1/48 Tamiya Messerschmitt Pre-Production Me-262 “S” (Werknummer 130006), “VI + AF”
This model was started as I was "hitting the wall" and getting bogged down with research on the group of 4 Tamiya FW-190 A's, and the Monogram He-111 build I was doing at the time. So what's the cure ?
Build up a kit that has a simple monotone finish, and was something that I had been wanting to build for quite some time now...
It all started shortly after I picked up these two excellent books and started turning the pages.
Once I saw how these early "pre production" machines were painted in overall RLM 76, I knew right away that some day I would end up building one of them. You simply don't see many 262's painted in this color, even though the first arriving jets were delivered this way.
After delivery to the unit's they most often received camouflage paint on top of this color, using the RLM 76 as a base.
Here's a link to the build... in case you're interested in seeing what went into this one. Other than a self imposed canopy mishap, it was smooth sailing, with no putty needed to fill in seams any where. I did use some Tamiya white putty to fill in the flare ports, since the early machines didn't have them.
It was as they say "Typical Tamiya / Shake and Bake". It has to be the easiest and most relaxing build that I have done in quite some time, and was just what the doctor ordered.
This model was painted using an Iwata HP-C Plus air brush, and I used Model Master enamels for the finish.
The kit comes with a nice metal nose weight, that also acts as a support for the nose gear. I used bare metal foil to replicate the shock absorber portion of the oleo struts. The kit has some very nice details cast into the outer side of the cockpit tub, which can be seen through the main gear wheel wells.
I gave this area a very light oil wash using Windsor and Newton "Lamp Black" as the color. It helped to make the details pop.
Inside these books were some very interesting photos showing the early "S" machines as the were called. Going from memory, there were 10 of the "S" planes built after the initial batch of prototype 262's.
This next photo shows the actual plane my model was built after, and it states this plane was the first of the pre production aircraft. This plane made it's first flight on April 19th, 1944.
It would have flown sooner, but it was damaged during the assembly phase of construction at the Messerschmitt AG plant at Augsburg-Haunstetten on February 25th, 1944. The factory was bombed by a flight made up of 196 B-17 bombers from the 1st Air Division of the 8th AF.
This one, "Red 3" Werk Number 130008, "VI + AH" suffered a nose gear failure on June 16th, 1944. This is the original plane I wanted to build. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a proper "Red 3" in the decal stash...The nose gear would continue to plague the jet throughout it's short career.
Here's another photo of the same plane. It clearly shows the under wing call letters. This is the photo that helped me decide to add these letters under the wings on my build.
This next photo is one I tried to replicate, but I couldn't get the proper angle to take the picture... so this is the best I could do with what I had...
Here's the original photo of Red 1 and the tail assembly...
My black and white version photo of the model... It looks "kind of" close.
followed by the actual color photograph of the model... The clear light at the base of the tail is what was used on the very early A-1 planes and "S" machines. This part is included in the Tamiya kit, so it's a very easy plane to build using out of the box components.
In this photo below, you can see this plane had an odd shaped "Red 6" painted on the side of the nose. More details from the picture can be gathered from the caption.
I have noticed that these pre production "S" machines all had numbers painted on the sides of the nose in Red.
The very first "S" machine 262 was the one I built my model of, and it's "Red 1", with the fuselage radio call numbers as "VI + AF". The "Werk" number is 130006. from what I have noticed after looking at all of the information I have found on these early machines is this:
Messerschmitt appears to have kept the numbering system and the radio call letters in sequence.
Red 2 was Werk Number 130007, and had radio call numbers "VI + AG"
Red 3 was Werk Number 130008, and had radio call numbers "VI + AH"
If this practice was continued, then the plane shown in the last original photo was involved in another crash on July 18th, 1944. I have a chart that shows "VI + AK" (which should be Red 6) crashing fatally after an engine problem. The cause is listed as "separation of the turbine engine rings". Hauptman Theirfelder was killed in the crash.
However, when you look at the photo of "Red 6" you can clearly see that it has radio call letters of "VI + AL"... Maybe they switched things up a little to confuse Allied intelligence Units ?
Who knows for sure...
I was able to build this early "S" machine with only a few modifications. First off, I had to fill in the flare tube exits that were molded into the sides of the fuselage, not too far from where the insignia cross is located.
The kit I used for this build included the little "Kettenkrad" Tractor. This version came supplied with a two cannon nose. The pre production "S" machines had a four gun nose. Luckily I have several more of these fine Tamiya kits left in the stash, and I was able to "borrow" a correct four gun nose cover from another Tamiya model.
I have plans to build the remaining Me-262 1/48 scale planes in my stash in the near future. A few years ago Hobby Boss released a series of the jets and covered most of the types. I have another "photo recon" version from Dragon. It also seems to have been delivered from the factory in an overall RLM 76 finish, with random dark green squiggly lines sprayed on top.
This multiple Me-262 build I am planning will happen sometime in the early part of 2019. It should include two seat trainer jets, as well as bomber and night fighter planes to round out the collection. I also want to build one as a jet (White 8) that was being flown by Walter Nowotny when he was shot down and killed.
The Me-262 builds might actually correspond (or overlap) with the future planned FW-190's. I have some decals to build up a few of the JV 44 Focke Wulf's, so I plan on doing some research and finding some photos of JV 44 jets. It would be cool to have both the 262 and the 190's from JV 44 sitting side by side...
Overall I would rate this building experience as a 10 out of 10. The fit was spot on, the engineering of the parts was outstanding. But the most important thing of all was this... I had a great time building this one.
The only problem I ran into was when I accidentally "fogged" the canopy when I was spraying on the Future clear acrylic in preparation for the decals. Somehow I managed to get some over spray inside the canopy.
Luckily I was able to carefully remove the clear parts, and after some careful cleaning, I gave the parts a dunk in some Future. After the stuff dried for a few days, I added the parts back on... and presto !
Thankfully, the problem was gone.
After letting things settle down for a day or two, I decided to give the plane a coat of flattening agent to knock the shine down some. It made the plane look even more authentic. The weathering was kept to a bare minimum, as these planes didn't last too long before they were gone... You can see from the original photos that they didn't get too worse for wear...
I hope you enjoy reading about this one as much as I enjoyed building it. There will definitely be some more of these wonderful kits built by me in the future, and I will post them here for you to enjoy.
Thanks for reading, and as always,
"Comments are encouraged"