Profile Photo
Tom Cleaver
887 articles

Trumpeter 1/32 Me-262B-1a

June 15, 2014 · in Aviation · · 14 · 2.1K

Due to a statement made by William Green in his 1959 "Famous Fighters of the Second World War, Vol. 1" about the Me-262B night fighter conversion "shooting down" British bombers over Berlin in April 1945, it has long been believed that the 2-seater actually saw combat. Such is not the case.

According to Jorg Czypionka, the last surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, the first jet night fighter unit in the world, the unit was a "Wilde Sau" operation, using single-seat Me-262s without radar, for night fighting beginning in late March 1945 after Kurt Welter had demonstrated the previous January that operating the jet fighter at night was possible, shooting down five Mosquitos in one night ove3r Berlin while Goering watched from below.

Welter was a realist, and understood that the war was coming to an end. Unlike the hard-heads at JV-44, who collected as many Me-262s as they could and then torched them at the end, Welter collected as many Me-262s as he could with the object of saving them and turning them over to the Allies in return for good treatment of his men. The four Me-262Bs that were photographed at the end of the war, which many "hex-spurtz" have pointed to as "proof" they were operational, were actually on the airfield in Schleswig-Holstein where Welter gathered them to surrender to the British. In fact, close examination of the "ground crews" visible in the pictures will demonstrate they are in fact British Army soldiers! As Jorg explained to me some ten years ago, they didn't have the personnel to operate the radars or the knowledge of how to care for them. The four airplanes were scooped up and saved for post-war bargaining.

Over the summer of 1945, the men of Kommando Welter provided training to the Allied pilots who took the airplanes away. In fact, all the surviving Me-262s from the war came from this unit. While they were doing so, Welter made a deal with the commander of a local POW camp for his boys to go down 2-3 at a time and spend 24 hours in the camp before being discharged with proper paperwork. Come September when the airplane exchange was completed, the RAF commander was very apologetic when he told Welter he and his men would now have to go to POW camp, only to be confronted with the Germans all showing him their papers, then walking off the base free men.

The Me-262 kits by - Me-262A-1a fighter, Me-262A-2a bomber, and this Me-262B-1a night fighter - are Trumpeter's best and most accurate kits, and are the best Me-262s in any scale. Flaps and slats can be deployed, surface detail, cockpit detail, gun detail and engine detail are superb. Follow the instructions and you can't go wrong.

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. said on June 15, 2014

    i think i saw this one about 5 years ago but the photos were better then...looks like you shot them through a glass of milk

  2. Always learning something new from your writeups. I had no idea that the "B" didn't reach combat.

    And BTW if it did, what would they do with the glare of the jet efflux... the V1s launched at night were allegedly visible for miles.

    • Well, Kommando Welter did use single-seaters at night. They would attack Mosquitos of the Light Night Striking Force from the rear, since they could catch up to them, thus obviating the visible exhaust. As far as being seen from behind, there was nothing in the night skies of Germany that could catch them.

  3. Have seen this real aircraft in the Johannesburg War Memorial Museum, I think they have pictures of it on their web pages. From what I remember your paint scheme is bang on Tom. Thank goodness the Bomber Command boys didn't have to contend with this, things were bad enough. A burst from those 30mm cannon grouped together in the nose, would have cut a Lancaster in half, I reckon.

  4. Excellent 262 Tom, like Martin I assumed these actually saw some combat but your source is straight from the horses mouth so to speak - coming from a veteran - so thanks for sharing that fact with us. The 262B still looks like an awesome warplane tho'.

  5. Always enjoy your background notes Tom. Any chance you could enhance the contrast on the photos? I used a free editing program on them & they really look superb

  6. said on June 16, 2014

    Superb Tom! Can you advise me on the colours you used? I am doing the 1/48 dragon kit and want to do red 12.

    • The airplane is done in RLM76 overall, with RLM75 blotches. The upper wings and horizontal stabilizer were done with RLM71 "blotched" over RLM70.

      When I get my "intermittent internet connectivity" problems sorted Thursday, I will upload the revised photos which show this better.

  7. Nice clean build of a popular jet model in an interesting configuration.

  8. Tom,
    great build and very interesting story.

Leave a Reply