Revell 1/48 Do-217E-5

KIT #: 04557
PRICE: €25.00 at a German model show
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Pierre-Andre Boillat
NOTES: Also released as a Monogram/ProModeller kit


The Dornier 217 E-series twin-engine bombers were direct descendants of the famed Do 17 « flying pencil » of late 1930’s fame. Powered by a pair of BMW 801 air-cooled 14 cylinder radial engines, the new design had much improved speed, bomb load, operational ceilling and range, the E-1 joining bomber units in 1941.

After the failure of the He-177 « Greif », it remained the most capable bomber in German inventory and remained in service until war’s end.

The subject of this kit, E-5, was a dedicated version for anti-shipping missions, equipped with a Henschel Hs 293 glide bomb and a drop tank under the wings (the tank counter-balancing the missile’s weight and improving the aircraft’s range), as well as radio guidance and control transmitter systems for the missile. A total of 101 E-5s were either new built or refitted from E-4 airframes. The type was used mainly from air bases on the French Atlantic Coast and in the Mediterranean, posing a serious threat to Allied shipping.


 This is a 2001 Revell AG re-box of the kit released one year earlier under the Monogram/ProModeller label, but with different decals. As usual for Revell products of the newer generation, detail level is excellent and panel lines are finely engraved. Transparent parts are top-notch and decal quality very good. On the minus side, plastic is a bit soft for my taste, some warping may be there and fit is a little difficult in some areas, especially the wings, engine nacelles and fuselage (it’s a rather large model, which means: long seam lines which will require attention). All in all, the kit has a certain “Dragon-like” feel to it, with its pros and cons. But there’s nothing a moderately experienced modeler won’t be able to manage. An Hs 293 glide bomb is provided, which, while not the proverbial “kit in the kit”, depicts the real item fairly well.


 The cockpit comes first (as usual) and is a very complete job with every bell and whistles. Some may want to add aftermarket stuff inside, but be warned: once the transparent parts are installed, there won’t be a lot left to see – so, it’s IMO, it’s perfectly OK to go “out-of-the-box”. Several cockpit parts will have to be installed inside the main canopy part, so this area will require some planning and attention.

The provided engines simplified, but, as they will be hidden behind the BMW 801 trademark cooling fans inside very tight, streamlined cowlings, it’s not a problem either.

As said above, assembling the airframe is a little tricky due to the parts’ size and some warping (at least on my exemple). The kit’s main drawback (in my opinion) is an ugly joint in the middle of the wing upper surfaces which, coupled with said warping, will cause a slight depression in what should be a smooth and straight surface (especially on a no-dihedral plane like the Dornier). Correcting this will require quite an amount of putty (or the insertion of plastic profiles inside the wings to straighten things up, something I didn’t do).

After the mainframe was done, I filled every seam and waited for the putty to dry (in fact, I built one or two small kits in-between, as a break from what was to be this year’s Magna Opus. When I felt ready, I sanded everything smooth and started with the (for me) fun part:


 As we have to deal with a maritime bomber, the segmented camouflage comes in the dedicated RLM 72/73 with 65 blue undersurfaces and RLM 75 grau violett mottling over the blue aircraft’s sides. Spinners are red. As usual, I picked up my trusty Monogram “German Aircraft Colors” book with authentic color chips and mixed my Vallejo acrylic paints by myself.

After sealing the paint job with a coat of Klear, I added the decals for the chosen version, a machine of 4./ KG100 based at Cognac, France, in October 1943. Swastikas (absent on this German product) were taken from an aftermarket sheet.


After sealing the decals with a second coat of Klear, I treated the model with my usual wash of Cobra-brand, water soluble oils. When this was polished-out with soft tissue, I added the breakable parts that wouldn’t withstand the proceedings, such as landing gear, props and external loads. The wheels are represented with slightly “weighted” tires, a nice touch of realism given the bulk of the aircraft. The Hs 293 glide bomb being a one-way, high-tech piece of ordinance, I left it un-weathered, like the drop tank which was most probably jettisoned over the ocean upon dropping the missile, and had little chances of being recovered and re-used.

Exhausts can be represented visible or covered with flame-dampers. As my reference pics didn’t show the latter on any daylight maritime Dornier, I let them aside.

Transparencies were added last. The main canopy unit got a special treatment, as it has large areas that had to be masked and spray-painted, first in the interior, then in the camo colors (had to take care that they fit the scheme). The rest of the framing job was done with pre-painted decal stripes – quite a chore on the multi-faceted “glasshouse” nose.

Lastly, antenna masts were added and the kit was given its final coat of Vallejo matte lacquer. The long antenna wire is a piece of Lycra thread, which is less prone to breaking when the kit is carried around.


The Revell/Monogram Do 217E is a truly fine kit with superb detail and the brand’s high standard of quality. Though not a beginner’s kit due to its sheer bulk, assembly layout and a few areas that require some planning and care, it will produce an impressive piece that is guaranteed to draw attention when put on display. It perfectly recaptures the sleek, elegant-yet-menacing lines of the original. Highly recommended to fans of maritime bombers, the Luftwaffe, WWII classics or just beautiful aircraft.

And lastly: this model was supposed to take part in the Modeling Madness “Battle of the Atlantic” contest but wasn’t finished in time. In return, you got this review. Hope you enjoyed it.


Sources: Wikipedia – Monogram “German Aircraft Colours” – various internet pages.

Pierre-Andre Boillat

January 2015

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