|Dragon 1/72 Dornier Do 335A-0|
|I must admit I really can't see what all the hoopla is about the Luftwaffe. After all, they lost. The Fw 190 is okay, sort of, I guess. The Bf 109 doesn't do much for me, though I suppose I will add one or two to the collection eventually, most likely in Finnish markings. I do however like the weird and wonderful, experimentals, prototypes and pre-production aircraft - and the just plain bizarre. The Do 335 certainly falls into more than one of those categories so I'm more than happy to invite it in out of the cold, despite its fascist leanings.|
|The Dragon kit has a reputation for being ill-fitting and in truth it does require some care to build, however with a lot of test fitting and pre-planning to identify the danger spots it goes together reasonably well. Most of the fit problems I had were of my own doing as a result of modifications and extra detailing. A few after market bits were used and abused, mainly the Eduard etched set, Falcon canopy and the superb Moskit exhausts, sadly no longer available. See construction page for details.|
|My main references on the type were the Monogram Aviation Publications book by Richard Smith, Eddie Creek and Thomas Hitchcock and the Classic book by Mssrs. Creek and Smith again but with Gerhard Roletschek standing in for Herr Hitchcock. Clearly these guys are far more interested in planes with crosses on than I am so I took their word when it came to painting. I really don't want to get embroiled in the whole Luftwaffe paint thing, suffice to say everyone seems to have a different interpretation of how the colours "should" look. I used Polly Scale paints for the main camouflage colours which, I'm told, are RLM 81 Brown-Violet and RLM 82 Bright Green on top with RLM 76 Light Blue on the bottom. Seemples you say, and you would be right, except that Polly Scale has deemed RLM 82 to be Dark Green, RLM 83 Light Green, RLM 76 to be Light Gray and RLM 78 to be Light Blue. To further complicate matters, Testors Model Master doesn't have an RLM 82 in its range but it does have RLM 80 which is Olivgrun and they say RLM 78 is Hellblau and RLM 76 is Lichtblau. According to Google translate, Hellblau is German for Light Blue, and Lichtblau is German for... you guessed it, Light Blue. Confused? Oh good, it's not just me then. In the end I went with the descriptions and ignored the RLM references, finishing it in Brown-Violet, Bright (or Light) Green and Light (or... Light) Blue. The green I thought ended up a bit too bright, so I oversprayed this with a couple of thin coats of Gunze Smoke which toned it down nicely.|
|I kept weathering to a minimum since these were pre-production aircraft and didn't get a lot of flight time, though 103 in particular looked to be in pretty poor shape by the time it was found by US troops. A few paint chips around the cockpit and wing leading edges, some exhaust stains and a bit of mud on the tires were all I added. I used the new(ish) Humbrol weathering powders for the mud and their Blue/Grey wash for the panel lines and I must say I was impressed with how well they worked. I also used a dash of their Smoke Grey weathering powder mixed with Gunze Clear Flat for the exhaust stains and this was very effective.|
|Decals came from various sources. The kit decals were thick
and very off-white so they were not used with the exception of a few of
the stencils. Swastikas came from an Xtradecal sheet, upper wing Balkenkreuze
are Aeromaster, lower wings from the spare decal box and fuselage crosses
from Techmod. The latter are beautifully thin, opaque - and completely resistant
to any decal setting solvent in the known universe. Even DACOs strong solution
wouldn't touch them, and that stuff could soften concrete if given half
a chance. Much slicing over panel lines and pressing down with dampened
cloths ensued until eventually the durn things looked okay.
The tail numbers had me stumped for a bit. Originally I was going to do aircraft 107, until I realised, too late of course, that this aircraft had the d/f loop on the bottom instead of the top, as did my second choice, 105. This would have meant major surgery to remove the mount and relocate it. With the model fully painted and well into the decal stage this was not an option I wanted to explore any further. I could have, and should have done 102, but everyone does that one and I wanted something a bit different. I settled on 103 which had the required dorsal location of the d/f loop, but there was a problem; the "3" was a very unique style and nowhere in my vast collection of decals could I find anything even remotely resembling it. After much searching through ye olde decal box I eventually found a partial sheet that had come from an old Revell issue of the Do 335, which I'm guessing was the Matchbox kit in a Revell box. Strange that it should be in my collection because I've never built that kit, I can only assume it came from some decal scraps given to me by someone else. On this sheet were tail markings for 102, 105 and 112, the latter being a two seater. By cutting off the top of a 2 and combining it with the bottom of a 5 I managed to produce a fairly reasonable facsimile of the odd looking number 3. In this case, 2 + 5 = 3; proof positive that math is definitely not my strongest subject!
|Dragon provides semi-complete wheel wells out of the box.
The side walls are moulded as part of the lower wing, however they are only
half the depth of the well, leaving large open spaces all around. I finished
these off with sheet plastic cut and shaped to fit around the openings and
closing off the gaps. Similarly, the nose wheel well has large gaps on the
sides because the seperate well is not deep enough to meet the fuselage
halves. These were closed off with .005" sheet which was sanded flush
with the outer edges of the wheel well opening.
The landing light cover was a solid block of clear plastic with two half-depth holes in the back to simulate the landing lights. This made for an excellent representation of a solid block of clear plastic with two holes in it, but not such a good job at representing a clear landing light cover with two lights behind it. I vacformed the cover in .010" acetate using the solid lump as a form, boxed in the opening in the wing and drilled two shallow holes to take MV Products lenses. Me likey more.
|The Eduard etched set provides instrument panel, sidewalls and consoles, seat belts, foot rests, rudder pedals and other sundry bits and pieces. Finished off with Falcon's always excellent vacform canopies that fit like a, well... a really nicely fitting vacform canopy. Strange. Canopy framing is mostly painted decal strips with the edges of the windscreen being masked and painted. Revi 16B gunsight is from Quickboost.|
|All control surfaces were seperated, extensively re-worked (especially the ailerons, which are about 3 scale inches thick at the trailing edge), cast in resin and then attached in offset positions. The resin pieces will soon be available under my own brand, Thunderbird Models. This will also save me a lot of work if I ever get around to building the two other Dragon Do 335s (the heavily armed B-2 and the two seat A-12) I have in the "to do" pile. You know, that pile that mocks me every time I look at it because it knows full well I'll never live long enough to even make a dent in it, unless of course modern science finds a cure for death, bad eyesight, fumbling fingers and general mental decrepitude.|
|I did make one fairly serious error and, as usual, discovered it far too late to do anything about it without causing major destruction. Being rather pre-occupied with finding an aircraft that had the d/f loop in the right place, I somehow completely missed the fact that aircraft 103 was not armed! There should be no channels or bulges for the machine guns on the upper cowling and no cannon muzzle sticking out of the spinner. So despite the fact that I don't do "what if" or Luft '46 subjects, I've ended up with one anyway. Oh well, I'll try not to lose sleep over it.|