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In-Box Review
148
Heinkel He 115
Heinkel He 115 Scandinavian Service
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Background
In addition to serving with the Luftwaffe, the Heinkel He 115 was exported to Norway and Sweden before the start of WW2. Norway took delivery of six He 115Ns in 1939 and ordered six more, but the German invasion in the spring of 1940 meant they were never delivered. Along with their He 115Ns, the Norwegians captured a pair of Luftwaffe machines and used them against the German invaders. Four of the Norwegian He 115s escaped to Britain before Norway was forced to surrender, while a fifth aircraft flew to Finland where it was interned before being pressed into service, surviving until 1943.

Meanwhile, neutral Sweden operated a dozen He 115s. Like Norway, Sweden ordered six additional aircraft but these too were never delivered. Designated the T-2 in Swedish service, the aircraft outlived all other He 115s, remaining on active duty long after WW2, finally retiring in 1952.

The remains of three He 115s have been recovered. The best documented of these is the subject of a major restoration as the He 115 Project.
History adapted from Wikipedia

In Kit Form
Special Hobby have recently re-released their quarterscale Heinkel He 115 with new markings for Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian colour schemes. The original kit has been out of production for some time and I missed it the first time around, so I was delighted to get the opportunity to see the He 115 in its new incarnation.

The kit arrives in a large and attractive conventional box. In fact, I must admit the sheer size of the beast caught me totally by surprise. The fuselage dwarfs a Ju 88 in length, and each float is longer than a Bf 109G’s fuselage, while the tailplanes are almost an exact match for the Gustav’s wings in span. Add the fact that it will tower over most kits in this scale on its floats and this will be a very impressive model when finished.

The main parts and accessories are all packed separately for protection in transit, with the more delicate items attached to a cardboard liner to stop them rubbing against the main sprues. The kit comprises:

102 x grey styrene parts (plus 13 unused)
15 x clear styrene parts
16 x resin parts (plus 1 not needed)
57 x etched brass parts plus a printed film
Decals for 3 x colour schemes

Just over 100 parts for a model of this size doesn’t sound daunting, but I should point out straight away that the He 115 lies firmly towards the “short run” end of Special Hobby’s releases and is definitely not going to be a “shake ‘n bake” build. I was already under no illusions that this would be a totally straightforward kit, because I well remember Jean-Luc Formery warning that the original release was quite a tough build, and when one of the most talented modellers around says that, it’s worth taking heed.

Moulding quality in the sample kit varies somewhat from one sprue to another. Some parts are very smooth, while others will need polishing. Nothing serious, though - and it’s probably something that experienced builders of short-run kits will take almost for granted. Panel lines are neatly scribed and match up encouragingly well when the main parts are test-fitted, and there are embossed fasteners on removable panels. I spotted one or two shallow sink marks, but these will be a simple fix, and the designers have kept ejection pin marks away from the visible parts of the interior.

Test Fit
The instructions warn that the float halves may require some adjustment to overcome fit problems, so it’s rather ironic to find that they actually line up very well in the sample kit – it’s the rest of the airframe is definitely in need of some help.

The problem is that my kit suffers from slight warping, so the fuselage, wings and tail will all need clamping while they dry to ensure they end up straight. The wings are the worst culprits - sadly, the suffer from a classic case of "banana-wing-itis" - and I’ll probably install rigid spars to help with the job. Luckily, the styrene is quite pliable, which will make life easier. Bearing this caveat firmly in mind, taping the main parts together shows that the actual fit shouldn’t be bad.

The make or break moment is undoubtedly going to be attaching the floats, and I strongly recommend sitting the model in a jig to do this. Even then I’ll be prepared for trouble - I built Azur’s Latécoère 298 years ago and it fought back every time I’d thought I’d beaten it into submission!

A Few Details
The cockpit walls and nose section have moulded-on ribs and stringers which are a bit rough and ready, to be honest, so you may want to replace them with styrene strip. Things will cheer up considerably, though, as you add a mass of interior fittings supplied in plastic, resin and photo-etch. There are over 80 parts in total, including nicely detailed resin radio sets, and instrument panels and consoles handled as classic etched “sandwiches” with printed film for the instrument faces. Seat harnesses are provided for every station. Special Hobby overcome the problem of hollow wing roots with blanking plates. The cockpit glazing is well moulded and the pilot’s and gunner’s canopy sections are separate, so effort spent on the interior won’t be wasted and the finished office should look satisfyingly busy.

You get a choice of resin machine guns, depending on which nationality aircraft you decide to build. The Brownings make a nice change from the MG 15s you’d expect to see on a German aircraft.

The engines are cast in resin and can be used without worrying about removing their casting blocks. The detail is nice, but I noticed a few of the cooling fins on the cylinders had tended to fill in. Still, the engines sit reasonable well back in the cowlings and once you’ve added push rods and ignition cables (not provided) they will look very acceptable. The propellers are moulded as individual blades, and they have moulded “pips” to help set the angle correctly. It’ll still probably be worth using a simple jig to be on the safe side though.

External strakes to add to the tops of the floats are supplied as etched brass. That’s probably the best option for a kit like this, as they’d have been really difficult to mould cleanly in that position without multi-part moulds. I may use the metal strips as templates to cut new pieces from styrene which will be easier to attach.

Final touches are a pair of boarding ladders, again produced as etched brass to capture the delicacy of the originals. While they do look a little bit 2-dimensional on the fret, they should thicken up a bit and look convincing with a few coats of paint.

Instructions & Decals
The assembly and painting guide is printed in colour as a glossy 16-page A5 booklet. The diagrams are clearly drawn and large enough to pick out the details easily. Construction is broken down into 21 stages, with colour matches for Gunze Sangyo paints provided.

Decals are supplied for a trio of interesting colour schemes:

A. T-2 (He 115 A-2), W.Nr. 3027, F-2 Wing of the Swedish Air Force, 1939-52.
B. He 115 A-2 (ex-Norwegian He 115N no. 50), Finnish Air Force
C. He 115N (-2) no. 60, Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service, 1939-40

The decals are supplied on two sheets and look to be excellent quality, with minimal excess carrier film on the thin glossy items. The colours look good and the density of the inks is excellent. The Finnish Hakaristi are victims of needless political correctness (they’re not Nazi symbols) and their centres are separate. Ironically, by trying not to offend elsewhere, the designers may well have ruffled Finnish feathers.

Conclusion
Special Hobby’s He 115 is undoubtedly going to be a challenging build, best suited for experienced modellers with some short run models successfully under their belt. Equally undoubted, though, the finished model will be a very impressive addition to any 1:48 aircraft collection and it will look especially good in these foreign service colour schemes.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Good overall detail with a very well fitted out interior. Excellent quality decals.
Lows: Additional skills needed to cope slightly warped short-run styrene parts.
Verdict: A challenging kit for experienced modellers, Special Hobby's He 115 will build into a very impressive model.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: SH48146
  Suggested Retail: 70.20 Euros
  PUBLISHED: May 18, 2017
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.49%

Our Thanks to Special Hobby!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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Comments

It would be interesting, to build a captured He-115 in German camo with the insignia hastily painted out and new Norwegian markings applied. But no pics of these planes exist. I don't think they were used long enough for any to be taken.
MAY 18, 2017 - 10:09 AM
Well, such photos do exists. Kind of. And several exists of them in Norwegian use! There are a few photos that show the German insignia were at least partially overpainted on one plane at the capture site. But we do not know if they were fully overpainted and if Norwegian insignia was applied at the original capture site. What is know is that the two captured planes were flown to Skattora seaplane base at Tromsoe where they were repainted in a grey colour overall (a war diary entry and photos prove this) and had Norwegian flag stripes applied. Here are a few photos showing one of the captured planes with overpainted swastika and partially overpainted individual letter and some profiles detailing the colour schemes of the two He 115 Bs. Source of photographs is Norwegian Defence Museum and the profiles are mine.
MAY 18, 2017 - 08:54 PM
Regarding the kit, please note that you have to make a few modifications in order to make a correct Norwegian or Swedish He 115. I do not have this version of the kit myself (only the German one), but judging by the photos it is clear that you do not get the shorter non-rotating Norwegian nose cupola and you will also have to make a few other modifications internally (different radio gear, etc.). If anyone needs more specific information on differences of the Scandinavian versions feel free to contact me!
MAY 18, 2017 - 09:02 PM
I have and will be made in Finnish colors
MAY 18, 2017 - 10:16 PM
The Finnish one was an ex-Norwegian as you probably know, so you´ll need to mod the nose cupola.
MAY 18, 2017 - 11:36 PM
Great review, thanks. I remember building the very old Matchbox kit many many many years ago, and this new kit looks to be very well done.
MAY 19, 2017 - 01:08 AM
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