Meng 1/48 Me-410A-1 Hornisse

KIT #: LS-003
PRICE: $50.00 delivered
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2013 release


The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) was a German heavy fighter and Schnellbomber used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Though an incremental improvement of the Me 210, it had a new wing plan, longer fuselage and engines of greater power. The changes were significant enough for the aircraft to be renamed the Me 410.

The Me 410 night bomber proved to be an elusive target for the RAF night fighters. The first unit to operate over the UK was V./KG 2, which lost its first Me 410 on the night of 13 – 14 July 1943, when it was shot down by a de Havilland Mosquito of No. 85 Squadron RAF.

The Me 410 was also used as a bomber destroyer against the daylight bomber formations of the USAAF, upgraded with Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion kits, all bearing a /U suffix, for the design—these suffixes could vary in meaning between subtypes. As one example, the earlier Me 410 A-1/U1 designation signified a camera-fitting in the under-nose ordnance bay for reconnaissance use (as the A-3 was meant to do from its start), while the Me 410 B-2/U1 designation signified a mount of a pair of the long barreled, 30 mm MK 103 cannon in the undernose ordnance bay. The /U2 suffix designated a fitment of two additional 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the under-nose ordnance bay instead—the A-1/U4 subtype fitted the massive, 540-kilogram (1,190 lb) Bordkanone series 50 mm (2 in) BK 5 cannon, loaded with 21 rounds in the same under-nose ordnance bay in place of either the /U1's cameras or MK 103s, or the /U2's added pair of MG 151/20 autocannon. For breaking up the bomber formations, many Me 410s also had four underwing tubular launchers, two per wing panel, firing converted 21 cm (8 in) Werfer-Granate 21 infantry barrage rockets. Two Geschwader, Zerstörergeschwader 26 and 76, were thus equipped with the Me 410 by late 1943.

They were moderately successful against unescorted bombers through 1943, with a considerable number of kills against USAAF day bomber formations being achieved. However, the Me 410 was no match in a dogfight with the lighter Allied single-engine fighters such as the North American P-51 Mustang and Supermarine Spitfire. In early 1944, the Me 410 formations encountered swarms of Allied fighters protecting the bomber streams, usually flying far ahead of the combat box formations as an air supremacy move in clearing the skies of any Luftwaffe opposition, resulting in the Me 410's previous successes against escorted bombers now often being offset by their losses. 


This kit represents the initial production Me-410A-1 which hasn't been kitted in this scale before. The still very nice Monogram/ProModeler 410 is the later B variant and Meng also kits that version.

Where this one is an improvement over the ProModeler kit is that it has engraved panel lines and a bit more detail in the cockpit and the gun/bomb bay. The kit also comes with a small photo etch fret for things like seat belts, gun sight bits and rudder trim horns. The kit does have separate control surfaces so you could display them in something other than the neutral position if you so wished. In some cases there are alternate parts to allow this.

Two engines are provided so you could pose the cowlings open. There are also separate pieces in the cockpit canopy so that the entrance hatches can be posed open. Separate windscreens are offered as they are different depending on which of the markings options you will use. I would have liked to have seen a one-piece canopy as I like things closed up. There are two options for things under wings. One is a pair of bomb racks for the box art plane. The other are paired 21cm rocket tubes and rockets for the second option. Since the wings are not assembled/attached until near the end of the build, you have time to make a choice.

Instructions are quite well done with all paints in generic/RLM and Vallejo references. The box art plane is in RLM 70/71/65, which is the norm for bombers and is a plane with KG 51 in early 1944. The other is a bomber destroyer in RLM 74/75/76 with ZG 76 in late 1943. The decals are nicely done and should be no issue. There are not a lot of aftermarket sheets for the A versions, but they are out there if you look.


Should you dump your ProModeler/Revell kit for this one? Not at all. Consider this a bit of an upgrade and the chance to do an A version. Though it isn't cheap, it is a good value for the money and worth picking up. 


November 2023

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