The Dornier Do 335 ‘Pfeil’ was a heavy fighter designed by the Dornier Flugzeugwerke during WW2. The design hearkens back to Dornier’ extensive experience with push-pull engine layouts featured on many of their successful flying boats like the Do J or Do X. This layout offered far better performance compared to the traditional way of an engine on each wing thanks to less frontal area and thus lower drag. When one engine fails this doesn’t lead to asymmetric thrust and no ‘torque steering’ so the aircraft was relatively easy to fly in that regard. And having a big block of metal in the rear probably also helped to protect the pilot somewhat from attacks from the rear. But having a big propeller at the back also necessitated an ejection seat so the pilot can eject from a damaged aircraft without being chopped to bits. For this reason the cockpit canopy was also fitted with explosive bolts so it could also be safely ejected from the stricken aircraft.
It was the highest performing Luftwaffe fighter and the Luftwaffe was desperate to get their hands on them but due to problems with engine deliveries only 37 were built. And even during development the project saw many setbacks. Initially developed as a bomber, Dornier was told in 1942 that a bomber was no longer needed but instead was asked to develop a general-purpose fighter variant. This delayed the delivery of the initial prototype considerably, with it’s first flight on the 26th of October 1943. After production of some more prototypes and with most of the kinks ironed out of the design. after 60 hours of test flights the aircraft was descibed by Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch as “…holding its own in speed and altitude with the P-38 and it does not suffer from engine reliability issues”. Production was scheduled with the first deliveries in March 1946. At the end of the war the Luftwaffe was desperate to get their hands on the Do 335, but production was hindered by engine production.
With the lengthy history aside (and it’s as verbose as a I could), the kit itself comes in a small and sturdy box with a painting of the subject in flight. This doesn’t mean you can (easily) skip the landing gear, because the nose wheel doors are molded open. The doors are also a few millimeters thick, so removing them requires a small saw, so making a in-flight Pfeil out of this kit would require some extensive work. But more on that later..
Upon opening the box we find a number of well packaged sprues, the first one that´s visible inside are the wings and the lower fuselage. This part is strapped with wire to a piece of cardboard and packaged in it´s own plastic bag. The only damage visible is the bent pitot tube on the left-wing. It is a heavy piece of plastic beacuse it´s a solid part, with the entire lower hull of the aircraft and complete wings molded. It features some nice panellines and wheel wells. The latter however lack a bit of detail apart from some generic looking struts. It also does not feature posable flaps or ailerons, which further hampers in-flight positioning.
But these are the biggest ‘problems’ if you can call them that. This kit is clearly intended for starters, not for modelers with multiple years of experience under their belt. One nice feature is that the fuselage is horizontally split in two sections along the wing roots. The lower fuselage with the one-pice wings and the upper fuselage with everything else. The fuselage also fits really nicely, with almost no putty required as it follows existing panellines.
The only separate part is te lower vertical stabilizer, that’s a separate part but it fits snugly into it’s intended position. What’s not so good is the complete lack of detail in the cockpit. You get a stick, a barebones seat and two stubs as that are supposed to resemble pedals. That’s really it. With the large bird-cage canopy you probably want to scratchbuild something to make it look a bit more presentable.
The canopy is of the usual bird-cage format, a pain in the rear-end to paint with hairy sticks and even harder to mask properly. The frame however has a nice textured look and feel to them and are well-defined, making masking them a bit easier. The plastic is also really nicely molded with no distortion whatsoever and is thin enough to look convincing but not easy to break. It also fits snugly on the fuselage.
Decals and color schemes
The decals are nicely printed and in register and the sheet even holds a Puzzle Swastika. It also holds the only detail for the cockpit: a decal of the instrument panel. But it really lacks colors as it is just a simple black and white thing. Other decals are your regular warning labels, Balkenkreuze and registration/tactical numbers.
The color scheme is equally sparse, but this can be forgiven. It features the standard Luftwaffe camouflage scheme of a light blue, light green and dark green in splinter camo. The scheme is well laid out in full color in the manual however, so it should be easy enough to copy it.
This is a really nice looking kit for beginners, but it suffers from some accuracy problems. But if you don’t care or are looking for a nice kit for beginners this is probably the best option for the Pfeil.
Vehicle: Dornier Do 335 Pfeil Heavy Fighter
Manufacturer: Hobby Boss
Number of parts: 50
Number of sprues: 3
Length: 192 mm
Width: 191 mm