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Me 262A-1a

Academy 1/72 Me 262A-1a/Me 262C-1a Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2007 Manufacturer Academy
Subject Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/Me 262C-1a Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12410 Primary Media Styrene
Pros New build options not before seen in other kits like an Me 262C-1a! Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $22.00

First Look

Academy Me 262A-1a
Academy Me 262A-1a
Academy Me 262A-1a
Academy Me 262A-1a

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 of the late-war modifications to the Me 262 interceptors was the addition of the R4M rocket launchers. This was little more than a wood rack that was mounted to the undersurface of the wings and could carry 12 small rockets per rack. In order to extend the aircraft's range/on-station intercept time, two external tanks were fitted under the nose, and the additional weight would usually mean a RATO bottle needed to be used to get the aircraft off the ground in the available runway length.

Academy has released a new-tool Me 262 in 1/72 scale and it has boldly gone where no mainstream kit has gone before. When I opened the box, I was puzzled why Academy would mold the tail section separate from the main fuselage. The answer to that came swiftly and rather impressively - there are two tail sections in this kit. One to render the 'standard' Me 262A-1a, and the other to provide the first-ever Me 262C-1a that I've seen in styrene.

What is an Me 262C-1a? It was the designation of one standard Me 262A-1a that had the rear of its tail cone removed and a Walter booster rocket installed. If one is good, two is better, right? Not so fast - the Germans also created one Me 262C-2 with one Walter rocket engine mounted to each engine nacelle. Can you say asymmetrical thrust? The controllability problems of this version reportedly caused a shortage of schnapps at the officer's club.

Aside from the different tails, the kit goes together the same for both versions.

The cockpit is similar in configuration to Trumpeter's magnificent 1/32 scale example and offers nice detailing in this scale.

Like other kits released of the Me 262A-1a, this kit provides optional R4M conformal underwing rocket launchers with a full suite of 55mm rockets.

Another interesting twist in this kit is one that I also haven't seen in any other mainstream release - this kit has the under nose hard points to mount external tanks, but instead of tanks, this interceptor has a pair of BR 210mm air-to-air rockets mounted in launch tubes.

The canopy can be posed open or closed.

Well, if the Me 262C-1a and BR rocket options didn't impress you, perhaps the 12 (twelve!) marking options will:

  1. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 111918, III./JG 7
  2. Me 262C-1a, W.Nr. 130186, V186, III./EJG 2, March 1945, as flown by Obstlt Heinz Bar
  3. Me 262A-1a, B3+BR, 7./KG(J) 54 'Totenkopf, March 1945
  4. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 500491, 11./JG 7, March 1945
  5. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 500491, USAAF, 'Ginny H'
  6. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 500491, USAAF, FE-111
  7. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 111591Red 13, III./EJG 2, March 1945
  8. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 111711, 711, Test aircraft
  9. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 110400, White 8, Kommando Nowotny, Nov 1944
  10. Me 262A-1a, 11./JG 7, April 1945
  11. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 11367?, USAAF, 'Jabo Bait'
  12. Me 262A-1a, <-+-, JV 44, 1945, as flown by GenLt Adolf Galland

Note that there are swastikas included on the decal sheet, but they're fragmented so they won't violate German law nor others sensitivities whilst in the box.

This kit is a simple build, but it offers options that haven't been done in other mainstream kits to date. Nice job Academy! Plus in this scale, you have room to build and display all 12 marking options in about the same space taken by one Trumpeter kit.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!