Roden 1/72 He-111C “Lufthansa”

KIT #: 009
PRICE: About $30.00 when new
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Mark Hiott
NOTES: Poor fit, interesting subject

HISTORY

In the mid-1930's the political situation in Europe radically changed; Germany began a quick military development and re-organization. The Heinkel Company preferred developing the bomber version of the He 111. But evolution of the commercial model for the company Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH) had continued in the Rostok factory.

The summer of 1936 saw the beginning of the assembly of six pre-production planes, which received the designation He 111C-0. By the end of 1936 all six C-0's had been built, each aircraft received its own name:

After being used for a short time on local routes, DLH declared that the He-111C was too expensive, and not economical. The He-111C program was cancelled and all six pre-production C-planes were passed on to the "Prestigious Routes" Berlin-Hanover-Amsterdam, Berlin-Nuremberg-Munich, and Cologne-Dortmund-Berlin. Later on He 111C-01 and He 111C-05 were used as special courier planes in the Southern Atlantic.

Just after the invasion of Poland all DLH's He111C's were taken over by the Luftwaffe. These planes were fitted with military radio equipment and defensive armament. In the next few years the He111C was used as a liaison aircraft for general Luftwaffe needs. 

THE KIT

Molded in a light gray plastic, there is some flash on a few parts, but nothing major. The smaller parts are delicately molded and have good detail. Most of the ejector pin marks are located in areas that should be easy to take of. Decals look good, but more on that later. The cockpit glass has part of the fuselage molded with it so blending it in should not be too bad. A full set of clear parts is included so I suppose it might be possible to build a bomber version if you were up to it.

The instructions are very well done and include a parts list and a 3-view. The last page includes a color listing for Humbrol, Model Masters, Aeromaster, Tamiya, Gunze Sangyo and Revell. It gives you the number of the paint, but not the name. The assembly steps are well drawn and consist of 25 steps.

CONSTRUCTION

Oh my… where to start. There is not one part of this kit that didn’t need cutting, trimming, grinding, bending, hammering or modifying in some way. The first thing you’ll notice is that the passenger compartment flooring is too wide. I ended up tossing it out. During the test fitting I also discovered the cockpit glass is too wide without the flooring installed. BUT, it fits the fuselage if you do install the flooring! What I ended up doing was installing the cockpit and parts D10, D11 and B32. I left out all the passenger parts and part D12. The kit includes a separate nose for the civil version. I attached these to the fuselage before gluing it together. This will help minimize the seam between the fuselage parts. I then glued the rear of the fuselage together and allowed it to dry thoroughly. Next, I pinched the front of the fuselage down to fit the nose cone, glued the front of the fuselage and attached the nosecone. The resulting gap in the fuselage was about 1/8in wide. Several applications of filler were required to close the gap. If you’re careful, you can save most of the fuselage detail. The fuselage has a separate lower center section; care fitting this part will save you some time filling later.

Moving on to the wings, I found they fit worse then the fuselage! I deviated from the instructions and assembled the wheel wells and installed them without the landing gear. I did use the wells as jigs to assemble the gear, but did not attach them yet. Be aware that the wells are left and right. The wheel wells will need to be trimmed to fit, otherwise they keep the wing halves from fitting together properly. I ended up test fitting the wheel wells, then removing them and gluing the wing halves together. I then slid the wells in through the engine openings. Roden molded the control surfaces of the wings with the bottom part. After gluing the wing halves together, you are left with a very large gap between the 2 parts. Again, several applications of filler are required to get a decent seam. Losing detail here can’t be avoided.

On to the engines, but bring that filler along kiddies! Take care here as the engines are left and right handed. The engines themselves fit together rather well, but that’s about it. Test fitting to the wings reveals more gaps. There is also a fairing that is installed behind the engines that will need blending in. I left the oil coolers and exhausts off the engines until later in assembly to make filling and sanding easier. I also installed the engines to the wings before installing the wings to the fuselage for the same reason.

On to putting it all together, yep, grab that filler! There are locating tabs for the wings, but I had to modify them to get the wings to fit properly. I also ended up adding shims of plastic card to make sure the wings have the correct dihedral. I messed up on that part, but didn’t notice until it was too late. My starboard wing sits a bit higher then the port one. Of course, after fitting the wings, there are gaps you will need to fill. At this point I applied a coat of gray primer and checked for flaws. There were a few to say the least.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Even this didn’t go well. The model was painted with Model Master German Aluminum and Gloss Black. I lightly sanded the gray primer and sprayed the silver first. When I sprayed the first coat of silver, it went on shiny but dried grainy. I sanded that down and reshot the silver. It was better, but still not quite right. I then masked off the silver and sprayed the gloss black. I sprayed the nose, but hand painted the black nose flashes. I also managed to put a nice freaking scratch on one wing cutting the masking! After painting I installed the landing gear. It was a bit of a tight fit, but I managed to get them in without breaking anything.

I started decaling with the small “Leipzig” name on the side. Good thing I did, because it splintered as I applied it! I sprayed the decals with Testors Decal Bonder and after that it was just a matter of trimming the decals close.

After decaling was done, I installed the propellers, exhausts and the various other bits. I used Krystal Klear for the passenger windows.

CONCLUSIONS

What can I say; this kit’s a pig. There is no way around that. I’ve heard people call this kit “The Rodent” and it fits. The fit is terrible, the parts breakdown is odd and the decals are crap. You’ll need a case of filler and a box of sandpaper. I have seen very few of these kit built, now I know why.

Having said that, the level of detail is good and I like the final result. It takes a LOT of work, but you can get there from here. It is also the only game in town if you want a Lufthansa He-111C. Would I build another? Maybe, because I really like the subject.

REFERENCES

Just some photos

Instructions for the history

Mark Hiott

September 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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