Hobby Boss 1/48 Me-262A-1a/U3

KIT #: 80371
PRICE: $36.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


This part will be unusually short as I think most modelers are aware of the 262's history. However, few are aware of the recce version. The high speed of the 262 made it a perfect reconnaissance platform as it was able to get the photos at get out without being intercepted. This variant was the Me-262A-1a/U3. It was a relatively simple matter to convert a standard fighter version to a recce bird as the entire nose section could be removed and replaced relatively easily. To my knowledge, however, no recce birds were converted in the field, all the work being done at the factory.

The reconnaissance version was built in small numbers, with Reihenbilder RB 20/30 cameras mounted in the nose (sometimes one RB 20/20 and one RB 75/30). Some retained one 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon, but most were unarmed.


The kit's composed of five grey sprues, two clear ones and a metal nose gear bay. This latter item saves us from trying to figure out how to put in nose weight. A plastic one is also included if you want to use it, though I don't know why you would. The sprue image to the left is of the first bomber destroyer kit. The recce version has a new sprue with new fuselage halves, new nose and the cameras to fit into the nose section as shown to the right.

Molding is really superbly done with fine engraved detailing as you can see from the image. You get a full cockpit tub complete with stick, seat, instrument panels and a bevy of other bits. The kit includes decals for the instrument panels and side consoles. There is also raised detailing in these areas, though the main panel only shows gauge blanks with no detail. The decal sheet will take care of that, for us as it includes an instrument panel decal. There is detailing on the underside of the tub as this is quite visible through the wheel wells. An item new to this kit is that there is a fully detailed radio compartment. A panel on the rear of the fuselage is open so that you can see the many bits and pieces that will be put in here. This also includes the oxygen generation system as well as the radios.

A real plus on this kit is that the two fuselage halves are molded as a recce version so no scabbed on bits. The kit instructions would have you think that there are one or two Mk 108 30mm cannon installed in the lower front of the nose. Well, this conflicts with the superlative Smith and Creek four volume set on the Me-262. In there, it states that if a cannon was carried, it was centrally located in the nose, and indeed, Hobby Boss has molded the blast tube for it. Now I'm not so arrogant to assume that I'm right and Hobby Boss is wrong or that new information has not come to light in the ten years since that series was published, so anyone with additional info is free to contact me with some sort of photo proof. In the meanwhile, I'll be filling in the lower nose gun troughs. Two different styles of nose wheel are provided. One with a tire that has horizontal ribs and the other relatively smooth. Clear bits are well done with the windscreen including a bit of the forward fuselage to make it easier to fair in place. A separate bullet proof glass is included to go behind it. A pair of JATO bottles are also included.  

Instructions are very nicely done with six construction steps. Gunze and RLM paint info is provided during the construction steps and a list of unused parts is provided. Two markings options are provided. One, as shown on the box art, is from 1./NAGr 1 in April 1945. This is in RLM 82/83 over RLM 76. The other is from 1./NAGr 6 in March 1945. Same colors though the pattern is quite different. Decals are nicely printed and provide swastikas in sections. As usual, Hobby Boss gives us a full color painting and markings guide, something I appreciate.


The initial HB 262 kit has gotten very good reviews from those who have built it. This one will be equally as nice and I'm pleased to see Hobby Boss tackling this series of aircraft.



January 2011

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours at your favorite retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page