Airfix 1/72 Do-17E/F





Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Not currently in the catalogue



The DORNIER Do 17 twin engined bombers were used by the Luftwaffe more than any other type for the numerous photographic reconnaissance flights over France and over Great Britain during the early days of the war. The Do 17 was one of the first modern types to go into production for the Luftwaffe in 1935. Since then it has been fitted with three different types of motor. The prototype Do 17 flew with 660 h.p. B.M.W. VI un-supercharged liquid cooled upright Vee motors in the Summer of 1936. It had a top speed of 400 km.h. (249 mph.) at sea level. Later the 880 h.p, B.M.W. cylinder supercharged air-cooled radials were installed. They raised the top speed to 445 km.h. (276 m.p.h.) at 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.).

Later Do 17s were built with 1,050 h.p. Daimler Benz DB.600G motors. With them the top speed went up to 470 km.h. (292 m.p.h.) at 14,800 ft.  The Do 17 and later Do 215/217 aircraft were all-metal high wing cantilever monoplanes .  They had twin fins and rudders at the ends of the cantilever tail plane just outboard of the centre-lines of the engines.

The original long tapered nose gained the Do 17 the name of the "Flying Pencil." It was flush riveted to further enhance its speed. The wings were without dihedral and tapered towards the tip. The fully monocoque fuselage had an aluminum stressed skin covering. The full cantilever tail plane is set at a small dihedral angle. Trim tabs are used on all the movable control surfaces. The elevators are mass balanced with external balances, which passed through slots in the tail plane. The twin rudders had aerodynamic as well as mass balances. The fixed surfaces have metal covering, the movable surfaces fabric.

The undercarriage is retracted hydraulically. The wheels, mounted between two oleo legs and equipped with mudguards and brakes, were raised backwards in to the motor nacelles and enclosed by hinged doors, so that only the tire was left protruding. This feature prevented many a 'wheels up' landing from doing a great deal of damage to the underside of the plane. While not all types had a retractable tail wheel, on those that did, the tail wheel retracted vertically in to the fuselage.

The Do 17 carried a crew of three, all in front of the wing. The pilot sat on the port side of the fuselage, so that there was room for the bomb-aimer to pass to his prone position below. A navigation compartment with hinged chart table occupied the space between the back of the pilot and the front spar of the wing.

Forward armament consisted of two fixed machine guns in the front cowling, operated by the pilot. The bombs are stowed horizontally in the centre section of the fuselage between the spars. Up to 1,000 kg. (2,205 lb.) can be carried internally. The Do 215 was built on the same jigs as the Do 17 and only varied from it in minor detail.

They were robust enough to endure terrible amounts of gunfire, especially small calibre gunfire. Their strength did not depend upon bracing wires and wooden spars: these metal bombers had armour protection, with some of the vital mechanical parts duplicated. Even more valuable were the self sealing fuel tanks.

First combat was in Spain with the Legion Condor where the type was quite successful against an ever-diminishing enemy air force and their Soviet I-15/I-16 fighters. They were also quite successful in the opening year of the war in Europe, but when faced against a determined enemy were not as immune as the crews would have wished. By mid-war, the Do-17 was out of active service on most fronts with the later 215 and 217 operating in small numbers and mostly at night.



Old time modelers will immediately recognize the light blue plastic as being an Airfix kit. However, this is one of the 'newer' moldings as you can see from the lack of separate control surfaces that were for such a long time the standard goodie to be added to Airfix kits. Instead, you have a pretty accurate, though sparsely detailed model kit. Well, perhaps it isn't that sparsely done, but it really needs an interior and some wheel well detail as that is barely adequate by today's standards. The interior has a floor, seats, control column and three figures. The surface features of the model are raised and there are the still requisite rivets where needed, rather odd in a flush-riveted aircraft, but hey, that's the 60s for you! In other regards the model is really rather well done. Yeah, the fabric on the control surfaces is a bit saggy and the decals have yellowed over time, but you do have the option of building it with the wheels up as a separate set of closed main gear doors are provided. You also have the option of building it as an E or F. The main difference in the kit being the windscreen, which on the bomber version (or E model) has a spot for an extra machine gun. The E also has a bomb sight and fairing that the F doesn't have.

Instructions are the usual set of construction drawings and are really quite good at providing the proper building sequence and other construction information. Full color information (including interior and other parts ) is provided on the back of the sheet, but they are all in generic terms, the use of RLM colors in instructions not being in vogue during the 60's. Markings are provided for an E and F in prewar units and with prewar splinter color schemes of RLM 61/62/63 over RLM 65. Though the pattern is the same on both planes, the colors used in those patterns is different. No unit information is given. I'd be on the look for alternate decals or at least raid the decal spares bin as the kit ones are less than optimal, having yellowed over time. Included on the decal sheet is an instrument panel decal that will be quite helpful.



Despite the age of the kit, it is pretty clean with only a trace of flash, no real problems with ejector pin marks and almost no sink areas that one usually finds in old kits. This is a kit that I do believe will build into a very nice model. Only problems I can see may be masking or gluing the clear bits as these are usually dodgy on old Airfix kits anyway. If you can find an etched brass fix-up set, then you can have a super model of a pre-war Luftwaffe bomber.

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