The Super Wing Series He 219 Uhu, Fuselage
Again, many thanks to Mr. Hideyuki Shigeta for honoring me with the privilege of building the Super Wing Series He 219 Uhu (Eagle Owl) model kit for public review as an IPMS Reviewer Corps representative. I am deeply appreciative of the trust and confidence shown in me by both Mr. Shigeta and the IPMS Reviewer staff. I am delighted to report on the next stage of construction: the fuselage.
Overall impression: This next construction section has only 105 parts and 19 subassemblies! As daunting as this may seem, I encountered very few problems. However, I will reiterate my earlier caveat: this is a very precisely made kit, and all parts need to be exactly aligned, fitted, or in some cases lightly sanded. I consistently discovered that even a slight dusting of Vallejo paint would affect the fit of parts. I also came to realize that there is a great deal of planning and customization for the final configuration of this model, meaning that you should read the instructions as much for the options as well as the actual assembly. The SWS crew has provided a superbly detailed kit that will lend itself to an even greater level of super-detailing. The many panels could be left completely off or hanging open to show the excellent internal details and configurations. I did not fully appreciate these optional features during the motor and cockpit assemblies, but I certainly appreciate the options now! As mentioned in a previous installment, I plan to show the bird securing just after a successful mission, with crew members exiting the plane. All the panels will be buttoned up, the cowl flaps open, and the wing flaps extended. The build has certainly challenged and improved my modeling skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the wonderful historical descriptions included in the documentation.
The chapter mostly completes the cockpit-enclosing forward fuselage and the rest of the fuselage back through the tail surfaces. I did not paint the panel interiors that were to be closed. As stated above, the finished model will be in the just-landed configuration in a historical setting.
The forward fuselage: In step 3-3A, everything went together well, but I chose to leave the outer cockpit panels off until the next construction chapter. There is only a small keyed connection between the outer panels just aft of the wheel well so I felt I could vary the sequence a bit. I did continue the sequence by installing the Lichtenstein antenna array to the cockpit. The one-piece molding of the antenna array is a great feature, avoiding chances of misalignment. Adding the fairings or boots to the bases of the antenna is optional. The fairings consist of 4 slide-over pieces. I had no trouble with mine, but the instructions caution against forcing the parts, with suggestions on avoiding problems. My earlier thought on not gluing the inner cockpit walls too tightly paid off, giving me a bit of adjustment space. Because I didn’t pay quite enough attention to alignments in the earlier cockpit interior construction, I ended up removing the instrument panel and the radar operator’s seat to allow more room for tweaking. Don’t forget to drill out the holes in the nose for later antenna parts locations! I used the recommended Vallejo paint colors for the various details. The front fuselage is not attached to the rear fuselage in this section.
The rear fuselage: The larger part of the rear fuselage consists of four major outer panels and many bulkheads and interior parts. The longer panels are very thin and fairly flexible, and I found myself being very careful to make sure the bulkheads fit precisely and squarely. Hooray for CA accelerator! The initial bulkhead and interior part installations were a little bit delicate, but after halves A-2 and A-32 with all of their respective parts were glued up, the fuselage became quite rigid. The finely-engraved panel lines matched perfectly. The rearmost fuselage has a nice collection of details, including an interesting seat and floorboards. I did not find any specific references beyond the instructions as to the purpose of this seat, other than for some maintenance purpose. I need to find out more about how this seat was used. There is a small window above the seat that is easily installed from below. While masking is provided for the canopies, I did not find a mask for this little fuselage window nor for the clear tail cone that will be installed in a later step. However, neither of these clear parts will be difficult to mask.
The unique upward-firing guns, the Schräge Musik, are mounted between bulkheads. After I installed these weapons, I found myself asking two questions: 1) What was it like to use a gunsight for these, and 2) How did the recoil affect flight characteristics? The German translation of “Schräge” is “oblique” but when coupled with “Musik” implies “weird music.” This makes for an interesting thought of how the operators talked about weapon use!
The support braces and ribs in the ventral gun bay fit very nicely with only a bit of adjustment. Again, if you did your previous work carefully, there should be no issues here. The majority of the fuselage interior is painted silver, per instruction specifications, with some light gray-green areas and black, blue and yellow details on hoses and equipment.
The guns, fuel tanks, and tail surfaces: The four ventral guns fit very well into a mounting rack that, in turn, fits snugly into the ribs mentioned above. Gun barrels are provided, but if you do not intend to display the guns out of the aircraft, the barrels are not needed. The instructions suggest that the ventral gun feed chutes be installed later. I found this to be a good suggestion which saved me some frustration. The ventral gun assembly went together with little difficulty and the muzzles matched up exactly with the corresponding panel holes. The fuel tanks consist of three subassemblies and all were put together without problem. It is worth noting that the entire forward fuel tank holds a cast metal weight for keeping the nose down. This nose weight is a very good feature, as there is no room available for other balancing weights. I thought included weight to be an excellent unanticipated extra in the kit. I did find that I needed to sand all of the locator ridges and pins off the bottom of the forward tank lid as the metal casting filled the entire tank, leaving no room for the locators. All of the tail surface parts went together without incident, and there were no problems attaching the stabilizer to the tail. The trailing edges appear to be at scale thicknesses when mated, a very nice discovery.
The guns, barrels, tubes, and ammunition feed chute colors are metallic black. Silver fuel tanks and light gray-green tank covers are called for on the remainder of this area.
Final thoughts: Consider the traditional approach of two or so fuselage halves or parts used in most kits. This kit has 6 major panel pieces forming the fuselage, with parts A-2 and A-32 making up the nearest suggestion of a traditional kit approach. There are eight or so panels and access hatches provided as separate parts. I glued the panels and hatches closed since my kit’s end pose will be on the ground, immediately post-mission. But with all of the interior detail that was ultimately covered (I don’t regret the hidden detail a bit), you could produce an amazing opened-up display. This SWS kit is not lacking in extra little plugs and tabs to be trimmed off the thin-profile parts, which indicates that the SWS design staff anticipated injection mold issues and worked to avoid incompletely molded parts. Furthermore, accurate and intricate assemblies continue, with minor flash and seams that are rarely seen after assembly.
Conclusion (for this review): I continue to be delighted at the quality of fit and molding, ease of assembly, and clarity of instructions. I also find myself immersed in the operational tidbits included in the instructions. Well-described part names are a great extra. I caught myself writing a note in the instruction book to look for the correct connection of the propeller-pitch actuator linkages through the wings to the motors. I haven’t found them yet. I am anxious to start on the next section, Teil 3-4 Flügel/Main Wings.
Again, my sincerest gratitude to both Zoukei-Mura, Inc. and IPMS/USA for providing the kit for review. It is a great privilege. Thank you.