Pro Modeler 1/48 He 111H-22 Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Easy build, very nice detail, several options in the box
|Out of Production
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-22 was the designation applied to He 111H-6, H-16, and H-21 models that were modified into the world's first airborne cruise missile launch platform. These aircraft were equipped to loft one Fieseler V-1 buzz bomb under the bomber's starboard wing root, activate the V-1s guidance system in flight, and launch the missile toward its target.
Originally, the V-1s were catapulted into the air from launch ramps around the coastal areas of the mainland into the British Isles, but as the allies liberated Europe a piece at a time, all of these coastal launch sites were lost to the Germans and the V-1 did not have sufficient range to fly from Germany to England. The solution was air-launching the V-1 from these modified Heinkels, but this solution was relatively short-lived as the flame trail of a V-1 coming to life was a 'shoot me' beacon to any Mosquito night fighters in the area.
The Pro Modeler version of the He 111H is based upon the earlier series released by Monogram (look here). This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus three trees of clear parts.
If you could look at that first parts tree side-by-side with the earlier release, this left fuselage half looks identical to the Monogram version but the dorsal turret opening is different on the fuselage, as are all of the other parts on this tree. In place of the narrow-chord propellers on the earlier kit, this kit features the later wider-chord props. The torpedos and bombs have been replaced with the V-1 and the dorsal turret mount.
The tree with the right fuselage half is identical to the earlier release with the exception of the dorsal turret opening on the fuselage half. The wing trees are identical to the earlier releases.
What's new in this release are two smaller trees (seen at the bottom) containing the launch cradle for the V-1, the hammock for the bombardier/launch controller, and three crew figures. The pilot figure is seated, the bombardier is in position on the hammock, and a third figure is of a Luftwaffe officer standing. One of the clear trees in the earlier releases was replaced with the small clear tree containing the dorsal turret transparency.
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.
While some of the Pro Modeler releases contain resin or photo-etch detail parts, which add some complexity to the model, this kit is still all-styrene and poses no problems for the average modeler.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- He 111H-22, A1+GA, Wing HQ/KG 53 'Legion Condor'
- He 111H-22, 5K+RS, III./KG 3 'Blitz Geschwader'
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. While this kit is currently out of production, Revell/Germany periodically re-releases the kit and you can still find these at kit swaps and the usual trading sessions.