Hasegawa 1/32 Me 163B Komet Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2014||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Me 163B Komet||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||JS087||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple design, nice details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$27.99 (08504)|
The Me 163 was aptly named Komet for its ability to streak through bomber formations. Designed by Alexander Lippisch, the Me 163 was the only rocket-powered to ever become an operational combat aircraft - ever. Powered by a single HWK-109 engine, the Me 163 would take-off with a wheeled dolly which would be jettisoned after getting airborne, climb above the bomber formations, then translate any remaining power to speed before the fuel was expended. The aircraft was armed with a pair of 30mm MK108 cannons which it would use against the bombers until it ran out of ammo or energy (airspeed). The Me 163 would dive for home as a glider and land on the grass using its belly skid. In the concept of air defense, the Me 163 was the poster child for point air defense since it couldn't afford to wander far from home.
While the Komet was terrifying to see zipping through bomber formations, it wasn't operationally effective. Any malfunctions with the fuel system would usually melt the pilot. While the aircraft was faster than anything else in the air at the time, it was extremely vulnerable to fighters that would simply wait near its homebase for one to glide home. The MK108 cannons were intended for relatively close engagement which was nearly impossible for an aircraft flying as fast as the Me 163. If Germany had time to gain experience with the Me 163 and arm it with a suitable weapon, the results would have been devastating.
Here is one of Hasegawa's classic kits which was the best Me 163 in 1/32 scale for decades. Like the full-scale aircraft, the kit is very simple, presented on two parts trees plus one small tree of clear parts.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed HWK-109 engine
- Nice cockpit
- Landing skid molded extended (though you can easily fix that for in-flight display)
- Optional wheeled dolly for take-off
- Choice of faired or unfaired tailwheel unit
- Tail cone is removable to display rocket engine
- Rocket engine can be left removable (twist lock)
The kit you see here is an old boxing (kit JS087) but this kit is currently available as kit 08504 with a street price of around $25 USD. While many folks have opted for the recent Meng Me 163 kit and there is no shortage of aftermarket detail sets for that kit, I thought it might be worth a look a kit that is 1/3 the price and you can adapt the aftermarket details if you wish.