by: Tim Hatton [ ]
As the usefulness of the Do 17 Z series bombers diminished, the airframes were modified for the night fighter role. A solid nose from the Ju 88C replaced the glazed area and in the new nose was fitted a 20 mm MG FF cannon and three 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns. Three prototypes were converted and they were designated as the Do 17 Z-7 Kauz I ("screech-owl"). The standard Z-7 was fitted with Bramo 323P-1 radial engines and had a crew of three. In comparison to the standard bomber version, the arrangement of the fuel tanks was altered by subdividing them into cells. Two cells were in the wings, with a capacity of 770 litres (154 imperial gallons) each. A third cell was placed in the bomb bay within the main fuselage, having a capacity of 895 litres (179 imperial gallons). The oxygen supply for the three man crew was reduced to nine bottles, as intercepts at high altitudes were not anticipated. Additional armour in the form of heavy steel plates was bolted to the nose bulkhead to protect the crew against frontal fire. Originally, it was planned to completely armour the crew compartment. This idea was given up as the increased weight would have reduced flight performance of an already slow aircraft. The ammunition loads for the three 7.92 mm MG 17s amounted to 3,000 rounds and 400 rounds of ammunition for the 20 mm MG 151 cannon (although some Do 17Z bombers carried a single 20 mm for ground attack missions).
The kits four grey plastic sprues are all placed in one re-sealable bag. The clear plastic parts are bagged separately. The small decal sheet is safely tucked away within the instructions. An initial look at the surface detail reveals very fine panel lines and hatches. The level of detail of the engines, cockpit parts, undercarriage, etc. looks very good.
I count around twenty eight parts to detail the cockpit. There is plenty of decent detail on the instrument panel and on the instruments on the side wall. The instrument panel has a couple of decals replicating the instrument faces. There is a couple of load bearing beams to fit again with some nicely refrained detail. The pilot seat looks tiny and the two other crewman seats has over scaled woven strap detail, but they still look impressive.
The clear plastic parts are sparklingly transparent and thin, with slightly raised framing. The one piece canopy has a clear armoured screen to add to the windscreen as well as a RT mast, a clear dome and a single machine gun to the rear. The hand operated machine guns has plenty of detail including cooling slots in the barrels. The magazines are separate parts.
The hawk eyed folk will no doubt spot the separate nose on the sprues for the Spanner Anlage infrared detection system. This is not an option with this release; Revell released this version on their Do 17 Z-10 Kauz II last year. The Revell kit has the same sprue parts as this ICM kit. The nose with this release is a much simpler affair, just containing armament. Good news if you have every fancied building a Luftwaffe night fighter, but are put off by the mass of external radar dipoles that is usually associated with German night fighters. The slimness of the fuselage of the Do 17 never fails to impress, reflecting the purpose for this typeís inception as a fast mail/passenger carrying aircraft. As well as the well detailed cockpit, there is a well detailed bomb bay to install into the fuselage. There is a bulkhead and three trusses as well as two beams and a fuel tank to fit, all of which show some lovely recessed detail. The instructions show the fitting of a payload of bombs, which is possible if the aircraft was also employed as a bomber/ ground attack platform. The bomb doors can be displayed open or closed. There is a one piece door if you donít want to see the interior of the bomb bay. There are two glazed areas in the fuselage other than the canopy. One is just behind the nose fitted in the lower fuselage; the glazing will be painted over. The other glazed area makes up the ventral gunners position. A machine gun can be fitted here.
The upper wing is one piece and the under part is two piece. The recessed detail as with the fuselage is finely done. The tail is made up of left and right both horizontal tail surface are made up from two pieces as are two the vertical surfaces. All the control surfaces: ailerons, elevators and rudders are separate on piece items, so they can be posed at whatever angle you like. The surfaces have slightly raised lines replicating the ribs under the stretched fabric. The trailing edges are nice and sharp. There are actuator arms for the elevators.
The breakdown of the nacelles is interesting. The undercarriage bays are built onto the wing, then the nacelles are built around the bay. The actuating arms of the undercarriage are built into the bays before constructing the nacelles. The rest of the undercarriage can be completed later in the construction process. There is some good raised detail on the forward firewall and on the walls of the nacelles. Another firewall or bulkhead is located forward of the firewall in the undercarriage bay. The engine bearers are mounted on this. The radial engine has the cooling vanes replicated on each cylinder. The separate exhaust and pushrods is a nice touch although Iím not sure about the look of the cowl bracing. It looks too much like a wagon wheel cart. I thought the bracing was staggered along the crank case. There is a little flash to clear from the braces. The covers around the engines are made up from two pieces, with a couple of separate air intakes to add to each. The final illustration in the instructions shows the panels in an open position too show of the engine detail. this arrangement with the panels open is not referred to during the build process. The propellers are one piece with separate spinners. The prop blade edges are nice and thin.
The undercarriage looks straightforward enough. The detail is good and highly inflated looking tyres have a tread. The tail wheel is a one piece affair that is fitted before the fuselage halves are joined.
The A4 format instruction manual and paint guide takes you through 77 stages to build this Do 17 Z-7 Night fighter. That seems a lot though it does make for uncluttered illustrations, so you should not miss a thing.
Decals & Marking Options
The decals are on a small sheet just containing the national insignia, code numbers, squadron badge, instrument panel faces and three stencils. There are no Swastikas. The decals are pretty matt with good colour definition
There are two marking options both in overall black. The options are:
●Dornier Do 17 Z-7, R4 HK, I./NJG 2, Gilitze-Rijen, Autumn 1940
●Dornier Do 17 Z-7, R4 FK, I./NJG 2, Gilitze-Rijen, Autumn 1940
This is a very good looking 1/72 scale kit from ICM. The clean lines of the Do 17 Z-7 and the overall black colour will make an interesting addition to your model aircraft flight line. Itís great to see companies like ICM exploring aircraft types the way they do.