Italeri 1/72 Do-217N-1






Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken




A development of the Do-17, the Do-217 was proposed as a slightly larger successor to the type. The prototype first flew in 1938, but it wasn't until the development of the Do-217E series that appeared in late 1940 that the type saw Luftwaffe use. First units to use the plane were long-range reconnaissance squadrons who set about mapping the Soviet Union in preparation for the German invasion a few months later. The first bomber unit was KG 40 who used the type for anti-shipping strikes in early 1941. KG 2 had delivery start in mid-1941 and the type was used as a bomber against targets in England and Russia a bit later in that year.

As with most larger German aircraft, it was capable of using a number of different engines, specifically versions of the BMW 801 radial or the DB 601 in-line engine. Also the type was developed into a night fighter. The radial engined version was the Do-217J and the DB 601 powered the Do-217N. Unfortunately, the aircraft was not that good a platform for night fighting. The greatest problem was lack of power and speed. It was in some cases actually slower than the planes it was to be hunting and time to altitude was relaxed at best. Thankfully it was realized that the Bf-110 and Ju-88 night fighter versions were more of what the Luftwaffe was seeking and the Do-217 night fighters were retired by late 1943.



Airfix already blessed us with a kit of the Do-217J, based on their Do-217E kit. Italeri then brought out the Do-217N kit based on their Do-217K version. For some odd reason, manufacturers feel that night fighters must be made of black plastic. Not sure why that is, but Italeri has followed suit with the 217N kit. This is one of Italeri's older kits, dating back to when the company was called Italierie. Similar to the FW-190A reviewed a while back, this is definitely a child of the 70s. It has raised panel lines, separate control surfaces, a minimalist interior in terms of detailing and inside fuselage detailing that we have come to expect from modern kits.

In terms of options, there really are none other than building the kit with the landing gear retracted. The Italeri instructions are not bad considering their age. Colors given are not to FS standards but do have a few RLM numbers given amongst the usual generic color names. You are given two markings options. One is the box art plane from NJG 4 shown optimistically shooting down a Lancaster and painted black all over. The other plane is also from NJG 4 but this time it is painted RLM 74/75/76 with 74 and 75 mottling on the sides. The kit decals are quite matte, but should work well when applied. No swastikas are supplied so you'll have to raid the spares box for them.


Though it is not a new kit, it is the only option for this plane in really any scale. I'd seriously be surprised to see ProModeler do this after the bath it took with its more recent Luftwaffe kits like the Ju-52, Ta-154 and Do-217E. Seems like modelers beg for a certain kit and then when it comes out, it sits on dealers shelves. No wonder R-M is down on doing plane kits. Despite its older beginnings, it should build into a very nice model. There are aftermarket brass sets available to spruce up the interior if your desires take you in that direction.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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