Building the Dornier Do 31 E3, S/VTOL from Planet models

1/72 scale

by John Horst © 2009 Modeler Site

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This programme goes back to the year1959. In 1962, the Federal Ministry of Defence awarded Dornier a design contract for the Do 31 V/STOL transport aircraft. Under this experimental programme, the production programme covered a small and a large hovering rig for for studying design principles, an airframe for structural testing, and a systems test stand for hydraulic and electric systems. The two test aircraft Do 31 E1 (without lift engines) and E3 were successfully tested between 1967 and 1970.



The Do 31 was equipped with two Rolls Royce Pegasus 5-2 lift/thrust engines rated at 7000kg of thrust each which provided power for cruising flight as well as lift during take-off and landing via vectored nozzles. To support the cruise engines in hover flight, a total of eight Rolls Royce RB-162-4D, rated at 2000kg of thrust each, were installed in nacelles at the wing ends. By tilting the cruise engine nozzles, the Do 31 was accelerated to the speed of appr. 250 km/h required for aerodynamic horizontal flight, and the eight lift-producing engines were stopped again after 20 seconds.

The Do 31 E3, which established several FAI world records during its ferry flight to the 1969 Paris Air Show, was the first and so-far only vertical take-off transport jet built in the world.

Technical Data





Wing span


Wing area



Rolls Royce Pegasus 5-2 2x7000kg

Rolls Royce RB-162-4D 8x2000kg

Empty weight


Max. take-off weight


Maximum speed

750 km/h

Cruise speed

700 km/h

Climb speed

19,2 m/s

Service ceiling




Actual location

Do 31 E1 Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen, Germany

Do 31 E3 Flugwerft Schleißheim (Deutsches Museum, Munich) Germany


I could find 2 models from the Do31 in 1/72 scale, one from Lüdemann, a German manufacturer and the other from Planet, a Czech manufacturer. Both were cast in resin with vacuum formed cockpits, the Planet kit includes a white metal landing gear.

Assembling the Planet kit

I have started with the elevator.


To fix the elevator, I’ve used a 0,9mm wire.
To join the fuselage together, I made a brass form to drill exact wholes for the fixing pins.

The same was made for the wings and nacelles.


Now to the nacelles for the cruise engines, there’s a mistake in the Planet vectored nozzles, 2 lamellas are missing. I was too lazy to add the missing 2, sorry. The vector nozzles are rotary on 120 degree



The air intakes were painted Alclad Chrome, the nacelles Alclad Airframe Aluminium and some weathering with Tamiya Weathering Master.



The nacelles for the lift engines were painted Alclad Dural Aluminium (front and end),

Alclad Airframe Aluminium and Tamiya Gun Metal.

The fuselage was painted Tamiya Flat Aluminium.


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