1/48 Scale Revell He-111 H-4
The Heinkel He-111 is a more modern molding from Revell. The original model came out in 1995, and it was heralded as being a rival to anything Tamiya or Hasegawa were putting out at the time. I did get one back then, but I had yet to build it. Fast forward to 2014, and I am now building a recent reissue I picked up, since you can make three different versions.
In the Beginning
Opening the box, one will find a fairly large amount of grey plastic. But unlike the Monogram B-17G which had a lot of interior to build, the He-111, except for the cockpit area, has no interior items to build at all. There are quite a few variants that can be built, like a torpedo bomber and a bomber version that carries very heavy external bombs. There was also a fair amount of flash, which I was quite surprised at, as this mold is not very old. The biggest disappointment was the wing and fuselage parts. You could almost see through the plastic when you held it up to a light. A lot of the small parts had a large amount of flash. I am pretty sure that this kit was molded overseas, so I guess that this should not be a big surprise. After this initial inspection, and clean up, the building began.
Construction began with the cockpit, and it has a lot of detail, almost a small model in itself. Because of this, the whole assembly was constructed separately and painted Polyscale RLM 66. The interior sidewalls were painted RLM 66 as well, and then they were installed into the fuselage. At the same time, the interior of the rear fuselage that could be seen from windows and turrets was painted RLM 66, but, except for the cockpit area, there are no other interior details. There were quite a few windows that had to be installed at this point (waist and bombardier section windows), and they were all glued in with a healthy amount of Microscale Krystal Kleer, which is great stuff. The rear wheel strut assembly was done next, and this went together quite well.
With the cockpit, fuselage windows, and rear wheel assembly installed, the main fuselage was glued together. This went off without a hitch, and the seam work was minimal. After the fuselage had dried, the upper and lower wing assemblies were glued together, and then attached to the fuselage. The wing pieces, as stated above, were extremely thin, and you had to be careful to not put too much pressure on them so that you would not flatten them out after they were glued together. Again, this is a reissue, and not the original model from 1995, so I am not sure if the older issues have the same problem. As with the fuselage, the wing seam work went well along the leading edge, but the underside where the wings met the fuselage did need some filling and sanding.
The main landing gear was next on the agenda. The main struts are part of the engine nacelles, and, although very detailed, the whole strut assembly felt weak. The wheel strut assemblies were painted RLM 66, as was the wheel well area. The main struts were very thin, but they did have attachment points in the nacelle area. To my surprise, the struts were actually quite solid once they were glued in. Care was needed in removing them from the sprue however due to their thinness.
After the wheel assemblies were done, I put together the engine blocks. These went together very nicely, and after the propellers were installed, the engines were glued to the wing engine nacelle areas. When these assemblies were dry, the stabilizers were attached to the tail section, and then the upper and lower “turret” areas, which are really just tubs with a seat, some sidewall details and a machine gun, were built and installed. After all was judged to be in order, it was off to the paint shop.
I had decided early on to paint a Battle of Britain era bomber, one that had flown out of Norway. This was fairly easy, as it is RLM 70/71 on the upper wings and fuselage with a hard edge in between the two colors, and RLM 65 on the underside. There was a lot of masking, as the finished wings turned out to be fairly big, bigger than they looked to be on the sprue. The only issue I ran into was how the directions showed the paint scheme for the fuselage sides near the waist area windows. The top view painting directions did not jive up with the side view paint directions, so I had to do a little fudging of the painting to make it look right. The paint I used was all Polyscale. After all the final touchups were done, the decal phase began.
Decaling and Weathering
The decals I used were the kit decals that came with the model. They were in very good shape and they had all the decals I wanted to use, including German World War II era swastikas.
Since there are small side and bombardier area windows that I had to install before final assembly, I had to mask them over with Tamiya 10 mm tape, burnished down very carefully, so as not to push them back through the fuselage before gloss coating. After gloss coating the whole aircraft, I let it dry for two days.
After the gloss coat had dried, the main decals were put on the aircraft along with the many warning and fuel stencils. The only real issue I had was that the wing decal crosses kept curling a little bit, and I had to redo them a number of times. The decals were treated with Microset and MicroSol, and they reacted well. After letting the decals dry for a week or so, I laid down another coat of gloss. After the gloss had dried, I then laid down a flat coat that was sprayed over the entire aircraft.
After the flat coat was dry, I did the usual weathering, with Tamiya Flat Aluminum chipping along the leading edges and the engine cowling. But as I did with the Junkers Ju-87G-2 that I had done a few years ago, I did not go too hard on the weathering because all the pictures I have seen of He-111s from this time period seem to show that the German ground crews kept very good care of their aircraft, so I did not go all out on the chipping and fading.
I then did exhaust and gun powder staining, as well as fuel spills, using Polly scale RLM 66. To tone things down, I did my usual overall black wash, as well as dry brushing the decals to tone them down, again using the RLM 66.
The main canopy was then glued on with Krystal Kleer, after the evil canopy lines had been painted, and this one was hard because it is a greenhouse type of canopy. You have to make sure you do a pretty good job on these lines, as this canopy is very prominent, right on the aircraft nose. At this same time, the upper and lower “turret” windshields were installed, and the small window maskings I had put on earlier were removed. After all was allowed to dry for a few days, the He-111 took its place on the shelf.
I had watched the old film The Battle of Britain just before I decided to build this bird; in fact, it is the main reason I did build it. The only real issue was the painting instructions as I describe above. The aircraft wingspan is actually quite wide and somewhat graceful looking and you will have to have a fair amount of space to display it. There are a lot of parts for different versions and it builds into a great looking kit. For the price (under $25.00), you can’t go wrong.
Until next time…
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.