Hobby Boss 1/72 Do-335 'Pfiel'

KIT #: 80293
PRICE: $17.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool Easy Assemble kit


Dornier Do 335 Pfeil ("Arrow") was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The two-seater trainer version was also called Ameisenbär ("anteater"). The Pfeil's performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the much lower drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines. The Luftwaffe was desperate to get the design into operational use, but delays in engine deliveries meant only a handful were delivered before the war ended.

This is one of a new line of twins in the Easy Assembly series from Hobby Boss. The Do-335 is most welcome in this line of kits and should prove to be popular. As is the norm with these kits, the wing is a single piece with the lower fuselage incorporated into it. Thanks to slide mold technology, the upper fuselage is a single piece as well. There is a small cockpit that has a seat, stick and floor. The instrument panel is a decal that fits into the upper fuselage section. Scoops and exhausts are separate and can be added later. The rear fit insertion is also separate and is molded along panel lines. There is a single clear canopy and without the huge mounting tabs we've seen on earlier kits. I know I appreciate that.

Landing gear are nicely done with the main gear having separate oleo scissors, retraction struts and wheels. The front strut has the wheel molded in place. with separate struts. HB seems to make one glitch in each of its EA kits and in this one it is the props. Basicaly the props are turning the wrong way. Now one could probably just switch the front and the rear prop and mount them backwards (after a bit of modification to the shafts) were it not for the fact they are different sizes. Adding to this is the deal that the blades are actually airfoil shaped so would have the flat part at the 'front'. Looks like a job for aftermarket.

Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. There are markings for one aircraft, the lone surviving Do-335 that is held by the Smithsonian and is now in their collection at the Dulles airport. This aircraft was completely rebuilt by Dornier in Germany and allowed to be displayed in Germany for ten years before being returned to the US. In addition to these markings, separate number 113s are provided in case you wished to do that one, though it is not shown in the instrucctions. The plane is in late war camouflage of (and correct me if I miss this as only generic colors are provided) RLM 81/83 over 65.


Thanks to its design, there are not a lot of parts. First step is to assemble the interior bits and then paint all the interior things with RLM 66. When it dried, I made up a harness with thin tape strips. I then recalled the last time I built a Do-335, which was the Monogram kit many decades back. It needed a lot of nose weight, so to be sure, I packed 14 grams of weight in the nose. There is room for it so no worries there. The interior was then glued to the lower wing.

With the decal placed in the instrument panel area and dry, I attached the upper fuselage section. This is a good fit, but you have to come at things by sliding it in place from the rear in order to get the seat to be in front of the aft bulkhead. Otherwise it ends up behind it. The fit is actually quite good and while you'll need filler (especially on the area forward of the wing), the rest of the join line save the little 'jag' behind the wing, can simply be sanded. The lower fin is a butt join and it fits well, again with some sanding when done. I then attached the tail planes. These are keyed, though from the look of things, I don't see why.

I tacked the forward engine cowling on with some paint and then glued on the lower engine's intake scoop. This is a tad undersize and is also not quite the right shape. Looking at photos, the upper part should be closer to the fuselage and the lower section should not be straight but a continuation of the curve of the rest of the fuselage behind it. Check out the photos of the real plane on Google. Add to it that the intake should be oval and not squared off as comes in the kit. I foresee an upgrade part in the works for this.  I also sanded off the mold seam on the upper spine of the fuselage.  The canopy was masked and attached, followed by the two engine supercharger intake scoops. These both will have large sprue attachment points and for some odd reason, they were placed on the top of the part where any imperfections of removing them will be easily seen.


At this time, it was decided to paint the airframe. Now the instructions call for some generic shades, but would basically be RLM 81/82/76. However, something one has to consider. According to the book reference, Dornier came up with the official paint scheme for these planes in late 1944 and used RLM 65 for the underside. Why was this? Well, Dornier didn't build fighters so had plenty of RLM 65 on hand so why not use it? I painted all the underside bits and outer gear doors with this shade.

That was masked as needed. Now I decided not to do the kit markings and chose to model the ninth prototype. One reason for this is that the kit does not have the small bubbles in the canopy of the pre-production planes, while the prototypes were generally lacking this feature. The v9 was painted in bomber colors of RLM 70/71/65 because the Do-335 was initially to be a fast attack bomber. That is why it had a bomb bay. The next shade I applied was RLM 70, which was also used to paint the props and spinners. after the usual 'hour or two of masking followed by five minutes of painting', the RLM 71 was sprayed. When dry, the masking was removed.

With the major painting done, it was time to put it on its landing gear. Thanks to all the attachment points, these pieces required quite a bit of clean-up. The instructions would have you paint the gear black, but looking at period photos, it was pretty obvious that these were not that shade but probably RLM 02, so that is the main shade I used. The tires were painted with Floquil's weathered black while the various exposed struts got the treatment with Testors chrome silver. These were then glued in place and thanks to the nose weight overload, no worries about tail sitting.

I then started to apply the markings. For the insignia I used the kit decals. These are quite thin and aside from the registration issues with the swastika and underwing crosses, went on very well. The fuselage crosses need to fit farther forward on the fuselage than is shown in the instructions. Once all the insignia were on, I started looking for letters for the radio codes. The closest I could find were on Modeldecal sheet 33 and I used 24 inch letters. Trouble was that the sheet has no C, U, or I on it. For those, I cut a G and used a similar size number sheet for the I (1) and for the U (a O cut and with extra extension bits on it to make it long enough. Something missed by HB is that these radio call letters were also on the underside of the wings so a set was applied there as well. These are undersize as I did not have anything in the right font that would fit. The v9 lettering came from another Modeldecal sheet and while also a bit undersize, was the best I could do with what was on hand. I also realized that the kit swastika was wrong and it should have been a white outline only so I removed the one already on with tape. I found one in an Xtradecal swastika sheet that, while a bit thinner in outline, was the right size.

With all that taken care of, it was time to attach the nose section (with prop) and the tail prop. I found out during this that the front prop is even more goofed up than I thought. One of the three blades is pitched opposite of the other two! The ADF loop antenna was installed as were the main gear doors. I then sprayed on some semi-matte to seal in the decals and give the model a uniform sheen. Once that was done, some detail painting was done, the exhaust installed and the masking removed.


Aside from the very preventable research/molding glitches, this is quite a nice kit. It fits well and provided no surprises during construction. You will need considerable nose weight and it would have been nice to have been given some information in that area. I am sure the aftermarket folks will be doing something about the props and hopefully provide a replacement rear fuselage intake. However, these items shouldn't deter you from giving this one a go.



Dornier Do-335 Pfiel by J. Richard Smith & Eddie J. Creek. Classic Books, 2006

July 2013 

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