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Me 262A-1a

Academy 1/72 Me 262A-1a/A-2a Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2016 Manufacturer Academy
Subject Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/A-2a Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12542 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, retains Me 262C-1a parts option Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $27.00

First Look

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 reissued their Me 262 kit in 1/72 scale and it had boldly gone where no mainstream kit has gone before. When this kit was first released in 2007, it was the first production kit to offer an option for the rocket-boosted Me 262C-1a version, and this same tooling is in this release as well. 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 mess.

Aside from the different tails, the kit goes together the same for both versions. Five to eight grams of ballast is required in the nose to keep this model from being a tail-sitter.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nice cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of A-1 (four-gun) and A-2 (two-gun) gun hoods
  • Choice of Me 262A and Me 262C tails (C-model not featured in this release)

Armament options include:

  • R4M conformal underwing rocket launchers with a full suite of 55mm rockets
  • BR 210mm air-to-air rockets mounted in launch tubes
  • Bombs are included but not used in the subjects provided

This release offers five markings options:

  1. Me 262A-1a, White 4, 'Kommando Nowotny', 1944
  2. Me 262A-1a, W.Nr. 110956, White 17, 1945, as flown by Obstlt Heinz Baer
  3. Me 262A-1a, White 3, JV 44, 1945, as flown by GeneralLeutnant Adolf Galland
  4. Me 262A-2a, 9K+BN, 5./KG(J) 51, 1944
  5. Me 262A-2a, W.Nr. 170096, 9K+BH, 1./KG 51, 1944

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!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!