by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The Hienkel He 111 has a modern look to it in my opinion, but it was designed and went into production prior to World War 2’s start in 1939. Despite its very modern appearance the He 111 was never a world leader and was quickly removed to the Eastern conflict zone after it became an easy target for British and American fighters, that said it did perform well during the Battle of Britain and remained in production until 1944. During the Battle of Britain the problems with the He 111 were brought to the attention of the German Military, its low speed and poor defensive machine gun locations meant that the aircraft was easily destroyed by determined fighter defence and so required fighter protection to perform its role well.
ICM has revisited the 1/48th scale Heinkel He-111 H6, with this time a North Africa theatre machine is replicated and let’s face it the paint schemes really pop. The He 111 models coming from ICM are far improved from the Monogram/Revell of Germany offerings in this scale. The H6 version of the He 111 was the most widely produced variant of the aircraft with nearly 1800 produced before the end of 1942. The He 111 H-6 saw service on all fronts during WW2 performing as bombers, Torpedo bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, transports and mine layers. There is a new sprue in this offering and so it is slightly different.
The model is packaged in the now usual cardboard tray with a flip top lid and a second card lid with the model artwork on it as favoured by ICM. The design of this packaging does mean that you can be reasonably sure that the model will reach you in its intended condition. Inside there is an instruction booklet of 28 pages, inside of which is the decal sheet. There are two re-sealable bags containing ten grey sprues and a separate bag inside containing the clear sprue. I am pleased to see ICM splitting their sprues into more than one bag.
Starting the review with 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. I have also found a part on two identical sprues that looks to have a shrink mark present in the same location, but I also have to say that I could not find an image of the area to confirm or deny my suspicion. This offering has a new clear sprue in addition to those included in the previous release from ICM He 111-H6. 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. I am still hoping that my wish list offering of a He 111 Zwilling in 1/48th scale may yet make it or at least getting closer. The box of this offering is considerably deeper than usual 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 bomb bay and the rear and front bulkheads on the reverse sides with detail fillets attached. This offering of the model does not of course use the internal bomb bay. 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.
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 rear section is finished with another bulkhead which I am very pleased to see. I am very pleased to see that ICM has tackled the issue of the connection points of the main structures (wings and Fuselage) that have pins that are too large for the receiving holes, the moulds would seem to have been reworked and the fit is now tight but closes up. The tail cone on this offering does need to be removed and a new offering attached in its place. Due to the need to cut away a part of the model I looked more closely at the area, there is a panel line present that will act as a natural guide and so take your time when removing this area and it will make progress easier. The change in the tail cone represents the addition of the tail gun.
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 aftermarket companies to lift this area of the model; some modellers like this as it makes adding an after market offering easier. 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 He 111 is well replicated, the detail offered here is of a high standard but 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. Master has still not released a dedicated set but the barrels are available as individual purchases. One aspect I like about this offering is the number of drum magazines that ICM has provided in the correct locations and orientation.
The offensive armament is provided as a choice for the modeller, I suspect most will build the torpedo version of the model, but ICM has also provided the storage racks for two 1000 kg bombs that are included. The two 936 kg torpedoes will I feel be more visually appealing and from what I can find out the most common when it comes to period photographs.
The wheel bays are nicely detailed, but this is 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 cable details. The balloon tyres are nicely replicated, but they have not been provided as weighted which is a pity. 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 A1 engines; I am happy to be corrected as the engines are not my strong point, but I have an issue as my reference material strongly suggests the engines in the H6 should be Jumo 211 F1 engines; I have done several searches on both engines and I am unable to tell you what the difference is visually between the two offerings. The exhaust is the correct version for the model offered and it is hollowed at the end, but this will benefit from some further work by the modeller to increase its depth. Regardless of how you wish to display your model with or without engines on display when finished, I feel this is a very nice inclusion rather than needing to look at the aftermarket 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.
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 in many cases only picking them up with my nails; 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 engine 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 potential filling and sanding of joints. The new glazed sprue cover the dorsal and gondola glazing with two options provided. I have assembled one and on my offering the glazing went in well with a little fight to seat the fuselage windows.
ICM has provided three finishing options for this model listed below.
He 111-H6 (H5), Stab StG 3, Libya, September 1941
He 111-H6, Sonderkommando Blaich, Africa, January 1942
He 111-H6, 2/KG 26, Grosseto, December 1942
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 for obvious reasons.
This latest offering from ICM is the second offering of the He 111H-6 to be released. I am very happy to see a specifically North African theatre machine released as I do like the camouflage on these versions. I have minor concerns about any potential joints in the clear glazing; so far the joints have been good but filler in these areas would be a nightmare. The change in engines concerns me slightly as I am unable to know if they look different. Anyone who has tackled one of the ICM He 111 kits knows just how good the lines of this aircraft are and it has an appealing look to it that grabs me, as such I am really pleased to see ICM continuing to release 1/48th scale offerings of this aircraft.