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Airfix Dornier Do 17Z


My first impression of Airfix's new 1/72 scale Dornier Do 17Z? In a word, details! Fine surface and interior details grace the fuselage halves, wings, and nacelles, but it's the array of additional parts for the cockpit and bomb bay that put this kit a cut above the rest. Also, the entry hatch, control surfaces, flaps, and variable-incidence horizontal stabilizer are separate parts and can be posed however you like.

The excellent three-color instructions feature component diagrams illustrating correct positioning and flight-control travel limits. For the internal weapon load, you can choose between 50kg and 250kg bombs plus an auxiliary bomb-bay fuel tank.

Overall, the parts fit great. A little sanding was needed on the starboard engine mount and the lower right wing, and a little filling and sanding helped hide the fuselage seams. For easier access to the aft upper fuselage seams, I cut the one-piece elevators in half and installed each independently after finishing the seam work.

The scale-thick landing gear is excellent and includes weighted main tires. Both main-gear retraction braces were broken on my sample — I suspect a packing problem — and repairing the delicate parts was difficult. The mudguards mount between the main gear legs and don't have much bonding area.

The well-done Bramo engines have separate rear accessory cases and intake manifolds along with separate exhaust collector rings. But once they're inside the cowlings, you won't see much of them. Unfortunately, only the aft faces of the detailed firewalls are visible. The cowlings are four-part assemblies; the small T-shaped top sections needed some light sanding to get them to seat flush around the exhausts.

There's no stand in the kit, but optional parts are included to pose the aircraft in flight. It'd be a shame to hide that beautiful interior detail. However, when I painted the model, those parts came in handy to keep overspray out. Clear parts are a little on the thick side, and the frame detail for the canopy is somewhat soft.

I omitted the kit's four crew figures and added masking-tape seat belts instead. The two towel-rack antennas on the aft belly, typical of German aircraft, aren't included in the kit.

Cartograf decals provide excellently rendered markings for two aircraft with full stencils — but no swastikas. Extra decals are given for alternate stenciling and are noted on the data instructions, which are easy to overlook. Color callouts reference Humbrol paints and RLM numbers.

For you superdetailers, Airfix has already gotten you pretty far down the road with this kit; just leaving off the cowls would showcase the engines. I spent 28 hours completing the build just out of the box, which is a little more than usual for a model of this size. Most of that was due to the extensive clear areas which needed masking; 56 little separate panes in all. But don't let that discourage you from building this detailed honey-for-the-money kit from Airfix.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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