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Revell Germany Me 262B-1/U-1 night fighter

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/32 scale plastic model aircraft kit
Revell Germany’s Messerschmitt 262 night fighter provides a single matte decal sheet with markings for two aircraft; I chose “Red 12,” flown by Herbert Altner at the end of April prior to the jet being surrendered to the Allies. The kit provides no swastikas — standard for Revell Germany, as is the open-ended box. A 28-page instruction booklet shows color-coordinated paint callouts.

In the cockpit, the consoles, control stick, rudder pedals, throttles, fuse box, side walls, and one-piece seats are all molded separately. The fantastic instrument decals are a great touch and are accurate. Decals are also provided for the consoles. I believe Decal No. 64 is printed in reverse, since I could not get it to fit properly. Decals are provided for the seat belts, which worked out well for me; I used no decal-setting solution so the belts lay more naturally.

All goes well until you try to fit the cockpit tub together. It’s a tight fit of three pieces, two walls, and a floor with the control stick and rudder pedals. I couldn’t get anything to locate properly and had to shave and shoehorn the cockpit into the fuselage. A lot of super glue was required, but, fortunately, it’s mostly hidden from view.
The gun bay and landing gear in the nose are next. Detail here is good, but aftermarket companies probably will produce some nice enhancements in this area. There are four Mk.108 cannons provided, which I believe is incorrect; it should be two Mk.108s and two MG 151/20s (although Wikipedia calls for two more Mk.103 cannons in the nose). You’ll have to scratchbuild or acquire aftermarket guns.

The bays are sufficiently detailed, but if you decide to close the bay you’ll run into fit problems down the line. The doors just don’t fit well enough to close them.

I like the fact that you have to insert the cockpit tub into the fuselage after cementing the halves together. Every 262 I’ve built goes the same way. The only fuselage fit problem was on the nose, where the forward bulkhead attaches to the forward fuselage. No biggie, just more super glue.

The main-gear bays are well appointed, with all the actuators and bits that make up most of the essentials. The gear bay comprises several pieces and is glued to the lower wing half. This created some fit problems, requiring more super glue. The instructions have you install the flaps before you glue the wings together, but I waited until final assembly for this.

Then you mate the wing to the fuselage. The aft section fits well enough, but the front section is tight. I couldn’t find the reason for this, but I think it might be interference from the gear bay. Anyway, more super glue.

Two complete engines are provided, and you can show them both off — but only the forward third or so. Or you can close them up. The one-piece intakes and exhaust cones are fantastic, with no seam to contend with. I had only to remove two ejector-pin marks on the whole model; they are located on the inside of the engine nacelle halves. No problems with any of the engine components; they fit seamlessly into the wings.

The landing gear looks great and is quite strong. Stencil decals are provided for the wheels. I had no problem assembling and attaching the gear to the airframe, except for the forward nose section containing the gun bezels. It is a tight fit — more super glue. The instructions do recommend a 15-gram nose weight, but I placed mine in the two external fuel tanks — dicey, but it works.

The fuel tank pylons were the last fit problem I encountered. Some filler — or super glue, which I obviously prefer — will be needed.
The canopy is a three-piece affair that looks crisp and clear, if a bit thick.

Putting on all the little bits that make up this nachtjäger is pretty straightforward. The Neptun “antlers” that form the radar set need special attention to clean up as they have an unsightly seam and are very delicate.

All the control surfaces and wing slats are separate, a nice option.
When it comes to painting, the instructions’ color callouts seem accurate — all the right RLM numbers are there. The decals’ printing is right on, and they lie down beautifully. I stenciled the swastika, since none is provided.
There is an option to close everything up if you choose to put it on a stand, but no pilots are provided. However, the kit provides a separate main landing-gear door as a single piece. It pops right in, great for masking. I replaced the kit’s pitot tube with a safety pin; the kit part is too fragile to remove the seam. I also added sprue for the radio antennas, replacing the black thread provided in the kit.

Despite its crisp, recessed panel lines, Revell Germany’s 262 doesn’t have all the surface details of its competitors. But it’s still a great value. The kit has its quirks but, as with all models, a bit of patience is rewarded with a nice replica.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2017 issue.
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