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Brews' Me 262-B2a


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I decided on this because it allows me to make a decent canopy as part of the conversion article, and because the photo of the built-up model shows deployed leading edge slats, which is entirely correct. I understand that this is not an optional deployment.

This is the photo in the article of the built-up model:


and this is the text of the conversion for the B-2a:



Why this one, of all the possible Me 262 conversions?

I think, mainly, apart from the canopy issue, which would also have been addressed by the B-1a conversion, is the more radical conversion of lengthening, which might well be good practice for converting HMS Ajax to HMS Exeter.

"The Messerschmitt Me 262 is one of the most interesting of the many Airfix kits to convert. The aircraft had fighter, night fighter, bomber, reconnaissance and many experimental versions developed during its brief career. In this and his next article, Alan W. Hall describes how to convert the existing kit into most of the more interesting variants. This month: how to build the Messerschmitt Me 262 B-1a/U1 night fighter."

The above is the introduction to the November 1966 article on conversion of the Me 262. As noted above, I need to start with Stages 1 and 2 of of this article, which are:

1. The fuselage halves are glued together and the nose wheel undercarriage strut is positioned according to the kit instructions. Similarly, the wing halves and engines can be assembled and laid on one side for cleaning-up operations, when dry, in between other work on the rest of the model. Humbrol body putty is used to fill any small holes and the hole for the stand strut if this is not required. Lead weights can be introduced into the nose at this stage, but can equally be added when the model is nearer completion. The weight is held in position by Plasticine.


2. Clamp the fuselage into the vice and cut away with a fret saw the fuselage spine aft of the cockpit. You will find that, by cutting this accurately, you will be left with a flat area stretching from the cockpit to the base of the fin. At the same time, file the leading edge of the fin so that an area remains for the adhesion of a small piece of balsa to change the fin shape. Clean up the rest of the fuselage and remove all excess flash and joint lines.


2. a) make the cuts as described in the Dec. '66 article.

B) make the balsa fuselage plugs as described above

3. Cut from 1/2 inch piece of balsa plank a section 5/8 inch deep and approximately 2 1/2 inches long. This is fitted into the cut-down rear fuselage, allowing an overlap forward and shaped to fit the cockpit sill. It is advisable to have the length longer than necessary as it is far easier to cut down a section than have to build it up! This section, when shaped, is glued into position and held in the vice for two or three hours. It is essential to get a good joint, as there is nothing more catastrophic than to have the wooden section come away when the model is near completion. Before putting the fuselage into the vice to set, fill the existing locating hole for the tailplane with body filler, cut out a triangular-shaped piece of balsa to fit the fin leading edge and glue this in position. Have the grain of the wood running parallel to the fuselage and check the dimensions from the plan by laying one half of the fuselage on it and tracing the area not covered by the existing fin. (Ed. How is this possible if you have already glued the fuselage halves together? )


Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Airfix Me 262A-1a kit:


The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice the "short-range torpedoes" with which this kit is equipped. These are supposed to be 500kg bombs. Looking at this arrangement of plastic, I think "why don't I do this conversion from the Revell Me 262 ... after all, if someone can use the new-tool Lancaster ..." but my eyes keep getting drawn to the finished photo of the model, and the challenge is apparent. To do something nearly as good!

The even-sharper-eyed amongst you will notice that the panel line immediately forward of the cockpit stops above the wing-fuselage join. So, what do I do? Do I make a vertical cut through the wing root? I think not. I will cut vertically down, and carve around the wing root. A little more complicated, but it should make a neater finish, shouldn't it?

Looking for photos, and found this alternative:


and this cutaway line drawing:


OK, slight deviation from suggested steps - I made the vertical cuts before the horizontal cut. I got carried away with "the end" and forgot to follow "the means". Not that it makes much difference. I do, however, disagree with the location of the horizontal cut, and that has something to do with the location of the lower canopy line as moulded on the fuselage - I think it's too low. So, I'll make my horizontal cut a bit higher.


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I cut my rear plug to a thickness of 13mm (yes, that's more than AWH noted, but I have a couple of sources that say the total length should scale out to a bit more than what AWH had). I then pencilled the outline of the fuselage onto the balsa:


... and used a chisel-shaped Xacto blade to carve it to shape, smattered the joints liberally with superglue, and butt-joined the plug between the two rear pieces, and finished off the carving with a #11 blade, mainly:


I didn't use a jig, but it looks to be aligned ok by eye:


The lower joint is the worst, as it should be!:


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I was rummaging through my kits, and found an MPM kit that was made to use the Heller parts, of which the aerials are not needed. One of the things that Allan W. Hall encouraged, the way I see it, is resourcefulness. If I choose to finish this with the antlers, then I might use the ex-Heller parts, though these are bit overscale. I do, however, like the round radome look. It reminds me of the F-94. The thing that's bugging me at the moment is the canopy, so I'll get back to work on that.

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Here is the nose mounted on the balsa:


And after drying, I test-fitted it to the rest of the fuselage, so now it's about a couple of mm too long, and I can sand that off before I put it together. It's now reminding me of a Meteor NF or a Banshee:


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This is the sort of modelling I like! Good old back to basics, with none of that fancy resin stuff.

I’ve got the Airfix 262 myself, and I must say that you’re a brave man for having a crack at it.



I have to admit, if I could have used the Heller 262B-1a/U1 I'd be streets ahead already. I also have to admit that I do like the fancy new-fangled PE and resin goodies:)

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Bedtime now:

Trying a Heller B1 canopy on for size



I opened up the undersides so I could add a realistic cockpit tub (viewable through the u/c bay:



(Of course, you can get this with the Academy (OOB) and Revell (cutting required) kits, too).


Edited by Brews
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A critical component, in my opinion, is the new canopy. this is to be smash-moulded from Acetate over the balsa master, which is yet to be filled with talcum powder and dope, and subject to final sanding. I've not made allowance yet for the thickness of the acetate. I'm not confident that I'll do that properly.

The following photos show the canopy master on its own, and juxtaposed with the Heller B-1a canopy. Note that the B-2a canopy is smaller, being optimised for night-fighter business (which means that the radar operator doesn't need as good a view as an instructor):







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  • 1 month later...
..admire your courage .....but life's too short surely....


fuselage looks to be far too long ...

The fuselage is spot-on according to the bulk of references. The fuselage length as per the article is shorter, though. I like its length. You have to remember that there has to be room in the rear fuselage for a pair of Mauser MK108s in Schrage Muzik configuration, and a decent amout of fuel.

I also enjoy cutting up the plastic, so while there is no disputing that life is too short, I'm only spending it having fun :)

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