Tamiya 1/48 Do-335B-2




3200 Yen


two aircraft


Tom Cleaver




     The Dornier Do-335 was at its birth and has remained ever since the only twin-piston engine fighter/bomber aircraft to utilize the centerline thrust concept. In the Do-335, use of this power concept was revolutionary, though Dr. Claudius Dornier had first used it on his G-1 flying boat in 1939 and had used it frequently in other flying boat designs during the 1920s and 1930s.  Though only ten Do-335A-0 Pfeil (Arrow) aircraft ever reached operational test status before the end of the Second World War, the aircraft has lived on in the minds of aviation enthusiasts for this radical design concept, which resulted in one of the most radical-looking airframes ever produced.

      The Technische Amt issued a requirement in 1942 for a single seat unarmed intruder capable of carrying a 1,100 lb. bombload at 495 mph.  Arado, Dornier and Junkers submitted responses; the Dornier Projekt 231, employing centerline thrust, became the winning contender.

      The first prototype flew on October 26, 1943, and 14 other Versuchs aircraft entered test flight status during the winter of 1943-44, constituting the prototypes of the A-series fighter-bomber.  With the worsening of the war situation, development emphasis switched during late 1944 from the A-series fighter-bomber to a more heavily-armed B-series Zerstoerer, with the first two prototypes, the V13 and V14, being completed at Oberpfaffenhofen during the winter of 1944-45.

      The Do-335 V13 - prototype of the Do-335B-1 - had the two 15mm cannon in the nose of the A-series replaced by two MG 151 20mm weapons, while the Do-335 V14 had that armament supplemented  y two 30mm MK 103 cannons in fairings ahead of the wing leading edge, just inboard of the main gear; this was to become the Do-335B-2, which would have been the main early production version of the series.  Though six other B-series prototypes were under construction when further development was terminated by capture of the Oberpfaffenhofen facility by the U.S. Army in late March, 1945, the V13 and V14 were the only examples of the B-series to ever fly, demonstrating a top speed of 474 mph.  Following the end of the war, the Do-335 V14 was handed over to the French, and extensively tested between August 1945 and the spring of 1947.


     For about twenty years, the only available 1/48 kit of the remarkable Do-335 was made by Monogram.  A modeler could create most of the single-seat A-series prototypes, as well as the A-12 two-seat trainer and the A-6 night fighter.  While acceptable by 1970s standards, the kit was long in the tooth and well "over the hill" by the time Tamiya brought out their Do-335A two years ago, followed some six months later by the Do-335A-12 two-seater.

      This Do-335B-2 "heavily armed version" differs from the earlier single-seat kit in having a fuel tank in the bomb bay, a larger nose wheel and main gear, with different main gear doors than the earlier kit, as well as a slightly-different armored canopy.  Other than these items and the decal sheet which provides the markings for the Do-335 V14 as flown by the Luftwaffe in early 1945 and the French air force in late 1945, the kit is essentially similar to the first release. 


     Many modelers have remarked that the Do-335 kits have some of the best kit engineering of any Tamiya release, such that the kits bring new meaning to the term "shake and bake."  This is definitely true.  A modeler just returning to the hobby after 20 years away could pick up one of these kits and - merely by following the instructions - come up with a well-assembled model that would also be a good "first airbrushing project" with its simple painting requirements. I call kits like these "confidence builders," since a modeler of any degree of ability can construct them and in the process gain the confidence of their ability to go on and tackle more difficult projects down the road.

      For this kind of kit, construction starts with painting.  One can paint all of the cockpit parts, the gear wells and bomb bay, the landing gear and gear doors, etc., prior to cutting any part off a sprue, and this is what I did, following the kit painting instructions.

      I next assembled the wings as sub-assemblies and set them aside.  The fuselage was next, a small project that involved attaching the nose gear well, the rear engine intake interior detail, and the bomb bay detail, and the exhaust backing plates, then gluing the fuselage halves together and attaching the upper rear part of the fuselage.  Even though these parts went together with great delicacy, I still used some Mr. Surfacer on the fuselage centerline to insure there would be no embarrassing seam.

      I then attached the wings and the horizontal flying surfaces, and the model was ready for painting.


     After pre-shading the model, I contemplated the painting instructions, which call for an upper surface camouflage of RLM82 Dark Green and RLM83 Bright Green, with RLM76 Light Blue lower surfaces.  In my experience, and using the 82-83 colors results in a very high-contrast finish.  However, all the photographs I have ever seen of the Do-335s show a very low-contrast scheme.  I decided that the more likely scheme - based on the photographic evidence - would be RLM81 Braunviolet and RLM82 Dark Green.  Since these airplanes did not see much use, and were therefore unlikely to have faded, this would be a Dark Olive Drab and Dark Green, with a more accurate-looking low-contrast finish.

      I therefore painted the model with Gunze-Sangyo RLM76 on the lower surfaces, and RLM81 and RLM82 on the upper surfaces, thinning the paint 50-50 with rubbing alcohol and shooting it freehand through the newly-purchased replacement #1 tip of my Paasche H.  This was followed with a good coat of Future.


      I used the kit decals, which are typical of what one expects from Tamiya, i.e., thick and a bit resistant to going on without repeated applications of decal solvent and finally slicing the decals with the tip of a #11 X-acto blade along the underlying panel lines.


     After an application of Future over the finished decals, I gave the model a coat of thinned Dullcote, then applied some light exhaust staining with Tamiya "Smoke."  I then attached the landing gear, unmasked the canopy and glued it in the open position.


     As noted above, this model is so well designed that it does not present any difficulty in assembly or painting.  The result is a good-looking model of a distinctive-looking airplane.  "Luft '46" modelers could have fun with this, finishing it in "what if" camouflage schemes.

Tom Cleaver

August 2003

 Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review kit.  

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