All photos thumbnailed. Click for full-size image.
The Arado 240 was an original design submitted to the RLM in 1937 for a twin-engined heavy fighter-bomber, using streamlined gun turrets operated via remote control and aimed with periscopic sights. On May 10, 1940 the first prototype took to the air, followed closely by the second. Unfortunately, these first flights revealed instabilities in all axes. To remedy this, the wings were lengthened, as was the fuselage, and a rear tailfin was added to the end of the fuselage.
Initially the Arado was intended for the dive bomber role, but lackluster performance in that section led to the re-assignment of the V 5 through V 8 (reconnaissance aircraft), V 9 (heavy fighter), and V-10 (night fighter). These initial V-series planes became the Ar 240A-0 series, while the V 11 and V 12 became the Ar 240C-0 series. While the performance of the Ar 240 was good and was an aerodynamically excellent airframe, production was passed over in favor of the Messerschmitt Me 210. The initial prototypes did enter service, though, flying mainly reconnaissance missions.
Grab your "Flugzeug" and your super glue! Thanks to MPM we now have a kit of the Ar 240. The Ar 240 is a neat aircraft and until now there has been no 1/48th scale kit of it, although a very nice little 1/72 kit of the Ar 240 was put out by Revell Germany. At first glance it appears that some planning will be necessary in assembling the kit. This is an all resin kit, so those of you new to resin take some time to plan ahead. The parts are very well molded and while assembly looks easy, careful dry-fitting at every step along the way is essential. References on the Ar 240 are few and far between, but one of the best out there is the Flugzeug book on the Ar 240. This has lots of information on the interior as well as exterior detailing and marking information.
In looking over the kit, I decided to start with the wings first while I scrounged up all the necessary references to do the interior. The wings turned out to be the biggest problem in assembly. You only get one chance with super glue to get it right. When I built the Czech Master Resin 1/72 Martin Mauler (my first resin kit) I used plasticstrips glued to the resin. This was so I could glue plastic to plastic and have a little more playing around time. That worked well for me, so I did it again with this kit. This will end up extending the wingspan by the thickness of the plastic, so to counteract this I thinned the resin parts a bit to compensate. I then glued some plastic to the fuselage wing joint and the same on the wing then drilled some holes and made locating pins out of scrap styrene to keep the wing aligned with the fuselage. Once that was done, I set the wings aside and moved on to the fuselage itself.
The interior is very well done, which is about par for the course for resin. There's a lot that can be detailed up in here, and the canopy has a nice, large opening to show it all off, too. With the help of the "Flugzeug" magazine, you can find where everything goes, as well as a rough idea as to what color to paint it. For the most part, I used the stock kit parts, although I added oxygen hoses and a few little things like that to make it look busy. A periscope for the back gunner was made from plastic tubing and the same for the fuselage periscopes. I added some clear plastic lenses to these parts. I used a leather punch to punch the clear plastic and then inserted them into the tubing. It adds a nice touch, especially since this was one of the special features in the original design. And no, I didn't put the mirrors in, so don't look for them….
The instrument panel was from the kit. I used some decals and the rest was painted. Quite a bit can be done with just a 000 brush and a steady hand, and the detailing in the kit part comes out quite well after a coat of paint. For the seat belts, I used the computer to make some up. I used a drawing of the seatbelt from the JaPo book "Focke-Wulf Fw 190F, G" that I picked up at Aviation Usk. I made a copy then reduced it to 1/48 scale. Once I had them at the right size, I copied them repeatedly over a sheet of paper, giving me a nice, big supply of belts. Then I did a light wash over them with light brown acrylic paint. Keep this transparent so the detail shows through. Cut them out and then bend them to shape and glue them in place. This works well for 1/72 and 1/32 scale kits as well.
Now it was time to turn to the engine nacelles. In looking at the pictures you can see that engine instruments were on the nacelles. I used the Monogram Bf110 instrument panel made a mold of it and a casting. I cut out the instruments I wanted, glued them together, and then made another mold and casting of the glued together parts. I used 5-minute RTV mold material and Aluminate casting material to do all the casting. In looking at the published pictures, you can see that the engine was universal. It could be used either on the left or right side. All they did was put a plate where the engine instruments would be. I used a decal for this and painted it RLM66.
The propellers have a very unique look to them, and the kit parts are beautifully done. The only problem with them, though, is that the blades are molded separately. To help align them properly, I used my styrene-on-resin trick again. I used a leather punch to punch out some plastic discs that were roughly the size of the base of the propeller blade. I glued these to the propeller and to the inside of the spinner, then I ran a straight pin into the prop blade and drilled a corresponding hole in the hub. This way you can have a little more time to glue the prop while keeping the blades straight, without having to build up a jig.
There are no locator pins on the fuselage, so I used plastic strips glued to the inside ofthe fuselage. This way your fuselage will stay aligned when you begin gluing. I started at the front and worked my way around to the tail. (Put the interior in place first!) When dry, you can do a light sanding. Not much putty was needed, though, as everything was very well engineered. Next I glued the nacelles to the wing. In dry fitting I found that the back of the nacelle would not line up with the back half of the wing. I used some plastic strips to spread the nacelle out so it would line up. Once that is done the rest of it lined up with no problem. At this point the plane was starting to look like an Arado. Finishing up the fuselage, I glued the tail fins to the stabilizer, using pins to keep them aligned. Then the stabilizer was attached to the fuselage.
The landing gear came next, and for the most part stock kit pieces were used. I replaced the bracing, though, to add strength to the arrangement. With this kit being all resin, there's a lot of weight resting on the landing gear, so added strength couldn't hurt. When looking at the pictures you will see some interesting things hanging on the strut. They look like sort of like radiators, but I'm not sure. It could be for some kind of cooling system, but why it was put there I have no idea. I made the piping out of wire, bent to shape and painted. Then I added brake lines and the landing gear was done.
Next up came the painting stage. I used Poly Scale paints for the RLM70/71/65 camouflage scheme. After that dried I sprayed a light coat of Future floor wax and then it was time to turn to the decals. Since there weren't very many Ar 240s out there, I stuck with the kit decals for the most part. The only one I added was the swastika and that was a tough one to find, too. In the pictures it is a large swastika, much larger than normal. I think I got mine from a 1/32 Bf109 or something. After the decals were on, I did a little weathering with a wash of oil paints. The acrylic finish of the Future really makes doing oil washes easy, and it won't attack the paint underneath. I used a mix of burnt umber and black paints, and kept the weathering down to a minimum.
The rest of the small details were then added. I used the surgical tubing for the guns and invisible thread for the antennae wire. The landing gear was attached and the wheels painted up in a dark gray. For the canopy, I have found some very nice masking material. It is called Scotchcal 220 Film. This is the same stuff that is used for Fast Frames and Black Magic vinyl masking. Check your local sign making or art supply, as many of them make vinyl signs from it. A 12’ square piece was about $3.00, and it will last a long time. It is very thin and will conform around your canopy frames. With a #11 Xacto blade, cut out the framing and spray. Glue the canopy in place and you are done.
With the likelihood of Revell scaling up their 1/72 Ar 240 being virtually nil (although if they can do Luft 46 stuff, why not?), this kit is going to be your only choice for adding one of these interesting planes to your shelves. Luckily, it's not that hard to build up, and as long as you take your time and follow the adage of "dry fit twice, glue once" there shouldn't be any problems. Thank you MPM for a nice kit, and keep them coming!
Sitting next to the Tamiya He 219 and the Monogram Bf 110G, it really looks neat. Now I'm really ready for my next German twin. When are we going to see that Monogram Do 217???