Revell 1/72 Arado E.555

KIT #: 04367
PRICE: €20 in 2005
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Some improvements made.


In response to the RLM's Amerikabomber project, Arado’s E.555 proposal included a series of long range jet bomber designs of various sizes, powerplants, crew and weapon load configurations. Those designs would be capable of striking the continental United States from Germany.
Arado had accumulated some experience from the development of its own small, shorter-range jet bomber, the Ar 234 Blitz, which first flew in June 1943.
Several different E.555 design configurations were proposed and considered; the Arado team's overall goal for the project was an aircraft with high speed, long range and capable of carrying a four-ton (4,000 kg) bomb load. Perhaps the most striking was the E.555 I, a six-jet, angular flying wing design with remotely-operated defensive turrets.

Apparently, no aircraft were developed or constructed and the entire E.555 project was cancelled at the end of 1944.

This kit was first released in 1998, making quite an impact in the modeling world. Till then, the prospect of a mainstream, modern, detailed 1/72 Amerikabomber, offered with good decals and at a low price, would not have existed even at the wildest modelers’ dreams.

Upon opening the typical side opening Revell box, I was greeted with three nicely molded light gray sprues and an equally nice clear fret. Two sprues consist of the flying wing basic shape, which is provided by two impressive top and bottom halves, with the pair of two piece fins provided separately.
The third sprue contains the equally impressive 14-piece engine block, all doors, 5 nice bombs (2 big, 3 small) and the rest of the smaller parts. Molding is superb and the level of detail amazing for the scale.

The characteristic glazed crew compartment is very well represented, consisting of no less than 12 pieces, with a lot of details (including seat belts) already molded on the complex shaped cockpit floor. Only thing “missing” is the prominent (in WWI Luftwaffe greenhouse cockpits) instrument wiring that emerged behind the instrument panel, but I might ask too much for this scale…

As stated above, the engine block is very impressive, consisting of two halves and separate air inlets and exhausts. A very detailed ordnance compartment is provided and the same can be said for the landing gear, one piece wheels with nicely detailed tires and wheel wells. Defensive armament consists of two forward firing wing root guns, and two moving turrets (top and rear).

Transparencies are nice and clear, providing, among others, wing mounted retractable landing lights – a nice touch. Instructions are the typical (for that time) b/w Revell ones, nice and clear. Two fictional schemes are provided, but, of course, you can choose any scheme you like. Decals are very comprehensive, as, apart from fictional codes, provide a ton of maintenance stenciling, which will add a lot of realism to your what-if Arado. They are printed by Cartograf, meaning Excellency to be expected.

I bought my kit for €20 in 2005, with the intention to build it sometime. Well the time arrived 15 years later!


Having decided to deal with the cockpit at later stages, I first attached only the cockpit tub on the lower wing half and affixed two sizable lead weights (secured with styrene blocks and nicely wrapped with my sons’ clay) bilaterally at the front wing roots area. Then I attached the top part and the pair of 2-piece fins. Fit was exceptional and, at no time, I had a complete airframe!  Although 5 nice bombs are provided, I decided to close the bomb bays, so I glued their doors shut.

I then glued the very impressive multi-engine halves and attached the 6 air intake fronts, but left the exhausts off. Again, nice fit. I did not attach the engine block on the airframe, leaving this task to be done at final stages, as to facilitate painting. I also assembled the landing gear, adding brake lines from black painted stretched sprue at the MLG struts. The innards of the intakes (which end to nice compressor faces), landing gear struts, wheel wells, doors inner faces and wheel rims were painted Testors Steel. The oleos were finalized with my Pilot extrafine silver pen. The nice tires were a tad flattened with a file and painted extra dark sea gray.

I then assembled the top turret, adding a small rectangular styrene, as a means of covering the area at the point where the guns enter the turret: the kit provided rendition seemed to me empty and toy-ish. The rear turret rendition was not to my liking, as well, so I fabricated one from a bomb half of suitable diameter, shortened the rear airframe protrusions and attached it, looking more “aerodynamic” now!

With the above steps, basic construction was more or less completed. I gave the whole model, plus the engine block, a coarse sanding, then Squadron Green filler was applied at a few places, then the final sanding took place and I was off to the paint shop!


Imagination may be left to gallop upon Luft46 color schemes, and I have seen many very striking and interesting color schemes. On “my” Luft46 subjects, after some “operational conditions guessing”, I usually end up with some less flamboyant schemes and this one was no exception. With My Revell Vario airbrush, I started by applying Hu128 Compass Gray on all bottom surfaces, including the engine block and LG doors, extending a good portion at the above surfaces. After a protective coat of Future, I applied Patafix tack strip on a loose pattern, roughly following the top of the leading edges and sprayed Hu31 Slate Gray (which actually has a nice greenish shade, kind of RLM02) on all topsides, leaving off the fins and the front glazed area.

Upon removing the Patafix, nice, uneven, well defined but not dead hard camo lines had emerged. A coat of Future sealed the top camo.

I used the kit decals to depict a 6N-EK/KG100 fictitious aircraft. The Cartograf decals behaved, as usual, very well. I had to trim the top white crosses extra film, as it showed, but that was, almost for sure, my fault on poor surface preparation for decaling. There was a ton of maintenance stenciling that I happily applied, the result looking very busy and realistic! I used Swastikas from an Icarus Decals generic sheet. A coat of Future sealed the decals.


The 6 engine exhausts were painted (and then buffed) with Testors Burned Metal. Their back extending central tubes lacked depth, so I drilled them out and painted their innards black. Then, all six exhausts were attached at the main engine block, which in turn was attached onto the airframe.

I was then cockpit time! I first attached the two back consoles and the back seat and then the two front top seat parts (the seat bottoms are already molded in the cockpit floor). The so prominent wiring behind instrument panels at greenhouse glazed Luftwaffe bomber cockpits was represented by drilling 7 holes at the front instrument panel and inserting small copper cables, twisting them to look like a strand that “disappeared” underneath. They were painted a cream contrasting color, visible through the greenhouse canopy. I attached the control yoke, the bombardier’s gunsight and bottom transparent mini window, the rear gunner’s periscope base and transparent periscope top and somehow managed to cram the pilot’s foot pedals in the tight area provided in front. Basic cockpit color was Hu32 (for RLM66), with leather seat cushions, cream seat belts, black instrument panels, yoke handles and consoles (silver dry brushed, with red, white and yellow “knobs” added). Another top mounted mini instrument panel was attached at the inside of the canopy. The finished cockpit looked nice and busy.

Landing gear time: I first attached the landing gear struts, followed by the wheels after curing. After some quality aligning time, all 10 of them touched nicely the ground. The gear doors with their retracting arms followed, again all nice and aligned. The front NLG door had its landing light transparency attached beforehand.

I attached the two wing root cannons and front pitot tube (fuselage color body, gun metal tips).  The two underwing mounted clear landing lights had their backs and fuselage wells painted silver, their framing fuselage color and were attached at extended position. The mini top fuselage antenna mast was attached, too.

The glazed transparencies had well defined frames, so it was not that hard to be hand painted. They were attached with tiny amounts of styrene glue. Fit was ok, the resulting gaps faired with white glue.

I then gave the model a black wash that accentuated the panel lines and provided a well-used look inside the wheel wells. Weathering consisted of wheels area dirtying, hinges grease leaks, top wing fuel leaks and wing root guns sooting, all performed with dry pastels of dark brown and black shades, towards the direction of the airflow.The model then received its final almost matt (70/30 matt/gloss) coating and was called done!


This was another pleasant surprise from Revell: a well-executed mainstream kit of a Luft46 whatiffer. Kit design, molding, decal quality, instructions and price, all are really appealing. No problems whatsoever were encountered during building. Even a beginner can put this kit together easily and come up with a very nice result. Of course, an experienced modeler can super detail it to his liking and skills. No aftermarket that I am aware of is available, but, frankly, none is needed, except some canopy masks, of course!

This kit, with its easiness of construction, camo freedom allowance, and impressive, exotic looks, might be a good candidate to encourage young modelers, as they will produce a super result that can be proud of and will be looking forward to their next project. As usual, I had a great time putting this what-if beauty together, and can wholeheartedly recommend it!

Happy modeling!


Luft46 website
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Spiros Pendedekas

20 September 2021

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