Hobby Boss 1/72 Me-163B

KIT #:  80238
PRICE: $ (It has to be $10 or less. Ed)
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Nathan Stevens
NOTES: Quick Build is an understatement




Yet another fine example of Hobby Boss thinking.  These 1/72 HB kits are known for quick building, reasonably detailed exteriors, basic (at best) interiors and sometimes lacking accuracy.  This one just blends right in.  You get the basic formed parts tray with everything neatly separated and organized.  Iím convinced this is meant to appeal to the TV-dinner type crowds though I canít say Iíve yet had the urge to toss one into the microwave (it does make for an interesting metaphor, though.)

 You also get the basic two-fold instruction sheet which is cleverly narrowed into 3 steps, the most complicated involving 7 pieces!  Decals are limited to two schemes, one each German and British markings.  Recessed panel lines, better-than-expected surface detail, so-so cockpit with no instrument panel, well molded light gray plastic, and optional tail wheel/struts, etc.  All of what weíve come to expect from Hobby Boss. 


Glue top to bottom, add vertical stab and nose cone, paint.  Thatís the basic process here.  The wing/upper fuselage is molded as one piece with the lower being little more than an insert. 

 The one piece in between is the wheel well, or skid well, thing, whatever you call it.  Thereís NO guide here and the piece is a lot smaller than the gap it fills.  If I were to do it again, Iíd scratch this from sheet styrene.  The problem is that this sets up the skid struts (which are pretty sub-standard as well).  Off a little front, back, left, or right and nothing wants to fit later.  This is the one slap in the face from the whole build (I tend to get a black eye from Tamiya kits, so this is pretty good). 

 There was a touch of filling to be done along the sides and light sanding up front.  The mating surface under the wings, while exposing a small gap was just within my standards so I left it alone.  The fit of the rest of the exterior, including the nice clear canopy was up to code for me so WOW, look at the time.  It usually takes me longer than this to get a cockpit ready to install!


Your options here are an 81/82/76 splinter scheme of II/JG400 or 81/82/orange in captured British markings (Werk #191060 by the instructions.)  Color callouts for individual parts are spotty but a little research at everyoneís favorite modeling website provided guidance.  Interior RLM 66, RLM02 for the wells and gear, black wheel hubs, silver prop.  OK, that was easy too.  I chose to stick with the kit markings as itís usually what I do the first time a build a particular kit.  I sprayed the RLM76, strung out a little silly putty for the demarcation line and proceeded with my typical Scotch tape splinter scheme, sealed in with future. 

 Iíve had great luck with HB decals in the past and this was no exception.  They hold up well, are generally in register, settle in nicely with a bit of ModelMaster solvent and are opaque enough to handle contrasting colors.  My gripe here is the stencils.  Several are provided but not enough to even cover the instructions and the numbers donít match.  I donít knew whoís Monday morning mishap this was but itís a touch ridiculous.  That aside, the provided 2-piece swastikas were added.  ĎFracturedí markings are fine with me, as long as I donít have to dig through my stash to find some that fit.  Everything set, I sealed them in with another coat of Future.  Weathering was kept to a minimum as the Komets didnít see a lot of action and Ďwear and tearí usually met with disaster.  The skid and outer wing bumpers were scuffed and dry brushed with silver to prove at least one successful flight was managed.  The glossy finish of the Future was accurate enough for me to represent the polished surfaces of these aircraft at work.

 On to the finishing touches.  I attached the dolly and set on the shelf.  OK, done. 


It took about as long to write this up as it did to finish this plane.  Anyone out there looking for a little stress relief or just want to get something finished, start here!  Thanks again, Hobby Boss.  Keep Ďem coming!


Review section of Modeling Madness and my own imagination.

Nathan Stevens

September 2008

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