Revell/MPM 1/72 Ju-290Z Zwilling

KIT #: 04340/C72003
PRICE: 90 euros for the three kits
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: All improvements scratch built


Alternate History

Hauptman Steinhoorn was a true envisionist (some called him mad): upon seeing the first Ju 290s developed from the civil Ju 90 versions, he put pressure on everybody to adopt Junkers concept of joining two 290s with a common central wing, using a reinforced central wing part, strong enough to tolerate massive twisting stresses the unjoined tails would impose! The resulting plane would have exceptional range and endurance, a so sought after maritime patrol aspect, retaining (more or less) the “original” 290’s reinforced construction (the lack of which doomed the Condor).  

There were concerns that such projects would desperately need their “parasite” fighter protection, in case an enemy fighter showed up, yet, the proposed Me-328 “Parasite Fighter” project was far from being materialized. The daring Steinhoorn would undertake the task of constructing a heavily modified He-178V1 prototype, making it all-metal, adding 4 small guns at the wings and install two aft pulsejets (!), with two down facing winglets to compensate for the stability problems the pulsejets would impose. His superiors (well, everybody, apart from the Junkers Company mad designer…), told him he was crazy…

Well, beginning is half of everything and Steinhoorn knew that. All (!) he had to do was to somehow manage getting his project started simultaneously with the beginning of the standard 290 project, otherwise, any potential interest would fade in time. The siege of his superiors lasted for two weeks before they gave up, signaling a “green light” to him, them remaining in wondering how on earth they gave permission to use two (!) Ju290s, practically prototypes, in order to be joined after having their preciously designed wings cut, with a gremlin parasite prototype carried on top…The rest was untold history…

It was one of those cold February nights in 1943, with Steinhoorn comfortably seated in “his” Ju 290Z left cockpit, executing yet another long maritime patrol. “Long” is an understatement! With those extra fuel tanks added in the central wing and 4 of the 8 engines feathered during patrolling, his flying giant could stay airborne for the whole night! Enemy night fighters had little luck discovering him with their primitive (if any) radars. That “night blue” camo (Steinhoorn’s idea) helped the massive Zwilling remain unseen above the Atlantic in practically all weather conditions. This really daring scheme consisted of a disruptive pattern of “Navy” dark blue/intermediate blue tops, their borders highlighted with light blue. That disruptive top camo kind of “stealthed” the giant over the endless Atlantic waters, even under the moonlight. Indeed, his one-off Zwilling had already accumulated a full operational year, patrolling the vast North Atlantic area, being responsible for many ships and submarines sinking.

 Based at Merignac, operating strictly at night, covered by large camoed canvases during daytime, the Zwilling was really a lucky giant, for not having been discovered. The effects of weathering were evident: pressed into service, chipped paint could be seen at places, mainly as no proper salt resistant priming was applied under the “night blue” camo. Quite a bit of dirtying was evident, as it was avoided to remove the canvas cover of the giant for cleaning during daytime. Oh, and those underwing RATO exhaust gases stains….It was another Steinhoorn’s idea to fit two prototype RATOs under the central wing part, in order to shorten the takeoff run. He loved them, used them everytime!

So there he was, with his 18-man crew, plus his friend, Hauptman Ziegel, patiently seated in the modified Heinkel parasite, sporting the same “Midnight Blue” camo, as well (only an extremely skillful pilot would be allowed in the handful Heinkel). Steinhoorn had somehow foreseen the war outcome, not very favorable for his country, his one-off Zwilling not enough to make any difference. Still, he was proud that he insisted on this ultra-long range and endurance maritime reconnaissance project, with time proving that he was right. Deep in his heart, all he wished was an end for this mad war, with the least possible damage, so he could establish some magic friendships with his – by that time – enemies…
And the real story:

The Junkers Ju 290 was a large German, four-engine long-range transport, maritime patrol aircraft and heavy bomber used by the Luftwaffe late in World War II that had been developed from an earlier airliner.
Junkers project documents from 1942 to 1944 indicated that a Zwilling variant was proposed. It was to be composed of two Ju 290 fuselages and powered by eight BMW 9-801 engines; two mounted on each outboard wing and four on the inboard wing. It was to carry a single Messerschmitt Me 328 parasite fighter on top of the right fuselage. The Ju 290Z was canceled in favor of the Ju 390.


Revell continued to impress us by issuing this extremely comprehensive 1/72 kit of the Seeadler, back in 2003: a mainstream kit of an iconic plane, even though only 65 were actually built. Please read Scott’s thorough review of the Seeadler here.

It was 2005, when I saw a beautiful Ju290Z/Me-328 model built by Mike Glinsky, featuring a black underside and a gorgeous RLM 70/71 splinter over “wave” RLM 65 pattern. I was so inspired to dare building my own Zwilling interpretation, by scratch building the central wing joining part. I thus bought two kits of the Revell Seeadler. As for the parasite, I went ballistic and decided to use the also available Condor/MPM 1/72 He-178, which I would heavily modify.

So, here I was, getting the nice limited run Condor kit too! Upon opening its lovely tiny box, I was surprised to see that it is an exact scaled down version of the same company’s quarterscale model. There were 25 well cast styrene parts, a PE fret, an acetate instrument panel and a well-executed vacform canopy. The styrene parts are “old school” limited run, meaning some injector stubs have to be removed. However, it looked like a tempting, not extremely difficult build.

Armed with those three kits, off I went to my workshop.


I started by constructing the two Seeadlers. Cockpits and crew compartments are very well appointed, with more than 60 pieces for both of them (!). At each main floor, I attached the 4 foot pedals, the 2-piece control yokes, instrument panel, pilot and copilot 3-piece seats, navigator, operator and rest crew members’ seats and corresponding bulkheads/consoles (14 pieces). The cockpit area assembly was then completed. Basic cockpit color was Hu32 (for RLM66), with black instrument panels, yoke handles and consoles, brown leather cushions, linen seat belts and bulkhead mounted curtain.

I proceeded by attaching the 34 windows from the inside of the fuselage halves and the accordingly painted 4-piece MG 151 guns, with their corresponding magazines (only at the outer fuselage parts, you have to cut a panel, in order to accommodate them). I attached the rear bulkheads and glued the side cargo/passenger doors shut. Basic cargo interior color was Testors Steel (for the kit’s suggested unpainted aluminum), with gunmetal guns.

I went on joining the fuselage halves, with the central floor (that included the assembled cockpit) trapped in between. To my joy, fit was nice! I figured out that by shaving the surrounding stem from the turret bases, the four turrets could be press fitted at later stages. This was another joyful moment, as, one of the things I really digress in WWII bombers is installing the assembled turrets before painting. I happily then attached the roofs and had two nice enclosed fuselages! Since the parasite would be attached on top of the starboard fuselage, I deleted the right astrodome and covered the hole with a suitable round cut styrene sheet. The noses were attached as well.

I then affixed the rear wheel wells, followed by the two-piece ramps (at closed position).  I attached the three-piece main landing gear legs in their wells, but left the two piece tail wheel arms off. All wheel wells, landing gear doors innards and landing gear legs were painted Testors Steel. The very nice dual fin tails were assembled (6 pieces each) and attached as well.

I continued by attaching the impressive central wing parts under the fuselages, followed by attaching the top left and right wing halves, finishing with the left and right bottom outer parts. This was another deviation from the instructions: my approach was to attach wing parts to the fuselage first, and then mate the wing halves, to assure a gap free wing root joint, as I hate filling wing roots. Fit was great allover and I was pleased with the result.

The gondolas are an 11-piece affair each, including transparencies and guns. They were assembled, had their innards painted RLM66, and left apart, to be installed at final stages. The four turrets were likewise prepared. I finished by assembling the four piece main and two piece tail wheels, 10 wheels in total. Their rims were painted black, drybrushed with silver, with black tires.

The eight nice engines were then assembled. They were a 7-piece affair each, including the inlet fans. They were painted black (including the fans) and drybrushed with silver. The 4-piece cowlings were also assembled, filled and sanded (with their innards painted Testors Steel), then had the engines fitted in and installed in position. The two piece nice props were assembled and painted Hu91 (for RLM70), then lightly drybrushed with silver.

Having the two basic Seeadler airframes assembled, I gave them a filling and sanding session, before attempting to join them, as handling of the joined wings monster would be challenging.
Then it was wing joining time! After measuring the distance between inner and outer engines, I proceeded by cutting the left and right wing outer parts, from the two Seeadlers respectively, at the point where the resulting distance between the paired engines would roughly be the same as the one measured beforehand. I glued sprue chunks at all inner hollow areas, then I attached the wings with thin liquid glue, hoping that capillary action will lead it to every styrene contacting point, thus strengthening the joint.

An application of liquefied styrene followed, strengthening the joint even further. Upon curing, after being satisfied with the rigidity of the structure, I sanded, filled, and re-sanded the area, (with some additional work was at the central flap), followed by rescribing of the panel lines, in order to present a homogenous wing joint look. The finished joint looked realistic (in its fictitious paper project nature, of course!).

The He-178 “improved” Parasite:

This was a full mini model in itself! Due to its old school limited run nature, all parts were first removed from the sprues, cleaned and sanded smooth to even any surface imperfections. I started by attaching the two fuselage halves, with the cockpit floor, rear bulkhead, front intake blanking plate and main engine exhaust trapped between them. I then attached the top main wing part, followed by the two lower wing halves, opting for a gap-free root joint. The two piece tail plane was attached too, as well as the small underbelly landing skid. Fit was generally good. I microdrilled two holes at each wing leading edge, in order to represent four fictitious wing mounted guns.

The adequate detailed cockpit received its 3-piece foot pedals, stick, seat and 4-piece instrument panel. I only added seat belts from cream doped masking tape. Color rendition was the same as the Zwilling’s.

In order to “what if” improvise the Heinkel prototype, it received two simplified pulsejets over the tailplane: they were fabricated by modifying rocket bodies from my spares. There was no space to install them under the tailplane, which means that half of the fin area was covered by them. Well, my idea was that differential thrust would be used, in order to compensate for the reduced rudder effective area… As a “stability enhancer”, I cut the parasite’s wingtips and glued them downwards. After attaching the nice PE main landing gear fuselage reinforcing braces, I gave this petite model a filling and sanding session and accompanied the Mothership Zwilling to the paint shop.


After blanking the Zwilling’s openings and masking the installed transparencies, I gave all undersurfaces (including the gondolas and the Heinkel), a good two bottles Hu127 U.S.Ghost Gray, followed by masking. I then applied Hu144 (for the intermediate blue) on top, followed by a freehand custom pattern (meaning: my inspiration) application of Hu77 (for the Navy dark blue). Upon drying, I applied a top (protective) coat of Future and, with my Badger SG-100 at ultra-fine settings, I applied Hu65 Light Blue pencil thickness demarcation lines on all dark/intermediate blue borders. Thin Hu65 paint and low compressor pressure were my allies during this fine process. The same camo was applied to the Heinkel parasite.

After masking removal, with the painting results deemed acceptable, I applied an allover coat of Future, in order to prepare the models for decaling. I used the kit decals for the Zwilling, depicting a fictitious (for 1943) 9V+BH machine. They Cartograf decals behaved “Cartography”: excellent allover, nothing to report! The extended maintenance stenciling provided added a lot to realism. The Swastikas used were taken from a generic equally excellent (printed by Cartograf…) Icarus Decals sheet.

The Heinkel received some leftover decals from my dungeon, some maintenance stenciling that I saved from the Zwilling decals and Icarus Decals Swastikas. It “became” 9V+AA.

A coat of Future sealed the decals and I proceeded to the not so small task of final put together.


I first attached the gondolas, which, to my relief, fitted nicely. Then I attached the bazillion of moving surfaces hinges and mass balances underneath, plus the various top and bottom antennas (roughly 70 pieces in all!), all painted fuselage color. I did not install the FuG radar antennas, as I find it difficult to apply them and I decided (!) that the Zwilling had no FuG installed in 1943 (translation of above: I am lazy…).

Two leftover F-84G RATOs, painted gun metal, were attached under the strong structure of the interconnecting wing, in order to reduce the massive plane’s takeoff run. Then I attached the 10 wheels and let the giant rest on them, ensuring that all 10 were aligned and touched the ground.

All transparencies, including the four front blisters, the port astrodome and the four turret tops, were prepared, had their frames (where applicable) easily hand painted (due to the well-defined frames) and attached with tiny amounts of styrene glue, the resulting micro gaps faired over with white glue. The turrets were then press fitted into their corresponding holes.

I ran a wire, made of silver stretched sprue, only between the two port fuselage top antenna masts…..yes, you guessed it: neither antenna masts, nor astrodome (only a blanking plate) on the starboard fuselage, as the Heinkel was to be attached there!

Speaking of the Heinkel: I did not like the kit provided shallow-hole “blanking plate” representation of the characteristic Heinkel intake: it had a toy-ish, unrealistic look. Modifying the blanking plate to look like an FOD cover might be an option, but I elected to improvise the area: I first thinned the intake walls as much as I could, then stapled flat one of my sons’ usual straws of suitable diameter (they come at many diameters and colors!!) at its end, and trimmed its edges. I then inserted it in the intake as deep as possible, with its flattened end reaching deep and under the cockpit, just like in reality. I trimmed the other edge, and blended it with the intake lips, using white glue. It was painted Testors Steel, with its “stapled” end matt black, looking like a nice, deep, realistic air intake!

The main landing gear legs (no wheels) and a small “V” shaped supporting strut (from stretched sprue) at the rear wheel area were attached, painted underside color. Then the parasite, with its sporting intake, was affixed on top of the starboard fuselage, at the main wings area.

I decided to perform some chipping, assuming that the Zwilling was pressed into service with incomplete priming. Chipping was performed with a stiff 10/0 brush (its bristles were cut very short…), using Testors Steel. Then I applied dry dark colored pastels, to represent engine staining and (especially RATO) sooting, underside dirtying, particularly at the wheels surrounding areas. Tiny amounts of dark brown temperas represented hinge grease leaks; all towards the airflow direction.

I then called this not exactly small project of a beautiful giant of the night skies done!


First, I want to thank MM Readers for reading my (inevitably?) long review so far!

This was a multi- aspect big project, as it essentially involved the build of two Seeadlers and a limited run Heinkel, not the simplest builds (each one for its own reasons), let alone the “improvisations” performed. The finished model is massive, wider than the 1/72 B-36, so if you decide to undertake the task of building it, you should really have allocated a big "showcase"space.

The Revell Seeadlers are amazing kits: excellent allover, including the very reasonable price they are offered. They are complex kits (due to the plane size and the detail offered), but not complicated, all they need is patience and time, in order to come up with a big beautiful result. Should you wish to improve or super detail this already very detailed kit, you will not be disappointed, as a lot of aftermarket (AM) is out there, including helpful canopy masks! With the above said, it is highly recommended for anybody but the novice. It has been reissued once (2009) and I believe its next reissue will not be that far away (as of 2021).

The Condor/MPM Heinkel is an absolute jewel of a limited run kit: though old school, all it requires is a good cleanup to come up with a nice result of an iconic prototype. The absence of resin parts (only some nice PE is provided), is a welcome “simplifier” as well! I would dare to recommend it as a first limited run kit to an average modeler (or, he may try the exactly identical quarterscale version - only some extra PE cockpit details are provided). No aftermarket products seem to exist, but, frankly, you don’t need them! These kits are frequently reboxed by Special Hobby.

To join two Seeadlers to a Zwilling, there is a beautiful Bird Models resin conversion, available at a very reasonable price. If you opt to follow the “documented” studies, you should attach a 1/72 Me 328 Parasite on top of the Zwilling (you have quite a few options there, I recommend checking the definitive Scalemates site).

As usual, I went my own way! Regarding my scratchbuilt wings joining conversion, I proceeded bravely and found out it was not as daunting as initially feared, all it needed was some styrene surgery and rescribing. As for my what if parasite, I tried to make it look exotic, yet operationally believable.

I bet Hauptleute Steinhoorn and Ziegel had some War Diary stories to write there!

Happy Modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

12 November 2021

Copyright All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page