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James Kelley
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iModeler Review: Hobby Boss 1/48 Me 262A-1a Schwalbe

November 20, 2013 · in Reviews · · 3 · 7.6K

Me 262A-1a Schwalbe

Item No: 80369
Item Name: Messerschmitt A-1a
Scale: 1:48
Total Plastic Parts: 220+
Total Sprues: 13 sprues
Metal Parts: Nose gear cabin

The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (English: "Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems prevented the aircraft from attaining operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. Compared with Allied fighters of its day, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor, it was much faster and better armed. One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II, the Me 262 was used in a variety of roles, including light bomber, reconnaissance and even experimental night fighter versions.
Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied kills (although higher claims are sometimes made). The Allies countered its potential effectiveness in the air by attacking the aircraft on the ground and while taking off or landing. Engine reliability problems and attacks by Allied forces on fuel supplies during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force. In the end, the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war as a result of its late introduction and the consequently small numbers that were deployed in operational service. The Me 262 influenced the designs of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre and Boeing B-47 Stratojet.

A little over eight years ago, Trumpeter released what I consider to be their finest 1/32 kit; the Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a. It was a pleasure to build, and I consider it one of my favorite kits built. Fast forward to the year 2013. Hobby Boss (read; Trumpeter under license) has added to their line of 1/48 Messerschmitt Me-262 variants, by introducing the first operational variant – the Me-262A-1a. Pantographed to 1/48 scale from the ubiquitous large-scale Trumpeter kits, the parts breakdown and detail of this line is what I would expect. Assembly looks to be straightforward, and the detail is particularly nice. No flash was apparent anywhere on the parts.

The cockpit won't need any aftermarket with careful painting. A full complement of avionics/radio compartment gear is included, which will really never be seen once the fuselage is closed up. The access hatch can be left open, however, one would be hard-pressed to view the compartment's contents. It could all just as easily be omitted.
The clear parts were crystal clear in my sample, and the windscreen is molded with the aft cowling section, so that a perfect, flush appearance can be achieved. Canopy is positional for open or closed options.

As previously mentioned, the cockpit is highly detailed. The instrument panel has appropriately raised detail, and a full instrument decal, should you wish to go that route. Side panel instruments are also a decal option. Three of the smaller sprues have foam paper wrapped around them, protecting fragile parts.

The weapons bay is replete with four highly detailed cannon. The floor and low sidewalls are a one-piece white metal part which serves to weight the nose. It didn't feel to me like it has much mass to it.

Sadly, the fuselage and wings are replete with rivets and many panel lines. While the 1/48 Tamiya offerings have panel lines, the riveting is noticeably absent. When Me 262s were built, the rivets were flush, and they and the panel lines were puttied, sanded, and polished over. The modeler can decide to leave these features as is, or fill them all in. On the other hand, the Hobby Boss kits are $10-15 less expensive than the Tamiya kits.

Two types of nose wheel are provided – smooth tire or treaded. Check your references for the machines you decide to model. The main wheels are very nicely detailed as well.
The decals provide for two machines. Register seems to be very good. However, the bluish carrier film has me puzzled. Neither markings option calls for off-color markings, nor it doesn't make sense to have to mix colors to match the decals. I'm really not sure what that's about. Hopefully, it's the color of the backing paper.

General shape and outline appears accurate. The model compares favorably to plans included in my copy of Model Art Issue 367. The fuselage is 2-3mm longer in the section forward of the canopy…or, the drawings are 2-3mm too short. Regardless, the shape and outline appears to be otherwise spot on, including the wings.

• Detailed cockpit tub
• Positional canopy
• Detailed nose gun bay with four cannons
• Positional gun bay doors
• Detailed avionics bay behind the cockpit
• Positional rear bay access panel
• Nicely detailed wheel wells and landing gear
• Positional rudder
• Optional RATO bottles
• Proliferation of rivets
• Panel lines

Available Hobby Boss 1/48 Me 262 kits:

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a
Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1b
Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a/U2(V056)
Me 262 A-1a/U3
Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a/U4
Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a/U5

My thanks to iModeler for the review sample.

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

24 additional images. Click to enlarge.

3 responses

  1. Good review, James.
    As I am currently enjoying the 1/48th scale HB Fw 190D-9 this seems to be another must have. 🙂

    Looks like the slats are molded integral with the wings (as with the Tamiya kit), but they should be pretty straightforward to separate.

  2. this looks good. I have never built a 262 so I may be gfame on this some time soon

  3. The kits looks pretty good ... given the number of kit manufactures who've made this model it would be great if one of them would break with tradition and have separate leading edged slats. One can dream.

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