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Messerschmitt
Me 262A-2a

 

 

Tamiya


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a be ordered online from Squadron.com

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 61082
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 144 parts in grey styrene; 8 parts in clear styrene; 1 part in cast metal
Price: USD$39.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Accurate dimensions and shape; Kettenkrad, tow-bar and three figures included; excellent surface features; high level of detail; useful options; simple parts breakdown and construction; intelligent engineering.
Disadvantages: No alternative positions for control surfaces (slats and flaps in particular); only two-gun nose offered; some shallow ejector pin marks.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

FirstLook

 

Tamiya's latest release is the first all-new 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Me 262 to hit the market in 13 years. The first variant is the Me 262A-2a fighter/bomber version with two 30mm MK108 cannon in the nose. The Me 262A-2a was also observed with four MK108 cannon, but this option is not offered in the kit.

 

Me 262A-2a In The Box

Tamiya's 1/48 scale Me 262A-2a comprises 116 parts in grey styrene, 8 parts in clear styrene and one white metal piece for the forward landing gear bay that doubles as a hefty noseweight.

The contents of this box reinforce Tamiya's reputation for superb detail, intelligent engineering and simple construction.

Panel lines are crisply engraved, while the interior features raised structural detail. This is especially important inside the fuselage, which is almost completely exposed above the open main undercarriage bay. The purpose of the structural detail (and the large locating holes) inside the engine nacelles is less obvious, but I suspect that we might see a "clear plastic" version of the kit with visible Jumo 004s in the future. Also, the inside of the forward upper engine access hatches are heavily engraved, making it a simple matter to cut these hatches open for a limited view of the jet powerplants.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The cockpit is well detailed in the usual Tamiya style, with blank instrument faces for decal dials, and a decal harness for the seat. The cockpit tub includes exterior detail for the forward and rear bulkheads plus prominent actuator rods. The cannon bay is simple in breakdown but equally well detailed. Four shell ejector ports are supplied on two separate inserts for the lower nose. The upper and lower joins for these inserts should be filled and sanded as they do not fall on natural panel lines.

The nose gear bay is a white metal part. This will ensure that no additional weight is required to prevent the model becoming a tail-sitter. One of the options is alternative nose wheels - one smooth and one with a radial tread.

Wings are supplied as a full-span lower section, and separate parts for the upper right and left halves. Flaps and slats are moulded in the closed (up) position. The interior of the wings are reinforced with moulded-on spars that run widthwise and lengthwise. These spars have been carefully designed not to intersect with the flaps or slats. This means that, if the modeller chooses to reposition the flying surfaces themselves, the wings will maintain their rigidity and correct chord even after the flaps and slats have been cut off.

Horizontal tail surfaces are keyed, ensuring positive fit. Another nice touch is the inclusion of separate, delicate trim tab actuators on the elevators.

Two 250kg bombs and two styles of bombracks are also included. An added little bonus is the optional Rocket Assisted Take-Off pods for the lower fuselage. The choice of open or closed cannon access hatches is also offered. The open option supplies a single part with both hatches fixed up, and two separate supporting struts.

The windscreen is cleverly moulded with a section of the forward upper fuselage deck. The vertical and horizontal joins both fall on panel lines. Furthermore, the internal armoured glass is a separate part that is glued to a locating pin under the front deck section. This will minimise the risk of messing up the windscreen with glue spots. The opening centre section of the canopy is similarly thoughtful. Two tabs are attached to the starboard side of the canopy to secure it in the open position. These tabs should be removed if the canopy is to be displayed closed.

 

 

Instructions are called out over 16 illustrated steps. Colour suggestions seem to be reasonable, however the interior of the cannon bay covers were RLM 02 Grey on some Me 262s, not bare-metal silver as noted in the instructions.

Markings are supplied for three Stormbirds of KG 51. I was especially pleased that the narrow borders for the coloured nose and fin caps were supplied in decal form. This will save a tricky masking job.

But wait - there's more!


 

Sd.Kfz. 2 Kleines Kettenkraftrad In The Box

In addition to the aircraft, Tamiya includes a 1/48 scale Sd.Kfz. 2 Kleines Kettenkraftrad. This was a general purpose tracked motorcycle that was sometimes used to tow various aircraft on Luftwaffe airfields. Considering the short life of the Me 262 engines, it is reasonable to expect that the Stormbird would be towed more frequently than propeller-driven aircraft. The Kettenkraftrad comprises only 29 additional parts in grey styrene.

The parts breakdown is extremely simple for this little tractor. The drive sprocket, idler wheel and centre road wheels are moulded in the centre of the tracks as a clever, single part for each side. Two additional roadwheels are added to the left and right sides to complete a simple but convincing set of running gear. In a similar feat of simplicity, the front wheel is moulded with the mudguard, number plate and Notek light in place.

This simple engineering has not compromised the crisp surface detail. Even the fabric textures of the rear seat and the folded cover are well communicated.

 

 

The towbar does not require glue, enabling the Kettenkraftrad to be positioned or removed at the modeller's whim. A set of two removable engine intake covers for the Me 262 further enhances the diorama potential of this kit.

Three figures complete the package. One is a standard Tamiya-style pilot with headgear seated in the flying position. The second figure is also a seated pilot. However, this chap is holding the canopy open with one hand, with his other arm resting on the canopy sill while he leans his head out of the cockpit. The final figure compliments this taxiing pilot as the driver of the Kettenkraftrad, looking back over his shoulder to the towed Stormbird.

 

 

Conclusion

 

In my opinion, this is the best Messerschmitt Me 262 kit ever released.

Comparisons with other kits is inevitable. Indeed, the comparisons and criticism started well before the kit was released. The most valid comparison is with the Trimaster-derived 1/48 scale Me 262 kits. The Trimaster kits were subsequently released under the labels of Dragon, DML, Revell and Italeri. I compared my new Tamiya kit with one of my small stash of Trimaster Me 262 variants. In a one-on-one shootout, the Tamiya kit narrowly wins in the detail department (with crisper surface features and better interior detail) and is clearly superior to the Trimaster kit in engineering finesse. The Tamiya kit also does not suffer from the terrible, styrene-eating vinyl tyres of the Trimaster/Dragon kits!

More importantly, having wrestled with one of the Dragon-boxed Me 262 some years ago, I just know that the Tamiya kit will be much easier to build.

Another frequent criticism of the new Tamiya kit is the absence of separate slats and flaps. Neither the Trimaster-derived nor Monogram kits had this feature either, so it is a moot point of comparison as far as I am concerned. However, it is true that most, if not all, operational Me 262s were observed with dropped slats. The after-market is certain to offer separate flaps and slats for this kit in the coming weeks, and the inbuilt spars in the wings of the Tamiya kit will make the task less complicated for the modeller.

It is almost certain that this kit is the first in a family of Tamiya Stormbirds. At the very least we can expect to see the Me 262A-1a day fighter version in the future. If you can't wait for Tamiya to release the kit, one resin manufacturer has already announced a simple conversion.

Tamiya's new 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Me 262 is well detailed, cleverly engineered and has plenty of useful options. The inclusion of the Kettenkraftrad, the figures and the intake covers all enhance the display options for this very attractive kit.

Will I be throwing out my stash of Trimaster and Dragon Me 262s? No. I won't even be selling them cheaply.

But I will be building my Tamiya Me 262 before I build them!

Highly Recommended.


Purchased with the Editor's own funds


Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 15 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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