|NOTES:||Short run injection mould of optimum quality with resin pieces|
A study of a four-engined long-range bomber began in 1940 by Messerschmitt’s design team and the result was a high-wing cantilever monoplane with tricycle landing gear, twin fins and rudders and four wing mounted engines. The prototype first flew in December 1942 after many delays and by this time, the United States had entered the war and there was interest in an ‘Amerika Bomber’ which could reach and attack US targets from Europe.
The range of the Me264 was not sufficient, and further development to increase power by adding two more engines did not meet with favour from the RLM. As the war situation continued to deteriorate, no other aircraft other than the first three prototypes were ordered and in fact only the V1 was completed and flown, the V2 being destroyed in an air raid and the V3 was not completed due to material shortages.
I bought my example from MPM’s model shop in Prague during a summer holiday some years ago. I bought a load of models over the week we were staying in the city since they were quite new at the time and the price was roughly half of what it was back home.
I am not particularly fond of Special Hobby models as they tend to promise more than they deliver but this was definitely not the case with the 264. The parts were crisp and clean and the dry fitting promised no unpleasant surprises. The transparencies may put off many modellers but these did not present any problems.
I started with the cockpit interior resin pieces and built this impressively detailed section without mishap. The fuselage requires planning and a word of warning – a lot more weight is needed to get a tricycle sit. I ended up putting in over 100g rather than the recommended 60g using the inboard engines for this purpose besides the space behind the cockpit bulkhead.
I painted the cockpit interior RLM 66 Dark Grey and applied some subtle highlighting. The finished unit will require some negotiating to fit the front fuselage and accept the transparencies but this was managed with some contour shaping. Plastic card wedges may be needed to obtain the correct angle of the nosewheel undercarriage well. It is important that this part is installed correctly otherwise the nosewheel may appear lop-sided. Before closing the fuselage halves, the ‘porthole’ windows are installed and lips are cut in the fuselage to wing and tail attachment points. These would otherwise have to be stuck on to bare plastic with guaranteed structural problems when handling.
The wings, tailplane halves and fins are attached together and attention turns to the engines. The resin engine fronts are separated from the moulding base and care is recommended here. Be careful not to sand excessively as they may sit loose in the engine cowls. These are put together and the inboard examples are filled with lead to ensure a correct sit. The cowls require scribing around the gills and frankly, I cannot understand why Special Hobby left this to the modeller.
The undercarriage resin wheel wells, a veritable work of art, are installed in the undersurface of the main wings and are a perfect fit. Next, the engine rear cowls are put together on the respective wing. The inboard bottom rear cowls (parts 34 and 37) lack a front cover and this can easily be made from thin plastic card bent to follow the contour of the wheel well. This solves the unsightly ‘opening’ which results from this omission.
This done, the main components come together and fitting is made easier using the lips as a guide. In spite of this, I still made jigs for the wings and tailplanes to get correct angles. The fit is very good but this notwithstanding, some amount of filler is always needed. The tail especially required some amount of putty and on my example, the starboard tail kept coming off. When the problems were all resolved, attention turned to fitting the front cowl parts to the wing. At this stage I added weight to the inboard engines, and attached these in place without any problem.
While waiting for the glue on different components to cure, the tyre halves are cemented together. The propellors are put together using a small jig consisting of a cardboard circle with 120 degree segments with a hole in the middle for the spinner. The fitting of these fiddly bits went so smoothly, I was surprised !
Finally, the tedious task of masking the two transparency pieces was undertaken, and took me quite a few hours. When this was done, I planned fixing the transparencies to the fuselage with a lot of trepidation.
uncalled for as I managed to fit the items in place on the second attempt, using
transparent epoxy cement to spot fix the parts and later filled all empty joints
This model has very fine surface detail so I decided against a primer and instead, cleaned the model surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove any residual oils and dirt.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
There was only one prototype which features in all publications, and Special Hobby give us very good markings for this version. The aircraft was a straighforward 70 Black Green / 71 Dark Green over 65 Light Blue. I started with the 65 from Model Master. Next I masked as the demarcation lines are all quite hard and proceeded with the 71 Dark Green which I mix from Pactra Black and Dark Greens. When this was done and left to dry completely, the camouflage pattern was masked and the 70 Black Green applied to complete the scheme. I use good old Humbrol 91 which is a very good match.
The model is then given a few coats of auto gloss lacquer rubbed down very wet with 1000 grade sandpaper. The decals are now applied and here it is important to refer to photographic reference as Special Hobby got the wing placings wrong. The upper wing crosses should be applied further in and the underwing call signs and crosses should be more spaced than as illustrated. The fuselage code is shown correctly.
Some subdued weathering over the final gloss coat concludes the job and a couple of matt varnish coats finish the model. This was a prototype which flew very little and it would not make much sense to go overboard with weathering. The canopy masking comes off and inspected for any defective areas. Very little touching up is required. The undercarriage and wheel well covers are attached as well as the mast on top of the fuselage and an aerial wire stretched from sprue.
This is one nice sleek model and the extended wingtips add to the beauty of the aerodynamic design of the Me264. Although it is not excessively difficult to build, I would not recommend this one to budding modellers before they have built a few multi-engined models.
Messerschmitt Me264: Amerikabomber
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