The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the first jet-powered aircraft that entered mass production and was used operational during the World War 2. Its design work started in early 1939 but due to the problems with jet engines first flight was carried in July 1942. Although originally designed as a day fighter, Schwalbe was pressed to other front line roles as a night-fighter (two seater equipped with radar), light bomber or reconnaissance plane.
In this volume the authors, Marek Murawski and Marek Ryś, continue the presentation of the fighter. First volume was focused on the design, development and evolution of the plane. It also featured the A-1a version on the 3D drawings supported with the 1:48 scale plans. In this review we will take a look on the second volume of the monograph.
The book content can be split into four major parts. First one is the historical background. We can find here the following chapters:
- Production and experimental aircraft
- Combat tactics
- Me 262 in combat
- Messerschmitt Me 262 painting schemes
First part takes 40 pages and is supported with 58 photographs, including 3 in colour. It is ended with bibliography and endnotes.
Second part of the book are 3D drawings and profiles. On 35 pages we will find general views of the A-2a from 1./KG(J) 54 (B3 BH) and B-1a/U1 from 10./NJG 11 (red “10”) versions and a lot of highly detailed close-ups of the B-1a/U1 sections (especially armament bays, pilot and radar operator cockpits and equipment). There are also drawings of the “red 9” of 10./NJG 11 with the unusual armament combination of 2 MK108 and 2 MG151/20 guns.
Next section are 29 walk around colour pictures of B-1a version, machine with W. Nr. 110 639. Pictures shows details of the particular elements like panels, blisters, cockpit frame, used ammo shutes, landing gear legs, tyres, engine nacelles etc. There are just two photos on each page so they are large enough to see the details which can be shown on the scale model.
The last part of the book are 12 colour profiles of the three machines depicted on the 3D drawings. Each plane is shown in four views: port and starboard sides and also from above and below.
In total the content of the book is printed on 100 pages plus cover pages. The text is all written in english.
From the modellers point of view the book, especially together with vol.I, is a comprehensive reference which allows to build a correct scale model kit of the most popular Schwalbe versions. The historical and design background, although basic, provides enough knowledge to place the particular model we are making in time or attribute to a specific unit. I have to say that this part of the book doesn't discover America at all. I'm not the Luftwaffe specialist but I have already seen almost all of these pictures before. Good point of these pictures is their large size and very good quality. What I like very much in this book are detailed descriptions of the photographs and drawings. Whenever it is possible depicted Schwalbe is identified with the unit number, Werk Nummer, date, place and circumstances of taking the photo.
Editorial side of the publication is very high. Nice and glossy paper, a lot of colour drawings and photographs and good quality of pictures are definitely advantages of this book. For me the most interesting part are 3D pictures. The drawings answer the most common question I usually ask myself when building a model: “how did this part look like in the original machine?”. The 3D drawings give a very good answer for this problem, especially for armament section, cockpit interior and undercarriage - which are the sections which we use to open and are most often noticeable on the build kits. Exterior details, like access panels, bulges, engines nacelles and exhausts or gear covers, are shown on the walk around photographs. Together, these two sections provides the modeller an overall imagination of how the real aircraft details looked like, what in my opinion is absolutely enough while building a model kit. Those who are interested in construction details, materials used for production, details of mechanisms, pilots memoirs or detailed operational history will have to find a more specific source of information. I have a very strong feeling that this publication is dedicated directly to the modelers.
The pictures attached to this review were purposely unfocused on the request of Publisher to prevent any illegal copying. In fact, they are perfectly sharp in the real book.