Eduard 1/48 He-280






 Three aircraft, all prototypes


Scott Van Aken


Profi-Pak version






The Heinkel 280 was the world's first jet fighter prototype. The others such as the He-178 and Gloster Whittle were only proof of concept aircraft. The He-280 was designed with room for operational equipment such as guns and radios that the earlier jets didn't have. As with all the early jets, the biggest problem was suitable power plants. This being the case, the first He-280 started out life as a glider with shapes where the engines would go. The 280 was designed with Heinkel's own engine, the HeS 8a in mind. Unfortunately, his engine design was too advanced and suffered numerous failures. As a result, most of the 280 prototypes were redesigned for the larger Junkers Jumo 004 as used in the Me-262. Interestingly enough, the 262 was initially designed for Heinkel engines as well.

Though flying before the Messerschmitt Me-262, the 280 was not accepted for production. It was said that the design wasn't advanced enough, though in reality, Heinkel was never in consideration for the fighter design as it was felt that his strong suit was in multi-engined aircraft. As a result, Heinkel's 280 joined the He-100 and He-112 as fighters that were superior to what was currently being used, but not built thanks to politics!

An interesting side note. The He-280 was one of the first aircraft equipped with an ejection seat. It was used when the first prototype was used to test the airframe with pulse-jet engines and the aircraft went out of control. This is the first recorded use of an ejection seat to save a pilot.




Upon opening the box, one's first impression is of how much this looks like a Hasegawa kit. The sprue gates are small, the parts finely detailed and the overall finish of the parts is superb. There are enough parts to build either a HeS 08a or Jumo 004b engined aircraft. There is also a fret of etched metal for belts and a few other bits. In addition there are two canopy options; open or closed. The canopy comes with masking material precut as well as masks for the wheel hubs. There is a large weight for the nose and resin wheels and seat are also included. The decals are by Propagteam and from past experience, they are superbly done, though very thin and a bit difficult to use because of their thinness.

Since I don't have the other He-280 I'm not positive about what makes this a Profipak kit. I think it is the weight, resin and etched metal bits and the ability to do the Jumo engined prototypes along with the larger decal sheet.