lack of consensus as to what colors were used, here I have chosen RLM 77 Light Gray spots over an RLM 02 Gray Green base. Other representations utilize RLM 76 for the lighter shade and / or RLM 65 for the darker.

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Upper surfaces were the standard RLM 70 Black Green / RLM 71 Dark Green splinter pattern. I used plain old masking tape to duplicate the pattern shown in the Monogram Guide. A little tedious but the camo looks good when complete.

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Here are the paints used. The Mr. Color paints matched the paint chips in the Monogram Guide quite well, I mixed White with Mr. Color 306 to match the RLM 77 Light Gray chip. I sprayed slightly lightened mixes to fade the colors and break up the monotone colors.

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Anything which appeared weak or prone to breakage I have reinforced with bronze wire pins. The main wheel attachment points looked like they would not hold up well so they were strengthened before they had a chance to fail.

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The landing gear and exhausts are in place prior to the panel line wash. With the gear legs in place it is easy to see just how little of the wheel well interior is visible. If you wanted to represent the aircraft under maintenance the outer doors could be opened and wheelwell interiors built up.

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Upper surfaces are shown under a coat of Future (Klear) prior to the panel wash and weathering.

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The panel lines were highlighted with Tamiya wash. I decided to attach the smaller fragile parts at this point so they could be painted before the final flat coats. True to form, a few of these parts sacrificed themselves to the carpet monster and had to be replaced with homemade items. The teardrop-shaped mass balance on the left was shaped from sprue, the hinge on the right was made from plastic stock. It would be really nice if kits contained spares for these kinds of parts!

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This is what is visible through the nose glazing, not a whole lot. Color contrasts show through but not much more.

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Here is a view of the finished model. Decals are from Eagle Strike Productions sheet 72041 and represent an aircraft from II./KG 40 based at Bordeaux, France in 1944.

Revell Heinkel He 177 Greif Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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The He 177 didn’t have a lot of transparencies for an aircraft of its size and most of that was concentrated in the nose. I have gotten into the habit of cutting off the gun barrels rather than breaking them off later, or worse, knocking the entire gun back into the model after it has been closed up. I have made sun curtains from masking tape fixed to the inside with LiquiTape.

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The He 177 was roughly the same size as a B-17, the wingspan was 103 feet or 17.2” (43.6 cm) in scale. The fuselage seam needed only a little filler but overall fit is excellent.

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The seams around the clear parts were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. This is the ideal filler for areas like this as any excess can be removed with a damp cotton swab, eliminating the need for sanding.

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The transparencies were shot with a light coat of the interior color, RLM 66. On this model the dark camouflage colors would likely suffice if I were to skip this step, but you’d have to be careful that the light primer coat was not visible.

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The entire model was given a thin coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Any seams are re-filled and sanded at this point and checked again.

Revell Heinkel He 177 Greif Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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This is the Revell of Germany He 177A-5 Greif kit which was issued in 2000. This is the second time which I have built this kit, the first one was finished in the camouflage scheme shown on the box art. This is a great kit and the real thing wore a wide variety of interesting paint schemes so there are many possibilities.

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The major pieces are nicely molded with recessed panel lines and crisp detail. The wheel well covers on the He 177 were normally closed when the aircraft was on the ground so they are molded as part of the lower wing here. This leaves only a small portion of the well visible which will be almost entirely filled with the landing gear legs. The result is no visible wheel well to speak of. Also, there is very little of the interior visible through the transparencies, only the nose compartment and tail gunner’s position will be visible.

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These are sprues with the smaller parts. The sprue on the lower left is mainly devoted to three Fritz-X glide bombs. There is some nice interior detail on the bomb bay for those who want to show it open.

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For this build I will be using this sprue of Henschel Hs 293 glide bombs instead of the Fritz-X. I believe these are spares left over from a Revell of Germany Ju 290 kit. The He 177 could carry either weapon for the anti-shipping mission.

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Construction begins with the interior, or maybe with the glide bombs for spite. RLM 65 is a dark gray and will wash out any interior detail if you’re not careful. To prevent this and highlight the detail I spray lighter mixes of gray from above to provide artificial contrast simulating lighting, figure painters call this “Zenithal Highlighting”. A useful technique which keeps the cockpit looking three-dimensional.

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The cockpit after a black wash and some drybrushing with silver. I had a photoetch set for this kit but didn’t use much of it in the end, the seatbelts being the most obvious parts. I make throttle levers from 1/700 scale ship railing, that way you get several levers at once instead of the individual levers from the PE fret which are much more frustrating to work with.

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Another view of the cockpit. Some of this will be visible through the transparency so it is important to build up what is there – especially if the part is a different color. I wouldn’t go for an all-out super detailing job here though as the effort would not be visible on the finished model.

Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffin) Engines & Servicing Details

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An He 177A-3 of Flugzeugführerschule (B) 16 starting engines.  The cart in front of the aircraft is an electrical generator which was widely used on Luftwaffe airfields while starting engines or to replenish batteries within the aircraft.  The ground crewman on the left stands by with a fire extinguisher, a prudent precaution.

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The main powerplant of the early He 177, the Daimler-Benz DB 606.  This engine was built by combining two DB 601 twelve-cylinder engines.  The A-3 and later variants carried the similar DB 610 which used DB 605 engines and developed 2,860 hp (2,133 kW).

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Each bank was married to a common reduction gear to drive the propeller.  This has led to a semantic debate about whether the He 177 was a two-engine or four-engine design.  In any case engine fires plagued the Greif and the developmental He 274 and 277 designs were laid out as conventional four-engine designs with each engine in its own nacelle.

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Engine servicing on this 4./KG 100 machine would make for an interesting diorama!  The aircraft was designed to have this special crane fitted when a block and tackle was needed to service the engines.  Note the spinner on the hardstand in front of the aircraft and how uneven the spiral is painted.  The aircraft is W.Nr. 550043, coded 6N+HM.

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Another view showing the maintenance crew preparing to remove the propeller.  Each DB 610 engine weighed a hefty 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg).

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A different type of portable block and tackle commonly seen on Luftwaffe airfields.  The tarps covering the engines and cockpit glazing of this KG 50 Greif are noteworthy.  (World War Photos)

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It is rare to see the Fowler flaps deployed on an He 177, on this example they are fully extended and depressed for maintenance.  Crews are working on both engines and the wing access panels have been opened.  The cover for the B1-Stand remote turret is on the starboard wing.  These are KG 100 machines at München-Riem airfield.

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An He 177 is bombed up using a standard Luftwaffe hydraulic bomb cart.  Maximum bomb load was designed as 15,000 pounds (7,000 kilograms) although it is doubtful this was ever carried operationally.

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More bombs are brought to the belly of this KG 100 bomber as armorers work to fuse bombs under the aircraft.  (Bundesarchiv photo)

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A heavy load!  An SC 1800 bomb is wheeled under this He 177.  This bomb weighed in at 4,000 pounds, the Grief could carry one on the hardpoint under each wing.

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The hydraulic bomb jack strains under the massive weight as armorers connect the shackles.  Note the aircrew approaching from the front of the aircraft.

Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffin) Landing Gear & Cockpit

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The Heinkel He 177 Greif was equipped with a rather unique set of landing gear.  There were four main wheels, each mounted separately on individual struts.  The hinge points were in the engine nacelles and each leg folded laterally up into the wing.

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There was a large circular cover for each wheel well under the wing.  These covers were normally closed, opening only when the landing gear was cycling.  The covers could be released by the ground crews for maintenance.  This is an He 177A-1 of KG1, VF+RP.  (World War Photos)

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This photograph of an He 177 being serviced reveals several interesting details.  The wheel well doors have been released by the ground crew and the engine covers have been removed.  The highly-polished spinner has been removed and is painted with a very even spiral.  Under the wing at the right of the photo is the rack for an Hs 293 or Fritz-X guided bomb.  The aircraft is from II./KG 40.  (Bundesarchiv Photo)

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This aircraft is up on a jack to allow servicing of the main wheels.  The tires were quite large, 1220 x 445 mm.  (Bundesarchiv Photo)

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Another machine from II./KG 40, this view gives an impression of the limited access to the engines, even with the panels removed.  Engine cooling problems were never fully overcome, and many He 177 were lost to engine fires.

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A nice view of the main gear from the rear showing many useful details for modelers.

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A captured aircraft with the wheel well doors and engine access panels open.

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The starboard gear retracting as seen from the cockpit of He 177V-4.  The gear was actuated hydraulically and the struts compressed as the gear retracted.

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A rare view of the flaps from the underside showing the interior structure.  The He 177 was equipped with Fowler type flaps which slid to the rear before deflecting downwards.

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A view from inside the cockpit.  Not the best photograph but it does show the general arrangement.  The pilot sat to the left.  As on many Luftwaffe bomber types, his control yoke was hinged at the top of the center column and could be flipped to the right to allow the Bombardier to fly the aircraft.

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A much clearer picture showing the pilot’s station.  Engine controls are on the console to the left.  The extensive glazing provided excellent all-around visibility, particularly down and to the front of the aircraft.

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A view of the rear bulkhead of the cockpit showing the radio equipment.  The He 177 carried a crew of six.  German design practice was to concentrate the crew together at the front of the aircraft to improve communication.