Airfix 1/72 He-111P-2
KIT #: A06014
PRICE: $29.98 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The He 111P incorporated the updated Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1 liquid-cooled engine and featured a newly designed nose section, including an asymmetric mounting for an MG 15 machine gun that replaced the 'stepped' cockpit with a roomier and more aerodynamic glazed stepless cockpit over the front of the aircraft. This smooth glazed nose was first tested on the He 111 V8 in January 1938. These improvements allowed the aircraft to reach 475 km/h (295 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft) and a cruise speed of 370 km/h (230 mph), although a full bomb load reduced this figure to 300 km/h (190 mph). The design was implemented in 1937 because pilot reports indicated problems with visibility. The pilot's seat could actually be elevated, with the pilot's eyes above the level of the upper glazing, complete with a small pivoted windscreen panel, to get the pilot's head above the level of the top of the "glass tunnel" for a better forward view for takeoffs and landings. The rear-facing dorsal gun position, enclosed with a sliding, near-clear view canopy, and for the first time, the ventral Bodenlafette rear-facing gun position, immediately aft of the bomb bay, that replaced the draggy "dustbin" retractable emplacement became standard, having been first flown on the He 111 V23, bearing civil registration D-ACBH.

One of Heinkel's rivals, Junkers, built 40 He 111Ps at Dessau. In October 1938, the Junkers Central Administration commented:

Apparent are the externally poor, less carefully designed components at various locations, especially at the junction between the empennage and the rear fuselage. All parts have an impression of being very weak.... The visible flexing in the wing must also be very high. The left and right powerplants are interchangeable. Each motor has an exhaust-gas heater on one side, but it is not connected to the fuselage since it is probable that ... the warm air in the fuselage is not free of carbon monoxide (CO). The fuselage is not subdivided into individual segments, but is attached over its entire length, after completion, to the wing centre section. Outboard of the powerplants, the wings are attached by universal joints. The latter can in no way be satisfactory and have been the cause of several failures.

The new design was powered by the DB 601 Ba engine with 1,175 PS The first production aircraft reached Luftwaffe units in Fall 1938. In May 1939, the P-1 and P-2 went into service with improved radio equipment. The P-1 variant was produced with two DB 601Aa powerplants of 1,150 hp (860 kW). It had self-sealing fuel tanks. The P-1 featured a semi-retractable tail wheel to decrease drag. Armament consisted of a MG 15 in the nose, and a sliding hood for the fuselage's dorsal B-Stand position. Installation of upgraded FuG III radio communication devices were also made and a new ESAC-250/III vertical bomb magazine was added. The overall takeoff weight was now 13,300 kg (29,321 lb).

The P-2, like the later P-4, was given stronger armour and two MG 15 machine guns in "waist" mounts on either side of the fuselage and two external bomb racks. Radio communications consisted of FuG IIIaU radios and the DB601 A-1 replaced the 601Aa powerplants. The Lotfernrohr 7 bombsights, which became the standard bombsight for German bombers, were also fitted to the P-2. The P-2 was also given "field equipment sets" to upgrade the weak defensive armament to four or five MG 15 machine guns. The P-2 had its bomb capacity raised to 4 ESA-250/IX vertical magazines. The P-2 thus had an empty weight of 6,202 kg (13,272 lb), a loaded weight increased to 12,570 kg (27,712 lb) and a maximum range of 2,100 km (1,305 mi).

If you wish to read more about the 111P series, visit the reference link at the end of the article.


I mentioned in a previous article that one of the goals of Hornby's ressurection of Airfix was to produce as much of the previous catalogue as possible with new tool kits. This is one of those kits, replacing their venerable He-111H kit. I can recall building the older kit in the 1960s and using totally inappropriate gloss paints to simulate its camouflage. This hastily built model flew hundreds of missions from the ceiling of my bedroom.

Airfix's new tool kit is really quite superb. Just looking at the sprues, it is quite reminiscent of the Hasegawa offering in its level of detailing. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Airfix copied the Hasegawa kit, that is not at all the case. In fact, some of the construction seems similar to how Roden approached some areas, though I'm betting the fit is a ton better on this one.

Going through the instructions, one notices that the first order of business is not the cockpit. Airfix has supplied detailed interior walls for the bomb bay/upper gunner's area and these are the initial installation, followed by the compartment's bulkheads which incorporate stub wing spars. Once the interior walls are built up, the fuselage halves are glued together. One has to remove two tail mounted machine guns, hinting at later variants being kitted.

The two vertical bomb bays are built up and installed on the lower wing center section. This piece will incorporate the main gear wells. Now the cockpit area is built up and in this kit, Airfix supplies crew members. Each of the main gear wells is five pieces and inserts into the lower stub wing. Then the stub wing is installed and one glues on the upper wing halves, followed by the lower.

The kit provides separate ailerons, flaps, elevators and rudder. There are rudder actuating mechanisms to glue in place which will keep the modeler from posing it other than the neutral position. Each of the engine nacelles comprises of seven pieces. This version uses stub exhaust pipes which could be attached at the end of the build to make painting easier. Included on the sprues are the collector types. All the engine bits are on the same sprue so I would wager that we can expect the Junkers powered version later. I hope they provide the right props.

Airfix continues to offer a wheels up option for those of you who like stand models and the various gear doors for this option are provided. For the rest of us, the gear legs are nicely molded and we get main wheels in this case that are not 'flat bottomed' as in other kits. We are also provided with both open and closed bomb bay door options. There are options for slid open cockpit and gunner's hatches. I very much like that all the clear bits can be installed from the outside after painting.

Instructions are nicely done providing some color to help with construction. As usual, only Humbrol paint numbers are provided except for the overall painting guide. Both options are RLM 70/71/65 though the first paint option looks like one of the shades is a dark brown. The box art plane is from KG 4 and is a museum plane in the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum. The other is with KG.55 and has a nice chalked rudder art work on it. The decals are nicely printed, but include no swastikas so you'll have to source those from somewhere else. Those wanting aftermarket, AIMS produces several sheets that include markings for the P-2 variant.

Looks like another winner to me. Though Wiki states that the P-2 had external bomb racks, this kit does not include them. Nor does it include the waist guns. I wouldn't go tossing your Hasegawa kits, but if you don't have an early war 111 in your collection, this would be one to pick up.


October 2015

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