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Me 262A-1/A-2

21st Century Toys 1/18 Me 262A-1/A-2 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2007 Manufacturer 21st Century Toys
Subject Me 262A-1/A-2 Scale 1/18
Kit Number N/A Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent desk or 'hanging' model for the adult or young aspiring aviator. Nice finish and detailing Cons Movable features are impeded by paint
Skill Level Novice MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2
Me 262A-1/A-2

21st Century Toys released this interesting subject in 1/18 scale, the Messerschmitt Me 262A-1/A-2. In this scale, the model is large and impressive. As with their past offerings, 21st Century Toys offers some interesting working features as part of their design, though this release has a few issues.

The aircraft is protected by their usual excellent packaging that ensures the model will reach you in mint condition. With all of the wire ties used to secure the components to the transport tray, I didn't even bother with trying to untwist all of those wires. Out came the wire cutters and in a minute, the tray was cleared of parts. There is a pouch of screws, caps and small details under the tray that might get missed with the cardboard cover under the black tray. You'll definitely be needing these!

Look at the instructions carefully as this beast does not go together intuitively. You'll screw the two wing halves together, then add the centerline beam that also carries in inboard main gear doors to the interior of the main gear wells. The completed wing assembly then attaches to the fuselage with four screws, then the resulting holes are capped over with color-matched caps. Assembly didn't take long, but as I said above, there are a few issues.

This model is designed with the following features:

  • Movable ailerons
  • Movable elevators
  • Movable rudder
  • Movable leading edge slats
  • Movable trailing edge flaps
  • Retractable landing gear
  • Opening gun bay doors
  • Opening canopy
  • Posable pilot figure
  • Optional rocket (RATO) bottles
  • Optional external fuel tanks
  • Optional bombs

So what are the issues? Well, with any model this complex, there is a risk of complications that most of 21st Century Toys' releases avoid. To keep the the model from appearing like a toy, the engineers have worked hard to keep any gaps to a minimum and this they did well - too well. When they did their fit checks of the production prototypes, I am sure everything worked well, but with the additional thickness of their paint, the hinges are VERY tight.

In fact, the inboard main gear doors wouldn't move at all (willingly) and both broke away when attempting to lower the main gear.

The nosegear down-lock is simple snap to lock post that works well. The main gear use a different technique that might have been fine without paint, but once I locked the gear down, I doubt that I'll be able to release the locks again without breaking something. If you run into the same thing, make a decision to keep the gear up or down and leave them there. I did try to lock the main gear down without pushing the lock completely onto the main strut post, but it didn't take much sideload the cause the lock to unlock.

The remaining working features all work, though they will need to be carefully manipulated until the paint on the hinges wears away enough to make movement a little less work.

The aircraft is configured as a gun fighter with four 20mm cannons under those opening gun doors and you'll find some nice detailing in there as well as inside that cockpit.

As many of you know, the main difference between the Me 262A-1 and Me 262A-2 is its gun fit. The A-2s were typically armed with only two cannons whereas the A-1a were armes with four. The reduction in guns and ammo helped to compensate for the load of bombs that Messerschmitt was forced to add to create Hitler's Sturmvogel.

While the A-2 had external hardpoints under the nose, some fighter A-1s were also equipped with with plyons to carry external fuel to extend the aircraft's short range. To compensate for the additional weight, these aircraft could also employ RATO bottles keep the aircraft's take-off run from being measured in miles. This model provides you with the bombs and pylons of the A-2, the external fuel tanks, and the RATO bottles to configure your Me 262A any way you'd like.

While I've pointed out the paint in the hinges, let me also point out the nice paint job on this model. SOme of you will recognize the airplane - this is the Me 262A-1 that was beautifully restored and put on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. You can see just how well 21st Century Toys recreated the paint scheme with our photo walk around of the full-scale aircraft here.

This is another nice looking release. I wish there was a simple way to dismantle the model and clean those hinges, but if you're careful, you shouldn't have any problems.

You can find these at any one of the retailers listed on the 21st Century Toys website.

My sincere thanks to 21st Century Toys for this review sample!