Italeri 1/72 He 111Z-1 Zwilling Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2005||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Heinkel He 111Z-1 Zwilling||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||01119||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed exterior||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$59.00|
While Messerschmitt was developing the huge Me 321 Gigant cargo glider, the German air ministry was trying to find a way of getting the glider into the air and towing it to its destination. General Ernst Udet came up with the idea of joining two He 111H-6 bombers together using a constant chord wing joining the two fuselages. This new wing section would not only carry the engines from the replaced wing sections, it would add an additional engine to bring the total to five. These five engines would develop a total of 6750 horsepower, enough to tow the Me 321 or three Go 242 gliders.
Ten of these aircraft were produced and were used successfully in the assault on Malta, were slated to support Stalingrad but arrived in-theater too late, successfully supported the Kuban bridgehead, and returned to support operations in France and Italy. In fact, the Luftwaffe was so pleased with the performance of these aircraft that additional versions were in the planning stages - the He 111Z-2 long-range bomber and the He 111Z-3 long-range reconnaissance aircraft.
Now here is a classic back from Italeri. This re-issue features two of Italeri's nice He 111H kits with one set of wings replaced with the constant chord section as on the full scale aircraft.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on four parts trees, plus two additional trees of clear parts. Since the fuselage trees are also used for the standard He 111H bomber kit, each tree has bombs, torpedoes, and other details that are not used with the He 111Z, so you'll have some spares for your parts box.
Due to the age of these molds, the panel lines are all raised, and the raised lines on the flight control surfaces are a bit too raised, but a quick pass with a Scotchbrite pad will soften that up. Nevertheless, the details are sharp, clear and will be easy to work with.
To Italeri's credit, they must have put these molds through maintenance as the parts are smooth and flash-free as if these were all new tooling.
As with the standard He 111H-6 kit, the Zwilling has nicely detailed dorsal gun rings, ventral gun positions in the gondolas, and additional guns out the nose and fuselage sides.
The main landing gear doors come molded together in the closed position, making this aircraft easy to pose in-flight should you rather hang it from the ceiling. The doors are easily cut to position the landing gear down.
Markings are provided for one example, He 111Z-1 TH+ZL as it appeared in winter camo over Russia in 1943.
This was an interesting concept that the Germans used to tow their heavy gliders aloft as they didn't have a fleet of heavy bombers to draw from as the RAF and US did. This kit is one of the few that I am happy to build in 1/72 as a larger scale Zwilling would occupy a shelf of its own!
If you want to model one of the Luftwaffe's airborne oddities, this kit is under limited reissue. Grab one while you can!
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!