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Shar2

Messerschmitt Me-262 B1a/U1 Nightfighter. 1:32

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Messerschmitt Me-262 B1a/U1 Nightfighter

Revell 1:32

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Several two-seat trainer variants of the Me 262, the Me 262 B-1a, had been adapted through the Umrüst-Bausatz 1 factory refit package as night fighters, complete with on-board FuG 218 Neptun high-VHF band radar, using Hirschgeweih ("stag's antlers") antennae with a set of dipole elements shorter than the Lichtenstein SN-2 had used, as the B-1a/U1 version. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single-seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945. However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Sau methods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable, many pilots made their first jet flight in a single-seater without an instructor.

 

Despite its deficiencies, the Me 262 clearly marked the beginning of the end of piston-engined aircraft as effective fighting machines. Once airborne, it could accelerate to speeds over 850 km/h (530 mph), about 150 km/h (93 mph) faster than any Allied fighter operational in the European Theatre of Operations.

 

The Me 262's top ace was probably Hauptmann Franz Schall with 17 kills, which included six four-engine bombers and 10 P-51 Mustang fighters, although night fighter ace Oberleutenant Kurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitoes and two four-engine bombers shot down by night and two further Mosquitoes by day flying the Me 262. Most of Welter's claimed night kills were achieved in standard radar-less aircraft, even though Welter had tested a prototype Me 262 fitted with FuG 218 Neptun radar. Another candidate for top ace on the aircraft was Oberstleutnant Heinrich Bär, who claimed 16 enemy aircraft while flying the Me 262.

 

The Model

With the issue of the extremely well thought of Me-109’s and Fw-190, Revell have now released another in their series of new mould 1:32 kits in the form of the Me-262 B1/U1 Nightfighter. Now while the kit is new and a great replacement for their venerable kit from 1971, they still insist on using the horrible end opening boxes, which, if it wasn’t so packed with plastic would collapse the minute you put it in the stash. Inside the box there are eleven sprues of grey styrene, two of clear styrene and a mid-sized decal sheet. The parts are very nicely moulded with some good surface detail, no signs of flash around the parts, although there is a bit on the sprues, no other visible imperfections and only a few moulding pips.

 

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The build begins with the front cockpit tub, which is made up of separate side consoles, and side sections of the seat area, rear lower bulkhead, battery tray, floor, which is fitted with the joystick and control cable run. The circuit breaker panel on the right side console is then attached, followed by the three piece rudder pedal assembly and instrument panel. The cockpit assembly is then attached to the front bulkhead. The front section of the rear cockpit floor is attached to the rear bulkhead of the front cockpit, followed by the separate side consoles, rear bulkhead, along with both seats, which are provided with decal seat belts and which you may wish to change for aftermarket etched or cloth belts for added realism. Both cockpits are then enclosed with the two sidewalls, making the structure strong and ready to fit into the fuselage.

 

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The Neptune control box and screen is assembled and put to one side, whilst work continues with the assembly of the gun bay and nose wheel bay. The gun bay floor is attached to the rear bulkhead and the nose bulkhead attached to eh floor. The nose wheel bays sides are fitted to the underside, whilst the ejector chutes are attached to the floor itself. The four cannon and fitted, with their barrels slid through the sub-bulkhead attached to the floor. The ammunition runs are then fitted, followed by two stays between the sub-bulkhead and the rear bulkhead. The instructions say that you will need 15g of weight fitted into the space just forward of the gun bay. I would probably add a little bit more jsut to make sure it’s not a tail sitter, but not too much as the undercarriage legs may not take the strain.

 

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The gun bay assembly is then fitted into one half to the fuselage and enclosed with the other half. The cockpits surround is then attached, as is the rear cockpit instrument panel into the upper fuselage and the Neptun radar set and its bracket. The cockpit assembly is then fitted from the underside, where the wings will later fit, followed by the underside cross-members, oxygen bottles, electrical boxes, and control rods. The front and rear spars are joined together by longitudinal bulkheads and attached to the lower wing section which has been fitted with the outer wing panels. The two upper wing sections are fitted with the two flap sections, each of which can be posed extended or retracted, as can each of the two piece ailerons and single piece actuators. The spring loaded slats are also provided as separate parts so that they can be posed extended, their normal position on the ground, or retracted, when in high speed flight. The completed wing assembly is the fitted to the fuselage assembly and it’s becoming to look like a plane now.

 

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Whilst you do get most of the engines in the kit, Revell have decided to keep things simple, and therefore cheaper, but not providing a separate engine, or engine covers, so if you want to show off an engine, which will need to be further detailed by the modeller, will also need the separate covers to be cut out. The intakes are made up from the intake surround, internal intake section, bullet fairing and compressor face. The rear section is made up from the exhaust outlet, built, rear stator and rear engine face. The centre section of the engine comprises of fore and after sections split horizontally glued together with a centre wing. With the three sections glued together there are five ancillary parts to fitted, before the nacelle halves are attached covering any engine detail fitted. The front and rear fairings are then attached then each nacelle is glued to their respective positions on the wings.

 

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The tail feathers are then assemble, each of the horizontal surfaces are in upper and lower halves, as is the rudder, whilst the elevators are single piece items.  Once assembled, they are glued into position along with the separate rudder trim tab. Moving right forward the gun bay panels are attached. If you want to pose these open you will have to cut them in half longitudinally and scratch build a couple of struts. Moving on to the undercarriage, each of the nose wheel is made up from inner and outer wheels with  alternative tires and with separate hubs, which will certainly aid painting, these are then glued to the axle on the leg. The main wheels come as two halves and are glued to the main wheel legs, The mains also have separate scissor links which appear t be a little too wide open, with the inner piston of the leg too extended as if it was taken from an empty museum aircraft. You may wish to change this by reducing the piston length and altering the rake of the scissor link. The undercarriage is then fitted to the model, followed by their associated doors, which will need to be split at the appropriate points as they are moulded as one for those who wish to build their model with the undercarriage up, followed by the door retraction jacks and undercarriage actuators.

 

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The front windscreen is fitted with a support bar and gunsight, as well as the internally mounted armoured windscreen before being attached to the fuselage. The front and rear canopies are also fitted, and can be posed either in the open or closed positions. Under the nose the bomb racks are attached and fitted with the two, two piece drop tanks.  Under the tail section there is a fuel dump tube fitted, whilst at the nose the two Neptun aerial arrays are attached and finished off with the nose cone. Finally the slats are attached, along with the DF aerial, VHF aerials and the clear navigation light covers.

 

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Decals

The medium sized decal sheet provides options for two aircraft.

 

  • Messerschmitt Me-262 B1a/U1 “Red 12” 10./NJG 11, Schleswig, May 1945
  • Messerschmitt Me-262 B1a/U1 “ Red 8” 10./NJG 11, Schleswig, May 1945

 

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The decals are nicely printed, with good opacity, in register and slightly matt. There is quite a bit of carrier film between the Balkenkreuz lines as well as number 12 markings. Naturally there are no decals for eh swastikas, so these will need to be sourced by the modeller. The markings were researched and designed by AirDoc.

 

Conclusion

This looks like it will build into another great kit. Revell really have upped their game with the latest releases of 1:32 aircraft. Being nicely detailed, there is still plenty of room for those who want to really go to town on it, yet easy enough for the intermediated modeller to have a go at and get some good results, the price point is also worth considering as it is half the price of a similar Trumpeter kit.

 

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Review sample courtesy of
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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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Did you test fit any of the parts? There have been significant fit issues reported with Revell aparrantly tweaking the molds after the last test shot. The tweaking meant none of the fuselage bulkheads fit that well leaving a gap top and bottom on fuselage join.

 

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