Tamiya's 1/48 'Eagle Owl' Build Blog (ish)

Hi everyone, i’m returning to do an aircraft again, after a lengthy IDF armour spell, I just wanted a change.

So, this one has been in my small stash for a good while now, probably a couple of years.

Tamiya’s venerable ‘Uhu’ in 1/48. An unusual aircraft. The Heinkel He 219 Uhu (“Eagle-Owl”) was a night fighter that served with the German Luftwaffe in the later stages of World War II. A relatively sophisticated design, the He 219 possessed a variety of innovations, including Lichtenstein SN-2 advanced VHF-band intercept radar, also used on the Ju 88G and Bf 110G night fighters. It was also the first operational military aircraft to be equipped with ejection seats and the first operational German World War II-era aircraft with tricycle landing gear. Had the Uhu been available in quantity, it might have had a significant effect on the strategic night bombing offensive of the Royal Air Force; however, only 294 of all models were built by the end of the war and these saw only limited service. Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow was the leading night fighter ace on the He 219. Modrow was credited with 33 of his 34 night air victories on the type.

This is old kit now, ‘new tooled’ in 1997 I believe, but it is the only game in town at this scale. It still is a nice, relatively accurate kit though and is well supported by the AM industry.


I did buy some AM for this, some bits and pieces. I think it is unlikely i’ll uuse anything but the cockpit detail from the Eduard PE set. Although I havent decided yet.


This is the one i’m genuinely in two minds about.

I should have learnt from previous encounters with Aires that 90% of their stuff simply doesn’t fit the kit is is intended for and you spend hours filing, sanding and cutting with the inevitable result that you have a bodged fit that you need to cover up.

This set comes with a full cockpit but the Tamiya kit comes with a solid metal cockpit ‘tub’ which all the kit’s cockpit detail fits to. This is because the Uhu had a tricycle undercarriage and you need all the weight of the kit on the nose to balance it out, otherwise, it’ll sit on its tail. Aires doesn’t give you this, so if you’re going to use this option, you’ll need to get creative with some lead shot or something. I’m using the Tamiya cockpit, the detail Aires provides isn’t much better in my opinion and with the Eduard PE for the cockpit, it’ll be pretty nice.

I really want to open at least one engine nacelle up, as per the box art but major surgery will be required to get the Aires parts to fit (just call it a hunch). Part of the open engine nacelle concept means also fitting new landing gear wells that the Tamiya kit landing gear parts will have to somehow attach. I would put the farm on them not fitting quite right and as a result, the aircraft will sit all wonky…

Maybe i’ll get lucky… but I doubt it.

So my dilema is, do I risk screwing this all up, or do I just build the bird OOB with some nice cockpit, radar and weighted wheel bits? - and accept that I wasted my money on the Aires kit…

Has anyone used this Aires kit before? Does anyone know if anyone has blogged a Uhu build using this Aires set before?


Love this plane.
Have fun with it.


Witness the pilot’s end of the cockpit.

Part E5 is the kit part, a transparency. I understand that aircraft fitted with Schräge Musik had a projector fitted to the underneath of the mid canopy, this projected where the canon’s muzzle’s were pointing onto the screen in front of the pilot.

The projecting sight isn’t included in the kit BTW. Or the Eduard kit…or the Aires kit.

Anyway, what is part 104? It is a solid screen of sorts with a cut-out for the boresight and can either be folded flat or upright.

But why would the pilot need to have this plate sitting upright completely obscuring his forward view?


Is it armor ?

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Using the Tamiya cockpit tub, Eduard cockpit and nose gear well detailing, the cockpit itself is done. The underside of the zinc cockpit tub forms the wheel well - and this kit part is essential for weight distribution of the finished model. If you want to use the Aires cockpit, you’ll need to get creative with distributing lead shot up front somewhere.

The overall colour is AK Interactive RLM 66 and it is the ‘greenest’ looking RLM 66 I ever saw. But having seen other people’s builds using this paint, I went with it.

Personally, I don’t think the Aires cockpit is that good, it definately isn’t better than a combination of the Tamiya & Eduard parts.

The seats are kit parts and don’t come with padding/cushions (whatever you want to call them). Some people scratch these in creative ways… me…‘meh’. Seatbelts are not kit decals, can’t remember what make they are (Master Model maybe), but they’re AM and you simply peel them off a backing paper and apply them. I use a little white glue to ensure they attach properly, but they look quite good I think.

The glass screen in front of the pilot was so that a historical gunsight for the Schräge Musik could be projected on to it from the upper mid cockpit. Could this have been the world’s first ‘Heads Up Display’?


The cockpit sidewalls, Tamiya detail sanded off, Eduard cockpit detail added. Not much detail here, but there’s enough, you’ll see when the cockpit tub is fitted. People get really bent out of shape with pin ejector marks, but on a cockpit sidewall, at this scale, with the cockpit tub to go in… ‘Meh’.


Dry fitted.

See what I mean - the level of cockpit sidewall detail is just about right and you can’t see any pin ejector marks. Some people make oxygen hoses from guitar strings (the kit omits this detail) but again, for me… ‘meh’.


The ventral gun bay.


The Schräge Musik.

The kit part (next to the Aires part) is woefully inadequate - well that isn’t strictly true, the kit isn’t meant to be shown with the Schräge Musik opened up but you can see the ends of the Mk 108s through the upper fuselage orifaces. So, if you use the kit parts, you’ll probably want to drill out the muzzles. In any case, you won’t be able to open up the Schräge Musik bay because Tamiya simply do not provide enough detail.

I used the Aires parts and the superb Master Model turned brass Mk 108 barrells + Blast Tubes. The Aires part provides a full bulkhead and some nicely detailed guns - and it fits with minimal sanding!


Here are the cockpit tub, ventral gun bay and Schräge Musik all installed. The Aires parts actually fit, i’m pleasantly suprised.

The butchery required to open up the ventral gun bays on the fuselage is a right pain, as the holes are pretty small and the bay doors follow a curved profile. The picture makes what i’ve done look really agricultural, but trust me, in real time, it really isn’t that bad at all. Besides, its underneath the aircraft and view of the bays is going to be blocked by the wings. so… ‘Meh’.

Next, a check to make sure I havent missed anything from the myriad AM parts I have available, then join the fuselage together.


I did join the fuselage together and added the tailplane to give it stability, otherwise it rolls over. However, I forgot to take a picture so will do next time.

It was time to begin the dreaded attempt to get an Aires AM kit to fit…

All I will say is dry fit, sand, dry fit, sand…you get the idea.

There’s a lot going on here and the instructions are atrocious, vague in places and small. It is not reccommended for inexperienced modellers to cut their teeth on this one. For example:

The detail you need to fit all the engine and gear bay parts is about the size of a fag packet, bottom left corner!

You’re unlikely to believe me, but so far, so good. With some quite time consuming removal of access panels on gun bay on the left wing, minimal removal of kit moulded-in detail was required in order to get the Aires engine nacelle and gear bay to fit ( 3 x pieces in total). Some thinning was of course needed, but you don’t have to spend hours getting the wings wafer thin either. The most thinning was needed to get the wing root 20mm cannon to fit.

Incidentally, the 20mm cannon is an Aber AM, because neither the Tamiya, Eduard or Aires AM sets include the guns. I’m not sure if the muzzle is supposed to protrude from the wing root, but anyway, with no gun in place, there’s just an odd hole in the wing. The hole in the wing didn’t quite line up with the gun bay properly either, but you’ll never see that bit, so no foul.


So, I spared you the detail of the actual engine construction. To be honest, if you’ve ever built an AM engine set, the process and content doesn’t change, so you’ll know what i’m talking about.

Here is the engine in its mount. It went together well, except that the fit of the engine into the mount is VERY tight and in truth, I ‘lost’ a couple in order to get it to fit. But fit it does and quite nice it looks. This forms the front of three details for the nacelle and gear housing.


Here is the landing gear bay underside. It slips in behind the engine nacelle. Some additional PE parts added here to form ‘struts’.


The other side of the landing gear bay part. Not sure what these tanks are but I painted one steel for variety as you can see this through the wing panel if you choose to open it up.


Finally, the rear of the landing gear bay.

There will be a fit issue with this which i’ll describe when I get there, i’ve already got a fix planned (I wonder if you can see what the problem is?).


Fuselage joined together. Although this kit is sold as an A7, there are quite a few discrepancies that make it closer to an A0 than anything.

For example, the ventral gun bay has only 2 x 20mm cannon, but an A7 had 4 x 30mm cannon. The cockpit seats are from an A0. The longitudinal ventral radar is from an A0 as well I think. I’m sure there are more.

It doesn’t bother me really, it is still a nice kit and i’m not rivet counting. Went together well, as you would expect from Tamiya.

Its a pretty big aircraft.


This is what the Aires kit parts look like in situ, they actually fit.

Remember I told you that the Aires kit part for the rear landing gear would cause a problem later on? Well, here’s why. The resin form is too curved and doesn’t hug the bay walls.

Fortunately, the resin is very thin and this is easily remeded with some superglue and two small clamps.

More to come next week.


Delayed posting due to an extended Easter break, but I did get quite a lot done as the weather in the UK was diabolical.

So, here is the port wing assembled. It went together reasonably well.

You won’t need Part D15 or the poly cap if using the Aires update set.

Thats because, Part D15 is already effectively part of the engine that comes with the update set.

Also, lose the propellor output shaft from the Aires engine because the Tamiya propeller attaches through a hole in Part D 20 that would otherwise be blocked by this protruding propellor output shaft.