In 1936, when the Bf 109 was chosen by the Luftwaffe as the future standard fighter, the formerly preferred He 112 dropped to the second place. This was a hard decision to take for Ernst Heinkel who wanted to proove his company's ability to build faster fighters. So he decided, without official permission, to develop an other aircraft privately. The P 1035 project, latter designated He 100, combined all up to date features. The most noticable was the utilization of surface cooling.
The first prototype took off for the first time on 22nd January 1938. Ernst Udet flying the He 100 V-2 broke the world speed record on the 100 km distance with an average speed of 634.73 km/h. The He 100 V-3 powered with a DB 601R engine and shorter wing span was lost because of an undercarriage malfunction so it was replaced by the V-8. It is this machine which broke the absolute world speed record on 31st March, 1939, achieveing 746.606 km/h. In respect of confidentiality, this machine was redesignated He 112U. This record was however surpassed by Messerschmitt's Bf 209 V-1 on 26th April, 1939. Further speed test were forbidden to Heinkel.
The next prototypes were built as fighters and though their performances were high, the surface cooling was unreliable. Further, the DB 601 engines' availability wasn't guaranteed, so it was decided that the He 100 wouldn't enter production. In total, only three pre-production and 12 production machines were built. Three aircraft were purchased by the Japanese together with license rights. The Soviets purchased five aircraft. The other aircraft left served for propaganda purposes. The machines were filmed subsequently getting three different emblems of non existing Luftwaffe units.. This alleged type got the designation He 113. Even though it never saw combat use, many Allied pilots claimed to have seen, fought and even shot down some He 113!
Planet Models' new 1/48 scale He 100 all resin kit comes in their usual small but very sturdy top opening cardboard box. The artwork on top of it is simple but very nice and gives the box a feeling of quality. The impression is not different when you look at the content which is safely packed with the usual "pouch" method of the Czech manufacturer. The content of the kit was undamaged in my sample, so the technique seems to be efficient.
The content of the kit is the following:
- 44 resin parts.
- 3 white metal parts.
- 2 vacuformed canopies.
- 1 decal sheet.
- 1 instruction booklet.
The ivory colored resin parts are nicely cast and the bigger elements (fuselage and wings) will only require a limited amount of cleaning. The smaller parts will be harder to work with as they are attached to big casting blocks, so care will be needed when removing them. I found some air bubbles here and there but nothing to worry too much about. The surface is rendered with delicate engraved panel lines which would put to shame some short run manufacturer.
The landing gear legs are provided in white metal. This is a good thing as the model will certainly be heavy once completed because of the one piece wing part. The vacuform canopy parts are very nice and a spare is provided in case something bad happens with the first one.
I would say that the level of detail is acceptable but the cockpit could have been improved with some PE parts. However, seatbelts are present on the resin seat and with some references, it should be possible to add some scratched details into the cockpit.
The instructions are printed on two A4 sheets and folded so to make an 8 page booklet. Some historical details are provided, as well as a parts layout. The construction steps are based on photos. This is not a problem as such but the printed images are very dark and in some places, especially for the cockpit, it is very difficult to actually see something! The painting and decalling guides are much better and three decorations are included on the nicely printed decal sheet, all for the same aircraft:
- He 100 V-8 flown by Hans Dieterle on March 31, 1939, during the world speed record attempt.
- He 100 V-8 used for propaganda purposes with the civil registration D-IDGH.
- He 100 V-8 over sprayed with fictive military markings 42C 11.
In the first decoration, the aircraft is all metal with traces of sealer over the panel joints. It will be necessary to eliminate the finely engraved panel lines of the model with putty to reproduce the smooth surface of the record breaking machine. The second decoration is all RLM63 with the exception of some aluminium panels. In fact, I would left all the panels used for surface cooling in natural metal. The last aircraft is RLM02 according to the instructions but other sources refer to RLM63 as well.
Construction shouldn't be too difficult. I've test fitted the main parts and they fitted rather well. Some putty will be needed but not more than on some plastic kit. If built straight from the box, Planet Models' He 100 kit shouldn't be a too difficult challenge. Again, the only bad point of the kit is the rather basic cockpit interior.
Planet Models' 1/48 scale He 100 is a nice kit of an interesting aircraft. It is well produced and shouldn't be too difficult to build for an experienced modeler. Out of the box, it could also represent a good project for someone wanting to try an all resin kit for the first time. Only the basic cockpit and the dark photos of the instructions are to be mentioned on the minus side. Highly recommend to early Luftwaffe enthusiasts.
Planet Models references are available from MODELIMEX
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