Roden 1/72 He-111E





Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




  At the end of 1936 the Heinkel Company began research with the aim of modernizing the early version of the He 111, the B-type. These tests went in three different directions: new powerplants, a new wing development that had to be easier to manufacture, and a new fuselage nose section.

  The He 111B was equipped with DB600 engines which rated 950 hp. Maximum speed of the He 111B-2 was only 370 km/h - not enough for new Luftwaffe requirements.

  At the beginning of 1937 the prototype He 111V6 fitted with the new Jumo 211 engine took off from the Heinkel factory's airfield. Its performance was better than that of the B-type - speed increased by 20 km/h. However, the Jumo 211 had many defects, and the plane was returned to the factory. At the same time another new modification, the He 111D - with 'old' DB600 engines - reached a maximum speed of 410 km/h; this compared well with contemporary fighters from other countries. Nevertheless, the Heinkel company believed that the Jumo 211 engine had high potential, and the He 111D program was cancelled soon afterwards.

  In January 1938 the first 'Emils' (unofficial name of the He 111E) left the factory. The engine's problems were eliminated and the new type reached a maximum speed of 425 km/h (cruising speed with a 2000 kg bomb load was 380 km/h). Mass production of this modification started immediately.

  The first Jumo-engined version of He 111 started to arrive in combat units in the summer of 1938. The first one to receive the type was Kampfgeschwader 1 'Hinderburg' - the Luftwaffe's elite unit.

  The Condor Legion, which still continued to fight in the skies of Spain at that time, lost nearly 30 He 111Bs in action. These losses had to be compensated for, and starting in the summer of 1938, 35 He 111Es were delivered to this unit (25 machines of the E-1 type during summer-autumn and 10 machines of the E-3 type during the winter of the same year).

  In mass production, the He 111 was given further minor improvements (mainly in special equipment, defensive armament and installation of additional fuel tanks). 220 He 111Es were built in total. At the end of 1938, the He 111P 'second generation one-eleven' was successfully tested. All He 111Es that were still in service were passed on to the training units before September 1st 1939, when WWII started.

Thanks once again to the Roden website for this historical background.


This E version of the He-111 is basically a continuation of the earlier kits produced by Roden, including the 111A, B, and C versions. I doubt if you'll see a D version made as it didn't leave prototype stage, but there is still the F to do before we get into the 'modern' 111s with the new aerodynamic nose section. Since there is but a single sprue change from the 111B (and that is the engines), I'll refer you to the preview of that kit for a look at what else is provided. The new sprue is shown on the left, and really is no more than new engines and cowlings. Molding is pretty much the same as with the earlier kit.

A bit of modification to existing parts will be needed, but nothing major. This kit also includes the full interior bomb bay, though the lower doors have no way to be opened without a lot of work. External bomb racks and bombs are also supplied. The 'dustbin' lower turret is shown as  in the 'down' position. It is my gut feeling that this would normally have been raised up into the fuselage while the aircraft was on the ground, so you may want to take that into consideration when you are building your model.

The instructions themselves are very well done with clearly drawn construction sequences and any adjustments or modifications needs prominently marked. All the paints are referenced to Humbrol numbers and have generic call-outs provided as well. No RLM numbers are give, which would be a real help, but for those of us not using Humbrol paints, the upper surfaces were RLM 61/62/63 with RLM 65 lower surfaces. The splinter camo will be time-consuming to paint but since it is all sharp-edged, masking will be the way to go. I should also mention that it was not unusual for the colors in the upper surface to be transposed and not exactly the same so if you wish to experiment a bit, then you would not be 'wrong'

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  1. Heinkel 111E (GC+GE) of unknown training or transport unit which was used rescue operation during final stage of Battle for Stalingrad (winter 1942/1943). Note that aircraft is equipped with external containers under the fuselage.
  2. Heinkel 111E (V4+AB), Kampfgeschwader I/KG 1 "Hindenburg", Polish Campaign, early days of September 1939.
  3. Heinkel 111E "black 25-92", Kampfgruppe 88 "Legion Condor", Spain, 1937-1938.

The decals with this kit are different from previous ones, being quite gloss. Perhaps this indicates an improvement in their ability to stick to the kit. I do hope so.


It is really great that Roden is producing all these early 111s. I personally feel that they have more character than the later ones. Those who like pre-war aircraft should seriously consider adding this one to their collection.

Thanks to the fine folks at  . Visit them by clicking on the logo.

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