|KIT:||ICM 1/72 Do-215B-4|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Dornier Do 17Z fast bomber elicited interest from foreign air forces. In July 1937, Dornier therefore prepared a pre-series Do 17 Z-0 as a demonstrator for export customers. It was given the civil registration D-AAIV. While this aircraft was essentially identical to the production Do 17Z, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium assigned the designation Do 215 to the export version. The V1 prototype retained the 9-cylinder Bramo 323 Fafnir radial of the Do 17Z.
The second prototype (Do 215 V2) was equipped with Gnome-Rhône 14-NO radial engines. It safely completed testing, but did not attract export orders because it did not offer a notable performance increase over the Do 17Z. Dornier therefore equipped the V3 prototype with the 1,175 PS (1,159 hp) Daimler-Benz DB 601Ba inline engines. The V3, which first flew in the spring of 1939, showed a noticeable improvement in flight performance compared to the earlier prototypes.
Series production of the Do 215 A-1 began in 1939. The order, intended for the Swedish Air Force, was stopped in August 1939 due to the political situation. The 18 extant aircraft were embargoed and pressed into Luftwaffe service upon the outbreak of World War II.
Some modifications were made and the resulting aircraft were redesignated Do 215B. This was the standard production version. Between 92 and 105 (depending on sources) were produced between 1939 and 1941.
The Luftwaffe initially operated the Do 215 as a bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Aircraft equipped with the Rb 20/30 and Rb 50/30 cameras were used for long-range reconnaissance missions, primarily at the Ob.d.L (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe). Later aircraft operated as night fighters. The last of the Do 215s were retired in late 1944, along with most of the rest of the Luftwaffe bomber fleet.
This may well be the first Do-215 kit produced, as all other similar aircraft kits that I know of (such as those by Italeri) are Do-217 variants. When one looks at the light gray sprues with their nicely done engraved detailing, it certainly looks like a modern, new mold ICM kit. There are a number of extremely fine structures, some of which on my kit had broken into several sections, held in place by the sprue attachment points. Repairing these will not be easy. It is quite obvious that a night fighter and standard bomber will be produced as you get two glass noses and a gun nose on the sprues that are not used. Also not used are a bank of guns, a fuselage gun pack and exhaust dampers. Those who are so tempted, may well be able to do the other variants if they so choose.
There is a goodly amount of interior detail such as a well equipped cockpit area and nicely detailed landing gear, which contain many of those fine bits that I found broken. The detail is a tad softer than what you'd find on a Hasegawa kit, for instance. I also found that one of the upper wings was poorly molded with detritus on the surface and some sort of random engraving over the wing that will require filler, sanding and rescribing. Obviously it was missed by whatever quality control is used and may well be a single glitch with my kit. The clear bits are nicely molded and clear enough so you will be able to see any work put into the cockpit.
Instructions are quite well done using photo-realistic construction steps that are nicely done, but not as easy to make out placement as with the previous drawings. Color information is provided using Model Master and AKAH paints with RLM numbers given as appropriate. All three aircraft are in RLM 70/71/65 as befits bombers. First options is from 4./Aufkl Gr.Ob.d.L in France during 1940 and coded G2+JH. Second is from 1./Aufkl Gr.Ob.d.L in Finland during July 1941 with a yellow band through the fuselage cross. Coding this time is T5+AH. Finally the box art planes from 3./Aufkl Gr.Ob.d.L in Ukraine during Ausust 1941. Yellow fuselage band and the underside mottled in RLM 71 with codes of L2+ES. Decals are well printed but suspect as my experience with ICM decals has not been 100% positive.
I have to say that it is nice to see this kit come out. The Dornier bombers don't get a lot of building and they are all pretty nice looking planes. The ability to do the somewhat rare Do-215 series is a real plus for fans who are a bit tired of the same old thing. I'm very much looking forward to giving this one a go.
My Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for providing the review sample. Get yours at your favorite hobby outlet.
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