He 111Z

The He 111Z Zwilling (English: Twin) was a design that entailed the mating of two He 111s. The design was originally conceived to tow the Messerschmitt Me 321 glider. Initially, four He 111 H-6s were modified. This resulted in an aircraft with twin fuselages and five engines. They were tested at Rechlin in 1941, and the pilots rated them highly.

A batch of 10 were produced and five were built from existing H-6s. The machines were joined by a center wing formed by two sections 20 ft in length. The power plants were five Junkers Jumo 211F engines producing 1,340 hp each. The total fuel capacity was 2,260 US gal. This was increased by adding of four 160 US gal drop tanks. The He111Z could tow a Gotha Go 242 glider or Me 321 for up to 10 hours at cruising speed. It could also remain airborne if the three central power plants failed. The He 111 Z-2 and Z-3 were also planned as heavy bombers carrying 3,970 lb of bombs and having a range of 2,500 mi. The ETC installations allowed for a further four 160 US gal drop tanks to be installed.

The He 111 Z-2 was to carry four Henschel Hs 293 anti-ship missiles, which were guided by the FuG 203b Kehl III missile control system. With this load, the He 111Z would have had a range of 680 mi and a speed of 195 mph. The maximum bomb load was to be 15,870 lb. To increase power, the five Jumo 211F-2 engines were slated to be fitted with Hirth TK 11 superchargers. On board armament was to be the same as the He 111H-6, with the addition of one 20 mm MG 151/20 in a rotating gun-mount on the center section.

The layout of the He 111Z had the pilot and his controls in the port fuselage only. The controls themselves and essential equipment were all that remained in the starboard section. The aircraft had a crew of seven; a pilot, first mechanic, radio operator and gunner in the port fuselage, and the observer, second mechanic and gunner in the starboard fuselage.

The Z-3 was to be a reconnaissance version and would have had additional fuel tanks, increasing its range to 3,730 mi. Production was due to take place in 1944, just as bomber production was being abandoned. The long-range variants failed to come to fruition. The He 111Z was to have been used in an invasion of Malta in 1942 and as part of an airborne assault on the Soviet cities of Astrakhan and Baku in the Caucasus in the same year. During the Battle of Stalingrad their use was cancelled due to insufficient airfield capacity. Later in 1943, He111Zs helped evacuate German equipment and personnel from the Caucasus region, and during the Allied invasion of Sicily, attempted to deliver reinforcements to the island.

During operations, the He 111Z did not have enough power to lift a fully loaded Me 321. Some He 111s were supplemented by rocket pods for extra takeoff thrust, but this was not a fleet-wide action. Two rockets were mounted beneath each fuselage and one underneath each wing. This added 1,100 lb in weight. The pods were then released by parachute after takeoff.

The He 111Z's operational history was minimal. One machine was caught by RAF fighter aircraft over France on 14 March 1944. The He 111Z was towing a Gotha Go 242, and was shot down. Eight were shot down or destroyed on the ground in 1944.

The Kit

The Hasagawa He 111Z comes in a box of appropriate size for containing basically two kits. The box is a two part tray type with a thin cardboard top and a thin corrugated bottom. While the box isn't totally stuffed with parts it is fairly full. Inside the box are four cellophane bags containing the parts molded in gray and two with the clear parts. Each of the bags with the exception of the clear parts has multiple sprues in it which is never my favorite way to see things packed although only a couple of parts had become dislodged during shipping. The kit contains all the parts of two He 111's with the exception of one set of wings. There is an additional sprue with the wing center section and a couple engines and oil cooler for the center engine. Due to the original sprue layout you will end up with a few extra unneeded parts. The parts are gray in color and all crisply molded and with only a hint of flash to be found. Surface detail is recessed panel lines and fastener detail. Panel line size is pretty typical for the scale and should look fine under the proverbial coat of paint. Surface finish is glossy. I found no surface defects on my kit but due to the packaging some parts had some minor scuffing on them. Mold alignment is good so mold seam clean up should be easy. The control surfaces are all molded in the neutral position and feature nice deep demarcations.

The interior is very nicely detailed for the scale and mostly complete for the cockpit area although the forward overhead instrument panel seems to have been left out. Some interior structure is molded in but not much of it will be seen. A few light ejector pin marks can be found but again I doubt they will be visible enough to worry about.Wing spars are part of the interior bulkhead assembly and should provide a secure mounting for the wings. The tail wheels look as if they need to be trapped between the fuselage halves but the main gear can be left off till after painting, The tail wheel is a one piece molding which makes for more difficult painting. The main gear is quite well detailed, the wheels are in halves and not weighted. The engines are all slightly different depending on their position so follow the instructions carefully and make sure you use the correct part numbers as many of the parts look pretty much the same. Four external fuel tanks are supplied along with the mounting racks which need a small modification made to them. Construction is pretty much the same as any kit except you are building two that will be joined together.

OK, so lets look at some sprues. Note that there are a lot of duplicates and only one of each will be shown. The first one of which there are two contain the fuselage halves, horizontal tail surfaces, interior bulkheads and floor, the tailwheel, an internal panel and two guns.

There is only one of these with the two outboard wings.

Only one of these as well with the wing center section, specific engine halves, center engine radiator and two more guns.

There are three of these with more engine radiators and mounts, engine front, gear doors and bomb bay.

There are three of these with more engine parts.

There are five of the propeller sprues. There are also eight polycaps provided for the propellers.

Two of the fuel tank mounting rack sprues.

Four of the fuel tank sprues. These are obviously from their Ju 88 kit.

There are five of these with an assortment of wheels, exhaust stacks, guns, landing gear parts and fuel tank attachment parts.

Two of these with more landing gear parts and interior parts.

There are two sprues of clear parts. The parts are reasonably thin and clear with a little optical distortion on the curved portions. In spite of being in their own bag some of my clear parts had some minor abrasions although I suspect a dunk in Future will take care of them. The small windows are designed to be fit from the outside. If they fit properly this is nice in that you don't need to worry about pushing them out while masking but on the other hand makes it a bit more difficult to glue them without blemishing them. The sliding panel over the pilots position is a separate part with similar caveats on gluing.

The decals are fairly typical for Hasegawa. A bit thicker than is the norm with newer or high quality after market decals. They are in register but have a lot more excess film than I like to see. A goodly number of stencils are provided and all but a couple are readable. Interestingly the sheet also provides decals for the instrument panel that seems to missing from the kit. Either the 'Z' had a different arrangement or it's just an over site. My documentation says nothing about it other than the fuselages were standard. It wouldn't be that hard to make one from some thing sheet styrene. Markings are provided for two aircraft, one in winter camouflage and the other in standard camouflage.

The instructions are in what I call the road map format, one long page folded to create four pages and eight panels. The instructions feature English and Japanese. The first panel has brief history and specifications and the usual safety warnings. The second panel has a parts map which also indicates parts not used, a paint chart with GSI Creos aqueous colors and Mr. Color numbers. The next four panels are assembly in 17 steps and the last two are painting and marking instructions. The instructions are clear and easy to follow but care must be taken as there are differences between the left and right fuselages and position and assembly of the five engines. Nothing out of the ordinary just a lot of parts to keep track of.

After Market Goodies

Being a glutton for punishment I ordered the interior photo etch for this kit from Eduard [SS341]. It has seat belts and harnesses for all the positions, panels and consoles, lots of microscopic levers and other interior parts. It also doesn't include the forward overhead instrument panel either so maybe they know something I don't.

I also got the Eduard mask set for this kit, Eduard [CX271] as the thought of masking all those clear parts gave me a headache.


Looks like a typically nice kit from Hasegawa, due to the complexity it might be a bit much for a beginner but those with some experience should have no problems.

Links to kit build or reviews

An in box review can be found here, it's for the Bomber version but basically the same kit.

Warplanes of the Third Reich by William Green

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Updated  6/6/19