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1/32 Photo-Etch Upgrades for Revell He219


nmayhew
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1/32 Photo-Etch Upgrades for Revell He219


Eduard
Check article for catalogue #'s and price
Available directly from Eduard

 

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Overview

 

The Revell He219 kit followed on from their recent twin-engined successes of the Ju88 A-1 and the He111 P, and came with high expectations; it also came with another kit breathing down its neck – the He219 from Zoukei-mura. There has been a lot written about the Revell offering, but if this is your first dip into waters Uhu, I will summarize thus: on the plus side, it looks like a 219, and captures all its features; it is cracking good value, and significantly cheaper than the Z-m kit; it can be built out of the box into an impressive and imposing model where all but the experts will not spot anything wrong; there is already much aftermarket out there for it, a good chunk of which I will review now (PE) and in the future (Brassin wheels); using this aftermarket will address many of the kit's shortcomings.

On the down side, Revell's kit has accuracy issues regarding outline and shape – these centre around the nacelles, but extend to fuselage cross-section and canopy shape, amongst other things; detail is mediocre in some areas eg cockpit; the current aftermarket cannot correct issues of shape, only those of detail; the Zoukei-mura kit seems much more accurate.

If you would like to know more about the Revell kit to form your own opinion, then there is an excellent and in depth discussion here. As regards literature, my own preference for an initial primer / one-stop shop would be the Valiant Wings book, but you would also be served by a similar volume by Kagero. A more academic take on things is provided by Ron Ferguson's Research Paper, which might benefit being read in conjunction with material on LEMB.

 

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Today I will look at five photo-etch (PE) sets for this kit, and also the canopy mask. They cover the interior (cockpit) , as well as a fair chunk of exterior detail, and in this I include the wheel well set. Eduard pretty much owns the aviation PE market, with little or no competition in many areas, and it is to their credit that their output is of a continually high standard, even if the price of basic PE sets seems to be spiralling somewhat. To that end, I will consider the sets below in terms of what they add to the kit, but also whether I think they are 'worth it'.

 

He219 Interior S.A.
#33115 €18.75

 

The "S.A." stands for self-adhesive, and all this type of PE set come on a greaseproof-like backing paper to protect their 'sticky' side, but otherwise are just normal PE parts, although always pre-painted as far as I can tell. This set is just one fret, and is basically the instrument panels for pilot and crewman, but given the nature of the aircraft, there are actually quite a lot of them.

 

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These sets are the real no brainers for me – whenever considering a build, I will nearly always want to use one of these sets. They are usually very simple to install, being either direct replacement or, as here, an add-on to the kit parts once you sanded off the unwanted raised detail. You get a lot of bang for your buck in terms  in terms of the difference it makes – compare to some of the kit parts – but then again you do need to: for a relatively small fret, it is not cheap.

 

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The details are excellent, and the closer you look, the more you will see. The only detractors of these sets tend to be those who say the RLM66 is too light – maybe it is a bit, but once you get into the whole scale colour debate, you'll never get out – or that they prefer to have a more 3D instrument panel, comprising layers of plastic, acetate film, then PE instrument panel and maybe even PE instrument bevils. Eduard's solution is certainly a lot more user friendly, and has much less scope to mess things up.

 

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He219 Interior S.A.
#32757 €22,45

 

This set has the same coloured fret as above, but also includes a slightly larger regular fret for additional cockpit tub details and things like foot pedals. Another small difference is the inclusion of a clear acetate fret where the outlines of the sights are printed for you to cut out. Given the nature of the Uhu's cockpit, and how visible everything will be in there, these are small but quite important parts.

 

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At less than €4 more than the first set, I think this represents a much better value proposition. The foot pedals are real improvements over the kit parts, whilst I can see nothing in the other PE on this fret that should cause any problems in construction, even for someone with only limited experience with this medium.

 

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The kit panels: ok, but not great – the Eduard parts will really make a visible difference here

 

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He219 Canopy Mask
#JX145 €11.25

 

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Eduard's monopoly, and ability to price accordingly, is demonstrated no more clearly than in canopy masks. Since their move to the Japanese kabuki tape a few years back (whatever kabuki tape is?!) these masks really do grip, even on gentle compound curves. As such, they save modellers many hours over the course of a year's building, and also much gnashing of teeth – they are very easy to use and offer excellent results. This set also includes masks for the wheel hubs, a feature fairly common in this series now. That being said, I simply can't help feeling that they are just too expensive for what they are.

 

He219 Seatbelts
#32755 €14.95

 

The recent emergence of fabric / paper seatbelts shows that nothing stands still in modelling, and I think that the days of the PE belt, or at least their complete dominance of the market, are numbered. PE belts, especially ones such as these which are pre-painted, generally look 'very good', and can be made to look excellent by some modellers.

 

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Their main handicap is the tendency to spring up and a refusal to sit or sag in the way that a real belt would (annealing is not an option due to the paint coating). The new generation of fabric belts do not suffer these problems (although they can be fiddly), and their range is growing extremely fast.

 

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Not Revell's finest hour

 

Although I would probably opt for fabric belts if starting from scratch, I will use these ones on the Revell kit in my stash. The less said about Revell's attempt to mould seatbelts to the pilot's seat, the better; I will be using Eduard belts in conjunction with MDC's replacement seats.

 

He219 Undercarriage
#32325 €32.35

 

The Uhu had distinctively large engine nacelles and the underside of these have correspondingly large voids for the landing gear. The problem with these large open spaces is that they require detailing, as on real aircraft they were rarely an empty space, and often filled with plumbing, piping and such like. The He219 was no exception, and this set will go some way to addressing the rather Spartan appearance of the kit here; consulting your references will show there is more that can be added, but this set is certainly a good start.

 

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Across two frets, this set is an interesting mix. There are some quite large parts which require the basic rib / spar raised detail to be removed from the kit nacelle insides. There are also smaller parts, some of which represent oleo scissor links, and I'm not sure about these: where the kit parts might be too clunky and lack detail, the PE parts may well be too one dimensional. Also, if you are holding out on G-Factor landing gear to correct the 'sit' of the aircraft which Revell got rather wrong, then some of the Eduard parts might be superfluous.

 

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Finally, we have the usual wires / pipes which do not usually stand up to close scrutiny – again too one dimensional – but I know some modellers have dipped these in white glue to add volume, and the results have been fairly successful. If your Uhu is going on static display and is unlikely to be inspected by 'groundcrew', then you probably don't need this set. However, if you are going to look underneath, then the sparse nature of the kit gear bays will really benefit from Eduard's attentions.

 

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Some of the kit parts look very bare indeed

 

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Whereas others look a little better – this part will still be sanded down for an Eduard replacement

 

He219 Exterior
#32324 €22.95

 

This is probably the largest of the sets: two frets designed to replace / cover pretty much all the access panels on the entire aircraft, plus some finely detailed grill, intake and exhaust covers. The surface detail on the kit is restrained and quite fine, but in places perhaps a little too vague, and this set is designed to rectify that.

 

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If I am honest, this is the one set that I am not sure if I will use, or indeed how to use it. The reason for this is that although PE sheet is by its very nature extremely thin, when simply slapped on to a kits surface it does still stick out somewhat. The good part is the majority of these panels are set to lay on flat or almost indiscernibly curved surfaces, so I imagine application will be some very gentle sanding – or perhaps none at all – and then simply glue the part on.

 

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Kit surface detail – this looks pretty good to me

 

Where I am not at all convinced most modellers will be able to pull this off is the set of four panels that lay across the sharp curve which mates the fuselage sides to the underneath, and a further panel that lays across the Uhu's belly. The picture below is from Eduard's own website, and if you look closely you can see the fit is not perfect; if they cannot make it look 100%, I am not sure us mere mortals have much hope.

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Getting the access panels to look convincing over pronounced curves will be tricky [Eduard]

 

The solution is maybe leave these more challenging ones off, but I wonder whether the model might look a bit odd, with slightly raised access panels all over the place, except for these ones? I have yet to decide on this one.

 

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Whereas the detail here could do with more definition, as provided by the Eduard parts

 

The other parts in this set are for radiator grills which sit inside the cowling; these are very nice as you would expect, but will sit over probably what are perfectly adequate parts from Revell, so again, your call here. I like the exhaust end grills, as these can also be used on any aftermarket exhausts that the likes of Quickboost will no doubt produce. Finally, one omission from Eduard concerns the cowl flaps: Revell didn't get the overlapping nature of these right, so you may wish to consider the set from RB Productions to complement your Eduard offering.

 

Conclusion

I state the obvious by pointing out that if you buy all of these sets, the outlay could be more than double again what you spent on the kit in the first place, but in fairness to Eduard this is as much a reflection of the kit's excellent value, as it is of the high price of PE these days. If budget permits, I would definitely use all but the exterior set – I think these will make a significant improvement to building the kit out of the box. The same may apply to the last set, but I would suggest that you need experience with a very similar set on a much smaller aircraft first, or a lot of confidence in how you think these will look, because once you start putting on the panel covers, you can't really stop half way.

 

Highly recommended; for those with a large budget go for the whole lot; go for interior only if you have to choose just one.

 

With thanks to Eduard for the review samples.

 

Nicholas Mayhew

 

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