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1/48 ICM 48261 Heinkel He-111 H-3 Kit Review… and it’s a beauty!

Once I realized this 1/48 scale Heinkel 111 was out and available for purchase, I had to get my hands on a kit. After a phone call I had one on the way, thanks in part to the misses and her credit card. We will call it a late Christmas present for me.

It arrived in the mail today, so I promptly opened the box. What I found inside was fantastic. It was so good, it prompted me to do a kit review for my fellow model builders out there on the web. So, here it is.

If you have purchased a new tool kit manufactured by ICM, you will know that they have really stepped up to the plate with their recent kit releases. The new 1/48 scale Dornier Do 17 and Ju 88 series of planes have received some pretty good reviews. So good that I went out and bought two of the Do 17Z’s and a Ju 88 A5. From just looking into those boxes I was very impressed with the quality of the moldings. They have come a long way.

Here’s a picture of the box art. It depicts a plane flying at either dusk or dawn based on the color of the sunlight that is reflecting off the plane and the landscape below. The box art plane also is wearing markings for aircraft that participated in the Battle of Britain. The large white rectangles were supposedly used as a formation flying aid.

After removing the box top, you will find the plastic parts are securely packaged in a very sturdy white cardboard box. The box top lid fits the white card board box very snug, so care will have to be taken as you remove the cover. I wish more manufacturers would package their products like ICM has this one. I have too many kit boxes in the stash that have been crushed from having other boxes stacked on top of them. I don’t think this one will crush too easily.

The plastic trees are all contained in a single re sealable clear plastic bag. The bag fits in the box with very little room for shifting. The parts don’t look like they can shift around too easily during shipment. This should help prevent scratches from occurring in the parts.

I didn’t notice any scratches in my kit, although a corner of the outer shipping container was damaged during shipment. My model box emerged undamaged.

The clear bag has adhesive along the open edge that allows you to press the bag to close it off. This is a nice touch if you want to keep your parts contained to help prevent loss.

Inside with the plastic parts, the clear parts are also packaged. They are placed in the center of the plastic trees, and are also separately enclosed with their own re sealable clear plastic bag. This is the same set up as used for the main parts bag, only it’s a little smaller.

Here’s how my clear parts looked once I removed them from the separate clear plastic bag. They are thin, crisp, and very nicely molded. The also look to be very clear, as they should be. Take a look at the pictures and judge for yourself.

All of the parts look to be molded rather well. No flash was present on anything in the box.

Here’s a close up of the main canopy, which was a very prominent feature on the He 111. The areas to be painted have a semi flat finish on them. This should help during the masking process.

Inside the main parts bag here’s what you get:

The main fuselage “A” tree. I have placed a 12 inch / I foot ruler along side the parts to give you a reference for size. This is a pretty good sized model.

The wings parts B1 and B2:

Two of these “C” trees are provided. The engines and bomb bay parts are provided here.

At the bottom of the box you will find the kit instructions. The instructions are printed on a glossy paper.

Under the instructions you will find the kit decals. They are covered with a protective sheet of wax type non stick paper.

Decals are provided for 4 four different aircraft. The Luftwaffe units are listed in order:

aircraft #1. 1. / KG 53, France, Spring 1940
aircraft #2 Geschwaderstab / KG 53, France, August 1940
aircraft #3 KG 26, Norway, Spring 1941
aircraft #4 5. / KG 27, Russia, April 1943

There are a common set of stencils provided on the decal sheet.

Three different unit insignias are also included. No Swastikas are provided. They are not shown on the decal placement guide either. My understanding is that it is illegal to sell something in the European market with them present.

These will have to be obtained from the aftermarket or from your decal stash is they are desired.

The instructions provide a common stencil location for all of the planes, and color illustrations showing the markings for these four different planes. The camouflage color call outs are your typical RLM 70 / 71 over 65 scheme.

The decals appear to be in good register and have good color on my sample. I have not used decals made by ICM so I can not comment on how they will work.

On the front page of the instructions, ICM has provided paint color references, using Tamiya and Revell color numbers. These numbers can be seen in this photo below.

The actual kit instructions are very detailed, and are very similar to the recent Airfix offerings with the style of drawings provided. There are 116 steps listed, covering 28 pages. The languages appear to be Cryllic / Russian and English. There are universal symbols for things like “Do Not Cement” and “Optional”. You can see these symbols at the bottom of the color chart call outs.

The instructions start out with a very nice parts layout showing the locations of each plastic part in the kit. The plastic trees are illustrated very well. The part numbers are provided as they are cast into the parts trees next to the actual part. The illustrations are so good that you can identify the individual parts numbers cast into the plastic trees, (which is exactly as they are on the real parts).

The construction starts not with the cockpit as is usual, but instead they have you build the main wing spar, and the main landing gear wells.

The cockpit assembly comes a little later during the build. Here is a picture showing the assembly sequence, along with some interior:

Here’s a very cool part for you super detailers out there.

Not one, but TWO Junkers Jumo engines are included, and they look like little jewels themselves.

ICM has included separate engine mounts and turbo chargers with piping for each engine.

Here’s a picture showing the construction sequence to give you an idea.

The construction sequence will have you install the lower wing halves first. These look like they will join the bomb bay door section. There is an option to build an open bomb bay, and ICM has also included a closed door cover in case you want to go that route.

I’m building mine the hard way. Doors open baby!

Here’s the instructions that show how the wings are installed. There are two big grooves molded into the inner wing surfaces that allow you to securely glue these parts to the main spars.

It looks to be a very sturdy arrangement.

A full load of bombs and a very nicely detailed bomb bay are included. They appear to be molded very well.

ICM has also included several crew served MG’s and a cannon.
The MG’s have the spent ammo casing and link bag molded into them.

They also provide numerous spare twin “snail drum” magazines for extra ammunition to be stored on board.

The exhausts are also very well detailed.

Here’s a photo showing the propeller. If you look close, you can also see the horse shoe oil cooler for the Jumo, and the round circular part that goes behind the spinner. This should allow one to build a plane with the props off and the cowlings exposed. This is another very nice touch. Thanks ICM!

Here’s a close up of the fine details provided with the engine bearers.

Note the quality of the moldings. Absolutely no flash is present anywhere on this kit. There shouldn’t be any flash, since this is a brand new mold.

But the quality control looks to be excellent. The parts trees on my sample laid out nice and flat. I have some kits in the stash from other manufacturers (from years ago), where the plastic was removed from the mold too soon while it was still warm. This caused some large pieces to warp.

This is not apparent anywhere in my sample. Everything about this kit is top notch!

Next up is a close up showing the main wheels.

and the tail wheel assembly:

All of the control surfaces (except for the flaps) are molded in a manner that they can be posed.
Here’s the elevator and stabilizers:

The Rudder and Fin. You can also see how nicely the tiny details on the rear of the fuselage have been molded.

Speaking of the fuselage. Here’s the side windows.

and the corresponding molding inside the fuselage halves.

The Ailerons: The fabric effects look rather good too.

The rivets don’t look to be overdone. Here’s a close up of the details on the wing surface.

The landing gear struts are provided on this parts tree, along with a lot of other small bits. These parts look like they are very delicate. So care must be taken when removing these.

Lastly, here’s the parts tree that contains the main wing strut and most of the bomb bay parts. I like how ICM has grouped the similar parts together, with like items on the same trees.

This shows the details on the back side of the tree:

On this parts tree is located the upper fuselage plug where the upper dorsal gunner’s position is located. Check out how finely the ring gear is molded!

How’s that for some details?

If this kit fits together as nicely as it looks on the tree, you will definitely have a winner.

I have not measured anything against drawings or anything like that to check out how accurate the dimensions are. I’m sure someone will though. I’m not a Heinkel expert, but to me it looks the part. I’m sure it is much better than the old Monogram He 111.

But it should be. This is a brand new kit, made with current technology, and the old Monogram kit has been around the block a few times. I still like both to be honest with you.

But detail wise, this ICM kit beats the Monogram kit hands down. I will soon see how it stacks up against the older kit as far as ease of build goes, and report my findings here on iModeler during the build log.

This one has gone directly into the to build pile. You will be seeing an article started here as I construct it. The ICM sister kits of the 1/48 Dornier Do 17Z and the 1/48 Junkers Ju 88 A5 are also nearing the top of the “build pile”.

It looks like ICM has provided some good competition to some Asian kit manufacturers. Times are good to be a modeler now, especially if you like the Luftwaffe twins like I do. I never dreamed that we would get a new Dornier, much less a new Heinkel.

Life is good!

As usual, comments are encouraged.

24 responses to 1/48 ICM 48261 Heinkel He-111 H-3 Kit Review… and it’s a beauty!

  1. Wow! That’s some really great detail!

    Looks like you’ll need some aftermarket decals, though, for the swastika on the tail (PC strikes agin).

    • Yes you are correct David……….. No Swastika’s in this one………. This kit looks to be awesome though even without them !!!

      I can’t wait to get cracking on this one, but I have some other things that need finished first. Then it’s full speed ahead ……..

  2. Still have 2 Monograms Heinkels in the stash, and often wonder just why I haven’t pulled one out and build it…
    The Dornier 17 Z is also on my 2018 build list and seems a great kit.
    Also eagerly anticipating ICM dornier 217 N, which seems to be due late this year! Besides Vacuform from Koster, I don’t know any other 1/48 model available ever of this elegant nightfighter

    • I have a few of the Monogram kits left in the stash too, and a Pro Modeler version with the upper turret. They are very nice kits, especially when you consider their age.

      I plan on eventually building them up, but first I want to build the new ICM Do-17Z, Ju-88A5 and this one first……. I agree with you, the Do-17 is a beautiful kit.

      I didn’t know that ICM had planned on a Do-217N. I have a 1/48 Pro Modeler Do-217 E5 in the stash. I’ll have to get one of those N versions when they come out………….

      Thanks for the heads up !!!

      I can do a build review on the ICM 1/48 Do-17Z if enough interest in expressed…………..

  3. I’ve never had any experience with ICM, but you’re right – it DOES look awesome. I, too, still have one of the “old” Monogram examples hanging from the ceiling (and another one in my meager ‘stash’). Looking forward to the end result of this one, though. 🙂

  4. Nice review Louis, looks a lovely kit.
    BTW Swastika`s are allowed in kits produced and sold in Europe, especially Germany apparently.

  5. Looks great, Louis, you’ve sold it to me, looking forward to your build. By the way, Tamiya includes swastikas in their kits although they are not shown as such in their instructions or illustrations.

    • Thank you George for “liking” the article and for looking forward to my build. I have a few Tamiya Fw-190’s to finish first, then I want to build this He-111 and the Dornier Do-17Z shortly thereafter…… So please stay tuned my friend. I purchased a decal sheet that had the Swastikas on it in various sizes and styles. I wanted to include them on my builds since in all reality they were there on the original planes. Looks like the “PC” Police are taking over…….

  6. Nice panel lines and the decals look in register- altogether a good looking project. Thanks for posting.

    • Everything in this kit looks like a real gem.

      I can’t wait to get started on it. I plan on building the new ICM 1/48 Do-17Z at the same time since they both used the same colors for painting.

      Thank you Rob for “liking” the article too. Take care my friend.

  7. I had a look at this kit during the last IPMS-Germany meet. What I saw agrees very well with what you say and with what the guy who was building it said. He didn’t have any complaints about the correctness of the kit either, which is unusual for these guys, who know their Heinkels and Messerschmidts.

    • It’s a real beauty isn’t it Ulf ???

      I am very happy to hear that the guy building one didn’t have any complaints. I hope it goes together as well as it looks. It is also comforting to hear they didn’t have any other complaints about the kit’s accuracy.

      I will get started on this one very soon. As I am building this one, I want to build the new ICM 1/48 scale Do-17Z too, since they both share the same colors used during construction.

      But first I have to finish up my four Fw-190’s that I have started. Please stay tuned as I will do a build log of these here on Imodeler………..

  8. Ulf, I guess if anyone’s going to pass a trustworthy judgement on a Heinkel it’d be IPMS Germany. This looks a great kit, especially the surface detail.

    • I would agree with that statement 100 percent………. I’ll bet these guys know their German subjects very well. I mean this as a respectful compliment.

      This kit is a marvel of plastic engineering. I plan on doing a kit review on the ICM 1/48 Dornier Do-17Z soon. From what I have seen inside the box, it’s just as nice as this He-111 is.

      I’ll post up some pictures along with an accurate description, and you all can decide for yourselves though…….

      As soon as I finish up the four Tamiya Fw-190’s I want to get cracking on this Heinkel and the Do-17Z…… So please stay tuned my friend.

  9. That’s one definite and one ‘probable’ for the stash then!

    • I liked the 1/84 ICM Do-17Z so much that I purchased a second one. I probably would have purchased another He-111 but I still have several of the older Monogram kits in the stash, (and they are still a nice kit too…….). If I did not have the other He-111’s in the stash, I definitely would be getting another one or possibly even two of the ICM Heinkel’s. I’ll get the preview posted up soon on the Dornier.

  10. Rather impressive Louis, ICM has been around for awhile but they seemed to have really stepped up in the quality of their kits. Though I have to admit I have never built any ICM kits. I may have to look into them. Though I do have the Pro-Modeler He-111 kit and built the Hobbycraft Do-17Z which was a long time ago. Despite how impressive your review is I really think having just the Pro Modeler kit would be enough for me. Though quite tempting, rule of thumb never say never.

  11. I haven’t built any ICM kits either Chuck. But that’s about to change soon as I clear a few other projects off the work bench first. The Pro Modeler kit you mentioned is still a very nice kit as are the Monogram versions.

    I have been looking at your Hobbycraft Do-17 build, and I’m really impressed with how nice your kit turned out. You did a fabulous job on it for sure.

    I hear you buddy………….. Never say never…………… 🙂

    You just never know.

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