by: Andy Brazier [ ]
In September 1944, with the Nazi empire under extreme pressure on all battle fronts and in the air, the German Air Ministry (Reichsluftsfahrtministerium) acknowledged Germany's desperate circumstances by issuing a requirement for a new jet fighter that would be simple, cheap, and easy to build in large quantity. The aircraft would be built in such quantities that little maintenance would be required, as a defective aircraft could simply be discarded and replaced with a new one. The Air Ministry called this aircraft the Volksjaeger, or "People's Fighter".
The Air Ministry issued the requirement on 10 September 1944, and specified that proposals were to be submitted no later than 20 September. The Volksjaeger was to be ready to go into full production by New Year's Day. Heinkel were already working on a similar project, thus the Heinkel 162 was born. There is some confusion over the name of the aircraft, as Salamander was the name given to the project and Spatz (Sparrow) was the name given to the aircraft by Heinkel.
The He 162 was powered by a single BMW 003 turbojet engine with 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) thrust. Armament for the two variants that would be produced would consist of either two MK-108 30 millimeter cannon with 50 rounds per gun, or two MG-151 20 millimeter cannon with 120 rounds per gun.
The aircraft fuselage was made out of metal with the wings and vertical tail planes made mostly of wood.
Due to the position of the engine, bailing out of the aircraft was slightly dangerous, so the He 162 was fitted with a simple ejection seat.
Considering the aircraft was designed, built and put into production in three months and in the five months following several hundred were built under the most difficult conditions, the aircraft was quoted by one experienced Luftwaffe pilot as a "first class combat aircraft". Most losses were from flame outs and occasional structural failures, but this was due to the fact the fighter was rushed into production and not due to the design.
As with all the Hobby Boss easy assembly kits the model is packaged in a standard open topped box with the parts held securely in separate compartments on a plastic tray. Lying on top of the parts are the instruction booklet and decals.
The kit is broken down into 21 parts moulded in light grey plastic and 2 parts moulded in clear plastic.
There is no flash present and pin marks are non existent on any exposed parts.
The beauty of these "easy assembly" kits are the way they are designed to go together. the fuselage and wings are pre-built and only require snap fitting together. The tail planes also snap onto the rear but a bit of glue will probably be needed to make sure they stay on. The rest of the kit, such as the engine, undercarriage and canopy will require building and gluing into position. The only downside is the limited detail in the cockpit and wheel wells. The cockpit has only the seat and a control stick in there. There is a headrest and gun sight to add to the cockpit, but with out the addition of some scratch building work, which could be a little tricky in the confined space, will leave the cockpit fairly bland. The same can be said for the wheel wells.
The external detail of the kit has recessed panel lines which do look rather heavy in places, but should look alright after a couple of coats of paint, Future then a wash.
The clear parts are blemish free but do look a little on the thick side. That is probably a blessing in disguise though as you won't want to see much of the cockpit anyway lol.
Accuracy wise it looks like a He 162, but the nose looks a little blunt when comparing it with photos of the real thing.
The instructions are printed on glossy A3 size paper, folded in half to form a booklet. The front page tells you what the different build symbols mean and how to use the decals. pages 2 and 3 is the build sequence from step 1 to step 4 and are in the form of the more common black and white line drawings.. The back page gives you a 2 colour profile drawings of the decal and painting guide.
Painting and Decals
Two schemes are given for the aircraft, one is for a German aircraft which flew with 1./JG1 in May 1945. The colour scheme of this aircraft on the instruction sheet is RLM82 Light Green and RLM 8 Brown Violet over RLM76 Light Blue. The two upper colours are in a hard edge camo scheme with one colour on one wing and the other colour on the other with both colours reversed for the tail planes.
The second scheme is for a Soviet flown aircraft that was captured during the war and has been repainted in a Light Gull Grey colour.
The decals are in register and look crisp and sharp. The swastikas, for the German aircraft, are as usual nowadays in two halves and are blurred out on the instruction sheet (and nowhere to be found at all on the box), so a bit of careful aligning will be required if this version is modelled.