Revell timed it perfectly to get their brand new Me 262B-1/U-1 nightfighter onto the shelves of hobby shops in time for Christmas, with its eye-catching box combined with a very affordable price hopefully making it an almost guaranteed best seller.
The box is a whopper - so you could hardly describe the kit as a “stocking filler” (unless you happen to have particularly large feet!). Sadly, Revell have gone for an end-opening package, which I guess is cheaper to produce. For me, that’s one of the few minor down points in an otherwise extremely impressive kit.
The sprues are mostly bagged in pairs (perhaps not quite as ideal as completely individual packets) and everything arrived intact in my kit. The Me 262 comprises:
210 x pale blue-grey styrene parts
9 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The moulding is very good in my kit. There's a touch of flash here and there, plus a few strands of whispy filaments, but otherwise everything’s as crisp as you’d hope in a fresh new-tool model. I found two tiny sink marks, but they are tucked out of sight, while ejector pin marks seem to have been kept out of harm's way. While doing a test fit (see below) I did notice the styrene used is fairly soft, and many of the main airframe parts are moulded quite thin, so there is inevitably a bit of flexing.
The exterior finish is silky smooth, with delicately engraved panel lines and a few fasteners. Thankfully the designers have resisted any temptation to plaster the kit in exaggerated embossed rivets, because the Me 262 was delivered with its surface puttied and smoothed. So, in terms of strict accuracy, even some of the panel lines on the kit are something of a compromise, but the kit would look very bare without them. If you’re feeling really ambitious you could try to give a hint of the underlying structure and also represent the slightly overstressed look visible in many period photos of the full-sized aircraft, but I’ll leave well alone.
Revell have designed the kit very conventionally, so there aren’t any nasty surprises waiting to catch you out. The fuselage halves clip together perfectly, and the horizontal tail slots in and locks together to keep everything square and true with no fuss.
The wings are constructed from 5 pieces. A 3-piece lower surface has the joints hidden by the engine nacelles. A clever touch is interlocking tabs at the joints – and these are so tight a fit, I at first thought they wouldn’t work. In fact, they’re just right, and draw the wing parts together really solidly. The wings’ top panels line up neatly (although a pair of locating pins seem to be redundant in my kit) and fit should very well at the roots once you’ve got the interior in place to serve as a proper spacer. A nice touch is that the rear face of the main wheel well doubles as a functional spar that extends beyond the joints in the lower surface to ensure the correct dihedral.
A Few Details
Construction kicks off, logically enough, with the front and rear cockpits. The 17-piece pilot’s “office” is neatly fitted out, with a well moulded instrument panel and side consoles. Revell supply a decal for the instrument faces, and this very crisply printed. The problem is that it’s produced as a single decal, rather than individual instruments, and I doubt that it will snuggle down convincingly over the raised bezel detail. This won’t worry anyone with a punch and die set (and the dials should look very good once punched out and applied with a drop of varnish to glaze them), but it’s a shame Revell didn’t simply print each instrument face separately.
The throttles, circuit breakers and flying controls are all well detailed, and Revell have provided decal harnesses for the seats. Obviously, these can’t compete with aftermarket belts, but it’s nice to see them included.
The radar operator’s position is simpler at 13 parts, and perches on the back of the front assembly before both are encased in the pressurised cockpit tub. The radar operator has two main pieces of kit - the FuG218 receiver that sits behind the pilot’s head, and the associated display panel under the cockpit sill. Again, you get decal instrument faces - and, once again, you’ll get the best results if you use a punch and die.
The gun bay and nosewheel well are built as a single straightforward subassembly. The 30mm cannon are one-piece affairs, but won’t look bad with careful painting. No doubt superdetailed aftermarket sets will follow hot on the heels of the kit’s release, but what Revell provide will satisfy most modellers, especially with some wiring added to busy it up a bit.
The outside of the completed cockpit tub will be visible through the large mainwheel well, and it’s further detailed with control linkages etc.
Some years ago I was fortunate enough to be granted permission to take detailed photos for a Walkaround
of the RAF Museum’s preserved Me 262A single-seater at Hendon. These should be useful for the Me 262B too.
The wheel well is boxed in with a functional spar as noted above, which should be allowed plenty of time to dry before completing the wings. The flaps and ailerons are separate, as are the leading edge slats. I really like the way Revell have depicted the runners for the slats - it’s much more convincing than you usually find in kits.
Each engine is constructed from 18 parts. Revell do look to have provided a good basis for extra detailing, and as part of my Hendon photo-session, I took shots of the museum’s sectioned Jumo 004
which should be a help in adding pipework etc. if you want to display the engines with the removable cowls off. I particularly like the way they’ve moulded the exhaust casing as one piece, avoiding the problem of awkward seams. You can find further photos of another Jumo 004 (this time the Science Museum’s example) in the Kitmaker Gallery HERE
The undercarriage looks well moulded and nice and solid, and the wheels have good detail on the hubs and un-weighted tyres. There's a choice of bald or treaded nosewheel tyres on the sprue - although only the treaded type is indicated in the instructions.
The canopy is crystal clear and moulded in three sections so that it can be posed open. There’s a separate armoured glass insert for the inside of the windscreen, and a really nice touch is that the windscreen is designed integrally with section of the fuselage following a real life panel line to allow a perfect fit with no seam to worry about. Experienced modellers will want to add small items that Revell haven’t included - grab handles and the retaining cables that stopped the hinged sections falling open, plus blinds for the radar operator. Other clear parts include the gunsight and wingtip lamp covers.
The drop tanks are nicely detailed, as are their racks. The tanks are split horizontally, and the only problem is that the sprue attachments are deeper than the flange that runs around each tank, making for a tricky clean-up job. (Revell aren’t the only company to mould tanks this way, and it’s one of those bugbears you find occasionally, where you think just a small change in how a part is moulded would make life so much easier for the modeller.)
The radar antennae are moulded as one piece each side, with the “antlers” attaching to a rod behind the nose cap.
Instructions & Decals
I’ve often criticised Revell-Germany for their cluttered and poorly laid-out instructions, but I must say these are a great improvement. They are printed as a glossy 28-page A4 booklet, with colour shading throughout. The most important thing is that the diagrams are given room to “breathe” - not trying to cram too much together at once.
Construction is broken down into a phenomenal 94(!) stages, but this is a consequence of doing everything in easy to follow chunks – sometimes a stage involves fitting just a single piece. The kit is designed to be built as either “in flight” or with “everything dropped and open”, so it pays to read through the instructions to get a good idea of each sequence, because there’s a bit of jumping about depending on which way you want to build your model. (Note: there is no stand or crew figures provided if you want to pose the model “in flight”.)
Colour matches are given for Revell paints throughout, but RLM names are included in most cases.
Decals are provided for two well-known subjects: “Red 8” and “Red 12” of 10./NJG 11, Schleswig, May 1945.
The decals look to be good quality, printed in perfect register on my sheet with a semi-gloss finish. The colours look accurate and there’s a good selection of stencil marks included, the only obvious omissions being swastikas in even “split” form. Luckily, these are easily obtained from other sources.
Revell’s new Me 262B-1/U-1 looks a real Christmas cracker! I’ve not compared it against scale plans yet, but it seems “right” on the basis of a quick inspection of the test-fitted main parts. It’s got plenty of detail out of the box, and will form a great basis for superdetailers to get stuck into. The icing on the cake is price – with a UK price of £36.99, it represents phenomenal value for money for a kit of this size and quality in these days of sky-rocketing prices. Highly recommended.
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