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HK Models Dornier Do 335A

Whether or not it was the fastest piston-engine fighter of World War II, the Dornier 335 Arrow was certainly unconventional. Powered by two Daimler-Benz DB603A engines — one pulling and one pushing — the Arrow was developed to fill a number of roles, including single-seat heavy fighter, fighter-bomber, and two-seat night fighter and trainer.

This release, the fighter-bomber, shares a lot of parts with the initial kit of the dedicated fighter. New leading-edge inserts and other parts differentiate it. Decals provide three Werk Number airframes, one of which includes an additional captured option in U.S. markings.

A small photo-etch (PE) fret supplies seat belts and an air-intake grille. Cast-metal weights tailored to fit the nose keep the long-legged plane on its wheels.

The engines, weapons bay, and nose gun compartment are detailed and the separate panels can be left open. This special edition includes two nicely sculpted resin figures, one seated and one looking up at the cockpit from the ground.

Step 1 forces a decision about the pilot that’s not clear in the instructions. If you wish to crew the plane, delete the seat cushion (part M20) and PE seat belts. (The armrests molded to the seat should be lowered in this case as well, but that will require surgery.)

The interior is assembled a section at a time with a floor and walls. Those subassemblies join to the next and so on. Fits are good — almost too good. While test-fitting the engine deck/bomb bay and cockpit/nose-gear assemblies, I found myself literally in a bind. Posts on the engine deck (part M1) fit so tightly to the pins on the gear bay and wing spar that I couldn’t get them to seat properly. A little WD-40 smoothed the way. Interior detail pops when painted.

There are holes in the bomb, and the instructions show pins in the bay, but don’t bother looking for them — the bomb is glued directly to the rack.

The instructions incorrectly show the upper-deck machine gun tubes (parts C25 and C26) being attached to the guns before they’re mounted. They should be slid in from the front through the bulkhead once the guns are in place.

The instrument panel decal should go on the rear panel face (part L25), not on the panel itself as shown in the instructions. I cheated and added a piece of thin clear plastic between the parts to simulate glass instead of adding drops of clear gloss.

The engines include many details, but make sure you track which engine you are building. Several parts are the same front to rear, but there are also differences, including fitting the other cast weight inside the forward engine. HK indicates holes to open on each engine to attach the correct accessories — make sure you open them up before you glue the halves together!

Everything fits well, except for one pipe (part O14) that needed to be trimmed to fit the bulkhead.

To align the interior subassemblies, I placed them into a fuselage half. Everything fit until I dry-fitted the upper deck; it would not clear the rear engine’s aft bulkhead. I’m pretty sure all of the parts are exactly where they should be as per the instructions, so I’m still scratching my head about the cause. I trimmed the bulkhead until the deck fit.
The separate engine, gear, and weapon doors fit even when modified to be attached closed.

The wings and tail were a breeze. Separate control surfaces fit without glue, and the leading-edge inserts needed just a smear of filler under the wing. The instructions omit the landing lights (parts N12), although they are shown in the drawings.
I assembled the landing gear off the model for painting. Be careful attaching the nose wheel to the strut — it is handed because the strut is mounted at an angle.

The decals responded well to setting solutions and laid nicely over clear gloss.  Helpfully, HK supplied the fuselage crosses separated for use on the open panels.
HK has created a wonderful, easy-to-build kit. I was impressed with the fit (except for the mysterious rear bulkhead) and the detail is outstanding. I spent a little less than 60 hours on this kit and five more finishing the figures.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2016 issue.

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