Strange ideas seem to be a requirement for any self-respecting German design team in the final stages of the war. This Arado Ar (E) 555 is no exception, designed for the Amerika-Bomber project to fulfill Hitlers dream of blitzing New York it looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.
The Ar(E) 555 was powered by six Development on this project was halted in late December 1944 after it was deemed to costly by the RLM.
Revell was kind enough to release this gem of a kit in their Luftwaffe ’46 period in the mid to late nineties. This kit is a 2012 reboxing of the kit and it ‘s one of those kits that always graced hobby shop shelves. Inside the fairly large side-opening box that features a few 555s over New York we find the enormous wings, an instruction sheet, the safety sheet and a large sheet of decals. You get two sizes in this kit: small and large, there is no in-between. Even the landing gear doors are enormous.
The size of the wings especially raises some concerns about fitting issues. After test fitting and glueing them these fears are unneeded. You do need to take care and glue the wings together piece by piece. But when together they fit almost perfectly. The same goes for the vertical stabilizers. Once glued together they fit snugly onto the rear of the wing , you barely have to glue them down. After that I decided to see how I would build my landing gear. I prefer a gear-up position and the doors fit perfectly, so you can build the kit with gear up or down with no problem at all.
Now on to the small bits. The cockpit is very visible thanks to the glass cockpit, and it is really nicely detailed. The seats have molded on seat belts and the pilots have some nicely detailed controls. But the engineer/weapons station behind the pilots takes the cake: lots of equipment, dials and buttons there. The twin MG151/20 mounted in a remotely operated turret are fully movable and are ok, but I find it a little hard to believe that the guns would have fitted in such a small dome. The associated rear-facing periscope for aiming the MG151/20s is also movable and even retractable. and is detailed enough to be convincing.
Moving on to the engine nacelles and bomb and gear bays. All six engines are nicely detailed for this scale, after mounting the front compressor blade discs (that you sadly can’t really see) you just glue the upper and lower halves of the nacelles together. Fitting is excellent, and they also fit perfectly on the wing. The bomb bay is cavernous and nicely detailed, as this aircraft could carry 4000-6000 kg of bombs. Included are a set of three 500 kg SC500 and two 1000 kg SC1000 bombs, but I think this bay would look better when filled by something equally outlandish as the aircraft itself. The gear bays are just as detailed and can be positioned open or closed, although opening them is a bit more difficult because you need to do some bending to some gear doors to make them fit. The landing gear is quite sturdy and looks like it will hold up the aircraft quit well.
The clear parts are rather important on this kit, they are nicely detailed with a well defined frame and fit as nicely as the rest of the kit. They are free from distortion except for the tiniest parts, but these parts are so small that you can’t really see through them anyway. Masking will be easy due to the well defined frames.
Decals and color options
The kit has a rather large sheet with decals, most of the space is taken by ‘Nicht betreten’ decals and red lines, thanks to the large wing surface of this kit. Unit and registration/radio markings are available as well, but because this is a German produced kit there are no Swastikas, so get your spares ready. Color options are limited to two units:
- 1./KG 100 6N+EK (RLM76, RLM75, RLM04, RLM23)
- Stab/KG 200 A3+BA (RLM76, RLM75, RLM25, RLM04)
Both schemes are nice, but your imagination can run wild here because both schemes are set in 1948.
This is a nice kit, almost no issues with fitting and the clear parts are great as well. And because this is a enourmous late-war aircraft you can practice painting the mottling camo schemes the Germans seem to be fond of. If you don’t you can always practice doing decals, as this kit has more than it’s fair share of them.
Vehicle: Arado Ar(E) 555
Manufacturer: Revell Germany
Number of parts: 98
Number of sprues: 4
Length: 220 mm
Wingspan 292 mm