Zoukei-Mura is relatively new on the model making front as far as time goes but they have set a new standard for modeling with their philosophy of having the internal detail be included in their planes. They have also chosen extremely desired and interesting subjects and the latest 1/32nd scale offering is a Horten Ho-229 jet- their first jet. The Ho-229 (sometimes called the Go-229) was an all wing aircraft propelled by two jet engines deep in the fuselage. It has somewhat the look of a B-2 Spirit. It was purposely designed to allow for minimal radar detection with 1000kg load of bombs, a 1000 kph top speed and a range of 1000 km. It might have been close to those numbers if mass produced.
Zoukei Mura’s kit is a masterpiece and the first kit in 1/32 of this plane. I am not going to take time and show a lot of sprue shots- suffice it to say that the molding is top notch with great panel lines, minimal seams and no flash. One thing you will notice up front is that the fuselage skin is clear so you could clean it up and have a see through model with all the needed interior supplied. I did include a shot of the nose which has the opening on the top for the cockpit, bottom for the nose gear and openings for both engines- this is molded as one wrap around piece and is fantastic.
Enough about the plastic, let’s get to the glue and paint. The engines is our starting place and Step one tells you all you need to know. The first thing you do is to assemble the compressor blades in the engine. This part alone is 8 disk/blades assembled over a shaft. I coated all the engine internals with Tamiya gloss black and then Alclad chrome. Will you see them, no but now you know what the interior of the engines look like and it is way more realistic than the molded parts would represent. The next part is adding the stator blades which were also prepainted. The intake is then assembled and the exhaust portions and these sandwiched between molded halves. At this point, you have used 42 parts per engine but WAIT, we still have lots of parts to go. Also, make sure you keep left and right straight as there is a right and left engine. I built and assembled on at a time keep two boxes (left and right) for he parts.
The next step is to add all the external parts to the engine. There are 25 pieces of piping, connectors and parts that fed the engine. I prepainted all of these. I did make one mistake here aligning the front engine faces and have to remove and realign it when the parts were not going on correctly. I know this seems like a lot but if you follow the directions and add the parts in order and watch the excellent instruction for hints/tips, it goes together without a hitch and with no putty. The last thing added were the heat shields to protect the wooden frame from the heat of the jet engines. These were clear plastic and fit OK. I glued them in place and painted black per the instructions. A black wash to highlight detail and a flat coat and the engines were done.
The next part deals with the spider web like frame at the heart of the plane. This is all based of part B#, the bottom frame and then you build up the plane like the real plane. One thing that is different from some other model and model companies, the Zoukei Mura people love planes and build kits so their instructions are superb. For example, in this section, it has you refer to the top frame, part C3 multiple times and does exploded drawing so that as you build structure, you make sure alignment is correct. Read these instruction before adding parts. The entire structure is built and glued in place prior to the top being added. Color is almost all RLM02 except for the parachute, some moveable pistons and the like which are silver and the oxygen bottle which is blue. Based on my experience, I added pieces, verified the location and fit of future parts and then let it dry thoroughly. I then proceeded. One other note, the battery is painted red but is a separate part so it can be added after painting. After the initial frame is done, the wing attaching bulkheads are added. These are keyed but make sure they are aligned well before letting dry. Next, the remainder of the frame and drag linkages are added. At this time, I shot the entire frame RLM 02 from Mr. Color.
There are three linkages added next and there is a fair amount of instructions for it; they were prepainted chrome also. Read thoroughly and use the top frame as needed to get aligned. The kit includes the proposed cannons that never made it to the actual plane and they are installed next along with the ammunition boxes and shell ejection chutes. I prepainted the guns gunmetal and the ammo boxes metallic black and the fit easily into their slot.
Now to power up the frame, the engines are added. These have a nice fit after sliding them through the maze into the front and there is a stout attachment point which fit perfectly. Next was part C3, the upper frame. The instruction give you a page and half of detail and close up drawings of the attachment points. I started at the back and worked my way forward. I used super glue and kicker and worked my way slowly forward. All of the parts fit well but I did have to coerce a few struts into place. I added a wash to highlight the detail and flat coated carefully around the metallic parts. Lastly, I added the oil tank and this seems like a great place to stop for part 1.
In the next section, we’ll tackle the wings, landing gear and cockpit and then finish it up in Part 3.
This is a fantastic kit! As highly recommended as a kit could possibly be. I would like to thank Zoukei Mura for the opportunity to build this kit. Stay tuned for Part 2.
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