One of the most iconic aircraft of WWII is the messerschmitt me 262 jet fighter. Deesigned as an aircraft to intercept bombers, teh 262 took a lot from the he 280. The 262 was first flown in 1942 but with prop engine power and as a tail sitter. Since the airflow was not enough to reach the elevators in that position, the layout was changed to a tricycle anding gear. Power was provided by two Jumo 004B jet engines. At first it was planned to install the bmw 003 but that engine wasnt availbale in time so the heavier jumo unit was chosen. While heavier, the engine was significantly more powerful, (8,8 KN vs 7,8 Kn) allowing for a top speed of 860 kph. Armament was extremely heavy, consiting of 4 30mm Mk 108 cannons, giving teh aircraft a burst mass of ovr 14 kg per second. The gun was a lighter version of the long barreled mk 103 and was able to fire at a much higher rpm than the 103 but at the expense of far less accuracy and it also had a tendency to jam after around 100 shots(which wasnt that much of a problem since the 262 only carried 100 rounds per gun(80 rounds for the lower pair)). All armament was concentrated in the nose A gun camera was installed in the front as well. The wings were slightly swept back. The aircraft had very good visibility from its cockpit and the aircraft prooved to be easier to fly than a 109 G. It was light on the controls and pleasant to fly according to its pilot. However the engines were unrelaible and often flamed out. They also had very poor performacne figures at low speed, they needed much more time to accelerate than piston powered aircraft. At high rpm and higher speed the 004 truely showed its potential. Thrust at these kind of speed was mch bigger and the aircraf ould reach almost 900 kph in ideal conditions. Its climb rate was aclso quite impressive for an early jet aircraft. The 262 wasnt much of a dogfighter, witha wing loading nearing the 300 kg region it had a larger turning circle than propeller driven aircraft and especially at low speeds it was very very plump to turn . At higher speeds however it could turn much better, its swept wings and flaps at the front leading edge of the wing allowed it to turn surprisingly well at high speeds. It also had exceptionally good energy retention, beeing able to stay ina turn at high speed and holding that speed much longer than allied propeller fighters. Because of its heavy weight and powerful engines combined with 9its clean aerodynamics, the 262 was very good ina dive, accelerating fast but beeing difficult to pull out from because it didnt have any dive brakes. The armament also wasnt really suited for fighting with more nimble aircraft, since the 108 cannon had low muzzle velocity . Even against bombers , pilots could find it difficult to aim given the bad ballistics and trjaectory of teh 108 projectile. It only had an effective range of about 600metres and at the high speeds the 262s came in for their attack, this meant pilots only had very short time to aim and fire the guns.In the skies on the western front, allied pilots soon learned to fear the contrails of jet aircraft as the 262 was virtualy untouchable in the sky when flown by an expereinced pilot. Nothing in the skies of europe was able to catch the 262 (exceot the me 163 which was also german) and with its impressive armament and good rate of climb teh 262 was an ideal aircraft for bomber interception, a role in which the 262 scored a large number of killls against american ehavy bombers. Some 262 added firepower by mounting 24 R4M Orkan rocket under the wings, firing them into a stream of bombers and tehn attacking with their guns afterwards. On the ground or whens tarting or landing the 262 was however very vulnerable as it ddint react well to fast throttle increse and was clumsy to fly at low speed. Most 262 lost by enemy aircraft were destroyed in such positions or on the ground awaiting fuel that was sparse in the closing stages of wwi for the germans. The 262 was steadily worked on and more complex and sophisticated variant of the fighter were already developed or under development. The C series was equipped with rocket boosters that allowed them to climb at ridiculous speed, similar to the me 163 komet. The a1 u4 variant featured a massive 50mm auto cannon for engagin enemy bombers at long range. The B1 U2 variant was used as a nightfighter and the HG series of prototypes and designs were used for high speed research. Plans to install the Mg 213 revolver cannon were also egun and the weapon was ready to be test fitted but this never occured due to the end of the war. interestingy enough the 262 could have been in the sky much more earlier if hitler wasnt so insisted of this aircraft beeing primarily used as a bomber. Bomber variants existed of this aircraft but the bombs were difficult to aim and as a whole the aircraft wasnt very successfu in this role, it clearly was a fighter and not a bomber. The decision of hitler to use it as a bomber sounds even more ridiculius if you consider that the luftwaffe already had a jet powered bomber at their hands, the arado 234, that was far better suited for the role.
The a2b variant of the 262 you see ehre differes from the regular 262 a1a in having a different engine: The bmw 003 used by the he 162 and the engine that was originally planned to be used by the aircraft This aircraft while lighter produced much less power (the aircraft could "only" reach 800 kph with these engines) and I think thats the reason why only 3 of these aircraft were produced.#
The model: this is a hobby boss model that costs around 24€. Its in 1/48 and there are a lot of 262 variants offered by hobby boss that all share common components. This is one of them
Detail: really really good, esecially if you consider the price of the model kit. The cokcpit is very very wel done as are the wheel wells, the engines and teh interiro which consists of the first aid kit that is visible via a whole in the fuselage(its difficult to describe), and the whole weapons bay can be built open. Additionally the kit comes with 4 Ruhrstahl kramer X-4 missiles, even tho they were never fitted opereationally to a 262.
The onyl low point is that some of the connector pins are so big that you seee tehm when the model is finished but thats only a minor problem
Quality: excellent, no flash, no sinkamrks, as said the connector pins could have been positioned elsewhere or made smaller I think. The canopy looks really really good and is very clear
Fitting: Good, had some slight problems with the wheels and landing gear as it broke off sevrel times because it didnt fit a 100 % but overall good
Decals: Good decals, all the marking are there which is nice, however the decals fold up very easily and rip easily, they are quite difficut to apply
Extrapoints: Its one of my absolute faovurite aircraft ever made, ita true beauty. What I like about this kit in particular is the modular style of the kit that allows for different versions to be manufactured by the producer. Also nice is the complete weapons bay . The biggest + point however is the added weight, the plate where the nose landing gear fits is made up of metal so you dont need to install any weight
result: A really really really nice kit, I love it to bits, might not be so suited for beginners because of some fiddly parts but really nice for more expereinced builders and a very very satisfying solution for those who want this aircraft, the price is very cheap and you get a lot of model for it. A great kit in my opinion
****and a half