Tamiya 1/48 He 219A-7 Uhu Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||Heinkel He 219A-7 Uhu||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||61057||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, excellent ballast design||Cons||Single version, VERY delicate antennae|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$46.00|
The Heinkel He 219 'Uhu' (Owl) was an innovative aircraft from its beginning in 1940. While the Luftwaffe still believed in tailwheel aircraft (even the prototype Me 262 had a tailwheel!), the He 219 was the first Luftwaffe aircraft to feature a nose wheel. It also featured what was probably the world's first ejection seat.
Due to the usual blend of political in-fighting, the He 219 prototype would not take to the skies until mid 1942. The He 219 series featured a crew of two and was powered by a pair of Daimler Benz DB603 engines.
The He 219A-7 variant was equipped with the FuG 220 radar, four forward firing 20mm cannons and two upward firing 30mm cannons(!). The upward firing cannon was an excellent way to blast a bomber away without having to fly through the debris field.
Unlike other Luftwaffe night fighters which were modified versions of other types of aircraft, the Heinkel He 219 was purpose-built to race out to a potential target under control of a ground radar intercept controller, then use its own radar to close for the kill, all at night. Like its namesake in nature, the He 219 Owl is definitely a nocturnal hunter.
A number of years ago, Tamiya released their 1/48 He 219A-7 Uhu kit. The kit was an engineering marvel and even though I am not a big World War Two Luftwaffe fan, I had to give one of these kits a go. You can go here to see how my build turned out. Unfortunately, the build was done in 1999 when internet bandwidth was extremely limited, so only one photo was taken and the model has since fallen victim to the move to the mid-west. I've since decided to rebuild the model and we'll eventually have a new build article.
Molded in medium gray styrene, the kit is presented on five parts trees, plus an additional tree of clear parts containing the cockpit transparencies and dorsal "window". Detailing is all finely scribed throughout. The kit also includes a very well-engineered, and equally well-protected white metal ballast.
What impresses me the most about this kit is that ballast. It is pre-formed to be the cockpit tub and nosegear well. Styrene parts literally drop into place to detail out the cockpit tub and once painted, you'd never know there was a hunk of metal in the nose.
The assembled cockpit assembly includes a pair of optional crew figures which can be safely left out of the cockpit without affecting the nose ballast. The figures are not there to hide the absence of detail - quite the contrary. Without the crew figures, the two ejection seats show off their nice detailing and the front and rear cockpits are well appointed.
The flaps are molded separately, so you can pose your aircraft flaps-up or with flaps deployed in take-off or landing position.
The cowls are portrayed buttoned-up, so the only engine detail is what is visible down the front of the cowls. The kit does provide nice exhaust stacks and flame suppressors, and your choice of open or closed cowl flaps.
The wings are mounted to the fuselage using a pair of styrene tubes for main spars - this will give the completed model more strength when being handled.
The nose mounts the four dipole antenna arrays found on the A-7. You can backdate the aircraft fairly easily by altering the angle of the dipoles or eliminating them altogether - check your references. If you do build the A-7, these antennas will be the most delicate part of the model.
Markings are included for three examples:
- He 219A-7, W.Nr. 290123, TH, 1./NJG1, May 1945
- He 219A-7, G9+CH, 1./NJG1, 1945
- He 219A-7, W.Nr. 310188, D5+CL, 3./NJG3, May 1945
This kit is an engineering marvel and Tamiya should be proud of this fantastic achievement. They've taken a kit that would be a dedicated tail-sitter and designed it to sit firmly on its landing gear. The level of detail straight out of the box is outstanding even by today's standards, and with the wealth of aftermarket items released by Aires and others for this model, the sky is the limit for AMS modelers. Take another look at this gem! I had a ball building the first one and I'm looking forward to a second build.