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1/32 Heinkel He111 H-6


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1/32 Heinkel He111 H-6


Revell
Catalogue # 4386

 

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Introduction

 

The He111 H-6 is the follow-up to Revell's initial release of Heinkel's twin engined bomber, the P-1 (kit #4696). As is fairly standard practice, we get the more obscure / less popular variant of any new aircraft first, before we get the one we have all been waiting for (the same applies in the world of armour by the way). Perhaps the only surprise here is that we have the H-6 so soon after the P-1, when we are still waiting for the A-4 boxing of the Ju88 (the Junkers preceding the Heinkel by over a year I think).

 

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This is a seriously large kit

 

The main difference between the P and early members of the H series was the power plant: the DB601 of the P being substituted for the Jumo 211 series (Daimler Benz's engine being prioritised for use in the Messerschmitt Bf109). The P and H look very similar, but can be distinguished by different engine cowlings: the P has the supercharger intake on the port side of each engine nacelle, whereas the H has it to starboard. There are of course other differences and things to look out for, and I shall try to cover these as we go through the review. The H served on all fronts where the Germans fought in WWII (although relatively few made it to North Africa); it saw action in anti-shipping operations (often armed with torpedoes), transport and supply, as well as its more traditional tactical bomber role. As such, the scope for the modeller is much larger than with the P.

 

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He111 P of KG55 (yes, that is Rudolf Hess). Note supercharger intakes on port side of nacelle – the key identifier of a P variant. Also note pointed shape of spinner, and 'fish tail' exhausts [KF]

 

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He111 H-6 – note supercharger intake on starboard of nacelle. Also note exhaust type with 'fins'. [KF]

 

Overview

 

This kit shares the vast majority of parts with its predecessor, so the engineering is virtually identical, and the instruction booklets are very similar. The main differences are as follows:

  • new engine nacelles, spinner and prop blades
  • new glazing and armament option for the front nose 'cone', or A-stand
  • additional part for dorsal gun station, or B-stand
  • new ventral gondola, or C-stand
  • options for external bomb load, including both regular bombs and torpedoes
  • markings for two aircraft

Because of the similarity between the two kits, the overall assessment is similar: broadly accurate, great value built out of the box (OOTB), large scope for super detailing / use of aftermarket. For modellers who build largely OOTB, Revell offer some of the best bang for your buck out there; this is a truly imposing aircraft in 1/32 (quite a bit larger than their Ju88), and even relatively soon after its release, can be picked up in the UK for less than £45 inc shipping. If, on the other hand, you have the financially severe affliction known as 'aftermarket syndrome' or AMS, then there are already a whole host of detailing options available, with many more in the pipeline I am sure. First and foremost, the kit seems fairly accurate - dare I say 'it looks like a Heinkel 111'?? Joking aside, the plans I have used as a benchmark are from the Kagero Monograph series (see below for a complete list of references), and the kit matches up well. Are the plans themselves accurate - well to be honest who knows? I do know there are inconsistencies in some the details, but as with most review research, I find the more you find out, the more you are able to spot errors in various books, profiles and so on. It is worth pointing out that the Revell used the He111 (a P-2) at the Gardermoen Museum, Norway as the basis for their original kit, which was painstakingly restored by Guttorm Fjeldstad and his team.

 

The defining feature of the 111 for me is the fully glazed nose, putting everything inside very much on display. And whilst this means that all the work you put in on the cockpit will indeed be seen, it also means that the detail needs to be there in the first place, and this is where the Revell kit does fall a little short. Whereas the cockpit of their Ju88 was actually rather good, this one is sparse in comparison. No doubt there will be another update set from Eduard for the H, as there was for the P-1, reviewed here. For those who will be going down the resin cockpit route (there are already two on the market), it is a shame that the main pilot's hatch window cannot slide open. The nose cone or A-stand drew some comments when the P-1 was first released, and when I look at the part in front of me against both plans and period photos, I do think the kit part is not bulbous enough. More on that later.

 

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Cockpit detail is a let down compared to their Ju88 kit – this is almost 1/72 scale in its rendition

 

Going further aft, the internal detail in both the bomb bay and the radio operator's compartment is somewhat basic. The shortcomings of the bomb bay have to some extent been addressed by Eduard's bomb bay update set but according to some references the bomb bay itself extends about 5mm too far forward in the kit. It appears that Revell ignored the large bulkhead / main wing spar that separates bomb bay and cockpit. So, when using this set and posing bay doors open (I cannot think why you would use it with the doors closed), there will be a small gap to fill. Personally, I would be unlikely to rescribe panel lines etc with bay doors closed, and would only investigate filling the gap if using Eduard's set. I believe that the two windows either side over the wing are actually access panels, which opened out and down from the aircraft side; so these clear parts should probably be painted over, rather than masked clear.

 

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All the parts and layout for the internal bomb bays are included in this kit, even though at best only half of them will be used

 

The internal spar structure around the waist windows, for instance is not correct; whether you can actually see any of this is another matter of course. Some of the internal flooring around the ventral gondola is also incorrectly positioned. And whilst I have seen one skillful and ambitious modeller completely rework this whole space, I think most people are likely to leave things as is. Where the rear portion of the C-stand blends with the fuselage bottom, there are two flat panes of glass; the fuselage contours around this area may not have been captured correctly, but for me this is very minor and certainly not material.

 

Apart from the almost laughable molded on seatbelts in the cockpit, the only other howler that I can see are the MG15s. Whilst I would not expect much of the barrels - turned brass barrels from Master Model will be quite eye catching, especially for variants carrying larger numbers of guns – in over all they are not great48. Thankfully, Aires have already come to the rescue with armament sets for both P and H versions. I imagine some modellers will combine these with Master barrels - I plan to do this.

 

It is worth pointing out that even though this is a very large aircraft, you will not necessarily need to upgrade the landing gear with any metal alternatives. The actual structure was a fairly complicated one, and in 1/32 plastic I think should have enough rigidity. SAC already have a set of metal gear out if you must (I have not seen these, but am not SAC's biggest fan), or you can play the waiting game and see if G-Factor bring out some (costly, but superb detail and strength).

 

Surface detail is restrained, and molding is pretty good. The plastic is not the hardest, but certainly up to the job. The instructions will be familiar to many who made kits over a generation ago - they have changed little and are quite similar to Airfix's. I don't mind so much having what seems like a million assembly and sub-assembly stages, but Revell's refusal to number or letter sprues will mean part location is unduly tedious. The recycled paper feel of the P-1 instructions has been thankfully left behind in the H-6 I can report!

Basically the original kit was pretty good, if not without certain weaknesses. Probably its biggest hindrance was that it was a P-1: not that many were built in the grand scheme of things, and markings options are rather limited. Although the boxing trumpeted 'Battle of Britain', most He111s in 1940 were in fact H models, and the Ps that were operated were more likely to be P-2 and P-4 (different engine nacelles, upgraded C-stand). So let's now look a little more closely at the new features in this kit...

 

Engine Nacelles, Props & Exhausts

 

As mentioned above, the H series used the Jumo 211 engine. The H-1 and H-2 used the Jumo 211A, the H-3, -4 and -5 the 211D, and the H-6 to H-20 variants used the Jumo 211F. Early Hs are seen with slightly different engine nacelles: the oil cooler intake on top of the nacelle is much slimmer, resulting in a smoother appearance; the supercharger intake lacks the tubular cowling that runs the most of the length of the nacelle. I had thought this feature was limited to H-1s and -2s, but at least one RAF Intelligence Report on a crashed He111 lists a H-3 with these early engine cowls and being powered by the Jumo 211D. The lack of a definitive reference on the 111 means this is just one of a number questions that seems to have no conclusive answer. Being a H-6, this kit has the correct later style cowlings with deeper oil cooler, and extended supercharger intake.

 

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The early style cowling of the H – note shortened supercharger intake and rather flat area over oil cooler [CA]

 

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A nice shot of a main production H-6 showing wider VS11 props, larger and more bulbous spinners; also note exhaust type [KF]

 

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Whereas here we see an earlier H (possibly H-3 to early production H-6) with thinner VDM props [AD]

 

The props used changed during H-6 production: early examples had the slim VDM blades, which has been also used on all previous P and H models; the majority of H-6s used the wider VS11 blades. Unless viewed at a very shallow angle, the two types are fairly easy to distinguish. If the engines are running such that the blades can't be seen, another thing to look out for is the spinner hub: the VDM blades were matched with smaller but rather pointed hubs, whereas the VS11 blades had a larger more bulbous hub.

 

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Head on shot showing the shape of the VS11 props; also note single external rack under port side, internal bay on starboard [KG]

 

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The kit props – there are already aftermarket ones available if you are not happy with the shape of these

 

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Kit spinners look good to me

 

I have identified four main types of exhausts used on the P and early to mid Hs. Early Ps have separate but rounded exhaust tubes, as supplied in the P-1 kit. Secondly, there are for want of a better description 'fishtail' exhausts with flame dampeners which can be seen on both Ps and Hs, up to and including the H-6, and it is these which are included in the kit. The real things are quite complicated affairs, so I am not surprised that Revell's depiction is a rather crude affair. From the references and pictures I have looked at, this type seems particularly common, and can be seen on both Ps and Hs, from pre Battle of Britain, through to North Africa and the war on the Eastern Front. The third type is much simpler, and consists of a single tube; there appear to have been variations of these. The final type you will see looks from a distance (or in a low resolution WWII pic) similar to the fish tail type. On closer inspection, each exhaust outlet has a number of cooling fins. To date I have only seen these on H-6s, and not on earlier variants.

 

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The kit exhausts are, I think, meant to be the fish tail type, but are not really that close; I would use resin ones from CMK

 

Ventral Gondola / C-stand

 

For those who wish to model their subjects as accurately as possible, this was probably the single most limiting factor in the original P kit. The first P and Hs had a C-stand with only a rear-facing MG15, three small windows along each side, and a solid front section which was quite gently curved. This is what came with the P-1 kit.

 

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The original C-stand (as featured on P-1 kit) found on early Ps and Hs; note solid front section and only a rear gun station [AD]

 

The same basic structure continued up until the H-5, but with the addition of forward facing gun station. This was due to the urgent need for more defensive firepower against fighters, but also used in an offensive capacity against ground targets and shipping. The same basic profile remained, as did the three side windows, but the solid front was replaced with a glazed section. Despite looking at many photos, I am unsure whether this upgrade was uniform, or whether slight variations in the replacement window configuration existed.

 

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Plans showing the upgraded early P / H C-stand with new forward gun station (above) and revised structure of C-stand for H-5 onwards (below) [KA]

 

Either way, the majority of P and early H models seem to have had this modification, and until Revell release an earlier H (or indeed later P), or we get help from the aftermarket world, a lot of 111s are sadly out of reach. Just a note if you want to make an H with the initial C-stand: although unlikely, it was not impossible: I have clear photographic evidence of at least one H-3 with this early type gondola, although it is just one in literally hundreds of examples I have looked at. The C-stand we have in the kit was introduced on the H-5. Although the same basic shape and size, close inspection reveals that it is actually completely different. The three side windows are gone (but there is one each side further towards the front of the gondola), and both gun stations have been re-worked with very different glazing. The armament was either two MG15s, or commonly a MGFF cannon in the front position. The kit instructions suggest the MGFF, but this is a case of check your references as some planes had a MG15 here; overall this new area looks pretty good to me.

 

Dorsal gun / B-stand

 

The dorsal position featured a revolving cradle type seat for the gunner - it wasn't really a turret as such - and a perspex cowling which slid forward to facilitate a wider arc of fire or emergency exit. This rather basic arrangement remained the same from the first P and H-1s through to the H-10, with the only addition being an additional pull down hood from the P-4 and H-4 onwards.

 

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One of Rommel's transports – not a great shot, but you can clearly see the three-part hood does indeed fold up and back. The kit part is moulded in the extended position.[bundesarchiv]

 

This hood was formed of three overlapping parts, and looked rather like a sea shell when pulled down. Revell provides this new part (#270) and it should look just fine when down; but I think that the three layers folded underneath each other when the hood was raised, so merely pivoting the same part backwards is not correct. Finding a clear picture of the hood raised has been surprisingly tricky - the best side on view I could find still does not provide conclusive evidence. Irrespective of this, the part's inclusion is a welcome addition.

 

Nose cone / A-stand

 

Some Ps and Hs had an additional MG15 mounted in the glazing between the cone of the A-stand and the seats in the cockpit. It was designed to provide additional defence from frontal attacks. No such mount (or gun) is provided in this kit, but adding one yourself should be fairly straightforward.

 

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A-stand for MG15 – should be more bulbous, like in the P variant immediately below

 

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Note profile of A-stand [KF]

 

A new nose cone (part #257) is provided for mounting another MGFF cannon - it was rather flatter than the cone for the MG15 when viewed from the side. The original part from the P-1 kit is still included which is good, as not all H-6s were fitted with this new weapon. However, as you can see from the pictures, it does look as though Revell got mixed up here: the later cone for the MGFF is more bulbous than the one for the MG15, when in fact it should be the other way around. Although we already have aftermarket barrels for the MGFF, we don't yet have any with the oversized flash suppressors, nor do we have a more detailed resin body for the cannon; the kit parts are fairly basic.

 

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The new A-stand part for MGFF – way to bulbous in my view

 

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The A-stand on this H certainly looks more restrained the kit part shown immediately above; also note what looks like twin ETC racks [KF]

 

There are also parts for the remotely fired MG17 which was fitted to the tail cone of some H-6s (the tail MG started to be fitted to H-3 onwards I believe). The new cone is optional, and the gun is integrally moulded to one half of it (part #247). This addition is quite a neat way to 'spice up' your 111, although I would chose to cut away the gun and replace with a turned brass MG17.

 

Bomb Load

 

Early Heinkel 111s were fitted with internal bomb bays. Two side by side racks of vertical ESAC 250 / IX racks could carry up to eight SC250 bombs. The compartments could also be sub-divided to carry up to 32 50kg bombs, but it was a severe limitation that no heavier single piece of ordnance could be carried. The original P-1 kit is made out in the 8 x 250 configuration, and all of these parts are still present in the H-6 kit.

 

In order to lift heavier individual bombs, external racks started to be fitted under the fuselage, over where the internal bays were. The first rack used was the PVC 1006. These are generally seen on the P-4, and the H-3 onwards. The maximum individual rating for these racks appears to have been 1800kg, but when fitted as a pair, loads would max out at one SC1800 and one SC1000, and this for only very short range missions. An alternative was for two torpedoes to be carried, which is one of the options provided in kit - more on that shortly. For even heavier ordnance, a different rack had to be used, the ETC2000. These are seen on some 111s from the H-5 onwards. The two racks are fairly similar, and very difficult to distinguish without a photo from the right angle and close study.

 

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The PVC1006 rack [KA]

 

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In overall outline the kit parts seem ok, but that's about it – resin replacement please!

 

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I am fairly sure the racks should not be joined together like this

 

A common combination appears was a single PVC rack under the port side, with the internal ESAC racks being retained on the starboard side. I understand that sometimes one bank of the internal racks was replaced with an additional fuel tank, but how one can tell this from pictures I am not sure.

 

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Spot the difference?! [AE]

 

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Using the above, I reckon we have an ETC2000 under port, and PVC1006 under starboard, but it took a lot of staring! [AE]

 

Despite the ETC2000 being mentioned in the introduction in the instructions, the racks in the kit look more like twin PVC1006 to me, although detail is so vague it's hard to tell. The ordnance supplied is either two SD500 bombs, or two LT F5b torpedoes. The two racks are moulded together as one single part (#226), and different brackets / sway brace parts are used depending upon whether you opt for torpedoes or bombs.

 

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These torpedoes are huge in 1/32 – over 15cm long!

 

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Twin LT F5b torpedoes on what I think are PVC1006 racks [KF]

 

I like the optionality here, and if you build out of the box then you'll be a fan of this. I have concerns that the detail of both the rack itself and the braces is not that great, which is ok as I think we might see some aftermarket help here soon enough. I also have doubts over the shape and configuration of the racks: both pictures I have studied and my references seem to indicate the two racks should not be joined together with a plate that will sit proud from the fuselage / internal bomb bay doors. At this time I am still trying to confirm if there were variations in the PVC1006, but I would advise treating this area with caution (or more likely patience) if you are concerned about accuracy.

Much the same goes for the bombs and torpedoes, in terms of the fact that they will look fairly impressive from a distance just because of their size, but detail is a little lacking. There are already a couple of different aftermarket SC500s and also SC1000s around (CMK and MDC) for us to choose from. A resin torpedo is available from CMK; obviously you'd need two, and the rack is made for the Ju88 so totally unsuitable. Once again, patience or some fairly tasty scratchbuilding will be the order of the day if you want more than the kit offers.

 

Markings

 

There are two schemes for which markings are provided, although on of them is probably for two different aircraft:

  1. "5J+ER 7./KG 4 Stalingrad, Russia 1942" (and the same codes but with addition of a white stripe on the fuselage is denoted "Africa, August 1942")
  2. "1H+GK 2./KG 26 Norway, July 1942 flown by Lt. K Hennemann"

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"Vestigium Leonis"

 

I do not know if the two KG 4 options are the same airframe - it is possible, but then again the same codes often adorned completely different aircraft at different times also. I have identified the Africa option, and confirm it as a H-6 with VS11 prop blades. There was a MGFF in the A-stand, and what looks like evidence of an additional MG15? The C-stand is not visible so one can only presume armament there was one MGFF and one MG15. Revell's instructions and correctly pick out the location of the white fuselage theatre band, and "ER" decals are provided for the wing leading edges. Close study of the photo leads me to belive an earlier theatre band may have been painted over, but I have not had this confirmed yet. There is no folding cover for the B-stand visible that I can see. Note, however, that the exhausts are not the same type as those supplied in the kit - they those with individual fillets on each exhaust port.

 

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The African incarnation of 5J+ER [KF]

 

The KG 26 option is interesting: this is the torpedo-armed aircraft, and comes with ship kill markings. Whilst these are probably based on a photo, but I have not yet located it, so cannot comment on their accuracy, or any other features of the aircraft. As to this being the mount of Lt. Hennemann, he and his crew were lost in an attack on Convoy PQ17 on the 4th July 1942. I have found a number of different sources quoting this aircraft as WNr 7098, and being 1H+GH. I have been unable to find pictures of this machine either, to establish whether Revell got the codes wrong, or if Hennemann was not flying his usual mount that day? The KG 26 emblem of the lion with the famous "Vestigium Leonis" inscription is black lion on white shield background; both lion and background came in different colours according to which Staffel the aircraft was

 

Being Revell, there are no swastikas. The decals look fine otherwise to me, but given the size of some of the markings, especially the underwing crosses, you may wish to have a look at masks?

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Conclusion

I am a big fan of Revell's 1/32 releases, partly because of subject matter, partly because of their versatility: they have the ability to appeal to both modellers who are happy to build out of the box and those who want to add detail via aftermarket. In this respect, I think they are some of the best value for money kits on offer. If I had to rate this kit, I would put it up there with Revell's excellent Ju88. The Heinkel probably has more areas where detail is lacking - the 88 really is excellent without any aftermarket. But as a subject, the 111 is perhaps more imposing, and certainly this H-6 variant offers a wide choice of possible markings and armament options in a way that the Ju88 A-1, and indeed the initial He111 P-1 kit simply cannot.

 

Highly recommended

 

References (I have put the abbreviations used above in brackets):

  • AirDoc #007 Heinkel He111 Part 2: P and Early H Variants - Manfred Griehl [AD]
  • Kagero Monograph - He111 Vols 1 & 2 [KA]
  • Kampfflieger: Bombers of the Luftwaffe Vols 1, 2 & 3 - Eddie Creek & J. Richard Smith [KF]
  • KG55: 'Greif' Geshwader (In Focus) - Lionel Quinlan [KG]
  • Luftwaffe Crash Archive: Volume 1 1: A Documentary History of Every Enemy Aircraft Brought Down Over the UK - Nigel Parker [CA]
  • Gardermoen Museum, Norway - Guttorm Fjeldstad
  • He111 In Action - Squadron Signal

With thanks to Revell for the review sample. Thank you also to Matt Low for technical assistance.

 

Nicholas Mayhew

 

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Cheers guys glad you like it

 

Bench time could well be coming back on the agenda when I switch out of the night shift and on to the main desk at work...early July...can't wait!

 

Will be reviewing the Master Details resin cockpit shortly btw, so watch this space ;)

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Guest styrenedemon

Great review. As you may remember, I grabbed the P at your recommendation. These new Revell 32nd kits are real gems IMO especially for the money. This is a big kit with lots of stuff packed into the box. I am really itching to build mine, but I'm really thinking of holding off and throwing all the AM I can at it once I get a little more seasoned with doing that kinda stuff.

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Great review Nick.

There are some typical Revell mishaps in there. Most of them easy fixes or in need of replacements.

The nose cupola will be a difficult fix though. If that's what you feel is needed.

Cheers,

Jeroen

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Guest styrenedemon

Great Review Nick!

 

But I think I will be sticking to my boring He111 P! Unless there is a really cool scheme that pop's up for an H!

 

Boring? Nah...those spinter schemes are pretty awesome IMO. 

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