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1/48 Hobbycraft Dornier Do-17Z 

by Scott Gruszynski

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After about 4 months of basic assembly and 2 subsequent months of major surgery, I can finally lay to rest perhaps my most involved model-building project to date.  The 1/48 scale Dornier Do 17Z by Hobbycraft offers almost limitless possibilities in the way of improvements.  Taking for granted that the model would be reasonably accurate (had previously been building Tamiya 1/48 aircraft…..which are on a whole other level as far as detail and general accuracy are concerned), I constructed it out of the box initially.  As the Dornier was near completion, I finally decided to do some good photo referencing (Why I waited until the end….I dunno).  I also visited the ARC Forums for the first time and felt inspired by the works of Mr. Webber and “crystoffer.”  The end result was what you see here….surgery having been performed on some of the more prominent exterior features (I didn’t do much to the interior…save added seat belts and buckles).

  

I’ll outline some of the scratch building and after-market products I used to bring this bird up to a more presentable level.  The first order of business was to replace the stock canopies with the Squadron vac-form ones.  The canopy framing is definitely more accurate with the Squadron products.  You must remove a large rectangular section of the forward fuselage to make room for the vac-form piece that relocates the right side windows and bombardier’s window.  For someone like myself who hasn’t had a lot of experience cutting up his or her models, this was a royal pain.  Made somewhat easier with a Dremel rotary tool, there still was quite a bit of trial and error in fitting the new fuselage section.  White glue and Squadron putty helped secure this piece and cover up the damage. 

 

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The engine push rods were enormous as supplied by the kit, so were removed and replaced by thin copper wire painted black.  The pentagram style bracing struts that attach the engine to the cowl (not represented by the kit) were scratch built using wire from those twisty-tie things you sometimes find with kids toys that hold the toy against the cardboard backing.  The incorrect cowl flaps were puttied over and re-painted.  Thin strips of styrene were used to represent the cowl access panel hinges on top of the cowling.  I also bored holes into the cowl where the exhaust stacks would protrude and replaced the kit exhaust stacks with ones cut from small diameter aluminum tubing.  Finally, I replaced the props with resin/metal ones manufactured by Noblekraft.

 

The ADF loop antenna supplied was way too big, so one was constructed from brass wire wrapped around my hobby knife and mounted to a small cylindrical piece of styrene.  The base of the kit radio mast was sanded down and a new antenna mast made from styrene was mounted to this.  The little white stripe around the antenna base was made from an old white insignia decal cut to size.  The MG mounting ports were made from real small shoelace eyelets I found at Michael’s (arts and crafts store my wife likes to shop at).  I simply bored a hole in the canopy until the eyelet would pop in.  No adhesive required!  I also picked up some .5mm elastic band from there as well and used this to construct the side MG caging bars.  These were attached to the canopy using white glue.  The sense antennas underneath the fuselage were scratch built with small styrene bits and thin copper wire.  A new pitot tube was created from an ordinary sewing pin (little ball head removed) with masking tape wrapped around the base to form the tube sheath.  I used some pliers to bend the pin to the appropriate angle.  Cavalier resin MG15’s replaced the kit-supplied machine guns.  Some spare Eduard photo etched ring gun sights were added to these.  Wire brake lines were added as were mudguard supports constructed from styrene.  Finally, the antenna was made from stretched nylon fiber and insulators added by using drops of some gooey adhesive made by 3M.

 

Decals for the model were from Techmod, depicting aircraft “A” from 9/KG76 based at Corneilles-en-Vexin in July 1940.  I’ve heard that Hobbycraft released a new version of this kit.  I’d be curious to know what changes (if any) were made.  Hope I was able to throw around a couple ideas that someone might find useful for this kit or another one.  Enjoy! 

Scott

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Photos and text © by Scott Gruszynski

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