First Look Review
Do 335 X-Planes
Dornier Do 335 X-Planes 9
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Dornier Do 335 is Osprey Publishing's ninth title in their series X-Planes. It presents the design, development, and testing of one of WW2's most advanced propeller fighters. The Do 335 is one of the most intriguing of Nazi Germany's late-war fighters, and many were flight tested after the war. Modelers have had Do 335 models since the 1960s, with Lindberg, Matchbox, and FROG offering a 1/72 kit. Then Monogram electrified the industry in 1974 and issued one in 1/48 that was the standard bearer until Tamiya's release about 20 years ago. Now they are available in 1/32, and perhaps a larger one will be forthcoming.
    Throughout the last century, one-off experimental aircraft and high-tech military prototypes have pushed the boundaries of what's possible. Authoritative and accessible, X-Planes explains the technology behind the world's most important experimental and prototype aircraft, their often dangerous flight-test careers, and how their successes and failures fed into frontline development. - Osprey

Dornier Do 335, X-Planes 9 is authored by Robert Forsyth and illustrated by artists Wiek Luijken, Adam Tooby, and Simon Schatz. Bearing ISBN 9781472828897 and Osprey's short code XPL 9, the softback book is 80 pages of content, and also available in PDF and ePUB formats. As Osprey describes the book;
    The Dornier Do 335 was conceived as a high-speed, all-weather fighter, and represented the pinnacle of piston-engined aircraft design. The Do 335 was a big aircraft, weighing just over 10,000kg when laden with fuel, equipment, and pilot, yet powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines, it was capable of reaching a maximum speed of 750km/h at 6400 meters, making it the fastest piston engine aircraft produced in Germany during World War II.

    Some forty aircraft were built between late 1943 and the end of the war, and it was intended to deploy the type as a day fighter, bomber, night fighter, bad weather interceptor, and reconnaissance aircraft, all of which were intended to incorporate the latest armament, bomb sights, communications, and radar equipment, as well as an ejector seat. Featuring archive photography and specially commissioned artwork, this is the full story of the aircraft that the Luftwaffe hoped would turn the tide of the war.

Dornier Do 335 is presented through 80 pages of six chapters
    1. Introduction
    2. Origins
    3. 'A Revolutionary Innovation'
    4. Operational Trials
    5. Ju 635
    6. Assessment and Legacy
* Bibliography
* Index

Those chapter titles are different than those presented on the Osprey website:
    Prototype Design and Development
    Flight-testing and Development
    Trial Deployment
    Conclusion and Legacy
    Further reading

Author Robert Forsyth nocks this Pfeil ("Arrow") with the assessment of the great British test pilot Lt Cdr Eric Brown, and the state of aerial warfare over Germany. Next he introduces us to Professor Claude Dornier and his incredible career. That leads to the introduction of his compelling Göppingen Gö 9, a test-bed for push-pull designs. That lead to his Do P.59 and, following the RLM interest for push-pull, Dornier's P.231.

Page 18 begins 'A Revolutionary Innovation' and what became the Do 335. A key to the blazing performance of the Pfeil was its powerplant, the DB 603A. Ground and flight testing are detailed in this chapter, including findings such as which engine afforded superior performance in single-engine flight. Internal structure and layout is presented in detail. The various armament configurations are discussed, too. Several prototypes are described in detail, i.e., Do 335 V7, V8, including Werk-Numbers; specific functions of flight-testing are discussed, i.e., V4 was used frequently for night-flying trials.

Pfeil functions are presented in an interesting serious of excerpts from a 23 May 1944 conference. Herman Göring, Albert Speer, and Erhard Milch were present and quoted. The 22-page chapter closes with an early 1945 summary of Do 335 strengths, and five (5) problems, as well as this observation;
    ...development was impeded by constantly conflicting instructions from high command as to the purpose for which the aircraft is to be used. At various times the design had to be revised for use as a fast bomber, a long-range fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft and a nightfighter.

Shades of the ME 262?

Operational Trials details the ten variants of the A-series, and five variants of the B-series. Many of the test pilots are mentioned by name, often with career details. Specific electronics and other systems are mentioned and described. Another aspect of Luftwaffe nomenclature is clarified by recounting an RLM revision to the aircraft designation system. This explains why some Do 335s are annotated with 'V' and later a 'M'. The second part of this chapter is Enter the 'B', detailing Do 335 Zerstörer development. The third part of this chapter discusses reconnaissance plans for the Arrow.

What became of the Do 335s? This chapter details many of their final flights. A whole page relates possibly the last Luftwaffe flight of an Arrow when test pilot Hans-Werner Lerche took VG PH away from the approaching Red Army to relative safety. He flew an eventful multi-day route from Rechlin to Bavaria.
    Suddenly, tracer whipped past the Do 335 from behind. I still have no idea if this welcome came from the ground or from some enemy fighter, but it made me instinctively go into violent evasive action, am the throttles forward and plunge down to almost tree-top level.
His mission concluded;
    '[A] few minutes later I landed my valuable aircraft intact...parked it nicely in front of the main building, to the surprise of the Dornier staff...

Ju 635 is the fascinating story of the proposed twin-fuselage Do 335 'Zwilling', to be built by Junkers, to be the eyes of the U-Boot.

The final seven pages of Assessment and Legacy narrate the captured Do 335s and their Allied testing after the war. Two came to America, survived testing, and went to the Smithsonian. In 1976 one was sent back to Germany and restored by Dornier, displayed at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, thence returned to America where it is on display at Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington, DC.

The text concludes with the perpetuation of 'push-pull' aircraft, and the 1976 reminiscence of aforementioned Pfeil pilot Lerche;
    The Do 335 was an unusually powered aircraft with exceptional flying qualities, and an aeroplane that bestowed on me the pure pleasure of flying, a feeling which I shall not forget as long as I live.

This remarkable text should be welcomed by modelers and historians.

Photographs, Art, Graphics
An exceptional gallery of imagery enhances and supports the text.

Some of the more remarkable images of the Arrow are
    a. Factory close-ups of DB 603 installations and plumbing/wiring
    b. A photo of a bare Arrow fuselage crosshatch with smoothing paste displays the rivet lines holding the airframe together
    c. Do 335 ejection seat
    d. Three mock-ups of the Ju 635 cockpits

Color Artwork
    1. Dornier Do 335 Instrument Panel: keyed to 24 components
    2. Inside the Dornier Do 335 M(V)13 Wk-Nr 230013 RP UP: cutaway profile keyed to 14 components
    3. Dornier Do 335 from above: cutaway planform keyed to 14 components (weapons, hydraulics, etc.)
    4. Do 335 M14 Wk-Nr 230014 RP UQ: three-view artwork of the B-2 Zerstörer prototype, Oberpfaffenhofen, autumn 1944
    5. Two-page "in-action" centerfold 'Eyes' of the U-Boats illustrating the twin-fuselage Do 335 development Ju 635 escorting and scouting for U-Boots in 1946

    I. Dornier schematic of the control system, hydraulics and compressed air canisters for the ejection seat, keyed to 60 components
    II. RLM December 1944 Do 335A-1 handbook page detailing the intended camouflage of the Pfeil
    III. Dornier 3-view concept, Do P 252/3 'push-push' Zerstörer and nightfighter

Whether for camouflage or detailing, this remarkable image bank should be welcomed by modelers and historians.

The allure of the Do 335 is still strong. Dornier Do 335 is another remarkable title from Osprey. It features text full of technical and operational detail. First-person and other accounts enrich the text. An amazing gallery of photos, graphics, and artwork support the text. I don't have anything meaningful to complain about.

Like other titles in this series X-Planes, I find this to be an enticing book that should be popular with fans of German experimental aircraft and bizarre designs. Highly recommended.

Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A text full of technical and operational detail. First-person and other accounts enrich the text. An amazing gallery of photos, graphics, and artwork support the text.
Lows: I don't have anything meaningful to complain about.
Verdict: The allure of the Do 335 is still strong. I find this to be an enticing book that should be popular with fans of German experimental aircraft and bizarre designs.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: XPL 9, 9781472828897
  Related Link: Osprey's X-Planes
  PUBLISHED: Nov 14, 2018

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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