MPM's 1/48 Dornier Do-217 M1
Model, Text and Photos by: Jerry Soetewey (Jerry S. from Belgium)
This model is the vac formed MPM Dornier Do 217 K-1 modified to a M-1 using Kosters Daimler Benz 603 engines from his K-2/M11 conversion .
I always wanted to do the big glass nosed Dornier Do 217, until the release of the Koster vacuform kit a few years ago, the MPM vac was the only game in town and I had it on the shelf for a while. When Revell/Monogram released its Do 217 E, I decided to build the MPM kit.
I purchased the Koster K-2/M-11 conversion to use it on the new release, but I decided to fit the DB engines for the M-11 kit on my MPM K-1, making it an M-1. I hope to use the rest of this set on the Revell/Monogram Do 217 E to convert it to a long wing K-2.
BUILDING THE M-1
The MPM kit is a rather nice vac form kit. The main parts are on three sheets containing the fuselage, wings etc The nice thing of this kit is that the small parts are injection molded, thus saving the modeler a lot of work. The kit also comes with two little brass frets and one clear vac formed canopy. The instructions are vague to say the least. So some reference material is necessary.
After the main parts are removed from their backing sheets, the fun is about to begin. First the J/N nose has to be removed, in order to be replaced with the later K/M nose. This is the only real downfall in this kit. It is very difficult to get the new nose parts properly aligned.
I also decided to scratch build the interior, since the parts given by MPM are a bit crude by today's standard. I only kept a few parts from the original kit. Radio's and other equipment came from the spares box.
Once everything was in its proper place, it was time for a first layer of RLM 66.
The wings went together without much problems. I only added a few new panel lines, only the replacement engines were another obstacle. The engine mount on the MPM kit is wider then the Koster engines. So, I aligned the engines with MPM's nacelles in order to get a good fit. Now I had two large holes on each side of every engine. Now it was time for "Magic Sculpt". This is a two part component like any regular epoxy putty, but it dries hard as rock and is easy to sand. I put a big lump of "Magic Sculpt" in each engine bay in order to fill the holes, once it was dry, it was sanded smooth. The Koster engine build up went on nicely and without any problems and the insides of the wheel bays were painted RLM 02.
The rest of the plane went together as any normal vac formed kit.
Next it was time to install the vac canopies. I had glued the guns in their places. Since these would most likely snap of in the painting process I removed the barrels. The glass nose is a separate piece and so it is very difficult to align with the main canopy since there is no location point whatsoever. I tried to overcome this by gluing in the main canopy a small metal strip. This partly cured the problem.
After the huge canopy was masked with Tamiya masking tape, it was time for some paint.
First the nose received a shot of RLM 66, to match with the interior. Next I sprayed the whole airframe with primer to see if there were any blemishes to be corrected. After this was done, I sprayed the upper sides of the model with RLM 73, followed by a soft edged splinter pattern of RLM 72. All Dorniers carried this standard maritime camouflage pattern of RLM 72/73 over 65. (This pattern was the equivalent of RLM 70/71/65, but intended to be used over sea.)
Now I had chosen to do my Do 217 M-1 as a machine used by "Fernaufklärungsgruppe Nacht", Based at Beldringe, Denmark in 1945. The tactics of this "Gruppe" consisted of flying over enemy ships, dropping flares and take pictures of the ships positions. Then they took a dive and tried to get away from the ships and their AA guns as fast as possible. The losses of aircraft and men where understandably very huge.
The reason I wanted to do K7+HK was because it sported a field camouflage of RLM 76 over the original RLM 72/73 camouflage and black undersides. This new pattern looked a lot like a R.A.F pattern. Since these machines were the last eye the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht had in the closing stages of the war, it is quite possible that this field applied camouflage was used to deceive R.A.F. night fighters.
Since I found no good decals for the lettering, I decided to make them myself. I bought some "rub down letters" at an art store, making sure they looked exactly as the original. Then I masked off the parts where the lettering would be in the RLM 75. The A/C had RLM 75 gray lettering. Next I applied the rub down letters over the dry RLM 75 paint. The letter H background was painted white before being applied. Then the underside black was applied over the undersides and the rub down lettering. Now I took some Scotch tape and applied it over the painted lettering after it dried and took off the rub down lettering, so the RLM gray would be visible. As you can see this worked out great. (I'm pretty proud of this.)
Now since the lettering went good, I decided to paint the German crosses as well. Here I had some stencils cut out and spayed with white paint. Only the tail plane swastikas are decals taken from an X-tra decal sheet.
Then it was time for a wash with oil paints and a matt finish. I only used a bit of gloss varnish over the swastika decals.
Now it was time to fit the last pieces to the model. First I applied the Landing gear. These parts are injection molded and don't look bad. I did replace the wheels with items from true details, to add a more realistic look. Although I feel the flattened tires look a bit too flat. I also added brake lines to the landing gear legs. Next I installed the tail wheel; this went on smoothly and without a problem. All of the landing gear was painted RLM 02 and washed afterwards.
Now it was time to install the gun barrels and the last small items such as the antenna and the pitot head. I also added the wiring at this stage.
I'm sure it would have been a lot easier just to use the Revell/Monogram kit and the Koster set to make an accurate Dornier Do 217 M-1. But I wanted to do the MPM kit since I had it and because someone told me it couldn't be built.
Well I'm pretty happy with the end result, although it took me more then six months to build it. But now I got a very attractive kit in my collection and I improved my modeling skills quite a lot.
I entered this kit at the Flanders Modeling contest and it won gold in its category.
I still got a few MPM vac kits on the shelf, but these will have to wait a bit I think
Review and pictures by Jerry S. from Belgium: email@example.com
"Do 217/317/417, an operational history" By Manfred Griehl - Airlife Publications 1991
"Warpaint series No. 24 Dornier DO 217" By Jerry Scutts
"Do 217 J/N" Wydawnictwo Militaria