by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Platz have teamed up with Dragon to release a new boxing of the latter’s popular 1:72 He 219. The sprues are unchanged, but Platz’s kit has different etched parts and decals – plus, they’ve added weights to stop the finished model being a tail-sitter and a rather neat building jig. To accompany the kit, Platz have released a pair of separately available upgrade sets in collaboration with Eduard.
The kit arrives in a stylish top opening box with full-colour profiles on the sides and the building jig printed on the bottom. This is such a clever idea, I’m amazed I’ve not seen it done before (like all good ideas, it’s obvious once you see it in use). It’s printed with pseudo-military stencil text (admittedly with a spelling mistake, but I’ll forgive that) and should be very handy. I wish other manufacturers would follow suit, because it’s a great way to use what is otherwise often “dead space” on the back of the box.
The kit itself comprises:
94 x grey styrene parts (plus 11 x unused parts)
8 x clear styrene parts (plus 1 x spare)
6 x cast metal weights
14 x etched metal parts
Decals for 3 x colour schemes
Dragon’s He 219 is a good few years old now, but the moulding is still nice and crisp on the sample kit, with no signs of sink marks or other flaws. Ejector pins have been kept clear of the cockpit sides, but you’ll need to clean them off the seats’ headrests and the inside of the undercarriage doors.
The surface finish is satin-smooth with engraved panel lines (perhaps a tad heavy for this scale) and no rivets or fasteners depicted.
Test FitThe main parts go together nice and neatly, although I’ll probably trim off the locating pins on the fuselage halves to match up the panel lines as well as possible (the smallest offset really shows in this small scale. The wings line up well and the dihedral on the outer panels sets neatly. The fit at the roots is good and a nice touch is the interlocking locating tabs to keep everything true.
The ventral gun pack is supplied as two separate pieces, which allows good panel details but you'll need to do a little work here to avoid a step at the seams.
A Few DetailsConstruction begins in time honoured fashion with the cockpit, which comprises quite an effective one-piece “tub” that’s dressed up with the radar operator’s equipment, separate seat backs and the control yoke. There’s a photo-etched instrument panel with a decal, but no harness. Platz provide the latter among the items in their aftermarket sets (see below).
The biggest change in Platz’s reboxing of the He 219 is the inclusion of white metal weights. When I reviewed the original Dragon kit, I predicted that it would be a tail-sitter but, from the look of the weights provided here, I had little idea just how much so; Platz stuff every available space forward of the COG with moulded-to-fit weights. That means the extreme nose and immediately behind the cockpit, plus the front of each nacelle, and it all adds up to quite a hefty load. Luckily, the undercarriage seems sturdy enough to support it all.
Each twin wheel main gear comprises a solid fork-style leg with a separate retracting arms, springs and mudguards, while the nosewheel leg doesn’t look quite so strong - but, touch wood, shouldn’t have to bear much load if the weight of all that weight metal is correct.
The FuG220 radar array is a mix of styrene and photoetch, with metal aerials attaching to plastic mounts. Strictly speaking, the photoetch is a bit 2-dimensional, but a coat of paint will thicken it up and round it slightly, so you may get away with it in this small scale. Alternatively, you could resort to HSP.
The propellers are moulded as individual blades with a keyed hub to set the pitch angle. It still might not be a bad idea to use a simple jig to ensure everything is lined up correctly. Interestingly, the instructions indicate that you should cleaning up some flash around the tip of each blade, but there doesn’t seem to be any in the sample kit. It’s thoughtful of Platz to include the heads-up though.
The cockpit canopy is one-piece, but there’s a spare one on the sprue so you could try slicing it in two without fear of disaster. The clear parts also include the internal armoured windscreen, the direction finder cover along with landing and navigation lights, which is a nice touch in this scale.
Instructions & DecalsDragon’s instructions often attract a fair bit of flak, so many modellers will be delighted to learn that Platz have totally replaced them with a new construction guide of their own design. Although it’s almost entirely in Japanese, the layout is clear and logical and the language barrier shouldn’t prevent anyone building the kit.
Assembly is broken down into nine stages, and the sequence is pretty logical. Matches are given for Gunze Sangyo and Model Master paints, along with RLM codes where appropriate. There’s also a full colour painting guide which appears to include quite a detailed description of the camouflage. Sadly, the text is Japanese-only – perhaps the only point at which non-Japanese readers lose out.
The kit includes marking for three aircraft:
A. He 219 A-7 G9-CH
B. He 219 A-5 W.Nr.420331 G9-DB
C. He 219 A-2 W.Nr. 290123 G9-TH
The decals are produced in association with Rocketeer Decal – a new name to me, but the result is impressive. The glossy items have tightly trimmed carrier film and the sheet includes swastikas, so there’ll be no need to raid the spares box as one had to with the original Dragon releases.
Aftermarket UpgradesPlatz have released three after-market sets to accompany the He 219:
M72-36 - Photoetched details – Price: 2,592 Yen
MS72-1 - Painting masks – Price: 864 Yen
Platz’s etched upgrade set arrives on two frets and adds a lot of extra detail. The first fret is pre-coloured and gives a major boost to the cockpit, with a new instruments and side consoles, fascias for the radio and radar equipment, seat harnesses and rudder pedals. The instruments look excellent – far finer detail than most of us could hope to paint in this scale – and the overall effect should be very good, adding another incentive to open up the canopy to show it all off.
The second fret transforms the wheel wells and lines the nose-gear doors (they’ll need thinning considerably though). Grills are included to blank off the open air intakes and a final touch is the inclusion of radar aerials for a He 219A-0.
The masks are die-cut from kabuki tape and are designed for the canopy and wheel hubs as you’d expect. Also on the sheet are masks for the internal armoured shield, direction finder and landing lamps, and even a tiny pair of masks for the gunsight.
With both aftermarket sets, the instructions are printed solely in Japanese, but the colour illustrations are clearly laid out and straightforward to follow.
ConclusionPlatz’s re-release of the Dragon He 219 is very welcome, and the extras certainly add to an already well-regarded kit.
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