Wednesday, July 4

Revell 1/32 scale He-162 “Salamander” kit re-released and re-viewed

When we heard there was a new Revell kit of the 1/32 scale Heinkel He 162 A-2 kit we were pretty eager to know whether this was a new or re-released boxing of this interesting aircraft. We have since found out that it is a re-release but that is no reason to think that this isn’t a good kit – we will investigate this model to see if it stands up to Revell’s recent releases and indeed the rest of the market…
Scale: 1/32
Sprues: Four in grey + 1 transparent sprue
No. of parts: 93
Wingspan: 222mm (8-3/4")
Length: 302mm (11-7/8")
Decal versions for 2 aircraft.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

The fact that this kit is a re-issue is still good news for us – when it came out in 2004 this kit number  04723 was a breakthrough kit from Revell – Not many “modern” kits were out in 1/32 at that time – and to an extent this scale was still seen as a larger or toy like scale back then – a lot has changed – and now as the audience has gotten older and grown up and gotten back into modelling this scale has become a fast riser with lots of opportunities for making a unique kit and therefore selling more units.

 This is the same kit – even bearing the same item number. Back a few years ago this kit ceased production and a lot were sold pretty cheaply – maybe familiarity had bread contempt? A new breed of large scale kits from Hasegawa and Trumpeter had entered the market and this kit had it’s thunder stolen to a certain degree by more modern and complex kits hitting the market. This kit however was inexpensive, easy to assemble and was excellently engineered and detailed – so I am really glad Revell have dipped back into the well and re-released this gem – let’s look at the kit in detail for those who may be coming across it for the first time.
The Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger or "People's Fighter", (also called the Salamander and the “Spatz” by Heinkel themselves) was a single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft used by the German Luftwaffe in World War II. It was constructed by using some aircraft alloy but mainly a lot of wood to keep the use of metals for other more “important” projects. The '162 was designed as a cheap and easy to build but high performance fighter that younger and inexperienced pilots would be able to fly and be successful with in combat in great numbers. None of these conditions eventuated and only one unit used this fighter – it has two aircraft depicted here on the decal sheet (which is all new) but being such an advanced and futuristic looking fighter modellers have loved it.

This kit however, is even simpler than the real thing – as you slide the kit out of the end opening blue box and limited plastic bag packing which Revell is known for you realize although it isn’t a tiny kit there are only a few sprues there. All in light grey, these sprues are well detailed and surprisingly sharp in it’s features.
My kit came pretty undamaged even though there was only one bag holding it all in, but the box and the tightness of the wrapping seemed to work this time. The one transparent sprue hadn’t a flaw on it as it was inside it’s own bag – so no foul here – but I wonder if the kit was a little older and moved from place to place, shop to shop if the kit would life such an unscarred life. I hope we get more plastic bags for their kits in the future.

The surface detail is not at all over or under done but it is there where you need it. What I mean by this is there want surface detail to be had on all areas of this kite. Certainly several areas of this aircraft were made of wood and these would be sanded smooth and painted so the detail here and other areas are just right. The fuselage was metallic while the wings, rudders, ailerons, flaps, fuselage doors, & the nose are made of wood. This wood work was done by several spread out shops in the vicinity of the factories which were often underground to save them from the bombing attacks of the allies. This means that the detail on the fuselage is ok to be riveted while it is good that the wings and other parts remain smooth. It isn’t something Revell missed.
The instruction sheet is the usual comic book style Revell is known for, but the forty two steps of the construction are not jammed in there too tight and so even on the complicated internal gear they are easy to follow.  Colours are there in Revell shades and there is a multi-lingual intro and also a sprue layout to assist you.
In fact reading through this build you are surprised how very easy this plane is to make. The plastic on had isn’t scarred with the constant need to pare down a seam down the centre of every part which is a welcome change, especially on a kit that’s moulds have been around a little while now. Surprisingly actually there wasn’t much flash to be seen – especially on the parts themselves. (There is a little on the sprue trees but surprisingly not much at all to be removed on the parts really)

While we are discussing plastic it must be said that where there are internal braces displayed there are often some imperfections of sink marks on the outside of the kit. Revell are pretty good at burying these in the right places they will not be detected – but on the nose where there is internal ribbing there is a repeated row of sink marks on the outside to match – which is disappointing BUT for the fact that the marks are on the metal part of the fuselage behind the wooden nose. I guess you could say this is “stressing” of the metal. There is also the same thing on the engine bay covers which have internal ribs. This is a shame but not at all a deal breaker as they can be smoothed down pretty easily in these places.
 I imagine someone with just a little experience could tear through this build as you have the fuselage all sealed up by stage fifteen of the fourty-two stages.

I found some of these pictures at this wonderful site – they are restoring a Volksjaeger in France and the pictures are amazing, and they have given us some great insight to the quality of the kit provided here by Revell.

Below is the comparison of the landing gear showing the comparison of the good but not amazing details of the kit. What we have here is a good set of oleos as long as you add the lines associated with them. The detail in the internal wheel wells is pretty good, not as sharp as the many conversion sets which have been produced since to better this kit. But pretty good nonetheless.
The front nose gear is again pretty passable and you have the choice of using this or the Aires set – I like what is on offer here – I think that the more barriers you place for yourself in adding aftermarket the less chance you will have of making the kit. So I would use the Revell gear without a worry.

The BMW 003E-1 axial-flow turbojet was mounted in a pod nacelle above the fuselage. This fuselage is housed by clamshell doors which open or close with this kit. Like we mentioned earlier there are some easy to fix sink marks on the outside of these, but this isn’t a big deal.
The engine itself is a good representation of the original, you can either show it wand add some wiring and plumbing from the spares box which will make this look pretty lovely – alternatively you could just seal it all up! Both choices are as good and as many people will have the kit sealed up as will show it all hanging out.

The twin vertical tailfins were mounted at the ends of highly dihedral horizontal tailplanes to clear the jet exhaust. The angle as you can see here is the same as on the kit in this mini construction we have done.
You can see the shape of the tailplanes is pretty good as well..
The wings come as four separate pieces which are as simple as you like to put together - the question is do you want to drop the flaps? If you do it is simple enough to do this with some cutting and some CMK flaps - options abound - but the kit parts are great and fit nicely ( albeit with some filler for the slight gap in the wing joint)
The wheels and tyres are a good representation of the real thing, although not weighted, the originals weren’t that bulged at the bottom either.
When it comes to the cockpit the instrument panel comes in two flavours – either by using the kit part and paint it or by using the decal provided and shaving off the raised kit detail – I do think if you are going to open the cockpit you should use the raised plastic whereas if you want the canopy closed you should use the decals. They are neat but they are also very flat!
The side consoles are well detailed but you are never going to get the quality of a small run resin side wall set with a large production run injection moulded kit like this – so the choice is yours here – either do a good job of adding wired and little bits or remove all of the detail and use the replacement resin from a company like Aires who did a great job of their kit. You will need some noseweight jammed right into the front of this kit to avoid the kit trying to tail sit - you can jam it in the very end of the nose as you can see in the picture below
The seat is a passable representation again of the Heinkel ejection seat though not if you look too hard. You may (or may not) choose to remove the moulded in seatbelt details that are on the seats already - aftermarket is available for the seat and I would replace the seatbelts if I wanted to jazz I up here as well.
The guns are a pretty crude representation of the real thing and the holes for the exit of the shells will have to be either made by the modeller or simply masked and painted open – this is the quicker option as long as you can live with that. The gun bay however is excellent for a kit like this.
The canopy and transparency arrived in good order in it's own bag (phew) and the clear parts are thin and very transparent indeed - the profile shape and small rivet detail on the front of the canopy was particularly impressive to me.

Decal Choices:

He 162 A-2, Werke No.10018, "White 5", 1./JG1, Hptm. Heinz Künnecke, Leck, May 1945
He 162 A-2, Werke No 120027, "White 1", 1./JG1, Lt. Rudolf Schmitt, Leck, May 1945

From the book “Flugzeug Profile No.35 Heinkel He 162” we can see in the following two pictures taken on the 8th of May 1945 - Leck.Schmitt’s He 162 "white 1" with an open cockpit, and also luckily for us ( and the guys who designed the decals I think) the "white 5" of Hpt. Helmut Künnecke behind. It seems there was only one stop to go to for these decal choices.

The decals themselves are thin and a matt texture, printed in Italy by Cartograf they are really good down to a small detail as you can see by some examples we have here. The printing is in register and the white is not opaque.
The carrier film is little to non-existent as you can see by this picture here; the only thing that I do not like about this decal is no swastikas – but being Revell of GERMANY I suppose I can – this time - accept this choice to omit them.
This kit – like most of Revell’s large scale aircraft – goes for the ethos of large, well detailed and simple, but good platform for super detailing. Something Ohh did I mention cheap as well? At £20 this is a kit you could build very quickly or you could take your time with and detail up to the hen’s teeth. 

Taking into account all of the Luft '46 conversions for this and the great potential for a captured airfield diorama my hobby knife is getting twitchy now just thinking about it! This kit and the simplicity of construction make it incredibly hard NOT to build it.

The perfect triangle then with this kit – Being the three points of a kit that is equally detailed, easy to make and inexpensive – a great move to make this available again to the public! Well done.

Adam Norenberg

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit