Special Hobby provided this kit to IPMS in August, 2013. “Real life” intervened and the original reviewer thought it best to return the item so another reviewer volunteer to take on the review. That process began in mid-October, 2014 and the kit was completed in mid-December, 2014.
Error – Page 13, Shows two part “PUR 13”s. The upper illustration (Step 20) uses two arrows to indicate the correct placement of two rear-facing machine gun barrels. These barrels are centered on a small ridge formed by the trailing edge of the cowl where it fairs into the upper wing skin. The arrow showing the placement of the port-side barrel is in error. Both barrels should be centered on the aforementioned “ridge” on both the starboard and port sides. Further, machine guns were not installed on the “B” version but were installed on the “C” version according to “Warplanes of the Third Reich”.
Special Hobby identified an error on the instructions but not in time to correct the instruction sheet. A small 5x5 piece of paper was included in the kit and should be referenced when one begins to glue the cowls together and begins to place the engine inside the cowls. Use the errata sheet to replace Step 8 on Page 9.
Assemble the pontoons carefully, starting with the nose of the pontoon and working toward the rear of the pontoon. You will experience some misalignment either along to top seam or along the bottom seam. My approach was to align the top seams and let the bottom seams line up with a slight problem. The top seams will be visible. The bottom seams will not be visible, especially if the model is placed on a “water” base.
The “B” version had the horizontal stabs that featured the longer trailing edge tabs. Use parts D7 and D8 for the “B” version.
This kit features a great deal of detail inside the fuselage. Some of the bulkheads and items are attached to the right fuselage half, and some to the left fuselage half. It is highly recommended that the fuselage halves are test-fitted prior to final placement and attachment of the interior detail parts. Any misalignment in the bulkheads or other details may cause the fuselage halves to “gap” when they are assembled, rather than to get a gap-free fit when the halves are joined. Further, it is recommended that all of the interior parts be installed prior to final assembly of the fuselage. The only exceptions that I recommend are in regard to the PE seat harnesses. I installed those parts just prior to attaching the canopy and clear parts.
As the fuselage was approaching completion I began to realize that the clear parts in the nose of the aircraft were going to be “interesting”. It seemed to me that they needed to be added only once the fuselage was fully assembled. In fact, this is the sequence that the instructions call for. My concern was that the clear parts may prove difficult to put into place once the fuselage was completed. In the end, the clear parts were rather easy to install and that was due to the excellent “fit” between the clear parts and the openings into which those parts were too be placed.
Along with the concern I had over the installation of the clear parts I began to wonder about two other aspects of construction. First, mating the wings to the fuselage would be a chore. Secondly, attached the pontoon braces would be difficult.
The difficulty in both of these areas is caused by the lack of locating pins or locating biscuits, or any kind of alignment aid on the parts. Now, I exaggerate this a bit, since there are some small pin-like nibs on some of the pontoon braces, but those nibs that are present are rather small. Besides, the mounting surfaces needed to be sanded smooth and cleaned up, and in that process those nibs would become part of the debris that was removed from the braces. The wing roots were even sketchier. While there were four small dikes molded into the wing root on the fuselage halves, they didn’t provide much help in the way of alignment guides. The wings, themselves are hollow, as many of the wings are in most kits, but there was also no bulkhead to mount on the wing root where it contacts the fuselage. As you can see in some of the accompanying images, I decided to fill the wing root with short sections of sprue, glued into the hollow space and then sanded down. This would provide a large surface for contact between the wings and the fuselage. After having done this to one wing I realized that there was a less time consuming method, so the second wing root was partly filled with Plast-i-Strut H beams. The beams provided a large “contact” surface and were much lighter in weight than a pile of stretched sprue as was done with the first wing. In the end, I found the H beam method was easier to work with, was much lighter in weight, and provided a “contact” surface sufficient to the needs. In the end, the wings were mounted will little difficulty due to the increased contact surface that my labors generated. It was now time to turn my attention to the pontoons and supports and bracing bars for the pontoons.
Be aware that the pontoons would be the last items I’d recommend to be added prior to painting. Certainly, get the wing roots puttied up and sanded before you begin to work on the pontoons supports and bracing bars. Once they are in place you won’t be able to work on the wing roots without much difficulty.
After gluing some of the pontoon braces in place it became abundantly clear that the supporting bars would not hold the weight of the airframe. I decided to “pin” the braces into the pontoons and fuselage. By this I mean that I drilled holes into the mating surfaces and inserted a piece of fairly stiff wire into those holes. The He-115 grew claws! And way to think of it is that I gave the He-115 some root canals! Anyway, after careful measuring and very, very, very careful drilling, I was able to mount that wire into the ends of the struts and drilled out matching holes in both the fuselage and pontoons. Over the course of several days, most of which was used to allow the super glue to set up thoroughly, I was able to mount the supports and braces on the wings and fuselage, and then to attach the pontoons to the supports and braces, all the while working to get the alignment and orientation of the pontoons in alignment with the fuselage and each other.
Lastly, I decided that rather than use the kit decals, which are really nice-looking decals and very well printed, I would use a masking product by Montex Mask. Montex did not supply the product for the review effort, nor were they asked to do so, so I won’t say much about this product, but I found it very easy to use and quite fun!
The Montex Mask is #MM48380 and includes masks for all of the “glass”, both for the interior and exterior. I only masked the exterior surfaces. And since I was going the mask route I decided to use the Montex masks for the Luftwaffe markings as well. I was very pleased with the final results. In short, there are no decals on this model.
I found that the lack of locating pins, locating biscuits, and alignment aids was a problem for me. A more experienced modeler would most likely not have any issues with construction of the kit “as is”, and a beginner would most likely be overwhelmed by the issues presented. The amount of detail in the kit is quite nice. The interior is fully decked out and the engraved panel lines are finely done with much surface detail that adds to the appeal of the finished project. The instructions take some time to figure out, with the part number call-outs, and the paint color call-outs, but you get used to it and the difficulty lessens as the amount of experience increases. Several paint-scheme options are shown in the kit instructions and the research, as best as I could verify, is accurate and helpful.
You’ll end up with a nice model of a seldom seen subject.
Thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample. If you are a Luftwaffe aficionado then this He-115 will fill a niche that has long been overlooked by manufacturers. This model is highly recommended for the more experienced modeler and for those “newbs” who want to take on a kit that will provide a challenge. In the end, the model is quite a nice addition to the display case.