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He 111H-3

ICM 1/48 He 111H-3 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2018 Manufacturer ICM
Subject He 111H-3 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48261 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $69.00

First Look

He 111H-3
He 111H-3
He 111H-3
He 111H-3

The Heinkel He 111 was an outgrowth of Ernst Heinkel's desire to build the world's fastest passenger aircraft. In the early 1930s, Heinkel unveiled the single engine He 70 which easily stripped the Lockheed 9 Orion of its speed record. Many of the features of the single-engine He 70 were incorporated into a larger, twin-engine design which could accommodate a greater payload over a longer range. As the early versions of the He 111 entered commercial service with Lufthansa in the mid-1930s, the new German government wanted to press the aircraft into military service. Early versions of the He 111B-F bomber would see combat in the Spanish Civil War.

The He 111P would be the first version of this series to change the nose section from the more conventional 'stepped nose' to an all-glass design. By the time the assembly lines were closed in 1944, The vast majority of the He 111s produced were H-models. While the He 111P series were powered by the DB 601 engines, the H-series were powered by the Jumo 211. The He 111H-3 was powered by the Jumo 211D-1 engines and was fitted with greater defensive armament after combat experience during the Polish campaign.

While the He 111 would see service throughout the war, it gained its fame as the principal bomber used over England during the Battle of Britain. He 111s would even continue service after the war, primarily in the Spanish Air Force where these aircraft were re-engined along with the Bf 109 to accept the Merlin engine. Next time you watch the movie 'Battle of Britain', take a closer look at those Heinkels - they're powered by Rolls Royce!

For many years, the best kit of the He 111 in 1/48 scale has been from Monogram (now Revell). Two versions were released: the first that could replicate the He 111H-4/5/6, and the other was the He 111H-22. Both kits had scribed panel lines and beautiful details inside and out. ICM has entered the scene with their first installment, rendering the He 111H-3. As you'll see in the images, ICM has engineered this kit to replicate other variants in this Heinkel family.

This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. The engineering in this kit is set up to render a stronger model with two spars that run through the fuselage and out beyond the engines. This same spar assembly also boxes in the main wheel wells and provides the foundation for the flight deck and waist gunners' positions. The use of inserts inside the fuselage provide continuity of interior frame details in areas like the wing roots.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed flight deck
  • Detailed bombardier/nose gunner position
  • Positionable pilot overhead escape hatch
  • Detailed bomb bay with optional bomb load
  • Choice of open or closed bomb bay doors
  • Detailed waist compartment with dorsal, ventral, and waist gunner positions
  • Ammo storage racks in the waist compartment
  • Detailed landing gear
  • Detailed Jumo engines
  • Positionable cowling panels
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • He 111H-3, A1+BH, 1./KG 53, France, 1940
  • He 111H-3, A1+DA, Stab KG 53, France, 1940
  • He 111H-3, 1H+LH, KG 26, Norway, 1941
  • He 111H-3, 1G+KN, 5./KG 27, Russia, 1943

While I thoroughly enjoyed building the Monogram He 111 years ago, many of the shortfalls of that kit have been addressed in this tooling. This kit has positionable flight controls, beautiful interior details, optional engine access views, and crystal clear transparencies to see those interior details. To keep things simple, the kit does not provide photo-etched parts, but the only real need in this kit would be the pilot/navigator restraints. You'll also want to simulate the various cable runs from the main instrument panel as well as the remote panels for the bombardier and dorsal gunner. Ditto for the crew oxygen hoses. The interior framework, ammo storage racks in the waist compartment, and many other features provide a solid foundation for the AMS modeler or out-of-the-box modeler alike.

After seeing their recent MiG-25 recon Foxbat kits in 1/48 and I-16 Type 24 in 1/32, ICM has clearly moved into a new level of kit excellence and this is another release that is worth adding to your collection.