1/48 MPM he177A-5 Greif Hi-tech

In box preview by  Damian Edwards on Jan 23 2008



The Heinkel he177A-5 Greif was Germany’s attempt at a four engine bomber which fortunately for the Allies was never very successful or widely used.  This was due to various factors, most of which revolved around the designers joining two engines together within the one nacelle. Overheating, engine fires and the bomber plummeting to the ground was often a result of this decision.  Not a popular plane with its crews apparently, can’t think why!  By the end of the war many of the bugs had been ironed out but the plane was often grounded due to lack of fuel.  Such is life!

There are several models around of this aircraft, the old 1/72 Airfix one (which was one of the first models I ever built as a child, many fond memories…), the modern 1/72 Revell release and MPM’s version in 1/48. Possibly a version by Sanger in 1/32?  This is a quick in-box look at MPM’s 1/48 Hi-tech release from late last year.  This kit is based on their earlier version which had no extra bits like resin, PE and any sort of bombload, and the release of this one has apparently caused a few purchasers of the earlier version some grief. Although perhaps they are not as badly done by after examining the kits contents (or lack thereof). More on this later.

Anyway, the kit was purchased from Sprue Brothers and sent on its way to Australia.  Arriving in a sturdy box with dramatic artwork on the front I quickly opened it up and went through the various bits and pieces. The major parts are in a grey plastic which doesn’t seem quite as smooth as the major manufacturers but are not too bad.  Recessed panel lines abound, and they seem pretty well done.  There are no major sinkholes or flash on the parts as well, there are no locating pins on anything but that’s no biggie.  Just have to have extra patience when gluing!  The instructions are in booklet form, some appear a bit vague especially with the undercarriage (see Swanny’s site for a more detailed description of the basic kit).  As Swanny found with his kit my clear parts were not packed separately and were in a bag with other sprues, with most of the clear parts broken off in transit as a result.  Pretty disappointing but luckily none of them were damaged too badly. Oh, and the extra bomb parts for the HS 293 guided bombs (sprue R) is missing…e-mail sent to both Sprue Brothers and MPM.  Will see what happens there!

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The extra bits in this kit which make it Hi-tech compared to the previous one are resin replacements for the cockpit, guns, bomb parts and gunners stations.  These are very well done, no major warpage or bubbles with excellent detail. These parts are packed separately and there wasn’t any major damage even with the gun barrels which was good.  There are internal and external masks for painting that daunting expanse of glass at the front, as well as the wheels. There is a small clear film for gunsights. There are three PE sheets included as well, one pre-painted with cockpit and seatbelt details, another with pedals, gunsights, perforated gun barrel sleeves, ammo belts and throttle levers and a small one with bomb parts. This was where I was let down a bit as the pre-painted PE had damage to the delicate seatbelt buckles with some twisted quite badly, and I’m not sure I can fix them. The gun sight set was also a bit stuffed (see pics). Considering the cost of the kit I thought these parts could have been packaged separately instead of being put altogether with the decals where they could move around and get damaged. The other extras are the two HS 293 guided bombs (can’t comment on what they are like) and different decals from the earlier kit. One is an attractive squiggly airbrush nightmare ( Denmark plane), the other is the more common splotchy version (Operation Steinbock version). All stencils are provided as well.

So is this version worth the extra money? I like it, I like it a lot, although the damage to the clear parts and the PE and missing sprue tempers this somewhat…just a little.  Still, getting this version means you don’t have to fork out extra money for resin, PE and flying bombs (when they don’t forget to put them in!).  There are detail parts and accessories out there from Eduard and CMK, the engine set is particularly tempting but I don’t know…one must be sensible with ones hobbies!


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Photos and text © by  Damian Edwards