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Me 262

Revell 1/48 Me 262A-1a Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review July 2007 Manufacturer Revell
Subject Me 262A-1a Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5499 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautifully molded with excellent decal sheet, that includes the swastika markings. Nice figures and options. Cons Tail heavy aircraft that will need the clear prop or some nose weight to sit on it's tricycle gear. Flaps molded solid.
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.99

First Look

Me 262
Me 262
Me 262
Me 262
Me 262

Jet aircraft are taken for granted today, but few people realize that the first jet propelled airplane actually flew in December of 1910. It was designed by Rumanian engineer Henri Coanda and was a truly advanced concept in several ways. It was powered by a 50 hp Clerget inline engine and is what would be called a “ducted fan” today, because the engine drove a shrouded fan that produced 485 lbs of thrust. It only flew once, when Coanda was making a high speed taxi test, but it reached takeoff speed rapidly, surprising Coanda, who wasn’t a pilot. He lost control as it lifted into the air. The little jet impacted the ground and was destroyed by fire.

In the 1930’s, the Italians experimented with the pseudo-jet ducted fans, but the first true turbojet engine was proposed in Great Britain by Frank Whittle. Unfortunately, the industry looked on the concept as impractical. Whittle patented the idea in 1930, and no further work was done. However, in Germany, the prospect of a jet engine aroused great interest and in 1936 the development of the new power plant was undertaken.

On August 27, 1939, the Germans secretly flew the first turbojet airplane. It was a surprise when the Allies were confronted by the incredible Messerschmitt Me 262 twin-jet fighter.

Today, the Me 262 is considered historically as important as the Wright Flyer in the development of aviation. It is indeed fortunate for the world that the significance of the Me 262 was not recognized fully by Hitler, and the plane was never used to it’s full capabilities. It was a remarkable weapon and did prove effective in the limited role in which it was used.

The kit contains three medium gray colored parts trees, all in a sealed cello bag. A small cello holds a small tree of clear parts. The decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents. The instructions consist of an 8 ½” x 11” format unbound booklet of eight pages.

Page one begins with the history of the Me 262, in English, followed by “Read this before you begin” instructions in English and French and a list of paint colors suggested for use to complete the kit (in same 2 languages). The bottom of the page gives a phone number and address for Revell, in case you have to contact them. The skill level of this kit, on a scale of one to three, is a two which means that it is for modelers 14 years or older and of moderate difficulty.

The parts trees are not alphabetized. They do have the part numbers molded next to the parts, but you are going to have to identify each part by comparing them to the assembly drawings. Bad move Revell. There are only about 75 parts in the kit, so this won’t be too bad.

Special features in the kit are the choice of opening or closing the gun bay in the nose. For the open option, you are to cut the doors in two that are molded in one piece. For closed, leave them be as is. There is full interior detail for this area and two prop arms to hold the doors open. However, in assembly step 8, we are shown to attach a clear support rod to the underside of the rear fuselage, so the model will sit on it’s tricycle landing gear and not tip to the tail.

It will be interesting, once I build this kit, to see if enough weight can be placed forward of the center of gravity to make it sit right. That detailed gun bay takes up quite a bit of the nose. One of the cowlings can be posed open, if desired, to show the turbojet inside, and the canopy can be cemented open or closed.

There are optional underwing rocket racks and rockets to use or leave off also. You get two figures in the kit, a pilot and a ground-crewman. Revell made a mistake and has these two guys miss-labeled. They are calling the pilot the ground-crewman and vice versa on the instructions. Finally, there are two bombs and their mounts to go under the nose as another option.

The largest gray parts tree holds: the wing halves, cowlings, the one turbojet, the main wheels, underwing rockets, nose wheel and it’s bay etc. (30 parts)

The next, slightly smaller, gray parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, more cowling parts, the bombs, cockpit tub, nose cannons and gun bay parts, Pilot’s head rest, dashboard, joystick and main and nose gear legs etc. (30 parts)

The third, smallest, gray parts tree holds: two more nose cannon, the main gear wheel well, the nose gun compartment doors, the horizontal tail piece, the underwing rocket rails, the pilot and ground-crewman figures and the bomb shackles (12 parts)

The final tree of parts in the kit is the clear cockpit transparencies. The cockpit is divided into front, center and rear sections – so it can be posed open or shut, as previously mentioned. There is a part that is a armored glass pane, that goes in front of the pilot and the clear fuselage prop. (5 parts)

The decal sheet and the instructions complete the contents.

The kit contains markings for two Me 262A-1a fighters:

  • Me 262A-1 flown by Oberfeldwebel Heinz Arnold with the III./JG 7 “Nowotny”, Parchim, Germany, March 1935, and it is believed to be the only Me 262 to display combat victory markings. On April 16, 1945, Arnold went missing on a transfer flight in another plane, his plane being out of commission on that day. Arnold’s Me 262 was ultimately acquired by the Allies and was refurbished for display (with his markings) in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum
  • Me 262A-1 of 7/KG(j) 54 “Totenkopf”, Neuburg-on-Danube, March 1945

The decal is very nicely printed and includes the swastikas for the tail. Something you don’t always see in a kit of a German WWII aircraft, and very welcome. It has a protective sheet over the face to protect it from scratching. There is a vast amount of accurate stencil markings on this sheet, in addition to the unit markings. All in perfect register.

The detail on this kit is very nice. The two figures will turn the model into a ready diorama. Although the rudder is a separate piece and can be posed as desired, the ailerons on the wings are molded solid.

I highly recommend this kit to WWII aircraft modelers.