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He 111H

Monogram 1/48 He 111H-4/5/6 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject He 111H-4/5/6 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5509 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, very nice detail, several options in the box Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

He 111H
He 111H
He 111H
He 111H
He 111H
He 111H

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 did 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. The vast majority of the He 111s produced by the time the assembly lines were closed in 1944 was the H-model. The He 111H-4 was powered by the Jumo 211D or F engines and was distinctive by its conformal twin bomb racks under the fuselage. The He 111H-5 was similarly powered as the H-4, but it carried its bomb load internally. The He 111H-6 was powered by the Jumo 211F and replaced the two bomb racks with two torpedo cradles under the fuselage.

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!

Here is a beautiful kit from Monogram. I remember when this kit was first released, my first reaction was 'great, another Luftwaffe subject'. Nevertheless, I ended up taking one of these kits home and even more surprising, built the model straight out of the box. The model went together with ease. Unfortunately the model was destroyed along with a number of my other builds in the move from Albuquerque to 'fly over country' here in the mid-western US.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus three trees of clear parts. This particular set of sprues has been released a few times with different decals. There was one other release with additional parts to render the V-1 launching He 111H-22.

One of the most important attributes of this kit that tends to get overlooked is the detailing. This was one of the first kits from Monogram to feature scribed detailing! (The first one was the 1/48 Su-25 Frogfoot).

Assembly is almost a snap (glue required) but I don't recall any real fit problems. The wings mate to the wing over main spars that protrude out of the wing roots which ensure that the wing and fuselage match-up nicely.

Without the special external racks, this kit builds up into the He 111H-5 with the internal bomb bay. The bomb bay doors are molded to be closed as there is no detail provided inside that bomb bay. As I recall, Eduard produced produced a photo-etched detail set for the bomb bay (48140) to replicate those interesting bomb racks.

The kit also has the conformal twin-rack that mounts over the bomb bay doors to carry two bombs that are too large to fit inside the bomb bay. This version is the He 111H-4.

In addition, but not mentioned in the instructions, two torpedos and their cradles are also provided in the kit for the He 111H-6, but decals are not included in this release for the H-6.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • He 111H-4, 'A', 8.KG 55, France, 1941
  • He 111H-5, 1H+KM, II/KG 26, Italy, 1941

This decals are nicely done, though the they are 'politically correct' - they lack swastikas for the vertical stabilizers. You'll have to seek some aftermarket decals to remedy this problem should you want to replicate these aircraft as they actually appeared.

Straight out of the box, this model builds into a beauty. If you add in the aftermarket possibilities produced by Koster, Eduard, and many others, you can create several masterpieces without trying! While this kit is currently out of production, Revell/Germany periodically re-releases the kit and you can still find these at bargain prices.