Reviewed by Brett Green
Tamiya's new Do 335A is a big and impressive kit. Engineering and parts breakdown is typical of their latest releases. The model is made up of only 104 parts in grey styrene, 5 parts in clear, 2 poly caps and a cylindrical metal nose weight. All major sprues are bagged separately to limit scuffing of parts.
The relatively small number of parts will help with swift assembly but does not detract from the detail of the kit.
All main components are free of imperfections, but the bomb bay ceiling, undercarriage legs and a few other parts have ejector pin marks in visible places. The insides of the gear doors reveal the ghost of ejector pin outlines in a few spots. Larger parts in my kit, including fuselage halves and wings, display some flow marks that will disappear under a coat of paint.
The kit cockpit is nicely presented. The main focus is a 4-piece ejector seat plus a decal harness. The armrests are moulded as part of the main seat, and are in the "up" position. The instrument panel will be familiar to anyone who has bought a Tamiya kit recently. It has blank instrument faces (i.e. no raised dials etc). I like these, as I can apply Reheat or similar instrument dial decals and a drop of two-part epoxy cement as the lenses. The rear of the panel features raised detail that will be visible when the kit is assembled. The determined detailer may also wish to add cable bundles to this area.
The cockpit floor, with integrated side consoles, is moulded as the forward section of the bomb bay ceiling.
The bomb bay itself comprises 12 parts, including a 500 kg bomb and a substantial wing spar. Bomb bay doors may be positioned opened or closed.
The kit fuselage features a detailed rear radiator, standard exhausts (fitted from the outside to ease painting) and a cylindrical metal nose weight. The mid-upper fuselage is an insert part, suggesting a two-seat trainer version won't be too far away. We could even see a Do 335B-6 night fighter. The upper front engine cowl is another insert part. These inserts maximise the possible variants for Tamiya but they also minimise the requirement to fill and sand centre seam lines. All the inserts join at natural panel lines.
Another nice touch is the separate forward cowl gun troughs.
The kit supplies the option for open or closed cowl flaps. Radiator detail is very fine, and even the back face of the radiator is represented on the open cowl flap part. The propeller assemblies are fixed using poly caps. This will also ease final painting and assembly.
The wings are simple assemblies of two parts each. There are no flashed-over holes or cutouts to provide a clue for variants based on these parts. The wheel well walls are moulded as part of each upper wing half, and structural detail is included on the wing root of the fuselage to complete the wheel wells. The wings should be a very secure fit. They locate onto the main box spar, and a smaller spar moulded toward the rear of the fuselage wing root. A landing light and clear lens is supplied for the port side wing.
Gear legs are appropriately chunky for this big aircraft. They are also nicely detailed.
Instructions are supplied on a ten-page, single sheet foldout. Construction is called out over 12 steps with simple to follow diagrams and comments where necessary. A 1/48 scale foldout sheet is also included, showing the camouflage pattern on the upper surfaces and both fuselage sides. This may be used as a guide, or may be cut out and used as a camouflage template.
Decals are provided for three aircraft. Colour instructions are understandably vague. The painting guide discusses the RLM instructions for colours 81 and 82 to be used after existing stocks were used up. In the event, Tamiya seem to have settled on a scheme of 82 Light Green and 83 Dark Green. Lower surfaces are light blue - the choice between colours 65 and 76 is up to you!
Is there a weakness in this kit? If there is, I haven't found it yet.
Tamiya's reputation will be maintained with this accurate, attractive, well-engineered and detailed kit. Options are scarce but of real value - the bomb bay in particular is a beautiful piece of work. Even before a part is snipped from the sprue, there is no reason to expect that this will not fit together as simply and superbly as Tamiya's other recent releases.
Monogram's old 1/48 scale kit was very nice for its day, but Tamiya's new offering brings Dornier's Arrow into the 21st Century in the best possible way.
Review and Image Copyright © 2000 by Brett Green