1/72 Dornier 17P
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Kit bashing and scratch-building required|
During the period between the late 1920s and early 30s in common with most nations Bulgaria suffered severely from world economic depression. It was during this period that Bulgaria received credits from the then Nazi Government when trade with other European countries was in jeopardy. By 1936 trade between the two countries increased substantially. Over 42 aircraft were imported into Bulgaria including He51, FW44, He72, He45 and FW56 types. The following year Bulgaria received 12 of the largest aircraft ever to be used by the Air force. These were the Do-11D twin-engine bombers. German pilots dubbed it “Flying Coffin” owing to its high accident rate. In Bulgaria the Do-11 were better known as the “Bat”.
Perhaps the most significant addition to the Bulgarian Order of Battle circa 1940 in connection with the bomber force was the arrival of the Dornier Do-17M bombers. At the time these were regarded as long overdue replacements for the huge, slow and clumsy Dornier Do-11. More Do-17Ms were delivered during August 1943 when 12 additional Do-17 went into service alongside 12 ex-Luftwaffe Ju-87R-2 and 4s. Some history books quote the delivery of 12 Do-17Ka1 and as many as a total of 24 Do-17M better known as Uragan (Hurricane).
When Yugoslavia was defeated in 1941, Do-17Ks were discovered in Skopje. These were partly damaged and two of the bombers were intact. After repair at Plovdiv these were put to strength in the Bulgarian bomber squadron. The earliest Do-17Ks were therefore captured ex-Yugoslav machines that formed part of the 5th Bomber regiment in 1941. In autumn 1944 the 5thbomber regiment was also equipped with several Do-17M while the Do-17Ksm formed the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment at Plovdiv and Graf Ignatievo airfields. Part of the Do-17M was in fact the reconnaissance bomber Do-17P and the exact number of these was never specified. Plovdiv (formerly Philipoppolis) is an airfield south east of Sofia and Graf Ignatievo lies just a few Km north east of Plovdiv. As for the Do-17k these were returned to Yugoslavia after the war.
The Dornier Do-17P and Do-17M versions very closely resembled in appearance. Both carried a crew of three and some defensive armament comprising 3x7.9 mm machine guns type 15. In 1940-41 both of these versions were rapidly withdrawn from Luftwaffe service. The Do-17s eventually were finding their way in outside countries, allied to Nazi Germany. Bulgaria and Yugoslav Air Forces were typical countries that operated the Do-17s. It can be regarded that at one time the Do-17 was the backbone of the Bulgarian Air force in the bomber and reconnaissance role. Owing to the sleek appearance of these aircraft the Do-17s were of the referred to as “Flying Pencils”. The Do-17P-1 was the last production model to retain the slender nose and hemispherical glazed cap. It was similar to the Do-17M apart from the BMW 132 N, 875 HP radial engines. Others had two BMW 132H Bramo Hirt 323 P radial 1050 HP. It was essentially a photo- reconnaissance version of the Do-17M fitted with Rb 20/30 and Rb 50/30 or Rb 20/8 and Rb 50/8 cameras in the production Do-17P-1 model.
Whereas there is such a widespread interest towards Luftwaffe combat aircraft there is no known scale model of the Do-17M/P in the 1/72 scale range. With the Do-17 M/P kit being readily unavailable we are left with no option than to find ways and means to produce this well sought after model. The closer that one can get to the Do-17P, in 1/72 scale was in the form of a Do-17E/F released by Airfix. But here again, whereas the E/F has an identical forward fuselage to the Do-17P, air-cooled 750HP inline engines powered it unlike to the Do-17Z which had radial engines. Therefore the nearest that one could get to produce the Do-17P was to select one of the following alternative methods:
(A) Basically the Revell or Monogram Do-17Z can be merged with the Airfix forward fuselage of their Do-17E/F. In so doing one is utilizing the Revell radial engines, rear fuselage, main wings and tail plane and undercarriage. Rear tail boom also needs extending to the new length. The remaining forward part of the fuselage comes from the Airfix kit.
(B) The next option is to convert the Revell Do-17Z into a Do-17P by using the resin conversion set offered by Maintrack Models of UK.
(C) Finally the last method would require suitable scale plans and the forward fuselage section can be carved out of balsa wood. The clear nose and ventral gun cockpit is moulded out of acetate.
In my case I have decided to opt for the method (C). I happened to have both the Revell Do-17Z and the Airfix Do-17E/F kits. I could have very easily selected method (A). It so happened that with the Airfix kit one finds a spare cockpit canopy, which is part 26 that was intended to do the Do-17E. Having an accurate cockpit was enough to do the rest in balsa wood. With careful reference to accurate 1/72 scale plans I proceeded with making a wooden forward fuselage. This may need some skill beyond the level of a beginner. There should always be a first time and this conversion could be to anyone the first experience of its type. The drawing also indicates that the tail boom at a section just ahead of the tailplanes needs to be extended by 5mm and another 2mm at the tail tip. Using body putty of a suitable brand shaped the latter. The dorsal gun position needed a canopy to be moulded. So a wooden male pattern was made and a canopy was moulded out of acetate sheet. The recce camera port window plus another camera window just ahead of the bomb bay were cut away from the fuselage. The surrounding was detailed by addition of thin plastic card strips shaped curved to form the framing. A crew access door was also scribed on the port side of the fuselage close to the trailing edge of the wing root. A clear panel was cut. This was in the end covered with Ktistal Kleer in same way as the camera ports.
A loop antenna was made out of stretched sprue that was wound round a pencil having the required diameter of the loop antenna itself. Seating arrangements and instrument panel, control column were added to the cockpit interior as best one could in view of the crammed interior space. Parts from the Do-17Z were utilized. Other minor details added using plastic card and stretch sprue. Littler can be seen through the cockpit canopy and modelers should therefore not be distracted because of lack of details about this area. The interior was painted in RLM 02 grey with the seats dry brushed to a darker shade. A black decal instrument panel with white gauges and detailing was adopted for the Do-17 and put in place. The whole front section was set aside to dry.
Merging ¾ of the Do-17 kit to the wooden cockpit nose section was a careful operation that needed some dry test and a good joint. When these were glued together an appreciable amount of putty was applied in thin layers several; times over, allowing the putty to dry with each step. Careful sanding in the end produced a continuous smooth joint. Depending on one’s own taste, crew members are added to the cockpit, and ventral and dorsal gun emplacements. The canopy from the Airfix kit was glued in place. This carried a machine gun fitted in the starboard windscreen.
All the clear areas were then masked with Maskol or masking tape. Portholes were temporally blanked so that subsequent fine sanding will not bruise the Perspex or allow dust to enter the interior of the aircraft model. The engine nacelles differed from the Z model in having the rear end of the nacelle cut taper when viewed sideways as can be seen in the accompanying drawing. This was carefully cut and rebuilt to the new shape at the rear using Milliput, then carefully fashioned to conform to the true shape of the nacelle carried by the Do-17P.
The assembled and masked model was then given a light grey primer coat and any areas that required further sanding or filling showed up and dealt with. Antennae were added to port wing and over the fuselage. A nylon thread was tied between the fuselage mast antenna and the upper starboard fin.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The kit was now given a fine airbrush coat of light blue-Grey RLM65 to all the lower and undersurfaces. This was allowed to dry overnight. These undersurfaces were then carefully masked and all the upper surfaces were airbrushed in green RLM 70. This was again allowed to dry and later the upper surfaces were masked in preparation for the final paintwork job. To produce the splinter camouflage that was of the same pattern as applied to Luftwaffe Do-17s. The exposed areas were airbrushed in RLM71 Dunkelgrun. The fuselage band and undersurfaces of wing tips were yellow RLM04 Gelb and as I always do with a light shade I applied matt white beforehand. Wheel wells were painted in grey green as were also the oleo of the undercarriage. Propeller spinners were black.
Bulgarian Air Force Decals
I hardly ever build German aircraft in Luftwaffe markings, however I do make these models but often in foreign markings. As the “craze of the day” happened to be the Bulgarian Air Force I elected to represent my Do-17 P in their colour and markings. The wing insignia positions are in same place as the German ones. Prior to application the decals the kit was given a coat of Cera Liu floor polish liquid. This gave the kit a semi matt sheen and allowed the decal to adhere firmly.
The decals for the Do-17P are supplied by Aeroclub of Nottingham UK. This is a Delta Decal sheet No72-002 Luftwaffe Allies No1.and was very useful which contained decals for several Bulgarian AF aircraft. Among those covered by this sheet are a Dornier Do-17P, Aero MB200, FW-189A-1, Letov S328 and a Bf-1090E. The 5th orliak squadron (5th Bombardment Squadron) crest of a red lion (at times this is shown in yellow) holding a black bomb on a white shield had to be hand painted using white decal sheet. This was carefully applied to the fuselage sides just beneath the cockpit. At the time of the So-17P operational service the Bulgarian AF markings comprised of black At Andrew cross on a white square background. This form of insignia was the VOGDUSHNI VOISKI common during the period 1940-44. It was from 1942 that Bulgaria started to carry yellow identification stripes in common with air forces allied to Germany. Other decal details and stenciling etc were borrowed from those in Revell kit. Trimming of the transparent carrier film is recommended. Weathering was done with fine airbrush using 50% engine grey mixed with 50% satin varnish and thinners. This was applied in principal areas followed by the exhaust and other effluent oil stains and slicks from the aircraft.
The kit was interesting to build and definitely an unusual type with an unfamiliar scheme. In fact this was the prelude for more kits of the Bulgarian Air Force bombers. The skill that was needed was not that beyond the capacity of most modelers with a little effort.
Sojusqnicy Luftwaffe No 88 Bulgaria.
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