Special Hobby’s 1:48 scale Siebel Si 204D kit consists of 253 injection molded medium grey polystyrene parts on 10 sprues, 17 clear parts on one sprue, and one resin part. However, on this version of the Si 204D, only about 230 parts get used in this build. The full color instruction booklet guides assembly over 87 steps. Decals provide markings for three aircraft:
- Si 204D-1, W.Nr. 221313, SR+AU, Flugzeugführerschule C15, Luftwaffe, Bourges, France, Summer 1943
- Si 204D, DL+NT, Luftwaffe, 1945
- Si 204D, B-3 (ex-DL+NT), Swiss Air Force, Dübendorf, Switzerland, 1945-1955
Strengths: Special Hobby continues to be hitting a lot of the right notes. Their design work keeps improving, the quality of molding just keeps getting better, and they are producing interesting and unique subjects. No one here can lament, “Oh, not another -109!” The Si 204 indeed was a unique, rather unusual looking, and underrepresented subject for scale modelers. All these factors will make Special Hobby’s 1:48 scale Si 204D intriguing to a lot of folks.
The kit features recessed panel lines and rivets. Fabric control surfaces have their own distinct, slightly roughened texture, different than the rest of the skin of the plane. The parts breakdown is rather straightforward and this should be a relatively simple, hassle-free build. Most of your time, however, will be spent on the interior.
This kit might possess one of the best interiors that I’ve seen Special Hobby produce. There’s a lot of detail, and most of the parts go into the cockpit, radio operator’s station, and cabin. There’s a lot going on here, from highly detailed cabin floor and ceiling parts (both arranged to hide the upper and lower centerline fuselage seams), seat, seat frames, radio stacks, breathing oxygen bottles, and more. It’s quite engrossing! Not only is there a lot of places to look in, both fuselage doors can be displayed open – though you’ll have to cut out the originals from the fuselage and replace them with the doors provided on the sprues. The instrument panels have raised relief, but decals are intended to represent all the instrument panel dials. The landing gear and gear wells are also quite well done for injection molded parts. The all-important clear parts are very well done but could use some additional polishing to make them look even better.
The choice in paint schemes here are quite interesting, from a fairly standard mid-war trainer to a transport (DL+NT) that had Luftwaffe markings removed in May 1945 as it flew the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to Switzerland seeking asylum. As a Nazi collaborator and war criminal, his appeal was denied and he was taken into custody while the airplane was seized. The third scheme in the kit is DL+NT in postwar Swiss AF markings. The decals were printed by Cartograf and are exceptional, from their solid colors, great print quality, and highly restrained carrier film.
Weaknesses: This kit has a few weak spots to consider. There are no shoulder harnesses and lap belts on any of the seats. The wings attach to the fuselage via a single short mounting stub and gives off the vibe that it would be pretty weak. I’d make sure to use some very strong glue here. The engine exhaust stacks are flat-ended and would look a lot better if drilled out, but these have squared-off ends such that a regular pin vice would not really work.
Each fuselage side window is a separate part, and fitting them, eliminating seams, masking, and painting would likely be a bit of a tricky task. Obviously, here, follow the instructions and get that all done before the fuselage halves go together. There’s some ill-placed ejection pin markings on the inside of the fuselage that will require elimination. Some of the pour gates that attach parts (even small parts) to the sprues are pretty large, so use care when separating parts and cleaning them up.