1/32 Horten Ho229 "Flying Wing"

Arguably the most advanced airplane of WW2, along with the first Jet fighters, the Horten Ho-229 was far ahead of its time and the first of a kind; a stealth fighter plane. She was designed by the brothers Reimar & Walter in order to meet Göring’s latest call for light bomber designs, which was known as the “3x1000” project; Carry a 1000kg of bombs over a distance of 1000km at a speed of 1000km/h. What started as a glider design became the world’s first “flying wing”, although be it in a prototype version only (the war ended before production officially started). Made from a tubular frame with a few metal panels, she consisted mainly of wood with two powerful Junkers Jumo 004 jet engines, it was the only design ever to come close to Göring’s requirements and as such was the only prototype to receive his approval.

After seeing some of the mega detailed ‘SuperWing Series’ models by Zukei-Moura, I was highly impressed with their kits and wanted to build one for myself. My choice for this particular kit came from the fact that she was the first of a kind and a huge step in aviation history. Instantly I wanted to display all the detailed internals and came up with the 50/50 design idea; The right side will be displayed as the finished aircraft, while the left side will be displayed in its wooden & metal form with certain places cut open to show the internals.

Kit by Zukei-Moura

The "Flying Wing" project started on 17 April 2019 and was finished on 04 May 2020.

Photos of this project can be found here:

The Making of

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All done

30 May 2020 | Stoughton, Country | By Niek Nijsen

Another beauty added to the collection. I’ve completed the base and all that’s left to do is taking the photos of the finished model, which I’ll hopefully be able to do in the coming few days.

In the previous blog I completed the model itself and started work on the base. As mentioned, the latter was split in half, just like the plane. The left side of the base would present the aircraft in the field as if it’s operational, the right side would be representing the factory during production of the aircraft.

As such, I began by creating a concrete floor using plaster for both the factory floor and runway section. After that more plaster was added to create a ground texture around the runway which was then covered with green/brown paint. The concrete sections received multiple variations of grey. This was then weathered with black/brown/grey washes to create oil stains and other irregularities. The green section was covered in pva (hobby) glue using a big brush and then sprinkled with grass. Once dry, I added vegetation such as bushes, taller grass, dirt, rocks and leaves.

With the base done I added the final touches to each side, including oil drums on the left and various tools found in a workshop on the right. I also found blue prints that were scaled down to size and printed these before placing them on the workbench. Lastly, I 3 figures were added to the scene in the form of 2 pilots on the left and an engineer on the right.

All in all I think this turned out pretty well. I’m still learning how to paint figures and I think there’s room for improvement, especially when it comes to painting faces. But that will come at some point, I’ll just have to keep practising.

Other than the final photo shoot, I call this model complete. Thank you for following me on this and your comments/support/feedback along the way, as always it is very much appreciated! Hope to see you again for the next one, in which we’ll start on the 1/200 Bismarck. See you there!


Nearly There

30 Apr. 2020 | Stoughton, Country | By Niek Nijsen

You might recall from the previous update this project includes a lot of “first times” for me. I normally don’t paint parts still on the sprue and I’ve never done wood effects using oils before. So how did it actually turn out? Well, funny you ask. It actually turned out pretty good.

As you can see in the photos, the wood effects look quite realistic and natural. I “achieved” this by using undiluted oil paints, the same you would use for any painting hanging on your walls. First, I sprayed a layer of light brown as a base coat. I then brushed on the oil paint with a normal paint brush. After letting it dry for a few minutes, I used a large brush to gently rub the oils off, which left a fairly rough-looking texture. A softer brush followed to repeat the process and gave me a gentler, scale-correct looking texture. To prevent all panels ending up looking the same, I also used a sponge with a dabbing motion to give each panel a random pattern. You may have noticed that I changed the direction of the streaking-motion on panels to break up the uniformity of the larger wings.

The downside of using oils is that it takes them a long time to dry, we’re talking days here. So, in the meantime I continued work on the rest of the model. I assembled the undercarriage, finished off the internal bits and put the cockpit seat together. The latter was enhanced with fabric seatbelts by HGW, which takes hours to put together (or at least in my case). All bits were then weathered a bit to match the rest of the aircraft. The weathering on this model is minimal and lighter than usual, as in the actual war it was only flying in the prototype phase and never saw real action.

Now that all sub-assemblies were ready and painted, I put them all together. It was only then that I noticed that my “modifications” to various parts of the aircraft caused issues trying to fit it all together. A few swear words and a bit of sanding later, it went together. The main problem ended up being the actual pins that hold the wings in place. For some reason they fitted very poorly and took a lot of time “wiggling” the wings until they fell into place.

At this point the aircraft started to display its unusual form and rather large size. I decided to use a similar approach to the base for it as I did with the Spitfire where part of the wings will hang over the edge. I measured up the rough size and found a photo frame of similar dimensions that would suit perfectly for the job. While that was on order, the model went back to the spray booth and I painted the camouflage pattern on the right half of the aircraft. Because the aircraft never took part in any battles, there is no paint scheme for it, or at least not official. I based mine on similar designs of the late-war period used by the German Luftwaffe and went for a straight-edge camo scheme using a medium and dark green. The bottom was painted in a light-grey colour. The whole lot was then covered in a gloss varnish in preparation for decals.

Back on the main bench and I continued work by added all the decals. I didn’t know what to expect from the Zoukei-Mura quality, but I must say they’re very good, definitely amongst the top brands. They went on easy and conformed to the shape of the model very nicely.

Last but not least I covered the entire model with a coat of matt varnish before adding a light coat of weathering effects, mainly using washes and pigments.

At the moment I’m working on the base, which will be split in half where one side will be depicted in the field and the other side still in the factory (I’ll let you guess which side of the plane goes where). The figures were painted and still need their final detail touch-ups before they’re ready to be added to the diorama. All I need to do now is finish the base and I can call this project complete. More on that in the next update. See you then!

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Back to work

30 Mar. 2020 | Stoughton, Country | By Niek Nijsen

As mentioned in the February newsletter, I was left with a few small jobs before I could start working on my models again. I’m pleased to inform you that these have been completed and we’re back up-and-running again with the creation of more scale models. The spray booth has now been completed, other than the hole in the wall for the extraction itself. The gaps around the filters have been sealed and instantly the increase in suction could be noticed. Good thing I installed a regulator that allows me to adjust the airflow, as at full power it literally sucks the paint out of my airbrush way before reaching the model… Talk about a slight overkill. The main desk has also received another tidy-up, mainly because it still looked messy (or so I’ve been informed). The stash of kits that were initially kept underneath the desk have now been relocated to the loft and I’ve had a good clear-out of my spare parts, which have now been condensed into a single box instead of five.

But let’s be honest, you’re probably not interested in this as much as you are in the actual models themselves. So, let’s look at what’s been happening at the bench over the last few weeks.

The only model I’m currently working on is this one. Now that I can use the new paint booth, I’ve gone straight in there and painted a lot of the parts that have been desperately waiting for some colour. I’ve tried a technique I normally don’t, which is painting parts while still on the sprue. No clue how this is going to turn out, so fingers crossed. Most of the cockpit parts and some of the structural bits have been painted, as well as the inside of the left wing. The latter is the one that will be left open with all the internal details visible. This was then brush painted with un-thinned oils in order to create a wood effect. First time I’ve done this but I’m happy with the result. Take a look at the photos and let me know what you think, any feedback is much appreciated. Other than the painting I’ve been able to do some PE work on the instrument and side panels.

The next step will be to put it all together and start the weathering process. More on that hopefully soon.

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The most detailed kit I've seen to date?

01 Jan. 2020 | Stoughton, Country | By Niek Nijsen

Is it? Surely looks that way straight from the box. I've seen quite a few models over the years but this one certainly packs a lot (if not the most) internal details. So much that the manufacture has made the entire wing and body sections from clear plastic, just to be able to display all these internal workings. I, for one, am certainly impressed by it all. But if that’s not enough for you, they offer a few additional items on their website for sale, which include resin replacement engines, photo etch parts for the cockpit & various figures. Of course, you should know me by now, I bought those along with the basic kit as well. Duh. Time to take a better look at the kit.

The box is absolutely jampacked with sprues, topped off with the beautifully designed instruction booklet! The ‘SuperWing Series’ definitely means business and it is clear how much time and effort the Japanese company has put into their models. Unboxing it all is a joy and I can already see the final result starting to take shape in my mind. With this much detail I can only think of, what I like to call, the 50/50 display option. What this means is I’ll be displaying one side of the models as the “real plane”, with the other half left open to show off all the internal details. I’m sure it’ll make more sense as I go along with this project and photos show you what I’m doing. As the original plane was made primarily from wood, I also purchased a set of the ‘Ushi van der Rosten’ wooden decal sheets. This will be used later to cover the left wing with.

Enough of the introduction ‘blabla’ I hear you thinking, let’s get started with this show! I couldn’t agree with you more. I began by putting the engines together. The right side will be built straight from the box, while the left engine will be enhanced with the resin parts to display the internal compressor stages and combustion chambers. Yes, we’re going into this fine amount of detail. Once put together, I tried my newly acquired MRP metal paints, which complemented both engines beautifully.

Now that the engines where done, I shifted my focus to the tubular framework that makes up most of the centre body. A bit of sanding was required as the production process left a ridge along the parts where both halves of the moulds are pressed together. But that was it, the parts simple fell together and required very little glue to stay in place. What a joy to work with. As it’s a pretty complicated structure, I elected to paint the various parts before gluing them in place. Unfortunately, MRP don’t make a “German primer” colour for planes, so I had to mix this myself. From what I can find on the web, this was a somewhat green/grey-ish colour, which I tried to create by mixing ‘gunship grey’ with ‘RAF primer green’ (the latter being the one used on the Spitfire). After a few atte mpts I think I got pretty close to what I was looking for and began the process of covering it all using the airbrush.

Literally, as abrupt as I stopped the blog update above, did the project come to a halt. This was because we decided to move to a new house, and I was forced to pack all my models in boxes. The new model cave is now almost finished and hopefully I’ll be able to start work on the model again soon with blog updates following closely after. Bear with me for a little while longer.