Model of the month August 2023 Do 17

The flying pencil … The Dornier Do17

From Original to scale model

A significant part of the collections of the air museum Hannover – Laatzen are the more than 1000 scale models , mainly built in the international scales 1/72; 1/48 and 1/32.

That true to original miniature models enable the spectators of museum history an overview , not only at a single sample. Mostly that is the only possibility for having a view on that specific plane,as no original is available any more. Also it is possible to have a glance at development history of aviation by showing timeline and a direct comparison. Even the precision and craftsmanship of the handicraft is worth to see them.

The Dornier Do 17 Z with Bramo radial engines was the most manufactured version of the Luftwaffe's standard fighter aircraft at the beginning of the Second World War, with over 800 units produced. Exhibited in the museum in 1/72 scale, this model was built by Siegfried Fricke, Hanover.

Today in our “Model of the Month” series we are introducing you to the twin-engine Dornier Do 17 fighter aircraft from 1934; It was developed in parallel from 1932 as a mail plane for Deutsche Luft Hansa, but military use was the main focus. In fact, the Do 17 was the Luftwaffe's standard bomber and reconnaissance aircraft in the first year of the Second World War.

The models:     closed loop


The Original:   The “Flying Pencil”

In November 1934, the Do 17 prototype took off from the ground. The twin-engine shoulder-wing aircraft impressed with its clean lines and particularly slim fuselage, which earned the machine the nickname “Flying Pencil” when viewed from the side. Deutsche Luft Hansa tested the type as an express mail aircraft, but showed no interest beyond three examples despite its excellent performance characteristics. Even more so was the second German air force, which was currently being set up: they were looking for a high-speed attack aircraft for bombing and reconnaissance missions and Dornier had strongly encouraged construction in this direction.

A Do 17 E of the German Air Force still in the pre-war camouflage scheme. This type also flew in the Spanish Civil War. Like the example from the P series, this model was also created in Siegfried Fricke's workshop for the museum's collection.

The aircraft factory founded by Claude Dornier was already internationally renowned at this time. With the world-famous flying boats Do 'Wal', 'Superwal' and Do 'X', the land-based commercial aircraft such as the 'Komet' and 'Merkur' and multiple world records and pioneering flights, but also military aircraft such as the Do 23, there was enough expertise to... To build an all-metal multi-purpose model for a three to four man crew at the highest technical level.



This was impressively demonstrated at the International Alpine Tour for Military Machines in Switzerland in 1937, where the Do 17 won various competitions. In the meantime, series production had started with the E and F series and the Air Force transferred some machines to the Condor Legion, which were very successful on the Spanish national side in the civil war despite their moderate bomb load of 1,000 kg and at the same time brought valuable technical and tactical insights.

The P series was the Do 17 long-range reconnaissance aircraft, which was used at the front until the middle of the war. Continuous and hand-held cameras, together with the crew's observations, provided indispensable information about the situation.


A characteristic feature of the Do 17 was the explicitly planned variation in the engine. While the prototype and the first series E and F each flew with two BMW VI 12-cylinder in-line engines, the Z series, which is the largest in number, switched to two Bramo 323 Fafnir 9-cylinder radial engines in order to give the export version '215' with Daimler Benz DB 601 again installed 12-cylinder in-line engines. Significant numbers of machines were delivered to Bulgaria, Finland and Romania as part of arms aid and to Yugoslavia. However, the planned license production there was lost during the war and the German occupation.

Another model of the most popular Z version, seen diagonally from the front. The flowing lines of the original and the largely glazed bow .


 As with other German aircraft types, the Battle of Britain in the late summer of 1940 also brought about a turning point in the career of the Do 17. In the Blitzkrieg over the first twelve months of the war, like the He 111, the Me 110 and Ju 87, it had shown itself to be a superior weapon in the intended role of cooperation with the army units in regional operational areas and was almost mystified by propaganda. Yes, the Luftwaffe, its crews and aircraft were considered “invincible”. But now, in a strategic offensive across the sea, they encountered a prepared, equal opponent who had all the tactical advantages. In this indecisive struggle over southeast England due to sheer aircraft losses, the Luftwaffe and its spearhead, the Do 17, were unable to achieve their goals; the RAF asserted itself and its air supremacy over the island. At least as serious as this failure were the losses of peacetime trained crews, which could never be compensated for during the course of the war.


Night hunting


The night fighter Dornier Do 17 Z-10 'Kauz II', with impressive details built for the Aviation Museum by Harald Steiner, Langenhagen.

The machines of this series, painted midnight black, had a fixed nose with heavy armament. The few examples used were successful against British night bombers, but were very vulnerable to the accompanying long-distance night fighter DH 'Mosquito'. Like other types, the Do 17 was consequently withdrawn from the first line and used in secondary theaters and types of operations. And it was given to the aforementioned allied air forces, which continued to use the model as bombers against the Soviet Army until the middle of the war. The Luftwaffe itself used conversions together with new series of the type in addition to reconnaissance as courier machines, night fighters and even as towing machines for cargo gliders. A fundamental revision of the design resulted in the considerably more powerful model Do 217, which came to the operational units from 1941 onwards - but that is a different story...


Data sheet Dornier Do 17 Z-2

 Length: 15.80 m// Wingspan: 18.02 m// Max. take-off weight: 8,500 kg// Bomb load: max. 1,000 kg// Defensive armament: max. 6 x 7.9 mm machine guns// Crew: 4// Drive: 2 x Bramo 323 Fafnir 9-cylinder radial engine, each with 950 HP// Range: approx. 1,300 km// Speed: 410 km/h// quantities built: approx. 800 (all versions total: approx. 2,050).

The bottom view shows the closed, four-part bomb bay. The floor pan with a machine gun stand adjoins the bow. Placed in front of the model is one of a maximum of four 250kg bombs from the Do 17. A few years later, the British Lancaster bomber carried six and a half times the bomb load, the US B-17 carried almost eight times the load at 7,850kg.

Were we able to arouse your curiosity? Then visit us in the Aviation Museum - over 40 original school, fighter, passenger and sports aircraft, helicopters and gliders, a large engine and turbine department, and around 1,000 scale models are waiting for you!