A vac beauty! Messerchmitt Me-261 ”Adolfine”, V2 Prototype (BJ+CQ), Airmodel, 1/72
This is my 1/72 Airmodel Messerchmitt Me-261 ”Adolfine” vac.
The Adolfine was a long-range reconnaissance aircraft designed in the late 1930s. It looked like an enlarged version of the Messerschmitt Bf 110. It was not put into production; just three Me 261s (V1, V2 and V3)
were built and used primarily for testing and development purposes.
The intended goal of the Me-261 project was for an example of the aircraft to carry the Olympic flame from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (site of the 1936 Winter Olympics) to Tokyo, Japan for the 1940 Summer Olympics in what would be a record-breaking nonstop flight (5870 mi / 9445 km). The plan captured the imagination of Adolf Hitler at an early stage in its design and in tribute, the aircraft carried the unofficial name: Adolfine.
The Me 261 incorporated a number of features which were highly advanced for its day. The single-spar all-metal wing was designed to serve as a fuel tank and its depth at the wing root was only slightly less than the height of the fuselage. The fuselage was of virtually rectangular section with space for five crew members, consisting of two pilots seated side-by-side with the radio operator directly behind in the front compartment, while a navigator and a flight engineer were housed in the rear fuselage under a stepped, glazed station.
Power came from four Daimler-Benz DB 601 engines, coupled together in pairs in a “power system” known as the DB 606, weighing 1.5 tonnes apiece and debuting in February 1937. The DB 606 “power systems” were originally developed for both the “single”-engined Heinkel He 119 high-speed reconnaissance aircraft, and the Heinkel He 177 strategic bomber, but the Me 261’s design housed the DB 606 “power systems” in nacelles that afforded significantly better access for maintenance and ventilation of the “twinned” DB 601 component engines in each one, than the Heinkel heavy bomber possessed. Each pair of engines drove a variable-pitch propeller, intended to be a pair of counter-rotating propellers (as the He 177A had used for its fourth prototype onwards) with each four-blade propeller driven through a gearbox shared between the “twinned” DB 601 engines forming the “power system”, generating 2,700 PS (1,985 kW) each.
The Me 261 had a conventional landing gear with unusually large and bulky low-pressure tires, much like modern day aircraft tundra tires, which prevented the aircraft from becoming bogged down on rough grass landing strips. The main gear’s design appears to use main struts that rotated through 90° during their rearwards retraction sequence, with sizable main wheels resting atop the retracted struts (similar to those used on production examples of the contemporary Junkers Ju 88). Even the Me 261’s fully retractable tailwheel possessed a larger-than-average, low-pressure pneumatic tire.
Construction of three prototypes began at Messerschmitt’s Augsburg works during the spring of 1939, but progress was slow due to the realisation that war would probably soon break out and the 1940 Summer Olympics would be cancelled. The Me 261’s original design brief as a long-range reconnaissance aircraft had been forgotten; now viewed as non-strategic, it was nearly abandoned with all work stopping in August 1939.
The Air Ministry subsequently realised that the Me 261 could still be a useful vehicle for evaluating long-range operations, and work resumed in the summer of 1940
Me 261 V2 (BJ+CQ)
The first flight of the Me 261 V2 was in early 1941. Official thinking now saw the Me 261 as a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Me 261 V1 was badly damaged during an Allied bombing attack on the Lechfeld Air Base in 1944 and eventually scrapped.
This kit was given to me as a present from a friend many years ago, along with a Planet Models same plane resin kit, some years later (By the way, this Planet Models kit is a work of art, too!)
The Airmodel kit, being a vac, for sure, is not exactly for beginners, but it offers nice quality vac styrene parts and really yummy resin detail parts…
…Of course, many “simple” (whatever that means) parts are not there and have to be scratchbuilt…
Instructions are as spartan as they could be, but with good will and an open mind you can keep walking…
Oh, and it looked so neat in its hefty plastic bag!…
Upon receiving it, my bizarre urge to build my first vac conquered me! So off I was, a dozen years ago!
Had to stop, as I had to move to my new house, set my new workbench slowly slowly, then my beloved kids arrived and so on!
Started to gradually reconnect with modelling hobby last year and, upon entering this amazing site here this year, decided to finish this beauty (the plane, not my build, of course, which is less than average at best!…).
It was an adventurus build, due to my inexperience (the fuselage broke apallingly in twos many times, numerous reinforcing attempts were tried, not to mention the special effort a vac needs…)
Anyway, rarely seen this bird built, thought it would not be a bad idea to finish it; couldn’t, as well, stand its tearful half finished sight, begging me to finish it.
So, here it is!
I know the result is definitely less than average, I made numerous mistakes, tried to correct as many as I could. But, the “Adolfine” is here, for you, my friends, to watch her, not thrown in a thrash bin after the many “interesting” (or, I would say, frustrating) times me and her had together…
If you are interested, you may read my build thread here:
If you do read it, please note that it caught up the actual build after the Luft Splittertarnmuster had been applied.
Thanks all for watching, and extra thanks to you, my friends, who followed my build thread; it was a great ride!
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.