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Dornier Do 335

by Anthony Manzoli

 

Dornier Do 335

 


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Dornier Do 335A-0/1 kit is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

The Dornier Do 335 "Arrow" or Pfeil, as the Germans called it, was arguably the best piston aircraft of the time.

The man behind it was Claude Dornier who took out a patent on his first push-pull design in 1937.  Early in 1942 the German Army was doing well and the politicians felt no need for such a radical airplane. By 1943 however, the tide was turning against the German Army and the order was finally given to build the Arrow.

The Arrow had a number of unusual distinctions. It was the only military aircraft of the time to have a push-pull power plant/airframe. It was the only aircraft of WWII to have an ejection seat. It was the only aircraft that had explosive bolts in the rear fuselage designed to separate the tail section in order to facilitate a successful bail-out if necessary. And It was also the fastest piston powered aircraft, with a maximum speed of 417 mph at an altitude of 26,000 feet.

In just nine months the first prototype was built.

 

 

The first flight was in Autumn of 1943. The flight testing phase went very well as the  plane flew and handled better than expected.  There were no structural problems at all, and only one crash occurred due to an overheated engine which caught fire. The first production version, the A-1 was delivered in November 1944. Luckily too few and too late to help the Third Reich. The Arrows armament included two fuselage mounted 20mm cannons, two wing mounted 15mm cannons, and if that weren't enough a 30mm engine mounted cannon. If production had been expedited from the start this heavily armed plane might have played serious havoc with the Allied bombing missions. 

A total of ninety aircraft were rolled out including prototypes, test planes, and trainers. Due to critical delays in materials  a mere total of thirty-eight production Do-355's were delivered to the Luftwaffe. 

Nothing in the Allied inventory could catch it. 

 

  

Construction

 

Tamiya's 1/48 scale Do 335 is one of the best kits I have ever built.

The fit is perfect in all respects. Absolutely no filler was necessary and very little sanding, mainly just polishing the seems with a soft nail buffing stick. 

 

 

The kit was built out of the box with the exceptions of adding seat belts from Extra Tech, fuse wire for the back of the instrument panel and break lines, weighted resin wheels by True Details, and a piece of photo etched metal for the DF loop antennae.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

I used Gunze acrylics RLM 81/82 over 76. 

The kit was preshaded with Tamiya German Dark Grey and then followed with the RLM 76.  When the RLM 76 was dry I masked and painted the RLM 82.  I was careful not to go too dark with the RLM 82 so that the preshading would peak through still.  Once this had dried, I followed the instructions and masked the upper fuselage with Tamiya tape and painted the RLM 81 in the same manner. 

 

 

The last step was to lighten the RLM 81 with a hint of the RLM 76 and lightly spray the centres of the panels to give it a faded look.  The landing gear,  inside of the wheel wells,  and wheel well doors were all painted with RLM 02 and weathered before attaching to the model.  The model was left to dry for a few days before gloss coating the areas which the decals would be positioned on with Pascoes Long Life.  I find this product goes on really thin with a brush and is self levelling like Future.  The kit was left to dry over night before the decals were added.  I used Micro Scale "Micro Sol"  to help them nestle down into the panel lines.  The final matte coat was done with Johnson's Shine Magic mixed with Tamiya Flat Base.  

A note on the shading and fading techniques. Many people have heard of pre shading, but post shading is taking things one more step.

Usually when pre shading, unless you only apply a very thin layer of paint you lose the effect, so post shading is applying a thinned darker colour usually similar to the colour you are shading with a little brown mixed in along panel lines and around hatches and such. Once this is done if it appears too stark in contrast, it can be toned down by applying the base colour again.

 

 

The fading technique is simply applying a lighter colour such as white or light grey to the base colour, and lightly painting the panels, mainly the centre of them.

 


Model, Images and Text Copyright 2004 by Anthony Manzoli
Page Created 15 March, 2004
Last Updated 15 March, 2004

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