by: Tim Hatton [ ]
In the role as a night fighter twenty B-1 and B-4 versions were converted with the Do 17 Z-10 "Kauz II" nose. The nose was equipped with IR searchlight for the Spanner infrared detection system. Do 215 B-5s “Kauz III” were armed with four 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns grouped above the IR light and two 20 mm MG FF cannon in the lower nose. The Spanner system proved to be useless and Lichtenstein 202 B/C radar was installed on some aircraft starting from the middle of 1942.
The Do 215A-1 bomber with DB 601 engines, and the B-0 and B-1 export machines were both re-equipped with FuG 10 navigation devices for the Luftwaffe. The Do 215 B-5 was the first night fighter to be equipped with the FuG 202 Lichtenstein B/C navigation device. These aircraft saw action from January 1941 to May 1944 with I. and IV./NJG 1 and II./NJG 2.
Opening the box
The grey coloured plastic sprues share the same bag, while the two small clear sprues are individually wrapped. The single decal sheet is loose in the box. It certainly looks better quality and easier to build than the Do 215B-5 that ICM released about nine years ago [kit no 72302].
The parts have very fine recessed and raised details were appropriate. There is a little flash here and there, nothing to serious though. The multitude of parts for the interior of the fuselage and nacelles is good to see.
I reckon there are around twenty seven parts making up the cockpit/crew area not including the defensive armament. The detail on the instrument panel, controls and radio equipment on the fuselage walls and the load bearing beams is very good. Some careful painting and highlighting will pay dividends in creating an interesting cockpit/crew area. There are instrument faces included on the decal sheet. All in all one of the best equipped cockpits of a WWII subject I have seen straight from the box.
The clear plastic glazing looks first rate: clear, reasonably thin with very little distortion. There are a few redundant parts on the two clear plastic sprues for this particular version. The instructions clearly mark on the parts map which parts are to be used for this build. Obviously with this version having a solid nose to house the radar, there is no need for the nose glazing. The machine guns themselves look good with separate magazines and a hint of the cooling vents on the barrels. Only one is fitted to the rear of the canopy for self-defence.
The nickname “Fliegender Bleistift” [flying pencil] is apt looking at the fuselage, it is incredibly narrow. The bomb bay has plenty of parts to occupy the space. The forward bulkhead forms part of the cockpit. There are three nicely moulded formers and a couple of load bearing beams from which the bomb bay doors hang. The inside of the fuselage around the bomb bay has a couple of ejector marks that need cleaning up. There is a two part fuel tank to install in the forward half of the bomb bay and a couple of racks of bombs for the rear. There is 10 x 50kg bombs included, but they were probably not fitted in the B-5. The bomb bays can be displayed open or closed, the closed bomb bay doors is one piece making its installation much simpler. The nose is one piece with a clear part [Spanner infrared detection system] to fit at the front. With around twenty small parts making up the radar antennae, I would imagine this is the most challenging part of the build. There are four MG 17 machine gun barrels to fit also. There are two additional two 20 mm MG FF cannons fitted in a non-movable turret below the nose
The upper shoulder mounted wing is one piece, the recessed detail is beautifully executed. There is even some raised detail where the roof of the under carriage bay is located. The housing for the oil coolers is a separate part. The ailerons are separate and each one is a one piece item. The ribbed detail is a bit overdone. The nacelles are pretty complex and each is made up from around eleven parts. It appears that the actuating gear for the undercarriage legs needs to be installed before joining the nacelle halves. One feature that will attract some modellers is the inclusion of two engines. Each one is built from eleven parts and the bearers of each engine take up three parts. The engine detail is very good straight out of the box. Obviously if you are not fussed about having the engines on display they can be omitted. The exhaust can be simply glued to the nacelle. The ribbed detail in the undercarriage bay is good, but slightly marred by the recessed ejector marks. The good news is that it would not be too difficult to remove them. There is even bearer detail on the firewall. The three blade prop is one piece and the spinners are separate. The blades are really thin with sharp edges. Some care will be needed removing them from the sprue.
Oddly the horizontal tail surface unlike the main wing does not have a one piece upper surface, but I am sure there are reasons for it. So each tail plane is built from two parts and the elevators are each one piece. The vertical tail planes are both made up from two parts, while the rudders are one piece. The rib detail on the movable tail surfaces is more subtle than the ailerons.
The undercarriage looks impressive. The actuating gear is one piece as are the double oleos. There are even separate nicely formed mud guards. The legs and actuating gear all look a bit spindly, but they are to scale and as a whole they should make up a strong unit. The typically treaded wheels are two pieces. The tail wheel is moulded with a fairing, so will require some careful painting, but the detail is still very good.
Markings and decals.
The decals are created in house and look fine. They are semi matt, with good colour definition, and minimal carrier film. Unfortunately there are no swastikas. There are two marking options:
-Dornier 215B-5, R4 DC, Stab II/NJG 2, Leeuwarden, Spring 1943.
-Dornier 215B-5, R4 SN, Stab II/NJG 2, Oblt P Gildner, Glitze-Rijen, Autumn 1941
R4 DC has an interesting upper surface disruptive camouflage scheme of RLM 74 dunkelgrau over RLM 75 mittelgrau and RLM 76 Hellblau under surfaces. R4 SN is in overall flat black.
The A4 instruction manual is nicely presented. The large parts map is very useful and it notes the parts not required for the build. The build takes you through a whopping eighty eight stages. Which seems a lot but each diagram clearly helps with the location of each part. The side views in the painting guide are in colour and the upper and lower plan views are black and white. The paints indicated are Revel and Tamiya as well as RLM numbers were relevant.
This is a very impressive release from ICM and they seem to be continuing producing very good kits at reasonable prices. It certainly is an improvement on the early Do 215B-5 ICM released some time ago. If you are interested in the Do 17/215/217 family then this kit by ICM is definitely worth considering.