Friday, August 15, 2014

Product Review: Tamiya 1/100 Me262 & Me163 kit

Since I'm looking to do a small expansion of my FOW German forces into the Ardennes offensive, I needed to find a nice model for the Me262 "Sturmvogel". I personally dislike Battlefront's underscale planes - they're noticeably smaller and run contrary to the "forced perspective" argument many of their supporters claim. The awesome Armaments in Miniature doesn't produce a 15mm version, so with some searching I found Tamiya's Me262A & Me163B combo kit. I paid less than $13 for the kit shipped from Evilbay.

Unboxed, the set is very simple and straightforward. Contents include 1 sprue for the Me163B, 2 sprues for the Me262A, a clear canopy sprue, 3 ball bearing "weights", a nicely sealed decal set, and instructions/painting guide.

Assembly is quick and easy - I assembled both planes in one sitting, while watching a movie with my wife. There are a couple sticking points though that do require careful attention. The Me163 wings (and the Me262 rear stabilizers) utilize a mortise and tenon joint - after cementing, you MUST look at each plane from the front elevation to be sure the wings dry at the correct angles (90° from the fuselage). For the Me262, be sure to dry fit the cockpit before gluing - it sits higher than what the instructions lead you to believe. Also, there will be gaps between the Me262 wing assembly and the lower fuselage and raised edges between the wing assembly and fuselage sides that will require filling and sanding (see pic below). Not terribly hard but annoying on a kit that's otherwise easy to assemble.

Take care when sanding certain gaps so as not to destroy raised panel lines or detailing. The Me262 model in this kit represents the the A-1 Schwalbe ("Swallow") version, which served as both a fighter and fighter-bomber, and retains its nose-mounted dorsal 20 & 30mm cannons. If you're a real stickler for historical accuracy, converting the model to the A-2 Sturmvogel version is as simple as filling in the dorsal nose cannons, as these were eliminated to save weight for the dedicated ventral bomb racks.

Here you'll see a size comparison with some BF German Grenadiers and an AIM 15mm Stuka. As you see, dimensions are nearly spot-on. For example, the Me262 had a wingspan of 41.5ft, just a hair under 5" in 1:100 scale and this kit has a 5" wingspan. In the pic above, I've mounted the Me262 pilot on the end of a sprue for painting and it's the same size as the BF Germans.

To mount planes for flight, I use the older 50mm GW clear flying bases. I use 2 of the longest pegs joined end-to-end with clear plasticard tubing and just drill a hole in the bottom of the fuselage of the aircraft for mounting. The Me163 is perfectly sized to be an awesome objective (the wingspan is only 5mm longer than a large FOW base) for either Axis or Allied forces.


-Super-easy, quick build
-Two great plane models for less than the price of one resin plane
-Perfectly sized 15mm pilots
-Nicely detailed exterior
-Me262 can be used as either Schwalbe or Sturmvogel models


-Lack of cockpit detail
-Prominent gap/raised edge between wing assembly and fuselage requires filling
-Raised panel lines on engines requires careful sanding


Moiterei_1984 said...

Excellent! Thanks for the pointer. This will be the way to go for me as I really hate out of scale planes.

Admiral Drax said...

Lovely - two amazing planes!

I lovingly scratchbuilt an Auster AOP for my Flames force - to scale - and only THEN realised their convention is for 1:144. Pah! I still like it: it stays.