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Me 163

DML 1/48 Me 163 Komet Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2005 Manufacturer DML
Subject Me 163 Komet Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5504 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy Build Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Me 163
Me 163
Me 163
Me 163
Me 163
Me 163
Me 163

The Me 163 was the first manned aircraft which exceeded the speed of 1,000 km/h. The Me 163, characterized by its delta wings designed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch, was powered by a rocket motor developed by Hellmuth Walter who had overcome difficulties of controlling a liquid fuel rocket motor.

While having excellent controllability with it’s gliding ratio of 20:1 and it’s outstanding climbing speed of about 3.5 minutes to reach 10,000 m, landing was difficult (due to the explosiveness of the fuel and it’s corrosiveness) and the pilot had to accept high risk of this highly explosive fuel which might melt him.

Moreover, its high fuel consumption limited the time of its being airborne to a very short time of only 7 to 8 minutes. About 500 aircraft were said to be built. However, very few of these ever flew in combat and they contributed little to the war effort for Germany.

The Me 163 was basically a powered glider, and its delta wing concept gave strong influence to the designs of later aircraft like the B-58.

The kit comes in a very blousy tray and lid type box. Almost ½ of the box length is void. DML could really have boxed this kit in a much smaller box.

The box art shows a Me 163B of the 2/JG400 mixing it up with 2 P-51’s. This marking is one of the two options on the decal sheet. A side panel has 3 color photos of the finished model in this marking.

Inside the box is 4 medium gray parts trees in 3 cello bags. Also included is a brass PE fret, a tree of clear cockpit canopy parts, the decal sheet and the instructions. The brass PE and the clear parts each are cello bagged.

The instructions consist of a single sheet which accordion folds out into 8 pages.

Page one begins with a black and white repeat of the box art, followed by a history of the aircraft in 6 languages including English.

Page two begins with CAUTIONS in the same 6 languages, followed by international assembly symbol translations and a paint color chart that calls out Gunze Sangyo and Italeri brands of hobby paints to use.

The bottom of the page has the first assembly steps. Strangely, NONE of these assembly steps is numbered..

Pages 3 to 5 give the balance of exploded assembly drawings. The landing skid can be posed extended or retracted. The cockpit canopy can be posed opened or closed. The tailwheel can be built spatted or unspatted and retracted or extended. There is also a pilot figure and boarding ladder provided.

Pages 6 and 7 give two 2-view marking and painting schemes. One is for the 2/JG400 and the other is for the 1/JG400.

Page 8 has the parts tree drawings instructions for the correct method of applying the decals (again in 6 languages).

Tree letter A holds: the joystick, foot pedals, control levers, tail plane halves, pilot figure parts, boarding ladder, dashboard, fuselage bottom, wind generator boss, nose cone, landing skid parts, take-off dolly wheels etc. (38 parts) Two parts are shaded on the parts tree drawing as being excess, not needed to complete the kit.

Letter B tree holds the wings upper and lower halves and the leading edge panels. Unfortunately, the flaps are molded integrally to the wings and are not separate parts.

Too bad. (6 parts)

Letter C tree holds the cockpit tub parts, upper fuselage half and antenna post. (6 parts)

Letter D tree is the clear cockpit canopy parts and the armored glass panel that sits on top of the dashboard and the Revi sight piece. (4 parts)

Letter E tree holds parts for the landing skid, the axle for the take-off dolly, the pitot tube, 2 cannon barrels (strangely the instructions tell you to only install one cannon in one wing root hole. You should install one on each side. DML is wrong here). You also get 2 pilot seats on this tree. One is marked as being excess. My guess is that this tree is common to this kit and to DML’s other kit of the ME 163S trainer version that they market. The tailwheel strut piece is also on this tree. (10 parts)

MA & MB refer to the PE fret. Although shown as two separate frets on the parts tree illustrations, this is just one fret. It holds parts for the landing skid, canopy props (if you opt to pose it open) a canopy grab handle, the large dorsal antenna, seat belts and the wind generator prop blades (12 parts)

The decal sheet, as already mentioned, holds markings for 2 aircraft. One for aircraft number yellow 26 of the 1/JG400 and the other for aircraft number white 14 of the 2/JG400. Many stencil markings are provided too.

I won this kit in an IPMS contest raffle that I recently went to. I particularly like the Me 163 Komet, because my IPMS chapter is named after Alexander Lippisch. He lived the last years of his life here in Cedar Rapids, IA. We call ourselves “The Fartin’ Fleas” and have the 2/JG400 squadron emblem emblazoned on the back of our club t-shirts and on our baseball caps. You just “KNOW” then which decal will go on my finished model.