Special Hobby 1/32 He-100D
KIT #: SH32009
PRICE: $78.00 MSRP
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Bill Koppos
NOTES: Who woulda guessed it?

              It seems to me the story of Heinkel aircraft in WW2 is a very up and down one. Some met fame and success (He-111), some served relatively well (He-51, He-115, He-219), one was a total disaster (He-177), and one was even ALMOST the world's first jet fighter (He-280).   Two of them were WW2 fighter "might-have beens". The He-112 was the losing competitor to the Me-109, only produced in small numbers for export. The other was our object of attention, the He-100. Basically an attempt by a Heinkel company unwilling to give up on fighters to get one into Luftwaffe service, their aim was to make a very improved machine over the He-112, and superior to the 109. 

                    First on the list-get the performance up. At this time what was holding performance back on contemporary liquid-cooled fighters was all the drag-producing radiators and scoops necessary to keep coolant and oil temperatures down. Heinkel had been looking for a better way with their He-119 bomber prototype, which featured a coupled Daimler-Benz Db601 engine, cooled by Surface Evaporation. Using surface evaporation there were no radiators jutting into the airstream. Hot steam  from the engine coolant was run into a series of tubes in the wings just under the skinning where it was condensed, cooled by contact with the outside air over the wings, and returned to a collection tank by as many as 22 small pumps. Complicated? Hell yeah! (For those who need a less simplified description of this system, there is a good one in Wikepedia.) Prone to battle damage? Oh yes. But the designers were willing to accept the trade-off. Would the Luftwaffe?

                    Next order of business was to set the new fighter up to be easy to produce. The 100 had 969 parts to the 112's 2,885 and 11,500 rivets to the 112's 26,800. Elliptical wings and rounded tail surfaces were now squared, much in the fashion of North American's later P-51A. Wide-track landing gear overcame a major Messerschmitt fault. At rollout appeared was one sleek machine. The various prototypes and production models proved to be fast birds indeed, sea level speed being 350 MPH, and maxing out at between 390 and 410 MPH.  Heinkel's had more plans for these than just combat, however. This steed was built for speed, and records made to be broken. None other than Ernst Udet, former WW1 ace and now Luftwaffe bigwig, flew the first prototype to a closed course 100km. record of 394 MPH. A well-boosted DB engine and short wings readied the 8th machine for the world air speed record (after the 3rd crashed on the first try). A blistering 463.92 MPH was reached to claim the record. However Messerschmitt went and ruined this a month later with their Me209 at 469 MPH. Heinkel knew he could beat this but the powers that be told him to desist from trying. The Nazi regime's preference in manufactures was on full display here.

                   Despite having no orders, Heinkel went ahead and built 3 production prototypes, the refined He-100D-0. 12 production models were also turned out. As with the He-112, there was overseas interest. This was the period of "co-operation" between Germany and the Soviet Union, and the Soviets took all the original Prototypes home for testing. The Japanese, always fond of Heinkel products, bought the three D-0's and a license to produce their own under the label AXhei. For unclear reasons the plans never came off, but the similarity in form between the He-100 and Ki-61 Hien is obvious. It is hard to imagine the Japanese being in possession of 400 MPH fighters in 1941. Things would have been even worse for the poor Buffaloes and Hurricanes! I have not found any pictures of the AXhei in Japanese hands, if ever any were taken. That's a finish I would have liked to put on this model.

                   The 12 production He-100D's were turned into the mysterious "He-113", a new German fighter in full production, by the cameras and newspapers of the Nazi propaganda machine. Fanciful unit markings were made up and applied to the planes, photographed in line-up on rustic airfields and being maintained. This worked rather well, as British pilots reported frequent encounters with He-113's, and made quite a few victory claims to boot.  In reality, 12 was it, and these ended up as the factory protection flight for Heinkel's factory, never firing a shot in anger. 

                    In the usual large Special Hobby box are 3 grey Sprues and one clear. The main parts are the usual Special Hobby soft plastic, with finely engraved panel lines and well done control surfaces. The small parts are cleanly molded, and no sink marks are in evidence. The clear sprue has a one piece canopy, rather a thick one. Don't think I'll be opening this one. There is a small etched brass fret with seat harness and trim wheels, and a very nice set of hollow resin exhausts.  Decals are provided to do three "He-113" faker-fighters.

                    This is for sure the first 1/32nd scale kit of this bird. A highly unlikely subject but I've always liked the looks of it. Oh well, it is to build. 

                    I started by putting the wings together which requires assembling the wheel well parts first. Be careful of the orientation of part C-25, the open area with no rib detail should be facing the lower wing half. Part locations are a bit vague on the plans, test fit alot as with any limited run model. Having learned of Special Hobby's less-than-stellar wing fits the hard way, I taped the fuselage halves together and did a pre exam of the wing to fuselage situation. If you do this before glueing the wing tops on, sometimes you can fix a really bad wing gap by sliding one or both uppers inward. It wasn't necessary in this case, it appeared just some trimming and filing would suffice. I cleaned the wing half mating surfaces with alcohol, then glued them with the Tamiya Super Thin, using a lot of solvent and allowing some to squish out of the joint. This is an attempt to avoid "Ghost seams", those unglued seams that come back to "haunt" you after the model is done. This so far has done the trick for me. I added the clear  wingtip lights here, after drilling a tiny hole in each and adding a drop of red paint into the left and blue in the right. After setting overnight I blended these into the wing with the trusty sanding sticks, and repolished them to clarity.

                     Now to the interior. No detailing stress here as I have never seen any kind of photo of this thing's innards. You could put any interior you want in there and no one can call you on it (unless an ex-Heinkel employee is lurking about). So I just followed the directions. Some boxes and throttle stuff are provided and a Hurricane-type control column. The right side boxes have a bunch of bumps on them which probably represent the thirty or so Evap cooling system warning lights. A seat harness is on the etched fret, but I made tape belts and used the brass buckles only.  The instrument panel is OK, enough detail to take drybrushing. In the end it won't matter, as the one piece canopy is too thick to cut apart and will be glued on closed up, and not a hell of a lot of interior will be visible. The cockpit floor and bulkhead only attach at the bulkhead, and the seat only by two pins on the seat bracket. I put two styrene tabs on the fuselage sides to hold the floor, and notched out the floor stringers to take the seat bracket, to provide some mounting strength. A lotta work for a barely visible interior. Anyway I painted it up in RLM 02, washed with black for depth, and drybrushed with aluminum, with some chips. After putting in the tailwheel well  the fuselage could be mated up, the two halves fitting rather nicely, the same anti-seam procedure as above being employed.

                      The fun starts here-wing to fuselage time. Offering up the wing to the uppers shows some trimming is needed at the rear portion to close gaps. Also apparent is there will be a gap at the rear portion. I had a problem on this one similar to the Azur Bloch 152 I did recently. I had to glue the left side first and let it dry completely  before glueing the right side, to get the dihedrals to match. This still left a small gap on the right which I filled with a styrene shim. At this time the rear gap was shimmed also, allow all to set overnight, then start the sanding sticks to buzzing. When the dust settled it was not so bad, but the darned dihedral is just a bit off from side to side. It is so hard to get perfection on these limited run kits. The stabilizers were a bit weird, one being slightly smaller than the other. These were cemented on and tweaked a bit to try and disguise the wing issue, adjusted using the Mark 1 eyeball. Rescribing was done to fix panel lines lost to sanding, checking done for flaws and the canopy hole and wingtip lights masked.  Out to the state-of -the- art Koppos paint shop. 

                         The camo ensemble is a simple RLM70/71 splinter with 65 lowers. First the 71 Dunkelgrun was laid down. Then the splinter pattern can be masked using Tamiya tape. The markings and paint section of the plans is small and hard to work with so I improvised in spots, but after shooting the Schwartzgrun  the finished product looked alright to me. Now the tops can be masked and the lichtblau applied underneath, then I postshaded all the panel lines with a very thin mix of black, trying not to overdo it. After the paint cured, I put the landing gear on so the model could have a leg to  to stand on during glosscoating. First I painted the main gear covers and installed them onto the struts. The attachment points for the gear legs are shallow holes, so to add stregnth to the long stalky legs holes were drilled and wire pins installed. These can't be very long though as the holes in the wing can't be very deep. Cyanoacrylate was used here and the struts set at an angle from reference pictures, but before the glue sets completely one should put on the actuating arms, one fit well but I had to slightly move one leg to line it up. The legs are still kind of wobbly, so this model should not be subjected to any rough landings.

                         Stop the presses! Koppos is actually trying something new. My kid has been using Tamiya spray can TS-13 Clear as a glosscoat and loved it, so I tried it and was glad I did. This is a lacquer paint, it lays down well with the spray can, and dries nice and even. The best part is the fast drying, done in about half an hour. I believe we have a winner here. The decals turned out to be rather good, the sheet says they are done by Aviprint. They are the kind I have been encountering more these days, where they need no setting solution for application. They are quite thin and need a lot of water if you want them to move around to position them right. Solvaset did not have much effect on them, but as there is not that much surface detail on this model it's not a factor. The decal guide matched photos of the real thing nicely, and I chose the option with the snazzy arrow on the nose, like the old Lindberg kit had. Swastikas are provided in halves so as not to offend any sensibilities. Here I tried to use the Tamiya spray to overcoat the decals and the results were some spotting of the larger crosses due to the coarseness of the spray can's pattern. I reverted to Metallizer Sealer for this job, but will probably stick to the Tamiya spray for pre-decal coats in future.

                          Time to have a look at the spinner/propeller. Look at photos and one immediately sees that the spinner is far too bulbous. I opened up the hole in the backing plate and glued in a piece of sprue to chuck in the Dremel, tacked the backer plate to the spinner, and using my Dremel with the speed control low, lathed the spinner down with a no. 11 blade till the profile looked more streamlined. Sometimes looking at pictures is a bad thing, as I looked more at them I realized the whole nose profile wasn't really right, the contours around the nose area being off in places, the top line curving toward the spinner too sharply and the bottom parts not bulged enough. So I tapered in the spinner to kind of blend all the lines together till it looked as close as possible to the pics and acceptable to my eyeballs.

                            The exhausts are nicely done hollow resin pieces, these were cut off the blocks,
 trimmed down and painted Testor's " Exhaust", and attached. The tailwheel is in 3 parts and a bit of a pain, this was assembled and brush painted. The small main gear and tailwheel doors were sprayed on both sides during previous sessions, these are now put on with their support struts. The resin gunsight was outfitted with two small reflector "glass" plates cut from clear sheet, the slot in the cockpit coaming enlarged, and positioned making sure it was in proper relation to the canopy. The canopy was masked and sprayed to match the camo job one fridgid morning before a blizzard (It's been BAD here in the great Northeast). Test fitting revealed an imperfect fit, and several fiddling sessions were required to gain a respectable result, good 'ol Elmer's glue being used to attach and fair it in. According to photos, Special Hobby missed a large trim tab on the rudder, so I made one up from sheet and glued and painted it. The He-100 had one 7.92 mm machine gun in each wing root, no holes were given for these but rather than drill at this point, I added some taped covers in the proper places as seen in pics. After all these things just flew about and looked pretty anyway. 

                            Now it's time for my own propoganda machine to go into action. Pictures were taken from all angles of the "New Luftwaffe fighter" He-100/He-113. If nothing else, I think it is a very good looking airplane, with it's Kawasaki Hien nose, Vultee Vengeance wings, Focke-Wulf landing legs and P-51A Mustang rudder, strangely enough it all combines to look right for me. Truthfully I never expected this one in 1/32nd scale, but am quite happy with the results. Modellers with limited-run experience will have fun with it, with the noted exceptions. Lack of references and a good 3 part canopy will probably stifle those who want to take it further though.

Rod's Warbirds website...http://www.warbirdpix.com/armynavy.htm
"Warplanes of the Third Reich"  William Green Doubleday and Co. 1970

Editor's Note: An outstanding reference on the aircraft is
 Midland's Heinkel He-100: Record Breaker. There is also a Schiffer book on the subject, but it is not as good.

Bill Koppos

 January 2010

Kit courtesy of www.hlj.com

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page