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Ho 229

DML 1/48 Ho 229A-1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject Ho 229A-1 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5505 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-etch
Pros Exquisite detailing Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production ($29.95)

First Look

Ho 229
Ho 229
Ho 229
Ho 229
Ho 229
Ho 229
Ho 229

World War II German aviation research and engineering contributed significantly to the state of the art of flight. While Whittle developed the centrifugal flow jet engine that would later power the Meteor and (ironically) the MiG-15, it was the Germans that developed axial flow jet engines that not only powered the Me 262, but also would become the basis for modern turbojet engines and the core for modern turbofans as well.

One such leap in technology was the work of the Horten brothers, Walter, Reiner and Wolfram. As teenagers, they developed all-wing gliders and understood the unique aerodynamic requirements for their control. Since Walter was a fighter pilot, he understood that it would take a superior machine to defeat the Spitfire.

The result of their work was the Ho 9. First flight of the aircraft came in late 1944 as the aircraft was originally designed to be powered by the BMW003 engines. When the Jumo004 engines came in their place, these were significantly larger and necessitated a major redesign to accommodate the new engines. Nevertheless, the design was a success and was accepted into production with some changes as the Ho 229. Six prototypes were scheduled for initial production and the first, the day-fighter variant, was about ready for its first flight when the US Army overran the Gotha workshop in April 1945.

I remember when DML released this kit 14 years ago. It doesn't seem that long ago... DML had acquired the molds from a company that raised the state of the art for scale models by quite a margin - Trimaster. Trimaster had developed a family of molds that featured breathtaking detail (for those days) and introduced the concept of multimedia parts as part of the production kits.

The first 1/48 scale kit to be released by DML that had not been previously released by Trimaster is this one, the 1/48 Ho 229A-1. Looking at the engineering of the parts, it's a safe bet that this was also a Trimaster tooling that never reached production before they ceased operations.

This kit is an engineering marvel, even 14 years later. Nobody has bothered to offer another rendition of this aircraft. The kit reflects the simplicity of the Horten design - one big wing that houses two Jumo engines, two 30mm cannons, one cockpit, landing gear, and fuel. The outer wing panels are designed to be detachable by removing two locking pins for each wing from two ventral access panels. When the wings are detached, you can see internal structural detailing and the Jumo engines from the sides.

Two removable dorsal engine bay covers also allow access to the Jumo engines, so you'd best detail these up before installation. The engines themselves are nicely detailed and only require an effective paint and weathering job to bring out the details.

The box art depicts the Ho 229 on the perch above a Gloster Meteor. This reflects the fact that had the Germans succeeded in extending the war (and they came close!), the next phase of the airwar would have been jet-powered.

Markings are provided for a notional Red 13 wearing Defense of the Reich band colors of JG 2. Could you imagine this aircraft in the hands of the top scoring fighter group of any nation at any time since man started to fly?

The instructions are nicely illustrated and clearly show the colors for all of the parts using Gunze Sangyo color numbers, though a table is included to translate those colors into generic color names.

This kit has been reissued a few times but is currently out of production. Nevertheless, the kit is still readily available at hobby swaps and on eBay. You may even have one or two of these beauties stashed on your shelf! Dust one of these off and build this unique piece of aviation history.

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