by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Hienkel He 111 has a modern look to it in my opinion, but it was designed and went into production prior to World War 2’s start in 1939. Despite its very modern appearance the He 111 was never a world leader and was quickly removed to the Eastern conflict zone after it became an easy target for British and American fighters, that said it did perform well during the Battle of Britain and remained in production until 1944. During the Battle of Britain the problems with the He 111 were brought to the attention of the German Military, its low speed and poor defensive machine gun locations meant that the aircraft was easily destroyed by determined fighter defence and so required fighter protection to perform its role well.
ICM has released a newly tooled 1/48th scale Heinkel He-111 H3. The only other offerings I know of in this scale are by Monogram/Revell of Germany and so it is promising to see a new kit of the He-111 in this scale.
The model is packaged in the now usual cardboard tray with a flip top lid and a second card lid with the model artwork on it. The design of this packaging does mean that you can reasonably be sure that the model will reach you in its intended condition. Inside there is an instruction booklet of 28 pages inside of which is the decal sheet. There is a single re-sealable bag containing seven grey sprues and a separate bag with a single clear sprue.
Starting the review with an examination of the sprues reveals very little to be concerned with that I can see. There are a few ejector pin marks that will need attention, but most of these are in hidden locations. I have also found a part on two identical sprues that looks to have a shrink mark present in the same location, but I also have to say that I could not find an image of the area to confirm or deny my suspicion. Two of the same wheel halves have become detached from two identical sprues that indicate a potential issue for loss during packaging.
Starting with the interior areas of the model and I really like how ICM have tackled joining the wings to the model and incorporated this into the interior components. The bulkheads that are part of the wing spars encompass the bomb bay and the rear and front bulkheads on the reverse sides with detail fillets attached. Looking at the area that protrudes into the wings you find the bulkheads for the front and rear of the wheel bays and the parts that make up the wheel bays connect to these making a secure mounting point.
Moving back to the fuselage portion and the walk way is included which will stabilise this area. This now secure portion is used to add all of the elements that makes up the internal structure. This goes towards the rear of the model where the ring for the upper machine gun post is located and this area includes ammunition storage, a feature I am pleased to see. The rear section is finished with another bulkhead which I am very pleased to see as I found that the connection points of the main structures (wings and Fuselage) have pins that are too large for the receiving holes. There are two ways to tackle this depending on your ability: I suggest removing the pins for the more experienced and enlarging the holes for the rest of us.
Moving onto the cockpit which is attached to the bulkhead assembly and so provides the modeller with a single structure to add to the fuselage rather than trying to fit several sub-assemblies. The cockpit area is for the most part a very pleasing offering from ICM. The pilots seat is accurate for the ‘H’ model of the He 111, but no harness detail has been provided and so there is room for the after market companies to lift this area of the model. The roof mounted instrument panel is right or wrong depending on whose reference you follow. One of my reference books provides a period photo claiming to be a ‘H’ model and this shows the panel included with the model. Overall I am pleased with the effort ICM has made with the cockpit due to the very large glazed area, but as mentioned there is room for improvement. ICM has included interior frame detail on the inside of the fuselage halves where required. Disappointingly ICM has not provided the leather pad for the bomb aimer of the canvas cover for the bomb aiming position when not in use.
The defensive armament of the He 111 is well replicated, the detail offered here is of a high standard but the muzzles of the machine guns have no hollow detail present, I suspect this will be quickly picked up on by Master or similar company who will address this with wonderful turned barrel sets. One aspect I like about this offering is the number of drum magazines that ICM has provided in the correct locations and orientation.
The offensive armament in the form of the bombs has again been well tackled by ICM. You are provided with very accurate storage and a nicely detailed full bomb load; interestingly the bombs are dropped tail first which is counter to what you would expect. Lastly ICM has provided the modeller with the option of an open or closed bomb bay.
The wheel bays are nicely detailed, but this an area I cannot comment on the accuracy of. The undercarriage itself is quite a complicated design and ICM has done a very good job of replicating this in detail. All of the rigid structure has been provided to a very pleasing level and only leaves the modeller to scratch the brake cables. The balloon tyres are nicely replicated, but they have not been provided as weighted which is a pity. The tail wheel has been equally well detailed from an accuracy standpoint, but I am disappointed to see the wheel itself moulded as part of the frame, I feel a separate moulding would provide a more realistic appearance.
Included in this offering are two full engines which I believe to be Jumo 211 A1 engines; I am happy to be corrected as the engines are not my strongpoint. The exhaust is the correct version for the model offered and it is hollowed at the end, but this will benefit from some further work by the modeller to increase its depth. Regardless of how you wish to display your model when finished I feel this is a very nice inclusion rather than needing to look at the after market providers should you have otherwise wished to include the detail. The propellers are the correct metal design rather than the larger paddled wooden propellers used in later varients.
Moving onto the exterior of the model reveals some of the finest panel lines I have come across, so fine in fact that I can see them but not feel them; this does concern me a little when it comes to painting as it will be very easy to obscure this exceptional detail. Checking the panel lines against my reference reveals very accurate replication on the model. The engine cowlings have been nicely tackled to allow the detail to be on view or not. The flight control surfaces are also separate parts allowing them to be orientated as wished or required. The Clear parts of this model have to be well replicated due to how big some areas of glazing are. The nose glazed area is made up of six pieces and this concerns me slightly when it comes to filling and sanding joints.
ICM has provided four finishing options for this model listed below. Looking at the large markings on the second finishing option leads me to believe it is a formation aircraft only. The placement of the large markings allowed aircraft to form up in designated positions, but the aircraft would not have taken part in the mission. This system was used by both the British and American air forces for assembly.
He 111-H3 1/KG 53 France, Spring 1940
He 111-H3 Geschwaderstab /KG 53 France, August 1940
He 111-H3 KG 26 Norway, Spring 1941
He 111-H3 5/KG 27 Russia, April 1943
This new offering from ICM is a model I am very pleased to see and a look at the design leads me to believe we will see many other variants of the He 111 make a showing, perhaps even the early aircraft with the more conventional cockpit style and if I am really lucky a Zwilling version (I can dream). I will not deny that the issue with the locator pins is a pain that should not be there, but it is an issue that can be overcome with relative ease. I also have concerns about any potential joints in the clear glazing; I am hoping that these are Tamiya joints in nature. Regardless of the issues both actual and potential I feel this is an excellent model that supersedes those that have come before.