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Tamiya's 1/48 scale
Heinkel He 219 A-7

by Tory Mucaro

Heinkel He 219 A-7


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Heinkel He 219A-7 is available online from Squadron



Before I get to the description of how I built and painted this model, I need to come clean about a couple of things. They say confession is good for the soul so here goes: 

  1. I have never been a “fan” of this particular aircraft. Its not that I have anything against it, to be honest I never even gave it a second thought. It just wasn’t very attractive to my taste, that’s all.

  2. I prefer to build unusual or even downright odd subjects. For instance, putting a Hawker Typhoon on floats, or combining a Mosquito and Spitfire to produce a British Mistel, or even adding radial engines and folding the wings to a P-38 to convert it to a Navy torpedo carrying fighter. I guess you can call them hypothetical, but there always has to be an element of humor involved.

  3. I like working with kits few others would consider building. Most recently would be my PBJ-1H from the Matchbox B-25 kit, but in the past I’ve assembled other so called un-buildable kits including the Hobbytime vac-form 1/48-ish F3H Demon and Miku resin 1/48 XF8U-1 Flying Pancake.

  4. If I can combine building an unusual subject with an un-buildable kit, even better. I once used an Aurora 1/48 F-4 Phantom to create a paper project F3H-G Spectre.

That being said, I was commissioned to build a He-219 using a modern, state of the art Tamiya kit. This would be my equivalent of model building “slumming”. I mean, build a popular subject using a kit that is actually well engineered and designed to go together without pounds of body putty and an endless stream of profanities. You’re kidding me right? The only saving grace on this project would be incorporating an Aires cockpit and Verlinden engine and gun bay detailing set into the finished model. I’d heard some good horror stories about the Verlinden set not fitting well, so I at least had some hope of a little, what does Bondo call it, voluntary practice bleeding? So I set out to have a go at this so called “wonder kit”.





I began with the cockpit. Tamiya, in their infinite wisdom incorporates a heavy zinc weight into the cockpit/nose gear well. Unfortunately, if you choose to use the Aires resin cockpit, it means discarding this wonderful solution to the Uhu’s tail dragging tendency. I decided that I could maintain the zinc insert and carefully graph the Aires details to it. This required a lot of grinding, filing, piecing and cursing to get to work. In other words, all the things that makes life worth living for someone like me. I finally got the cockpit installed and painted using most of the Aires set combined with bits and pieces of the original Tamiya kit parts (I’d be lying if I told you I remember which ones). Most of the cockpit was painted Polly Scale Gunship Gray with the usual black wash and light gray dry brushing to bring up the detail. Other details were picked out using the excellent reference books that were supplied with the kit from the client.



I then closed up the fuselage halves and moved to the wings. I decided to do al the opening on one wing and leave the other untouched. This would allow the viewer to see how the aircraft looked either way. This required considerable cutting and grinding to remove the necessary panels to show the engine and gun detail. Once again, lots of fitting, grinding and cursing to get from point “A” to point “B”. But, I was surprised to find that the Verlinden parts fitted exactly as they should. The only caveat was that by opening the gun bay, one of the wing spars Tamiya provides for extra strength couldn’t be used. Otherwise, nothing else on the kit was adversely affected by adding these details. Also, in the Verlinden detail set are some main gear bulkheads to close off the rear of the well, an apparent oversight by Tamiya I guess. I painted the engine using various shades of metallic gray and the internal areas with Polly Scale RLM Gray. They were then weathered with a Floquil Grimy Black wash and some light gray dry brushing.



Once all of this was done, I assembled the model per the instructions, only deviating where it was necessary for ease of painting and finishing. The one and only mismatch I found on the entire kit was on the lower to upper nacelle joint on the leading edge of the wing. And it’s a biggy! It required a lot of filing and sanding, along with some re-scribing in order to blend it smoothly. But in all fairness to Tamiya, I think it was a concession to the laws of injection molding that produced this problem area. Otherwise, everything went together very nicely in a fashion I am not accustomed to. Very little putty was required. Once all the major components were assembled and blended it was time to send this baby to the paint shop.



Painting and Markings


Since the surface detail is so fine on this kit, I dispensed with using any primer and went straight to color. I used Polly Scale RLM 75. The mottle effect is Model Master RLM 76 airbrushed using my trusty Paasche VL. I tried to keep the edges soft as my references show this was usually, but not always the case. Even so, I still think the mottle effect portrayed by most modelers (myself included) tends to be a little too tight. I guess the fear of someone thinking you can’t airbrush well overtakes the need to duplicate what in actuality was a very loose spray pattern. Damn our egos! 

Once the camo was applied, I coated the entire model with Polly Scale Clear Gloss. I know a lot of modelers out there swear by Future for an acrylic gloss coat, but I have not had a lot of luck and more often than not wind up swearing at Future instead of by it. However, the Polly Scale product has never let me down.

Once dry, I applied the excellent kit decals which responded well to the Microscale system. I then went about picking out specific panel lines with a Grimy Black wash. Note that I choose not to accent all the panel lines, but only the panels that would have been removed for routine servicing. I feel this gives the model a more believeable appearance than simply going over every single panel on the airframe. Anyhow, once all the detailing was done, the model was given a coat of Polly Scale Clear Flat, to me the finest flat finish out there.



I then did a little additional weathering with my trusty airbrush and some very thinned Grimy Black as well as some light application of pastels. Since 219s were some of the most advanced aircraft flown during WWII, I find it hard to believe that they would have been allowed to deteriorate the way common fighters like the 109 or 190 did. So I really tried to restrain myself while weathering the model, again using my photo references of actual aircraft as a guide.



Final Assembly


All the remaining details were now added. This includes the landing gear, canopy, antennas, and all the little photo etched access doors. The propellers are nicely engineered to press into little soft plastic grommets so they can be left off until the model is complete. One of the most tedious parts of the build is attaching the front antennae array and getting them to all line up from the top, side and front. No cursing was required here, just some patience and a bit of luck. The rigging is very fine (.004”) monofilament. The tires were filed down slightly on the bottom to give the appearance of weight. 



The base is from Just Plane Stuff and was painted with and assortment of colors and types of paint, far too many for me to list or even remember for that matter. The grassy areas are Woodland Scenics Blended Turf attached with white glue dabbed on with a small 1 inch disposable house painting brush. As a final touch, the wood planking was dirtied up with drops of Grimy Black thinned and dribbled off the end of a brush to represent oil splotches.





Well, after a very long stretch of building odd stuff and/or difficult kits, I finally built something relatively conventional from a modern high quality kit. The client was very pleased with the result, as am I. But I have to admit there is the nagging feeling that something is missing. That somehow I didn’t “earn” the end result. That no dues were paid, no “practice bleeding” performed. A victory yes, but a somewhat hollow one to be sure.

Now, where did I put that Airmodel 1/72 P6M Seamaster vac-form kit?



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2007 by Tory Mucaro
Page Created 25 January, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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