Friday, January 24

Build review Pt I: 1/32nd scale Me 262 A-1 from Revell

Bruce Anders has been courting this one for a while - the Me 262 in 32nd scale from Revell in the 2019 boxing. He has made steady progress on the kit and shared his thoughts about making it in part I of his build review...

Build review Pt I: Me 262 A-1
From Revell
1/32nd Scale:
Product number: 03875
Number of parts: 211
Length: 336 mm / Height: 122 mm
Wingspan: 391 mm
49,99 € 

The Messerschmitt Me 262: A Brief History...
Nicknamed Schwalbe (German: "Swallow") in fighter versions, or Sturmvogel (German: "Storm Bird") in fighter-bomber versions, was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but problems with engines, metallurgy and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. The Me 262 was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor. One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II, the Me 262's roles included light bomber, reconnaissance and experimental night fighter versions.

This 2019 tool from Revell features:
- Jumo 004 Engine replica 
- Movable ailerons and rudders 
- Machine guns 
- Detailed cockpit with side consoles 
- Detailed cockpit hull in the landing gear well 
- Detailed landing gear 
- R4M rocket launch platform 
- 4 bombs 
- 2 additional tanks

Revell first kitted the Me262 in 1971, back when Revell boxes were decent top opening solid boxes!

Those 1970's boxes...
The box art like all their boxart for their 32 scale kits were very evocative and led me to buying the kit, although, I cannot remember building it.  I imagine it was like all their kits of that era though.

Now it has been replaced with this excellent, completely retooled kit, this particular kit follows on from their also, new night fighter first released in 2016, so shares quite a few parts from that kit, some which are not needed for this particular version.

Anyway, back to the plastic, which is Revell’s usual pale grey-green, slightly textured plastic with fine panel lines and fasteners in evidence on all the main airframe parts. A little fine for my liking, but I’m sure the people that want to go the extent of puttying them as some 262s were, will like this just fine (pun intended) Detail looks sharp and will stand out nicely with the use of washes and dry brush or detail painting techniques. The instructions clearly layout the construction over 82 steps in a logical manner allowing options for retracted or extended undercarriage, flaps and leading-edge slats, Open or closed gun bay, Ordnance provided gives a choice of bombs, drop tanks or underwing rockets, linked to each marking option.

Instructions are Revell's new format, which I find a huge improvement over their older ones, however, there is a mistake in step 75 Revell seems to have got a little confused between the two versions and indicate the rear fixed canopy part H157 can be hinged open. This is incorrect as, on the fighter, it would have only been removed for maintenance so should be glued closed
 Let’s get started.  For something totally different Step 1 starts with the assembly of the cockpit.

9 parts make up a well-detailed cockpit tub, including a battery that sits below the pilot seat. I assembled as much as I could into subassemblies before painting
I used Tamiya German grey to represent the RLM66 colour, before drybrushing with light grey.
Out of the box, the instrument panel looks nicely moulded and matches pictures of the real panel well, Revell even giving you the option for a panel with rocket-firing buttons or bomb release panels.

Dial and side console decals are provided on the decal sheet, but looked a little out of register to me, the side console decals especially
As I had a YAHU instrument panel for the 262, I used this, after sanding the detail of the kit panel, it was glued on with gator grip.
I used the decals for the side consoles, and although they fit well and bedded down nicely, after I sliced up the carrier film a bit, my fears of them being out of register was confirmed.

Still, it doesn’t stand out.  Eduard now do their own LOOK panel and pre-painted etch set for the cockpit, and although not strictly necessary, I think the PE would busy up the side consoles nicely. In any case, I would advise using the LOOK panel rather than the Yahu, as the Eduard panel is made for the Revell kit, and should be a better fit.

I sprayed the seat silver before spraying AK chipping fluid on, quickly followed by Mr Hobby RLM02 and then scratched it with a stiff brush to get the worn paint effect. The leather seat back was painted in leather colour then given various brown washes, Not enough to hide the metallic sheen from the underlying silver paint though.  I’m banking on the seatbelts hiding this!

Revell provides seatbelts as decals, the serious modeller will, of course, replace these with aftermarket belts as I did, HGW belts in this case.
With the cockpit components now painted, It was time to assemble them. Here I had a little trouble trying to mate them all up in a tidy fashion, having to separate and reglue the parts a number of times to get things square with the two tub sides meeting the floor tidily.  I still have a bit of a step on one side. I’m still not sure what the problem was here.

At this stage, I deviated from the instructions.  Taped together dry runs had shown me I could add the cockpit tub and gunbay bulkhead after glueing the fuselage together, so this is what I did, also adding the cockpit decking.
Doing it this way, also allows you to add more easily check the amount of weight you have added to the nose is enough to prevent a tail-sitter.
I was left with a little bit of a step just behind the wing opening so would advise adding a strip of plastic card here to provide more of an alignment aid and greater glueing surface. Instead, I added tabs to the rear of part A20.
The raised fuel fillers in front of the cockpit was first scribed around then sanded flush with the surrounding fuselage as photos showed them flush on the real aircraft.  Panel lines that had been lost through sanding was then reinstated

This is probably a good time to talk about panel lines on 262s.  My reading up on the real jets led me to believe not all jets were necessarily puttied.  Only those ones that failed RLM inspection were so finished. Early in their production, these jets were being turned out reasonably well made, and not requiring a lot of their joins to be sealed and puttied.

 As the war progressed, with Germany’s raw materials and skilled labour diminishing rapidly, not only the jets but other fighter aircraft, as well, were increasingly having to have their joins puttied and smoothed as they failed RLM final inspections for streamlining and quality of manufacture. I decided to leave them alone seeing as this is a review build. (code for I copped out!)

The other advantage of not adding the gun deck as per the instructions is you are able to ensure the amount of weight added to the nose is enough before the nose is sealed up.  I left the guns and associated feed chutes off until later.
The instructions call out for the interior of the fuselage wall that can be seen through the wheel wells to be painted RLM66. I left mine in natural metal, photos show various colours and I think it would be quite hard to say if it was a definitive colour on all airframes
Ensure you clamp the completed wheel well assembly to the wings to ensure a rigid assembly with the correct dihedral.  I opened up the holes in the tabs on the lower wing parts to aid dry fitting and assembly.  Don’t forget to open up the holes required for your choice of weaponry as called out in Step 29.  For me, this meant the holes for the bomb racks. Interesting that there are flashed over holes in the rear of part D20, does this mean a future boxing with RATO bottles?

Dry fits revealed a reasonable  fit at the wing roots that would close up once the cockpit tub had been fitted, however, comes the real thing, I needed to fit a thin shim to the port wing to even out the dihedral.
We need to talk about the fit of the nose though!. Again dry fits revealed a good fit, although the gun cowl always was going to be a problem. I may have got the gun deck out of alignment, but reading reviews of the night-fighter version revealed other people had problems here too.
Apoxie -sculpt to the rescue. A bit of relaxing sanding and all was good with the world again. This was the worst fitting part of the kit.

I must say peering up into the wheel well reveals a nice busy look with Revell also supplying parts for the bellcranks and control rods.  If you wanted to, you could add wiring to complete the look.
We now move onto the engines, although I actually started off construction on my kit at this step, just to mix it up.

Onto the engines...
Initially, I was horrified at the huge sprue gates, and went to some effort to clean them up
Assembly though, revealed these parts will not be seen, so my initial horror was unjustified. I was quite impressed by how detailed the completed engines look out of the box. If you look at the parts closely, the accessory packs are even indented ready for you to drill them out should you wish to add wiring.

Given the upper engine cowl is a separate part, I thought it would be rude not to!
I used various diameters of plastic rod and copper wire.  I had some excellent photos of the wiring in my reference books, but there are some good ones on the net as well. The plan is to have one cowl off to display part of the engine, whilst the other will be closed up.
In step 38, I would advise glueing part E57 and E56, together, then cleaning up the join before adding the remaining parts. This will allow you to clean up the intake join from both sides to get a nice clean seamless intake. I painted parts E58 in two different colours on mine as these engines were frequently swapped due to catching fire.

The various parts of the engine all locate into each other confidently with little slop.  If you want, you can assemble the engine into sub-assemblies to ease painting. I used the colours called out in the instructions.
Of course, you could go to town on the engines far more than I did, but bear in mind, you are going to see very little, even with the separate cowling off, unless you cut up the nacelle to remove the lower cowls.
The nacelles themselves assemble well. The fairings all fit along panel lines but I still used putty on mine as the fit of parts C47, C48, C51 and C52 were a bit loose. The fit of the pods to the wings was excellent, apart from the rear where I needed to clamp the flat plate at the back of the wing to avoid a step.

It was here where the build has ground to a halt, as I somehow have managed to misplace one of the leading edge slats.  Rather annoying as the kit was almost ready for paint. So The build will be on hold until I get a replacement part from Revell. Very annoying as I had taken particular care on this build to keep all parts together. Obviously, not enough!
Before adding the windscreen, I fitted short lengths of yellow wire to the rear of the instrument panel. The reverse of the kit part already has the bodies of the instruments moulded on, they just require drilling out in preparation for the wire, although once the windscreen is added, very little of the wire can be seen.  I used Eduards new TFace masks to mask the interior of the clear parts before painting them Tamiya XF63. Revell has moulded the windscreen and fuselage panel immediately below and in front of it as one part in clear plastic. I found on my kit, this panel also needed fairing in with putty.
Overall, so far, I think this is a good, well-detailed kit, only let down by the fit of some parts. Back for part II when the slat turns up.

Bruce Anders

 My thanks to Revell for supplying me the kit.