Revell/MPM 1/72 Junkers Ju 290Z Zwilling w/He-178P
It was one of those cold February nights in 1943, with Steinhoorn comfortably seated in “his” Ju 290Z left cockpit, executing yet another long maritime patrol. “Long” is an understatement! With those extra fuel tanks added in the central wing and 4 of the 8 engines feathered during patrolling, his flying giant could stay airborne for the whole night! Enemy night fighters had little luck discovering him with their primitive (if any) radars.
Based at Merignac, operating strictly at night, covered by large camoed canvases during daytime, the Zwilling was really a lucky giant, for not having been discovered. The effects of weathering were evident: pressed into service, chipped paint could be seen at places, mainly as no proper salt resistant priming was applied under the “night blue” camo.
So there he was, with his 18-man crew, plus his friend, Hauptman Ziegel, patiently seated in the modified Heinkel parasite, sporting the same “Midnight Blue” camo, as well (only an extremely skillful pilot would be allowed in the handful Heinkel). Steinhoorn had somehow foreseen the war outcome, not very favorable for his country, his one-off Zwilling not enough to make any difference. Still, he was proud that he insisted on this ultra-long range and endurance maritime reconnaissance project, with time proving that he was right. Deep in his heart, all he wished was an end for this mad war, with the least possible damage, so he could establish some magic friendships with his – by that time – enemies…
And the real story
The Junkers Ju 290 was a large German, four-engine long-range transport, maritime patrol aircraft and heavy bomber used by the Luftwaffe late in World War II that had been developed from an earlier airliner.
Junkers project documents from 1942 to 1944 indicated that a Zwilling variant was proposed. It was to be composed of two Ju 290 fuselages and powered by eight BMW 9-801 engines; two mounted on each outboard wing and four on the inboard wing. It was to carry a single Messerschmitt Me 328 parasite fighter on top of the right fuselage. The Ju 290Z was canceled in favor of the Ju 390.
This was a what-if project that combined two Revell Ju-290s and a MPM He-178. All are wonderful kits in their own ways (the Revells very detailed mainstream ones, the MPM equally detailed short run, but easilly built). The two Ju-290s were joined in the middle by sawing off corresponding wing parts and glue them together, with some sanding/filling/resanding and rescribing taking place. The Heinkel was scratch-modified to look like a hybrid gas turbine/pulse-jet prototype. The camo was inspired by imagining the Zwilling flying at night over the Atlantic, playing with the moonshine.
Should you wish to read the full build review (which, understandably, is not amongst the smallest), you may do so by visiting my beloved Modelingmadness via the link below:
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.