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Mike

Me.262A-1a/U1 1:48

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Me.262A-1a/U1
1:48 Hobby Boss


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The Schwalbe had the distinction of being the first jet engine fighter to see active service, and was respected by the Allies due to its speed and manoeuvrability, care of the advanced axial-flow engines that burned brightly, but not for very long. It came too late with too few airframes entering service due to delays with the engines, and the German high-command's insistence that every aircraft should have a myriad of variants sporting different configurations that brought with them further delays and confusion.

The A-1a/U1 was the heavy armament Zerstörer or destroyer, with six cannon mounted in the nose, two of which were 20mm MG151s, two more 30mm MK.103, and the final two 30mm MK.108. Only a single prototype was constructed before war's end, but had it seen service it would have packed a phenomenal punch, especially as the armament was all concentrated in the nose, thanks to some careful arrangement of components, and a little additional fairing.

The Kit
If you've seen any of the other Hobby Boss kits of the 262, or indeed any kit of the 262, there will be much that you recognise here, and on opening the box you will see that there is again a highly modular configuration of the sprues to extract the maximum permutations from the toolings. Good, says I, as you just can't have too many Swallows IMHO! There are two sprues containing fuselage halves, three larger sprues, and seven smaller sprues in a medium grey styrene, two small clear sprues, a white metal nose weight, and a medium sized decal sheet. The instructions are A4 portrait in black and white on plain paper, stapled into a booklet, while the painting and decaling instructions are printed on one side of a piece of glossy paper. It was one prototype airframe, or one of three if you believe some sources over others, so wore limited schemes. One thing I noticed about the boxart is that it doesn't represent the kit in the box, which has two protruding cannon and two more faired in cannon bulges in the nose. The boxart has faired over upper troughs, and a pair of bomb carriers under the nose, none of which is in the box. Not to worry though… the stuff in the box is correct for the nomenclature.

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Construction begins with the cockpit tub, which is well detailed and provided with instrument decals for the main panel, plus the side consoles, all of which have clear backgrounds so you don't have to match paint with the rest of the cockpit. The cannon bay is next, and again there is a lot of detail packed into this area, in the shape of six cannons and their ammo feeds. The larger 30mm cannons are fitted to the rear of the bay, which sits on top of the metal nose weight, which also forms the walls of the nose gear bay. The gear leg is shown fitted at this time, along with a retraction jack and bay door, and you can choose between a simple smooth tyre or a heavily treaded one to suit yourself. A quantity of internal parts of the aircraft, such as radio gear and other equipment are placed within the two fuselage halves, which can be seen through a small hatch in the side of the fuselage if you care to leave it open. The fuselage halves are painted RLM02 inside, then closed up around the cockpit and nose gear bays.

The engines and wings are built up next, with the engine nacelles split vertically with single mouldings for the front and rear fairings, plus depictions of the front and rear faces of the Jumo 004 engines. The wings are full-width on the lower, and separate port and starboard on the upper, with some main wheel bay detail added to the gap between them before the fuselage is added along with the engines, tail, separate rudder, and the cannon bay covers, which includes optional open panels and props that sit on a central brace. The nose cone has fairings moulded in for the 20mm cannons, and the larger 30mm cannons have barrel parts, the lower of which have perforated muzzle-brakes moulded onto them, although none of the barrels have hollow muzzles. It would be well worth getting a set of brass barrels for these, as they're somewhat a focal point of this variant of the 262. A three-part windscreen and canopy is added over the cockpit, with the windscreen including a small portion of the upper fuselage, making for a nicely faired in look to the screen once complete. Main construction finishes with the main gear legs, which have separate oleo-scissor links, retraction jacks and two bay doors each, with another opening into the centreline. Two cannon shell-chute panels are added to the underside of the nose, as is the remaining nose gear cover, and that's the aircraft finished.

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As a bonus, a set of Ruhrstahl Ru 344 X-4 wire-guided missiles are included in the box, taking up two of the small sprues, and covered with some protective wrap. Although eventually cancelled, the X-4 was destined to be carried by the 262 and Do.335, but problems with guidance and the pilot splitting his attention between flying his own aircraft and a missile some hundreds of metres distant led to its cancellation before it was ever carried by the Schwalbe. These are constructed by adding stabilising wings to the body, which already has two wings moulded in, and adding a tail section. The missile is then added to a two-part pylon that mounts on the wing via two holes drilled before the wings are closed up. A task to remember if you're planning on using them. Additionally, a pair of tubular RATO pods are also included, which fit close to the fuselage centreline, just aft of the main landing gear bays. Even the advanced Jumo engines were slow to spool up or down, so the additional thrust of a pair of rocket motors would be useful to get a heavily laden 262 off the ground quickly.

Markings
As already mentioned, there was only one prototype of this variant (depending on who you ask that could be three airframes), so your options are limited if you intend to stick to real-world scenarios. Hobby Boss have opted for a hypothetical scheme however, as some of the prototype schemes can be a bit samey, I suppose. From the box you can build:

  • Einsatzkommando Schenk (E-51)3.,KG/51 'Eddleweiss', red 5. RLM82/83 spinter camo on the topsides, with faded and mottled sides, over an RLM76 underside. Red 5 on the front cowling, and bisected Swastikas on the tail.

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The decals are printed in-house, and include plenty of stencils and walkway decals, although the red dotted lines aren't used in the scheme above. Print quality is good, as is registration, but the whites of the various crosses appear a little translucent. Sourcing alternatives might be a wise idea once you've satisfied yourself of their quality.


Conclusion
Hobby Boss to a nice line in 262s at an attractive price, and this one is no exception, with perhaps the caveats of the scheme and decals to watch out for. Detail is good throughout, and it is well-engineered, with the built-in nose weight especially welcome.

Highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of
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I love these Hobbyboss 262s and this one will soon be added to the collection I seem to be amassing.

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Sorry about introducing you to the delights of WWII German aircraft Dave :blush::wicked:

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Dear Mike, hello!!

Your wonders about the differences in box art image are correct! I did painted it's box art, but it was intented for the bomber vesrion when Hobby boss people gave me the commision! Now why they change it to A-1a/U1 version using this particular image i did, i do not know!! Sorry guys...the image i painted was for the bomberMe 262 A-2a "Sturmvogel"version, that's why no guns and all th erest Mike notised!!

Edited by planeart

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