Hasegawa 1/32 Me-262A-1a


S 14


(Not currently in the catalogue (May 2003)


Several aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Early boxing


Developed from a 1938 design by the Messerschmitt company, the Me 262 "Schwalbe," ("Swallow") was the world's first operational turbojet aircraft. First flown as a pure jet on July 18, 1942, it proved much faster than conventional airplanes. Development problems, Allied bombings, and cautious Luftwaffe leadership contributed to delays in quantity production. In late 1943, Adolf Hitler agreed to mass production, but insisted the aircraft be used primarily as a fighter-bomber. On July 25, 1944, an Me 262 became the first jet airplane used in combat when it attacked a British photo-reconnaissance Mosquito flying over Munich. As a fighter, the German jet scored heavily against allied bomber formations. The bombers, however, destroyed hundreds of Me 262s on the ground. More than 1,400 Me 262s were produced, but fewer than 300 saw combat. Most remained on the ground awaiting conversion to bombers, or were unable to fly because of lack of fuel, spare parts, or trained pilots.

The Me 262A on display at the USAF Museum was brought to the U.S. from Germany in July 1945 for flight evaluation. It was restored by the 96th Mobile Maintenance Squadron, Kelly AFB, Texas in 1976-79, and is finished in the standard production paint scheme, without operational unit markings.

Thanks to the USAF Museum for the brief historical background.



Molded in a dark greenish-brown plastic, Hasegawa's kit dates from at least 1976 if not earlier. Detailing is actually very good, if you are not opposed to raised panel lines and finely detailed rivets. The kit has just about all would want from a large scale kit like this. A full cockpit, full gun bay, well detailed engines and optional armament. What it doesn't have are well detailed wheel wells, a standard problem with kits of this age.

That optional armament consists of either bombs and bomb racks to do the A-2 version, or a wet of underwing racks and R4M missiles for the A-1 variant. The racks are well done, but the missiles are little more than pointed sticks of plastic. You will also be hard pressed to find room in the nose for the weight which will be needed to keep it on its nose gear. I should mention that I found a few ejector pin marks on landing gear legs and such as one would expect. No flash and no immediately noticeable sink areas.

I did mention that this kit comes with complete engines. For those of you thinking of leaving them out to save weight, think again as they are required to have the kit look proper. You can cement the access plates in place if you wish to forego having to add detail to the engines, but they must be installed. An interesting anomaly is that you get a separate rudder (late version), but all the other control surfaces are molded in place. Another glitch is that the head armor has a tab in the canopy for it to be glued into, not prototypical at all. A pilot is included for those who like those things.

Instructions are very good and are entirely in English. Generic color callouts are provided during construction. What is totally missing from my kit is that there are no overall painting and decal instructions. Perhaps that is the price one pays for buying things at a swap meet.  It appears that there are markings for a rather large number of aircraft on the sheet, and those of us who have been around and are interested in Luftwaffe aircraft undoubtedly have other sources from which to glean marking info. The decals are typically thick and glossy, but have not yellowed over the years. There are a few aftermarket sheets around for those who wish to use them.M



This really is a very nice kit and will undoubtedly make into a super model. I've not seen one completed in many years, perhaps because of the raised panel lines. With the success of Hasegawa's other large scale Luftwaffe fighters, can a new 262 be far behind?

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