Dragon 1/48 He-162A






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Scott Van Aken




The time is early 1944. Things are not going as well for the Luftwaffe as hoped. One thing that is going well is the turbojet program. the Me-262 is nearly operational and has no match anywhere in the skies. However, the Me-262 is a big plane and it is hoped that a smaller jet can be built to augment the 262 and drive the Allies out of the skies. Aluminum is a problem, so much of the airframe will have to be built of wood or steel. To stir the masses, it will be called the Volksjager or People's Fighter. 

The requirement went out and in September of 1944, Heinkel was chosen to develop the Volksjager. Working near miracles, the first prototype flew in December of 1944, a mere three months after getting the go-ahead. The plane wasn't perfect and after some QA problems with the wooden bonding was supposedly fixed, an aerodynamic fix, in terms of drooped wingtips was added to make the plane more stable. This version was also fully armed and made its first flight in late January of 1945.

 Production got underway at a rapid pace for this late in the war and JG 1 received their first He-162s in late April of 1945. Unfortunately for them (perhaps I should say fortunately) for them, the war was almost over and no known operational sorties were undertaken. This was mostly due to a lack of fuel and perhaps the pilots should be grateful. Most He-162s were rather shoddily constructed and one test flown after the war shed an aileron, killing the pilot. Of the 112 aircraft completed, several have survived in various museums.


This is one of the old Trimaster kits. What is missing from that kit are the metal landing gear and perhaps some other metal bits. Still in the kit is the etched metal fret and the full engine. All Trimaster/DML/Dragon kits look superb on the sprues. Excellent parts detailing and lack of sink marks or ejector pin marks promise an excellent building experience. 

The truth of the matter is that every Dragon kit or kit based on a Dragon kit (such as the ProModeler Ju-88 and Fw-190D-11) requires a lot more work that is seems. Every part needs to be dry fitted and adjusted as needed. These are not 'slaptogether' models. However, they will produce a superb replica if built carefully.

The He-162 was a simple plane and so there are not a whole ton of parts to this kit. In fact, you could easily stick another kit in the box and have room to spare! You do get several options. One is to have the canopy open or closed. The other is to display the engine covers open so you can gaze at wonder at the nicely detailed BMW 003 engine. You can also build it with gear up and finally, there is an experimental V tail you can add on.

An etched metal fret is included and this has parts for some interior bits like the instrument panel and anti-glare panel. There are also some bits for the landing gear, the ADF loop antenna and for wire looms and other bits on the engine. The decals are a bit thick and provide markings for three aircraft, all of JG 1 and each with slightly different paint schemes. There are no swastikas included so as not  to stir any neo-Nazi feelings in the builder or viewer. The He-162 was built in subassemblies from dispersed factories that were brought together so it was not unusual to have each wing a different color! The instructions themselves are excellent and very much like Hasegawa or Tamiya products.

Overall, it will make into a very nice model, but you do need to practice patience and care in construction.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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