by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The Heinkel He 111 is one of my favourite aircraft of World War 2 due to its modern looks and those lovely lines. ICM has been spoiling me with a series of Heinkel He 111 models in 1/48th scale and have now released the fourth offering in the form of the H-20 variant of Heinkel He 111. In order to check the details on this offering I have used the Top Drawings series of books from Kagero covering the Heinkel He 111.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the usual high standard that they have adopted and now always stick to. The result is that the model arrives in the way that ICM intended, my only complaint or more accurately concern is that the sprues being packed inside a single plastic bag does allow movement and so potential damage, and those kits with a lot of sprues could suffer from warping. In the case of this example I am pleased to say that the model has arrived in perfect condition with one part free from its sprue and with all parts present. The box art of the card lid is quite a pleasing offering as far as I am concerned.
An examination of the sprues reveals very little to be concerned with that I can see. There are a few ejector pin marks that will need attention, but most of these are in hidden locations. The only potential moulding issue I found are the flow marks present on a number of the larger parts, but as is usual I could not detect any of these having caused deformations in the moulded parts. This offering has a new grey sprue and a clear sprue in addition to those included in the previous offering from ICM. You will not be surprised to learn that very large amounts of this model are identical to the previous releases with of course a number of parts not being utilised, but none of the new parts are greyed out and so no clue is given by ICM as to another offering in the making; however you never know perhaps my wish list offering of a He 111Z Zwilling in 1/48th scale. The box of this offering is considerably deeper than the first two released offering but it has been well utilised space wise.
Starting with the interior areas of the model and I really like how ICM have tackled joining the wings to the model and incorporated this into the interior components. The bulkheads that are part of the wing spars encompass the internal bomb bay and the rear and front bulkheads on the reverse sides with detail fillets attached. This offering of the model does not use the bomb bay as half of it was usually used occupied by an extra fuel tank, but the other side could have bombs present according to what I have read. Looking at the area that protrudes into the wings you find the bulkheads for the front and rear of the wheel bays and the parts that make up the wheel bays connect to these making a secure mounting point. With the exception of the bomb bay being utilised in the first release these aspects are shared throughout the range of He-111’s released so far by ICM. I really like that ICM has taken wing spares out in the wings through the fuselage and made this aspect a very rigid design as this will help keep the wings correctly aligned.
Moving back to the fuselage portion and the walk way is included which will stabilise this area. This now secure portion is used to add all of the elements that make up the internal structure. This goes towards the rear of the model where the ring for the upper machine gun post is located and this area includes ammunition storage, a feature I am pleased to see. The mid upper turret has been altered and that is another of the new parts in this release. The rear section is finished with another bulkhead which I am very pleased to see. The tail cone on this offering does not need to be removed as was the case with a previous offering as this is the correct set up for this variant.
Moving onto the cockpit which is attached to the bulkhead assembly and so provides the modeller with a single structure to add to the fuselage rather than trying to fit several sub-assemblies. The cockpit area is for the most part a very pleasing offering from ICM. The pilots seat is accurate for the ‘H’ model of the He 111, but no harness detail has been provided and so there is room for the after market companies to lift this area of the model; I know Eduard has released a set for the H-16 version and those should be perfect for this release. The roof mounted instrument panel is right or wrong depending on whose reference you follow. One of my reference books provides a period photo claiming to be an ‘H’ model and this shows the panel included with the model. Overall I am pleased with the effort ICM has made with the cockpit due to the very large glazed area, but as mentioned there is room for improvement. ICM has included interior frame detail on the inside of the fuselage halves where required. Disappointingly ICM has not provided the leather pad for the bomb aimer or the canvas cover for the bomb aiming position when not in use, but this detail can easily be added by the modeller using putty or the like.
The defensive armament of the Heinkel He 111 is an area where this version of aircraft differs from many of the earlier variants having far more defensive firepower and this is well replicated, while the detail offered here is of a high standard the muzzles of the machine guns have no hollow detail present, I suspect this will be quickly picked up on by Master or similar company who will address this with wonderful turned barrel sets. One aspect I like about this offering is the number of drum magazines that ICM has provided in the correct locations and orientation. New machine gun elements have been provided with this release in order to replicate the heavier weapons used in some locations.
The offensive armament provided for the modeller is in the form of five 550ib (250kg) iron bombs stored externally. This version of the He 111 could carry 6,614 ibs (3000kg) of bombs, but due to the underside used on this offering the internal half load of bombs cannot be added despite having been a possibility according to what I have read; that said due to ICM not having included the extra fuel tank storage on one side of the bomb this would require some scratch work to remedy. The bombs have a nice level of detail to them and could be displayed unattached to the aircraft as an alternate choice for the modeller. One thing that I believe I am correct about is that some decals should be present on them that is not supplied by ICM.
The wheel bays are nicely detailed, but this an area I cannot comment on the accuracy of. The undercarriage itself is quite a complicated design and ICM has done a very good job of replicating this in detail. All of the rigid structure has been provided to a very pleasing level and only leaves the modeller to scratch the brake cables. The balloon tyres have been replaced with newer offerings with much greater detail present, but they have not been provided as weighted which is a pity. Another thing I would say is that being in two halves the wheels could end up with a joint seam that is hard to hide. The tail wheel has been equally well detailed from an accuracy standpoint and ICM has now changed to a multi part assembly that I feel will look better.
Included in this offering are two full engines which I believe to be Jumo 211 engines;, but I have an issue as my reference material strongly suggests the engines where modified over time and while Jumo 211 engines were used changes were made; with that said the difference are I believe very minor as regards external detail and so should not overly bother anyone who wishes to display them. I have checked the engine against reference but only one option is available to me. The exhaust is the correct version for the model offered with a little work on the outlets improving the finished look a lot. The exhausts are one of the new elements on this release, but they do not look to have been replicated on the main box artwork. One thing I am really pleased to see is that ICM has provided the exhausts hollow along their entire length. Regardless of how you wish to display your model when finished I feel these engines are a very nice inclusion rather than needing to look too the after market providers should you have otherwise wished to include the detail. The propellers are the correct larger paddled wooden propellers used in later variants of the He 111. Please be aware that the thinner props are in the box and are shown in the assembly instructions, but the correct numbers are used for the parts and are obviously different.
Moving onto the exterior of the model reveals some of the finest panel lines I have come across, so fine in fact that I can see them but not feel them; this does concern me a little when it comes to painting as it will be very easy to obscure this exceptional detail. Checking the panel lines against my reference reveals very accurate replication on the model. The engine cowlings have been nicely tackled to allow the detail to be on view or not. The flight control surfaces are also separate parts allowing them to be orientated as wished or required. The Clear parts of this model have to be well replicated due to how big some areas of glazing are. The nose glazed area is made up of six pieces and this concerns me slightly when it comes to filling and sanding joints. The glazed area does not look to have covered the slight change made to underside area of this variant; however I cannot be sure about this until I build the model. A new upper fuselage panel has been provided in this release that adds the radar element to the kit.
ICM has provided four finishing options for this model listed below.
He 111H-16/R1, Ekdo 16, 1944
He 111H-16/R1, 2 /KG 55, Sarabuz airfield, Crimea, December 1943
He 111-H20, 4/KG 53, Poland, June 22 1944
He 111-H20, 8/KG4, Berlin-Gatow airfield, April 1945
In order to increase accuracy of the finished model swastikas will need to be found for the tail as these are not provided for the model. I am also a little confused as to why of the finished models are identified as H-16 variants as I believe this to be an error as no indication is made for building the H-16 type, that said all of the parts needed appear to be in the box.
This He 111 H20 offering from ICM is another great model of the aircraft type. I am very pleased to see a company like ICM release a whole family of aircraft rather than the single kit many other manufacturers would offer. The effort put into this model and the high level of content from the previous releases make this another model to look out for. The only alteration I am unsure about is a small detail on the underside of the main canopy; in all other respects ICM appears to be on the ball and hit all of the marks.