Revell 1/32 He 162A-2 Volksjäger Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||February 2005||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Subject||Heinkel He 162A-2 Volksjäger||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||4723||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Great detailing, especially in the wheel wells, excellent instructions||Cons||Flight control surfaces are molded in-place|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$30.50|
Towards the end of World War II, the Germans wanted to mass-produce a jet fighter that made little use of strategic materials (e.g. aluminum), made use of the available jet engine (BMW-003A-1) and would be simple to fly. Heinkel was able to achieve a number of amazing feats that have never before or since been accomplished with a jet fighter.
First, Heinkel was able to get a prototype flying in 69 days after project initiation. While the fuselage did employ metals in its construction, the wing was wood. And due to the Allied bombing campaign against industrial targets, Heinkel designed the He 162 to be built in components around the country, then assembled underground before being pressed into operations. In three months in early 1945, 116 of these aircraft were delivered.
Despite Heinkel's amazing feat in design and production, the war was nearly over. Fuel resources were scarce and experienced pilots were even more scarce. Many of the pilots that flew these new fighters had little flight time in piston-engined fighters, so they didn't have the practical experience to employ the aircraft and survive.
Most of the aircraft would be assigned to JG 1, the 1st "Oesau" Fighter Wing and despite its late entry into the war with little available fuel or experienced pilots, the He 162 was credited with a few kills prior to the war's end.
This kit was been anticipated by many modelers ever since it was first announced a few years ago. The Volksjäger was a small aircraft and with the renewed interest in 1/32 scale, Revell was able to turn out a nicely detailed kit that still won't take up much shelf space after construction.
The kit is molded in light blue-gray styrene, and features nicely scribed details throughout. The kit is presented on four trees with 90+ parts plus a small tree containing the clear transparencies. The instructions in this kit are obviously a result of many years of technical drawing experience coupled with international audiences. The illustrations are very clear with every part clearly defined and even the appropriate color assigned in each step. Many other companies turn out great models but suffer in the instruction department. The Revell instructions are simple and unambiguous.
While the He 162 was a simple aircraft, Revell didn't scrimp on detail in their kit design. The cockpit is well-detailed (though I imagine we'll see some aftermarket sets to dress this area up further) and one of the gun bays can be positioned open.
The He 162 had some interesting up-lock mechanisms for the main landing gear up inside the main wheel wells and Revell has definitely spent some time here. The detail in the wheel wells is very nicely done, so you'll want to consider parking your model on a mirror or other reflective surface.
Some of you will remember the nice BMW engine that was the centerpiece of the TriMaster 1/48 He 162 kit. Revell has done a very nice job on this engine as well. Nevertheless, the more detail-oriented modeler will want to get a few photos of the actual engine and add some wire to represent the plumbing and wiring on the engine which will look very nice in this scale.
The engine nacelle doors can be positioned open or closed. If you happen to have a set of Trimaster's old photo-etched hinges, you can hinge these doors to open and close, depending on the show or display that you're doing.
Despite the small size of the completed model in 1/32, Revell has designed this kit to be built with the landing gear up or down, something we don't see very often in kits these days. Likewise the canopy is also designed to be positioned open or closed.
Markings are included for three examples:
- He 162A-2, W.Nr. 120074, Yellow 11, 3./JG 1, Leck/Holstein, Germany, May 1945
- He 162A-2, W.Nr. 120077, Red 1, 2./JG 1, Leck/Holstein, Germany, May 1945
- He 162A-2, W.Nr. 120072, Yellow 3, 3./JG 1, Leck/Holstein, Germany, May 1945
Since this kit was produced in Germany, there are no swastikas included for the tail. You're on your own for this detail.
Revell has turned out a very nice kit with this He 162A-2 Volksjäger. It is very nice to see Revell returning to their 1/32 scale roots and wouldn't it be grand to see more kits (or even re-engineered Revell classics) released with this state of the art in detailing! This kit is definitely recommended!