Wednesday, May 1

Review: Eclipse Model Design's 1/32 Me 163B Komet SG 500 'Jagdfaust' conversion

Eclipse model designs
has added a brand new reason to dig your old 1/32 scale Me-163 Komet out of the stash – you can make it unique by adding their latest resin conversion set – the Jagdfaust 500 rocket pods -  look out 8th air-force!

Product no: EMD A32007
Instruction booklet
2 x grey resin parts +1 x clear resin
Clear templates
National marking Masks from Miracle Masks

Late WWII, the skies over Europe: With the closing speed of the latest Jet and rocket fighters increasing rapidly on their bomber targets – leaving the pilots not time to attack effectively without slowing down and thus losing the advantage their new propulsion granted them – the German scientists looked for ways to effectively use the speed of the fighter with the massive firepower of rockets to down the large enemy bombers – thus came the weapon they called the Jagdfaust - “Fighting fist”

This was a section of four single-shot, short-barrelled 50 mm (2-inch) Panzerfaust anti-tank type weapons in a pack that could be easily installed as a complete unit into both wings of the aircraft. Firing vertically and triggered by a photoelectric cell which triggered the weapon whenever it passed under a dark shadow - the disposable gun barrel that fired it was ejected downwards, so making the weapon recoilless.. I wonder if anyone ever forgot and opened an umbrella above the wing by accident?

So in the box you get:
Two resin plugs representing the Jagdfaust 500 weapons
A clear resin optical sensor
A positioning template in clear acetate
Three sets of Miracle Masks for one aircraft’s national markings
A double sided 7-page colour instructions for both the resin and masks
Ahh that box – the box indeed is small, and your A4 instruction booklet – (all seven pages of it) needs a bit of folding to get it in there, and this bends them and the acetate template a little too much for most people’s tastes. Eclipse has always wanted to use a larger box for this conversion, and I can say that now they have been able to replace this smaller cramped box with a larger cardboard mailing box with internal dimensions of 193 x 100 x 25mm – so there will not be so much folding of your precious new conversion.

This set of two resin stubs (one for port and on for starboard) representing the Sondergerät  500 Jägerfaust is provided to fit straight into the wing of your Hasegawa 1/32nd scale Me-163B rocket fighter kit. These are marked “Port” and “Stbd” – just remember port is on the left guys!

The resin is very well cast with no bubbles and no real excess resin where it shouldn’t be. The team of Mr Bradshaw and Grey Matter (who cast the resin parts of these kits) is one of the better combinations out there and the casting is top notch.You are given as well a clear part of resin to replicate the transparent optical trigger sensor; it is tiny and clear so just make sure you do not lose it when opening up the box.

There has been a fair bit of speculation about the location and the layout of these rockets and the optical sensor, and a film recently discovered of the Brandis airfield where the Jagdfaust equipped aircraft were captured on film. It shows that the locations specified by Eclipse are spot on in their estimation of both the rocket pods and the photo optical trigger. (There are many threads as to where these should go on internet forums – I have read them all and after all this reading I can say that they are indeed correct in the placement of the conversion)
And some stills as well to better show you

These are captured in the instructions as well..

There is a helpful acetate clear template which you simply tape to the wing, then mark your co-ordinates to cut the kit wing part out – I would say the old adage of carpenters – “measure twice- cut once” when it comes to this type of surgery – it is good to have this as a template to ensure you don’t go crazy with the knife.
One idea I would float is that maybe you could use one of these masks included in the kit for a template? If it had the pod part cut out that may be a good idea for the future.

The A4 double sided instruction manual is comprehensive to say the least – they take you through the process of cutting out the original parts and inserting the resin as well as the application of the masks for the national markings. Packed with heaps of pictures, they leave you in no doubt as to what to do with this conversion kit.
Last but not least in this pack are the four sheets of masks supplied by the well-respected Miracle Mask Company. Mal the proprietor knows his stuff and he has done a great job here of including every marking you would need to represent a Me-163 – though individual markings for the aircraft aren’t included and it may be a little bit of artistic licence or guesswork on the modeller’s behalf. The instructions talk a little about the colour schemes you may use on the aircraft and as Eclipse couldn’t be sure they have not included individual markings. It would have been nice to be supplied with a guess in this package though. That would be what I would add to this set.
The paint masks are supplied for the upper wing white outline Balkenkreuz, lower wing black/white/black Balkenkreuz and fuselage white outline Balkenkreuz. There is also a rudder mask which can be used to make either a white/black or white outline or Swastika.

Well that is all – you can see from many pictures on the instruction that this set indeed works and fits on the Hasegawa kit. The research done here is second to none and the casting is top quality. This is not for a beginner modeller but I wouldn’t think a novice would be making a kit like this either. I am glad the packaging is changed on the newly released versions which stops any minor niggles some have with the kit.

A well put together and thoughtfully executed conversion kit. Great for a new take on the Komet, especially now we seem to have the Dragon kit put on indefinite hold.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Eclipse Model Design for sending this product for us to review

Appendix - showing how it all comes together from Eclipse's website.