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Henschel Hs-129B-2/RIII - Finished


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I've done some more work on this model.  After finishing the cockpit section, I decided that from here on, I'll be following the instructions almost verbatim, so that meant attaching the cockpit section to the fuselage.  It's vital that this lines up as the outer panels to go on later won't fit otherwise.  Thankfully, it appears to line up, although I won't know for sure until I actually attach those panels.  But the rear mount lines up well, as does the gun troughs, so digits are well crossed here.




I let this dry before doing any more on the model, and in the mean time, went on a painting rampage, airbrushing all the interior details I could find in RLM02 Grau.  I know I've painted too much as so much of this will be covered never to be seen again after the pictures are taken.  But as I didn't know what will and what won't be seen, I went nuts with the airbrush for an hour.


The next step is to add what I think are air bottles for firing the guns, canopy rails and the top seat belts.  The kit provides no mounts for the belts, so I dug through my pile of unused photo etch to find something that fitted the belts.  These were attached to the fuel tank bulkhead.  They're not perfect, but they fit the belts.  You can just make them out in the picture below.  Then those air bottles were painted up and attached, and the canopy rails added.  These were a bit fiddly as it's not wonderfully clear in the instructions as to exactly where and at what angle they attach.  I taped them in place, added the tank cover then positioned the canopy to check how it all fitted, then glued them into place.  I think I got it right, Miss.  :unsure::rolleyes:






Seat belts in next.  These were fairly simple to attach and only needed bending to shape, then feeding through the pilot's head armour and my mounting eyes on the fuel tank bulkhead.






So now at this point, the wing innards can go on. 




As I mentioned above, I painted more than I thought I needed too, so I've painted all the inner wing structure up to the point where the outer wing panels will go on.  This includes gun bays, fuel tanks, and undercarriage wheel wells.  Now that it's dry, I've test fitted the inner wing skins and have decided not to bother with the fuel tanks in painted form as they will not be visible.  But gun bays, engine nacelles and wheel wells will be, so I'm covered.


That's it for now.  The next step is gun details so that will be in the next update.





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On 6/29/2021 at 10:52 PM, Uncarina said:


That’s what I love about the ZM kits! Michael, you are bringing it to life.


Cheers,  Tom






Thanks Tom.  I now agree, this being my first ZM kit, that all the extra interior detail provided does help in bringing a little more life to a model.  I only have one other in my stash so I'm looking forward to the day i start on that one.  Also awaiting their Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf models.


We're in another (hopefully short) Covid 19 lockdown at the moment, so I've used up some of that time at my modelling bench.  Looking at my last update, it occurs to me that I should have shown a picture of the underside of the model, so here's that pic.




The next step involves fuel tanks and the two machine guns, plus the ammo boxes to fees the guns.  The forward nose of the inner wing leading edge has to go in first, so these were added, followed by the MG-131 machine guns.  Next to be added were the ammo boxes that feed them, plus the ammo boxes for the MG-151 20mm cannons, not yet fitted.  Some of these ammo boxes will be visible through access panels, so they were painted up.  I put them together on the sprue and airbrushed them with Model Master RLM02 Grau, although the forward boxes had the tops added after as they go around top and bottom of the guns.  Next, the fuel tanks were added.  These are molded in two halves, top and bottom, and each half is fed in through the respective side and held in place with tabs molded onto the wing spars.  Test fitting the wing tops and bottoms showed that nothing of these would be visible unless you were to build the model without the outer skins, which would be an interesting display, but I decided against that.




There is, however, two vents on the outer tanks that poke through the lower wing skin, so I sploshed some flat black around that area.




Now it's time to add the lower wing skins, together with the lower fuselage skin that covers the ammo bays behind the wing.  I knew that the undercarriage area would need painting with RLM02 Grau, so these were duly sprayed when I did the wing innards, ammo boxes, firewalls and undercarriage, etc.  What I wasn't sure of was what needed painting on the inside of the wing skin and since I wanted to glue the inner surface of the wing skin to the wing innards, I brush painted what I needed bit by bit.  Some of it is still drying, hence the tone differences.




I'd also airbrushed RLM02 on the insides of the fuselage where the spent cannon ammunition is mounted.  However, part of that piece also needs to be aluminium, to match the fuselage insides.  This was also brush painted and immediately test fitted to the fuselage, but didn't fit.  You can see a mark in the silver where it fowls against one of the ribs inside the fuselage.




The rib in question is part L4, which is a half fuselage height rib.  It fits in the bottom half of the fuselage which makes location of that part a little less definite than all the other ribs.  In my case, the lower fuselage skin was protruding by about half the thickness of the plastic, so that rib was duly filed back by that amount, and the part fits snugly now.  I also opened up the hole for the crew ladder that you can see at lower right.  The instructions say to fit the ladder at this point, but we all know the chances of it's survival if I were to do so now.  One other comment here, in reference to the picture above is to the painting of the RLM02 airbrushed onto this part.  The baby poo brown colour of the plastic in this kit is horrible, and I'm finding that everything needs two coats to give decent coverage.  This bit got missed when I did the second coat.  Hope the outsides go a bit better.


So here is those two parts in place, glued to everything I could clean off to give good adhesion.




I used the wing top surfaces to ensure proper fitment.




Then did the same with the lower outer wing skin fitment.




Here's the result.




The next stage is to fit the undercarriage main legs.  These are held in place by a bracket placed each side and glued to the wing leading edge.  These brackets also form the mount for the engine firewall and engine.  The undercarriage legs are held in place with a pin each side that go into the brackets.  Even though the undercarriage legs are pretty substantial, the pins are not quite as substantial at 1.5mm diameter, so I cut them off, drilled through the leg pivots and slid brass tube through to give a much stronger mount.  Here's the leg and those mounting brackets ready for installation.




There is also a hydraulic operating ram to go in, which attaches to the back wall of the wheel well bay.  Here it all is in position, with the brake lines and oleo scissors attached.




You'll notice that I've added one of the engine firewalls too.  With most models, I would not have added those brake pipes at this stage, but as the top locating pin is behind this wall, and will be covered by engine nacelle later, I've added them now, and crossed my fingers that they'll still be there when the model is finished.  They'll make undercarriage masking painful, and that masking is the reason why I've not added the wheels yet.


Here's a couple of pictures of the model now on it's feet.  This is where the model is now.






The next stage is to add the cannons, then the upper wing skins and forward fuselage skins, followed by the engine nacelles, radiators and maybe even the engines.  That's for next time.


Stay well,




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I'm learning to follow the instructions carefully with these ZM kits, but more of my mistakes later.  The build continues with the addition of guns before adding the wing top surfaces, as the other way round will result in severe headaches and the air turning blue.  So MG-151 20mm cannons next.  The gun goes into place in two pieces, back half first, then the gun barrel.   The gun is clearly mounted on it's side, with the ammunition being fed in from the wing, and the ejected casing being collected in that box inside the fuselage (from my last update).




Then the wing top goes on.  You can see why as the gun barrel would never fit.




Both wing tops on.




Next, the outer walls of the forward fuselage/cockpit area go on.  I painted only the rear portion of the side walls as this is all you will see.  It is visible in the area behind the pilot's armour plate and fuel tank bulkhead.




Unfortunately, I found these fowled a protruding bracket at the fuselage/cockpit join.Widening the groove that this bracket sits in only partially solved the problem, so I clipped it flush with the fuselage which solved the problem.  I think this is the only ill-fitting part so far in this project.






Then the lower fuselage skin and nose go on, and needs taping in place to set it properly.




While that was drying, I turned my attention to the upper nose panel which is a clear piece integral with the windscreen.  You need to mount the demisting ducts to this, as well as the inner armour glass.  The ducts were glued in with polystyrene glue, but the armour glass was glued in with Micro Krystal Klear.  I used the kit masks for this, and very good they are too.  The armour glass frame was painted flat black, and the inner mask removed, then this was attached to the model.  I had to file the top of the instrument panel a small amount as it was a little high, but this may well have been my fault possibly not helped by the fitting of metal etch pieces on the cockpit side consoles.  Then, the rear engine top cowlings were attached.  Here's the result.






Looks awful cramped to me :BANGHEAD2: :lol:.


The next step involves attaching the engines.    At this point, I decided to do some painting around the engines to hopefully save all the details from overspray later.  So the top surface was sprayed Sand Gelb (yellow) by Humbrol as that's all I could get at the time.  It's a little more red than expected (although the camera seems to accentuate this), but then Sahara sand has quite a red tinge to it, and the colour of the sand is something I well remember from my travels leaving Cairo quickly many years ago, as well as seeing my daughters recent pictures from her holidays in Morocco.  Once that had dried, the engines were attached.






The engine nacelles were attached next.  Both insides and outsides were painted before attaching.  The small join between each half will be cleaned up later, but there's not much to do there.  The instructions suggest doing this, perhaps again to save overspraying the engines and undercarriage.  The next picture shows this taped in place and drying, together with the radiators being fitted.  One thing to note here is that I did not paint or ehance any of the detail on the engine firewalls, as nothing of this will be seen once finished.




The exhausts were attached next, and must go on before the cowlings.  This is where the model is presently.






And it's those cowlings that I think I've messed up.  The instructions say to sandwich the engines in each half, but I don't want glue lines being visible through the front of the cowlings, so I glued mine together and painted the insides.  Now they don't want to fit on.  :oops:.  Looking at it all in place, it's clear that these cowlings are not removable as the carbie intake fowls the bottom edge of the cowling.  I think I can get them in place by sanding the cowl and carbie intake, and I'm presently thinking that I'll fit one and leave the other off permanently.  I have fingers and toes crossed, (which may explain my strange walk. :lol:)  I could use one of the other sets of cowlings provided but this is the correct cowling for this model.  The kit provides four types of engine cowl, as well as other parts for different versions which have no gun trough in the forward fuselage, so it appears there is definitely other versions in the offing.  One with bombs, perhaps??






There is a few other parts too for other versions of the plane.  If ever they're released, I may do another with panels left off to show off some of the inner workings of the plane.  This kit makes that job easier, which is the advantage of manufacturing the model this way.  For example, the forward side fuselage panels could be left off and the inner details enhanced, as (crudely) shown here.  This kit has a lot of possibilities in that regard, so well done ZM for providing this.




The fit of the parts in this kit is wonderful.  I've used almost no putty to cover less than perfect joints as there's only been two so far.  At this point, engine cowls aside :rolleyes:, I am now in the home straight as far as assembly is concerned, so that will be the subject of the next update.






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On 7/16/2021 at 4:32 AM, Troy Molitor said:

Some really nice work going on here Michael.  I haven't picked this kit up yet but really am liking what I see in all your efforts.  Thanks for sharing.  




This is my first ZM kit, and it won't be my last.  I also have a DO-335 in the stash but I'm looking forward to their BF-109 and FW-190's too when these are released.  This kit is very well detailed and the parts fit is excellent too.  Definitely gets my recommendation.


On 7/17/2021 at 12:31 AM, TimW said:

Some awesome details!




Thanks Tim.  The kit really lends itself to showing off some of the details and it's not that difficult to build.  Just follow the instructions, which is something I'm not good at. :rolleyes::lol:


So you could be excused for thinking I've been asleep at the wheel on this build, and indeed I have been.  Not a lot has been done these last two weeks in part because of a now fruitless search for a car to re live my youth and tinker with - one with chrome bumpers, if you remember such features. 


My first job after the last update was to add the ailerons and flaps, then add all the panels that close up the guns and other fuselage openings.  In the end, some of these just kept falling off, so I glued them into place as they don't show much anyway.  Also, I'm sure they'd fly off into the never never as soon as I pointed an airbrush at them and I'd have paint in the wrong places and missing hatches.  Some, however, will be removable.  The ailerons and flaps are attached only by their actuating hinges, two for each flap and four to each aileron.  I've also placed a masked canopy in position and painted the cockpit colour to represent the inner side of this part.  And forgotten to take photos....  :blink:


I've also been pondering the paint on this, as looking at Humbrol's idea of sand gelb left me increasingly concerned about it's authenticity.  I also needed to ponder how to use an alternate colour considering I need to get it around other painted parts.  In the end, I've managed to brush paint some Tamiya XF59 in and around the engine and exhausts by cutting a piece of paper to size and holding it in place while I poke a paint laden brush under and around the exhausts.  Here it is with the engines and nacelles masked off as I'll be painting soon and still haven't fitted the cowlings which don't fit because I didn't follow the instructions. :BANGHEAD2:




I've also built up the MK-103 30mm cannon which will be mounted to the underside and unfortunately covered.  Would you believe that there's eleven pieces in this??




Here it is placed, but not glued, into position.  You'll also see the ailerons and flaps and how these attach.




The last shot shows the last few remaining items that need to be attached before painting commences; a long aerial, even longer pitot and the landing light fairing which will have the reflector painted in and lens attached after painting.




That's all to report at the moment.  The next stage is to break out the airbrush and start painting this model.  It will be sand gelb (yellow) with green splotches and blue undersides with the usual Luftwaffe white desert markings.  Incidentally, I'm fortunate in the masking in that there's no green applied to the real thing around the exhausts, hence the exhausts being fitted now and masked off as they are.


Cheers all, and stay well.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Painting is almost complete on this model.  I've had some troubles with paint splatter, as you'll see later, and at present, I'm tidying that as best I can.  First of all, I painted the blue undersides of the plane.  This was decided for me by the placement of one of the aileron hinges, right on the line.  I thought it easier to paint the blue first, then the white as masking blue areas was easier than t'other way round.  I think the picture shows what I mean.  Here it is with both colours done.






At this point, I masked off the blue and white painted areas and removed the white overspray on the fuselage with acetone to help the next colour cover better.  Then on with the sand yellow.




I let this dry for a couple of days before airbrushing the green splotches on, but in that time, the kit supplied canopy masks started to lift around the edges.  As they wouldn't stick back in place, I re-did this bit of masking in Tamiya tape.  Never seen that before.  Then on with the splotches.  Alas I haven't done a Luftwaffe plane in years and being no sort of an expert with an airbrush, I think I got the paint thinned a little too much resulting in splatter.  At least, I assume it's a paint thinning issue as I was using almost no air pressure.




So now I'm spending some time trying to remove the splatter effect.  Here it is after a couple more hours work, but I think I still have a ways to go before I'm happy enough with it to apply the gloss coat before adding decals.




So on with the repairs, then gloss coat it, decals and flat coat.  That's for next time.  One bit of good news is that I've got one of the engine cowls to fit. 





Edited by Dpgsbody55
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On 8/4/2021 at 2:01 AM, TimW said:

Still looking great!  I remember as a kid living in West Texas, I loved doing my models in desert schemes.


Tim W


Thanks Tim.  I have a couple more Luftwaffe desert models in my stash, so expect to see more.  Especially as I need the practice at said schemes :rolleyes:.





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Progress continues, if a little slowly.  I've been applying the decals to this now varnished model, and there's enough that it's taken a few sessions to get them all done.  I've been waiting for the last lot to dry so I don't mess up, and in some instances, there's decals that sit on top of decals.  So here it is with the gloss varnish done and all the decals applied.


Top view.  Those chevrons were a bit of a pain, as they come in four parts.  Two I get, as the front sits right on a removable panel gap.  But the "tails" of the chevron are applied separately, and I don't see why as there's no panel gap there.  They did need a few goes with Mr Markfit, but all have set down well on the model.






One other pet whinge of mine is the two part swastika.  Why??? :hmmm: I understand that some people have an aversion to that symbol, and that's fair enough, but I don't see why it needs to be printed in two halves.  Use it or not, your choice, but broken down decals that need putting together amount needless fiddling IMHO.


Bottom view.  Not much to show here.




Wing detail.  Often, I will paint the wing walk lines, but these are dashes, so a little more difficult, especially over such a camouflage.  So I used the kit decals and each set of markings are one piece.  I was concentrating so much on this, I think I almost passed out from holding my breath while trying to nudge them all into place.  One went into place very easily, but another gave me a lot of grief, folding on itself more than once.  But I'm happy with the results.




Nose detail.  I assume that this is some sort of unit merit badge, but it's rather hard to make out clearly.




Top view again, this time after matt varnish has dried.






Here's a few views with all the masking removed, and one engine cowl fitted.  I think I'd better remove it again and fix the overspray.  As you can see, there's even a decal inside the canopy for judging various pitch attitudes.












From here on, it's final fitting and finish.  In this case, it's a bit more involved than most other models I've done.  Instruments, lights, wheels and u/c doors, propellers, bomb racks, cannon, details and touch ups, plus a little weathering and what ever else I've forgotten.  Could take a little longer yet.





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