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Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Kit

Hasegawa 1/32 Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2014 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Scale 1/32
Kit Number 08237 Primary Media Styrene, White Metal
Pros Easy build Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $74.99

First Look

Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Kit
Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Kit
Me 262 V056 Nachtjäger Prototype Kit

In 1938, Project P.1065 was presented to the German high command in response to a request for concept to utilize a new type of engine - the turbojet. Three prototypes were ordered in 1940, but these were ready well before the engines, so the airframes were test-flown with piston engines. By 1942, the Jumos were ready for flight and the Me 262 took to the air for the first time under jet power. By the time the aircraft had entered production and initial quantities were available for operations, there was only ten months left in the war. To delay matters further, Hitler himself protected many US bomber crews by demanding that these aircraft be used as high-speed bombers, despite Willy Messerschmitt, Adolf Galland, and others pleading to the contrary. Thanks Adolf!

Adolf Galland was allocated some Me 262s for air defense and these went to JV 44, which used the Me 262s to attack the daylight bombing and used Fw 190D-9s to protect the Me 262s from the allied fighters that waited for these jets to return home low on airspeed, altitude, fuel, and armament. One solution to this vulnerability was to transform part of the Me 262 fleet into night fighters where they would not be as susceptable at night. Messerschmitt examined this role with V056 as a single-seat night interceptor. This configuration didn't go into production though the two-seat Me 262B was found to be a better platform with an operator focused on the radar and the pilot focused on the world outside.

Here is one of Hasegawa's early kits, the 1/32 scale Me 262A which was their seventh release in this scale many years ago. When this kit was released, Hasegawa set the bar so high on the standard of detail and quality that this subject was not challenged for several decades until Trumpeter released their first 1/32 Me 262 kit in 2005. Even so, this kit remains popular with Schwalbe modelers. In this release, Hasegawa has added a set of white metal parts for the radar antenna array on the nose and the mast on one wing. The kit is molded in light gray styrene (we've seen previous releases in other colors) and presented on four parts trees plus one small tree of clear parts and one small packet of white metal parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Gun bay with four cannons and ammo feeds
  • Positionable gun bay doors
  • Nice cockpit tub
  • Positionable canopy
  • Optional pilot figure
  • No parts included for radar equipment in cockpit
  • Nice Jumo engines
  • Removable access panel for each engine
  • Includes underwing R4M rocket launchers w/rockets
  • Positionable rudder
  • White metal FuG218/226 transmit and receive radar antennas

The kit provides marking options for two aircraft:

  • V056, W.Nr. 170056, Flight Test, 1945
  • V056, W.Nr. 170056, 10./NJG 11 Komando Welter, as flown by Leutnant Kurt Welter, 1945

The decals are nicely printed and feature a nice set of airframe stenciling and walkways.

It is nice to see this tooling still on the market for those that want a simpler build than the Trumpeter kit, but it is hard to understand how such an old and basic kit can be priced nearly as high as the much more modern (and detailed) Trumpeter offfering? With only the new antennas and none of the cockpit additions for radar included in the kit, it is a bit puzzling how this kit was so highly priced. If you look around, you'll see many of the online retailers seem to agree as street prices are much lower.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!