Zoukei-Mura Inc. 1/32 He 219A-0 Uhu Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|He 219A-0 Uhu
|Beautiful molding, excellent detail
The Heinkel He 219 Uhu (Eagle-Owl) was a radar-equipped night fighter designed specifically for that purpose. The design was based on an earlier Heinkel high-speed bomber design and featured a number of innovations: it was the first operational aircraft with an ejection seat, it was equipped with tricycle landing gear (which was still rare in Luftwaffe designs), armed with up to six forward-firing 20mm cannons, and some versions were armed with 2 x 30mm cannons angled upward allowing the Heinkel to shred its target from outside the debris field that it would create behind the aircraft.
The aircraft first flew in late 1942 and entered service in 1943. Before the aircraft had actually entered service, three pre-production He 219A-0 aircraft had supposedly shot down 20 RAF bombers in 10 consecutive days including several Mosquitos though the validity of these claims are in question. Nevertheless, the commander of the night fighter force was sold on the design and pushed to get the type into full rate production.
It has only been three years since Zoukei-Mura Inc. released their first kit, the J7W1 Shinden in a series called 'Super Wings'. As we've seen with every release since then, the kits in the Super Wings series are super-detailed where some modelers consider them over-engineered. I've seen each release now and while there are lots of details in each kit, these aren't over-engineered. By my definition, over-engineered is where you have lots of details where only God can see them after assembly. A couple of notable examples are the 1) Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25 Mitchell kits that have beautiful interiors but no way to see any of that detail after assembly; and 2) Trumpeter 1/32 P-38 Lightning which has some great engine, radiator, and supercharger details; plus all of the associated plumbing and ducting all inside nacelles, but have no provisions for seeing any of that detail after assembly.
In this kit, you have a serious wing structure that goes inside the wing halves and serves as the mounts for the nacelles and attachment to the fuselage. While you won't see most of it after assembly, it provides a solid understructure for handling the kit so you won't squeeze the wing by accident and hear that awful 'snap' as a glue seam pops open. Those areas inside the wing structure that have extra detailing inside also have inspection hatches that can be left off for viewing that detail after assembly. The control linkages for the throttles and flight controls that run along the outside of the cockpit tub can also be viewed through a positionable maintenance access panel. In short, I don't call this over-engineered, I call this a super-detailer's dream.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 15 parts trees, plus three trees of clear parts, one set of white metal landing gear, and one large metal ballast for the nose.
Let's look at the features and options:
- Super-detailed DB 603E engines
- Choice of open or closed cowl flaps
- Super-detailed cockpit
- Choice of ejection seats with or without seatbelts/harness details
- Choice of instrument panels (clear or opaque) with individual instrument faces as decals
- Positionable access panels in nose section
- Positionable canopy
- Choice of radar antenna mounts with and without fairings
- Choice of FuG212 or FuG220 radar antennas
- Detailed rear fuselage interior
- Positionable access panels in rear fuselage
- Detailed dorsal (Schraede Musik) gun bay
- Super-detailed ventral gun bay
- Detailed wing root gun bays
- Positionable gun bay access panels
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable elevators
- Positionable rudders
- Choice of white metal or styrene landing gear struts
The details in the DB 603 engines are awesome. You could easily have all of the inspection panels removed from the aircraft, both cowlings removed, and one (or both) engines removed for overhaul. If you remove the valve covers, you'll see the pistons in various positions inside the cylinders. Remove the crankcase cover and you'll see even more details. Nothing goes to waste if you want to show off that detail, but you can just as easily display this model flight-ready and simply skip the detail painting where the access panels are closed.
Markings are included for two examples:
- He 219A-0, 190012, 2./NJG 1, G9+FK
- He 219A-0, 190070, Stab I./NGJ 1, G9+BB
When I met the Chairman of Zoukei-Mura Inc. at the 2013 IPMS/USA National Convention, he explained his philosophy of making model kits. As owner of over 30 hobby stores throughout Japan and now in the United States, he has seen many models produced (and has quite an impressive kit collection to prove it). After seeing so many worthy subjects produced below his standards, he finally created Zoukei-Mura to produce his own line of kits that significantly raise the bar on kit quality. To date his subjects include the Shinden, Ta 152H, P-51D, A-1H, A-1J, and now the He 219A, all in 1/32 scale. While noboby has produced the Shinden or Ta 152H with any serious details in 1/32 scale, Zoukei-Mura has taken on Tamiya with the P-51D, Trumpeter with the A-1, and now Revell/Germany with this He 219.
While the Revell kit is impressive in its own right, it doesn't compare to this beauty. At nearly 1/3 the price, the Revell kit doesn't have to be as detailed, so is this kit worth the extra cost? Only you can be the judge, but I think so. Look for the Raiden coming next in 1/32 scale (taking on Hasegawa's kits) along with many of these same subjects released in 1/48 scale in the coming year.
My sincere thanks to Zoukei-Mura Inc. for this review sample!