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ICM 1/72 Dornier Do 215B-4

Kit: No. 72301
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: ICM, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322,
Price: $16.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 200 parts, decals
Pros: Detailed cockpit and landing gear
Cons: Below average fit; poor decal quality; landing-gear problems
The Dornier Do 215 was developed from the Do 17 but featured inverted-V, liquid-cooled Daimler-Benz DB 601A in-line engines. Initially built for Sweden and Yugoslavia, these aircraft were taken over by the Luftwaffe before delivery and, along with subsequent Do 215s, served as long-range reconnaissance aircraft in France and on the Soviet-German front.

ICM's kit, molded in gray plastic with recessed panel lines, includes optional parts for various configurations of the aircraft. The parts breakdown indicates future variants of the Dornier will likely be forthcoming.

The interior is excellent, with lots of components and sufficient bits to satisfy most "front office" detail enthusiasts. The cockpit section fit poorly to the aft fuselage, though; I needed shims to fill the gaps between them. Filler was required in most joints but the plastic is slightly softer than in most other kits and easier to sand.

Special attention was needed on the belly, where a mismatch of parts necessitated extensive filling and sanding. The engine nacelles were a poor fit to the wings as well.

All the flying surfaces have nice, thin trailing edges, and the starboard vertical fin correctly angles inward relative to the fuselage centerline. I encountered a modeler's dichotomy in which the landing gear was among the best - and worst - features of the kit. These well-molded parts are in scale, so they're very petite. But on my sample, several of them were broken on the sprues and, with their thinness, virtually impossible to repair satisfactorily. The assembled gear looks great, but there are no positive locating holes or bosses inside the wheel wells for the main landing-gear supports, and the assembled gear didn't fit inside. I broke them apart and re-assembled them in the wheel wells as best as I could, given the lack of locating aids and less-than-clear pictorial instructions. I added small cross-braces of sprue to the mud guards to strengthen their mount.

The clear parts have grainy surfaces and below-average optical quality. A dip in Future acrylic floor polish helped them a great deal.

The decals were brittle and very fragile - the smaller ones disintegrated when dipped in water, so some of the stenciling was lost. But I was able to use red trim film to replace the wing stripes. As the decals dried, myriad cracks developed in the insignia's white areas. The decal sheet omits swastikas for the fins, so I used some from my spares box to mark the model.

I spent 35 hours building ICM's Dornier, most of it filling, sanding, and addressing the landing-gear and decal challenges. The model scales out precisely with the dimensional data in Taylor's Combat Aircraft of the World, and the end result is a very accurate model. But, with its fit issues, I'd recommend this kit only to more experienced modelers.
- Walt Fink


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