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  1. 1:48 Me 163B Komet Gaspatch Models Catalogue # 20-48236 Available from Gaspatch Models for €36,00 The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was a German interceptor aircraft designed for point-defence that is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational and the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed 621 mph in level flight. Designed by Alexander Lippisch, its performance and aspects of its design were unprecedented. German test pilot Heini Dittmar in early July 1944 reached 700 mph, an unofficial flight airspeed record that was unmatched by turbojet-powered aircraft for almost a decade. Over 300 Komets were built, but the aircraft proved lacklustre in its dedicated role as an interceptor and destroyed between 9 and 18 Allied aircraft against 10 losses. Aside from combat losses, many pilots were killed during testing and training, at least in part due to the highly volatile and corrosive nature of the rocket propellant used in later models of the aircraft. This includes one pilot by the name of Oberleutnant Josef Pohs, who was dissolved by the rocket fuel following an incident that resulted in a ruptured fuel line. It has been claimed that at least 29 Komets were shipped out of Germany after the war and that of those at least 10 have been known to survive the war to be put on display in museums around the world. Most of the 10 surviving Me 163s were part of JG 400, and were captured by the British at Husum, the squadron's base at the time of Germany's surrender in 1945. According to the RAF museum, 48 aircraft were captured intact and 24 were shipped to the United Kingdom for evaluation, although only one, VF241, was test flown (unpowered). Adapted from Wikipedia The kit Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting a rocket-powered interceptor to be on Gaspatch’s release schedule but seeing as it’s been over 30yrs since the last 1:48 Komet graced shop shelves with the Dragon/Trimaster (and oft-released by other companies since), I certainly won’t complain. A few years ago, I built the 1:32 Meng kit and found it fiddly, ill-fitting and not a wonderful experience to build. Gaspatch already have a reputation for wonderfully designed kits, so a Komet was an exciting prospect. The kit itself comes in a box which I would say was perhaps a little too big for such a diminutive aircraft, but one which suited their previous kit releases. A nice, simple Komet artwork adorns the box lid, with the SIX schemes available shown along the box edges. With the tabbed lid opened up, the kit’s FOUR grey styrene sprues and ONE clear sprue are seen, packaged into a single, re-sealable sleeve (with the clear sprue in another smaller sleeve to protect it). Gaspatch are known for their 3D-printed guns, so they’ve used their technology to create some 3D-prrinted resin parts for this release too, namely a couple of assembly jigs and a bracket (plus spare) that sits in front of the armoured inner windscreen. Masks are also supplied, as well as two decal sheets, a PE fret, and a colour-printed, 24-page instruction manual. Work begins in the cockpit, and it’s clear from the outset that Gaspatch have seen how fiddly the Meng kit was and decided to better it. The rear cockpit bulkhead is moulded in clear plastic. This is so you can use the supplied masks on the quarterlight windows and then simply paint the rest in RLM66…no glue anywhere near those small window areas! The cockpit itself is a multimedia affair of both styrene and PE. PE is used for the pilot seat rails which must first fit to the clear bulkhead, and with the two-part seat installed, PE seatbelts are then added. With the main tub connected to the bulkhead, the two pipes from the console fuel tanks can be installed. Between the tub and bulkhead. These were omitted from the Meng kit. The console looks perfect too, and the securing straps are also nicely represented. Rudder pedals are separate to the bar, and straps are supplied in PE. Cockpit sidewall detail really is exquisite, with a combination of plastic and PE parts, moulded with details that wouldn’t look amiss on a larger scale kit. The kit doesn’t come with a Walther rocket engine, but the spine of the model is represented by detail below those panels, including the ammunition saddle and feed, and filler cap. The quarterlight window ledges are also fitted to the interior spine unit which can be painted first before fitting the fuselage. The spine panels can be positioned either opened or closed. I admit I also prefer how Gaspatch has approached the landing skid assembly on this model. The details look far more refined than the larger Meng kit, with an option to pose the skid in both extended or retracted position. Parts detail really is excellent throughout, including the actuating mechanism. With the fuselage closed up, the Komet’s MK108 cannon can be fitted. Here’s where the 3D printed jigs are used. These are sat around each gun, holding it in the correct position on the exposed wing root, until the glue is set. Electrical firing boxes and ammunition belts then connect up to the cannon on what is already a beautifully detailed internal wing root area. Lots of lessons seemingly learned from the fussiness of the recent, larger scale kit of this aircraft. PE control surface linkages are also included, which are of course seen when the gun bay panels are open. The fuselage is moulded with separate nose cone and rudder, and the rudder has a very subtle fabric finish. Amazing that an aircraft like this even used fabric to cover control surfaces! Wing construction is quite traditional with both being separate and consisting of upper and lower panels. These trap the control surfaces in place when glued together. On the underside, the air brake panels are supplied as PE parts. For the undercarriage, a choice of faired and un-faired tail wheel is supplied, and of course, the main gear dolly is present. Both weighted and unweighted tyres are supplied, with separate hubs. The clear sprue is quite small but the canopy is nicely thin and everything has excellent clarity, including that armoured windscreen. Overall, the finish of the parts is of the highest quality, with nice surface textures where appropriate, including ports, panel lines etc. PE is also extremely high quality with good detail and narrow connection gates. Decals One main sheet of decals is included, and a smaller one which just contains the swastikas as halves. All decals are printed by Cartograf, and are nice and thin, with good, solid colour and minimal carrier film. Everything is in perfect register too. Instrument and stencil decals are also included. The SIX schemes are: Me 163B, W/Nr:191916, JG400, Brandis, April 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:191659, JG400, 1945 Me 163B, White 14, JG400, Brandis, February 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:191477, EJG2, Spring 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:130061, Air Ministry 203 Me 163B, VF241, captured UK, post-war Instructions These are provided as a 24-page colour affair, with the first pages having a parts map and a colour guide. That guide is referenced throughout the build, so you’ll always have the part colour info at hand. Colour photos and illustrations also depict painting. The Komet itself is split over 14 constructional sequences in CAD/shaded style images, with PE etc. being easy to denote. The last pages show each scheme in full colour. Conclusion Simply a great little kit of a gorgeous little and ballsy combat aircraft. Quite small in 1:48, but with no less detail in than something you’d expect from a larger scale kit. The addition of the jigs for mounting the guns is a great idea, and the inclusion of masks for both the interior and exterior of the canopy is something I wish we’d see more of as standard. Now, I do know what Gaspatch are doing next, and it will be amazing, and this little model has really set the bar to a new level. Just a great kit! My sincere thanks to Gaspatch Models for the kit reviewed here. To buy directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  2. Hola Senhoras e Senhores, this nasty little rocket powered beast will be my lazy summer build. Between surfing and mountainbiking, lots of swimming and gardening there are only little amounts of time and only place for a little bird with not too much extras included. The Komet or Kraftei or whatever names where found for this pocket rocket was always a subject of fascination to me, because of it’s radical design and raw power for the short rocket burst it was able to produce out of an obscure reaction between the T-Stoff and C-Stoff fuel components. When MENG released their kit some years ago I had to purchase one and what’s in the box looks promising in detail and engineering. I added some AM stuff like the EDUARD interior set and some Barracuda wheels Because I wanted a quick build and I want to show the Komet’s pure shape, I decieded against detailing the rocket engine and close up the bird permanently. The interesting appearance of the captured ME-163b which was flown by Eric Brown in 1945 caught my eye and kept my hooked. The combination of camo and bright yellow belly is somehow funky. The pictures of the first steps look a little crude, but that will get better with more advancements. The cockpit needed a lot of surgery to replace parts with more refined PE parts. Next steps will be priming, yeah, good old stinkin’ Tamiya rattle can stuff, and then some RLM-66 mixed to fit the printed PE. Cheers Rob
  3. 1:32 Messerschmitt Me 163 Anhänger Profimodeller Catalogue # 32248 Available from Profimodeller for 1,749Kč We recently took a look at the new Scheuch-Schlepper and Pressluftballonhänger from Profimodeller. Read the historical noted there for an insight into the release of this new set. The balloon cradle lifter, whilst I talked about this in conjunction with the Me 163B, was possibly more akin to the recovery of the earlier Me 163A, although possibly not exclusively. However, it is certain that the tracked recovery cradle was the type that was generally in use for the later service Komet aircraft. We’ve seen this in both 1:72 and 1:48 scales before, but this is the first time this has been released in 1:32, and suitable for the Meng and Hasegawa Komet kits. Of course, this was towed by the Scheuch Schlepper, and you really should look at both of these kits for your Komet diorama. This release is packed into a sturdy little corrugated box that has an attractive product label attached to the lid, depicting a clear line drawing of the Anhänger. Inside this box, there are two smaller boxes containing the resin parts and another that contains the photo-etch, and wire etc. No other loose parts are contained in the rest of the main box expanse. In total, there are around 118 resin parts that are cast in a combination of black and cream resin. There are also no shortage of metal parts, with a further thirty turned brass parts, plus wire, metal rod and TWO photo-etch frets. I think you can see that this is no weekend project! Instructions are supplied as a 14-page A6 booklet. First of all, let’s see what we have in each box, then a look at construction. Each of the resin boxes has a single bag, containing all the parts therein. Careful handling is a necessity, and in my sample, there don’t appear to be any broken parts. Contents Box 1 Contents Box 2 Contents Box 3 The breakdown of this is quite different from the Pressluftballonhänger in that each arm of the lifting cradle is constructed from a number of smaller components instead of being a single large casting. Of course, this means that you have a number of elements that need to be assembled so that they lie correctly, without any twist. Looking through this kit, I would advise either small quantities of epoxy or CA gel for adhesive, allowing some adjustment time. I would also advise that both left and right booms are assembled at the same time, and one at a time, per side, whilst ensuring both sides are balanced. Remember, there are tracked wheels on this, and they really should lie ‘on the flat’. Get it wrong, and these won’t lie equally flat. Construction starts with the bank of two hydraulic rams that I presume are for raising the rear arms of the lifting boom. As I have no reference of the Anhänger, I have to try to understand the mechanics of it. The Anhänger is quite unusual in that these boom extremities have their own articulation. I presume this is so that each can be raised in turn until the Komet is safely off the floor. If the ground is uneven, it could be another reason for needing to raise each arm at different levels. The body of the Anhänger is next to be built, and again, there is a lot of importance that I need to push here for ensuring that alignment is correct. A number of subassemblies are required to fit between the two main frame halves, including a complicated jack/ram system that is used to raise the whole main, rear boom. There is, of course, a third hydraulic cylinder, standing vertically, which would have been used to move this section. As a number of holes are required for line up, I would perhaps use some styrene/ABS rod to aid in this, whilst waiting for other sections to dry. I think it’s important to look a couple of stages ahead during all construction. Each beam has 3 x 3 sets of wheels, made from resin, and mounted upon turned brass axles/spigots. As this is probably one of the most important areas of construction, I’m pleased to see that metal parts are used instead of resin. To encompass these, TWENTY-SIX resin blocks are included, each with two resin track parts. Both parts are different as only alternative tracks are fitted with a running guide that slips in between the outer/inner wheels and the centre wheel. I’m afraid you will need to drill these out so that you can insert a wire link to hold the tracks together. I would suggest that you actually link the tracks together and drill them at the same time whilst dry fitted, or you may find that you can’t accurately pin them together. Of course, these wheels are fitted to fixed beams, with the actual lifting beam sitting above this. Please look at the images of the instructions, just to see the level of detail on this kit. All resin parts are superbly cast, with very little clean-up, except for casting block removal. My sample has no flawed or broken parts. Of course, these is a lot of block removal due to the high parts count. Connection points are designed to be easy to remove, and production is some of the best I’ve seen, outside of the big name companies in our hobby. The metal parts are also excellent. PE frets are beautifully made, with sharp detail, and are left in their bare brass finish. Turned metal parts are perfect, with no burrs or other issues. Instructions These are clear and concise, but with many constructional stages due to the nature of the model. Unfortunately, there is no painting guide, so you’ll have to either ‘wing it’ or see what the general consensus of opinion is over this item. Conclusion Profimodeller have improved in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, with some of the best detail and improvement sets available, outside of the regular companies, such as Eduard etc. The set is well designed and thought out, and beautifully produced. I can’t vouch for accuracy, simply because I don’t have the prerequisite reference material, and of course, this sort of review is quite difficult to put together, and remain informative. Everything you need to build this model, should be included here, such as wire for linking the tracks etc. A very comprehensive kit, albeit not too cheap, but in my opinion, well worth the asking price (currently at around £48 equivalent). Along with the Scheuch Schlepper, you can guarantee that the actual Komet part of your model, will actually only account for around a quarter of the total parts that you assemble!!! HIGHLY recommended Is that it? Er no! We have ANOTHER set here designed to be hooked up to the Scheuch. If you’re actually able to source a 1:32 V1 flying bomb, then we now have a trolley designed to carry them around the launching site....... 1:32 V1 Anhänger Profimodeller Catalogue # 32247 Available from Profimodeller for 1,749CZK This cradle-like trolley was used to carry the partially disassembled V1 ‘Doodlebug’ or ‘Buzzbombs’ from their storage facility, out to the waiting launch aircraft, such as the Heinkel He 111P. Essentially, this consisted of a transporter frame that had a hydraulic crane that allowed the weapon to be loaded and unloaded. Like a lot of specific German technology, it was quite innovative and fulfilled its purpose precisely. The wings of the V1 were packed alongside the fuselage, and once the fuselage was located to the Heinkel, the wings would then be fitted. Again, packed into a rigid cardboard box with a line drawing product label, this particular set contains THREE small boxes and another beautifully drawn instruction sheet. One package contains two PE sheets, with some wire, metal rod and the Anhänger wheels that are supplied as rubber rings. Another box has the more fragile rods and support parts cast in black resin which I think is perhaps a little more resistant to breakage than normal resin, and the last box holds a number of cream coloured resin parts for the frame, chassis, turntable etc. There are a total of around SEVENTY resin parts, SIX rubber tyres, THIRTY metal parts, including rod and turned metal items, and a further EIGHTY pieces of photo-etch. Again, this last figure is an approximation. Resin parts are superbly cast, with casting blocks that will be simple to remove and clean up any remnants. No breakage or flaw can be seen on my example. Photo-etch parts are also extremely good, with small connecting tabs and some great detail, such as the tread plates. Turned brass parts are also cleanly produced, sharp and with no burrs or debris to remove. Wire is included for the various hydraulic lines. Contents Box 1 Contents Box 2 Contents Box 3 This is no simple to make model though, and you’ll need to really take your time in ensuring that all beams and frames are aligned, and I would advise some slow-cure CA for those final connections. Instructions look easy enough to follow, with the line drawing illustration being pretty clear. There is NO colour information at all, so you’ll need to get creative but sensible with this little model kit. I know you’re going to ask about a 1:32 V1, yes? The good news is that Profimodeller will be releasing one of these in a few short weeks, so get ready for that super He 111/V1 combo/dio you always wanted to build in 1:32! HIGHLY recommended! …… but it’s not over yet. There’s more… 1:32 Tipping body for Scheuch Profimodeller Catalogue # 32249 Available from Profimodeller for 499,00CZK Please remember that the Scheuch wasn’t actually designed for the Me 163 Komet. It was only the towed items that were for this purpose. The Scheuch was actually an agricultural machine, and as such, it could tow other things. This set depicts a simple tipping trailer that could also have been military in use, for carrying tools, equipment and building materials etc. This little kit is a much simply affair than the Anhänger we just looked at, and as a result, comes in a smaller box that contains all parts that are simply packed into zip-lock wallets. One wallet contains the creamy coloured resin parts, whilst the other holds the black resin, photo etch and metal rods. A little unusual to see PE in a bag with resin, but this fret is a heavier gauge than we normally see, so will come to no harm. BAG 1 This contains the cream coloured resin, with a total of four parts. Two of these are the wheels. These actually look very good, with nice hub and tread detail. My only reservation is that the casting block connecting point is a little too wide, obscuring more of that tread than I would have liked to see. The other two parts are the main tipper body and the flap door side. These are very thin indeed and require some care in handling. Again, detailing is excellent, with metal frame and bolt detail, and the body itself having a faux wood grain pattern which should look good with an oil grain application and wash. The casting blocks have been thoughtfully placed, and will be easy to remove. BAG 2 Another ten resin parts reside here, cast in black resin. These form the tippers chassis, and will connect directly to the ring attachment at the rear of the Scheuch. Essentially, these parts are blocks and rods, and you’ll need to follow the instructions carefully with regard to spacings and lengths of parts. Construction looks easy, it’s just that you’ll need to take constant care before you commit glue. All casting is first rate, with no flaw or defect to be seen in my sample. A single PE fret contains brackets, shrouds, latches and hinge plates. Production is excellent. Metal rod is included for axles etc. Instructions are quite a simple affair with line drawing imagery. A little colour notation is supplied, but you can pretty much paint this how you see fit, whether it be grey, green, yellow etc. Conclusion Profimodeller’s Scheuch family is building nicely, and this little kit will no doubt will a hole for a good number of modellers. All it really needs now are some figures, but where can we get them? Highly recommended 1:32 Scheuch German crew Profimodeller Catalogue # 32258 Available from Profimodeller for 249,00CZK The last of our current Scheuch review items is definitely most welcome. It contains crew figures in various poses, that would look great being seen adjusting the Komet or Anhänger, and of course, sat driving the Scheuch too. This release, packed into a relatively large box, contains not one, two or three, but FOUR figures. They appear to be dressed in Luftwaffe ground crew uniforms, as their hats and tunics sport the Eagle symbol. These guys were collectively known as ‘Black Men’ due to their uniform colours, yet these uniforms are depicted in a Grey-Green tone. My history and knowledge here isn’t good, so I’m probably wrong. Each figure is cast without arms, and with the exception of the kneeling figure (mechanic), also without hats. The three hatless characters have peaked caps, unlike the kneeling figure. The latter figure can be posed so that he’s adjusting the Scheuch or the Komet, as his arms have hands that mimic the handling of either a tool or piece of equipment. One figure is supplied as a Scheuch driver, and he stares intently forward with his hands on the wheel. This is only really any good if you don’t use the other guys, as he appears to be driving. A seated figure, looking over his shoulder with one hand on the wheel, would’ve been more appropriate for this set, or an option to pose as such. Two ‘helpers’ are provided too. As these are fully stood up, they would perhaps be batter placed around the Komet. One of them looks like he has his hand, chest height, resting on something, but his right arm is resting along a flat surface. I’m sure there is a role for him, it’s just that you’ll need to find what that is. All figures are superbly cast, with minimal clean up and easy casting block removal. A little flash can be found here and there, but it’s very fine. Left arms are identifiable due to numbered dimples signifying fit and position. Uniform detail is very good, with creases, folds, belt detail etc. being nicely rendered. My only reservation, not being good at figure painting, is that the various emblems aren’t supplied as decals. You’ll need a steady hand to paint the various insignia, epaulets etc. The instructions consist of a single sheet that shows each figure as a complete character, and printed in colour. A small colour chart denotes painting. Conclusion I do have a couple of reservations here, but that is probably because I’m no figure builder and painter. Detail on these figures is very good, and no doubt will look perfect in the capable hands of a good modeller. I just wish there was a driver option for a stationary Scheuch. Recommended My sincere thanks to Profimodeller for the review samples seen here. To purchase these, click the links in the article.
  4. Probably the best ever walk-around images of the Me 163 Komet, as taken by Thomas Mayer, Duxford, 2002. Time to dig the Meng kit from your stash. Enjoy!
  5. 1:32 Scheuch-Schlepper and Pressluftballonanhänger Profimodeller Catalogue # see article for code and price Available from Profimodeller When it came to creating a problem and then implementing a solution, the Germans certainly were very adept. Nazi Germany was certainly the first, and only country to actively employ a rocket-powered interceptor, in Messerschmitt’s Me 163 Komet design, despite just how dangerous this aircraft was to use (for its crews!). This aircraft no taxiing capability, and once spent of fuel and landed, it needed to be recovered and brought back to the airfield for refuelling and re-arming. This brought a number of challenges with it, but a simple piece of agricultural machinery was adapted to do that very job. The Scheuch-Schlepper was designed as a simple tractor, by Rudolf and Eugen Scheuch, and was adapted for war use as a bomb cart tractor. A second steering wheel was also fitted, allowing a walking crewman to help manoeuvre the Schlepper if it was operating under an aircraft. This versatile little machine was seized upon for a role in collecting the landed Me 163 aircraft, but of course, like any good piece of farm equipment, it needed a little help. A custom designed ‘Y’ framework was developed for the Schlepper to tow. This wide-mouthed frame carried inflation bags on each arm that supported the aircraft under its wings, for transport back to its base. A simple yet effective solution. Meng’s Me 163B Komet has been out a little while now, but if you wanted to display this in a recovery dio, there really weren’t any options for you, until now. Profimodeller has released not one, but TWO multimedia kits for this very purpose. The Scheuch-Schlepper and Pressluftballonanhänger are separate releases, but of course are really needed as a single entity for displaying with your Komet. You could of course show an un-hitched Pressluftballonanhänger being positioned under your Me 163, but it would only really make sense if the diminutive little tractor accompanied it. The two kits we have here are: 32245, Scheuch-Schlepper, 1,990 CZK 32246, Pressluftballonanhänger (for Scheuch-Schlepper), 1490 CZK Both of these releases are supplied in small and rigid corrugated cardboard boxes, with their own specific product label affixed to the lid. Scheuch-Schlepper Despite this box being the lighter of the two, by far, it is the more expensive of the two sets. When you see the contents though, the reason is pretty clear. This set has far more parts, and they are also vastly intricate in comparison to the Pressluftballonanhänger. It appears at first glimpse that this isn’t a set for the faint-hearted or impatient builder. Inside the box, there are two small white boxes containing resin parts, a single PE fret, a bag of wires, rod and chain, and of course, the instruction sheet. Inside one of the small inner boxes, you’ll find the large resin body of this vehicle, cast in black resin. A zip-lock back contains all of the other resin components, except for the wheels…..and there are a LOT of resin parts here too, with some of them being fairly small. The tractor body resembles an earth digger bucket, or a small skip, and has some very nice external detail. There is some underside detail to be fitted, but this will be minimal. Internally, the bin is empty, as all internal detail is provided with both resin and PE parts. There are around another 90 parts included in the small bag, all cast superbly, with no flaws, and with excellent detail. These are probably the best castings I’ve yet seen from Profimodeller. In all, a very impressive set of parts, including the small VW engine, transmission, fuel tank, battery and tray etc. This particular machine was fitted with a single wheel adaptation to the rear, making the tractor a ‘tricycle’ vehicle. This rear wheel is supported on a framework that is bolted to the flange at the rear of the Schlepper. All associated parts really are very good, and the wheel itself has beautiful tread too. There are a couple of tiny divots on it, presumably where the overcast spouts were removed, but this is mo problem. Connection to the casting block is around the portion of the wheel that you should perhaps use as the area closest to the floor. There will be just a little work required here to make that look ok. The second small box contains seven parts, cast in a light cream-coloured resin. Four of these parts are the main Schlepper wheels with their heavy, agricultural tread, and also the ‘Continental’ logo on the side. Detail is sharp, but the edges of the wheels are quite square, so I think a quick lick with a sanding stick, just to remove the extreme sharpness of the edge, will make it look a world better. There are no casting blocks there, and very little clean-up is required. Wheel hubs are superbly detailed and separately cast here, as are the bucket seat, main engine upper cowl, and the steering wheel block. Again, I have to say it; the detail really is excellent, and there is very little clean-up to perform on the parts themselves. A couple of parts had broken from their casting blocks, but were undamaged themselves. The bright brass PE fret must contain around another 100 parts. I really haven’t counted these, but I would say I’m not too far from the mark. Here are various plates, brackets, grilles, frameworks, drive and control mechanisms/linkages etc, and also the driver’s foot board. This is etched with a little faux-wood grain, and really wasn’t necessary if you choose to replicate that with oil paint, or the excellent Uschi van der Rosten wood grain decal. I will choose the latter option. Lastly, another bag contains a cast resin towing bar, length of aluminium rod for axles etc. resin bolts for the wheel hubs (Masterclub?), copper wire, chain and turned brass parts for the control levers. Instructions are simple, clear and easy to understand, with illustration being in line drawing format, with simple colour call-outs being supplied. Pressluftballonanhänger Inside this box, there are three smaller white boxes, another bag of resin parts, a bag of springs, ferrules, white and rod, two PE frets and the instruction sheet. The first box contains a bag of the numerous wheels employed by the Y frame. These are cast in pale creak resin, with nice hubs and subtle tread detail. Thankfully, the casting blocks are slightly offset onto the wheel face, meaning they don’t interfere with the tread pattern. Another bag of black resin parts include the gas inflation tanks, tank valves, and frame parts for the ‘Y’ section and also the wheel area, tank supports and hitching mechanism. This bag itself has a total of around 45 parts. The next two small boxes contain the parts that make this set a heavy one; the inflation bags. The breakdown of these is also to be noted. Two large inflation bags are supplied, complete with the heavy sealing and stitching detail at either side, and you will notice that the upper mid-section of each is missing. Those areas are provided as inserts, simply because you can choose to model the Pressluftballonanhänger without the weight of the Me 163 pressing down, or using the indented tanks, it can be displayed under the Komet. A quick test of these inserts showed that you need to adjust these to fit the bag recesses. There is also another bag of wheels included here, identical to the packet in the previous box, providing 4 wheels per side. A bag that sits in the bottom of the main box, contains two black resin parts, forming the main arms of the ‘Y’ frame, and will be added onto with numerous parts in the first box that we looked at. I have to say that these parts, as well as most of the rein in this set, are superbly cast. Only a rough casting block edge on those flotation bags, needs to be cleaned and smoothed, but that can be done at the same time that you remove the seams from the upper inserts. TWO photo-etch frets are included. These contain the various footplates, straps, tank and bag supports and parts for the compressed gas tank valves. Instructions for this set are also clear to understand, and follow the same format as those in the Schlepper kit. Basic colour call-outs are given, and the builder should experience no problems. Conclusion Until now, it’s seemed like Komet modellers in smaller scales have been better catered for than those of us who indulge in large scale pleasures. Hearing that Profimodeller were going to release these pair of kits, really was a pleasure for many of us. Of course, we had to bring it here to show you as soon as we could. Both kits are superbly designed, contain excellent detail, and the quality of the parts is as good as you could want. These won’t be easy kits to build, but the effort will certainly pay off when you mount that 1:32 Komet on that Pressluftballonanhänger!! I’ve got to say that I’m pretty impressed with both of these. VERY highly recommended My sincere thanks to Profimodeller for the review samples seen here. To purchase directly, click the links in the article. James H
  6. 1:32 Me 163B exterior Eduard Catalogue # 32355 Available from Eduard for 22,45 € Bunny Fighter Club price: 19,08 € We recently took a look at Eduard's other detail sets for the new Meng Me 163B Komet. Having built this kit, and knowing a little about how the Komet 'should' look, Meng pretty much got things right with regard to the exterior and shapes etc, but a number of anomalies existed, such as missing detail and also some areas which looked a little 'unfinished', such as the mating surfaces of the tail and fuselage. Some detail is incorrect and over-simplified too, so thankfully, it's Eduard to the rescue. The recent 'interior set' dealt with the cockpit alone, but this new exterior set tackles the other areas on this kit which require some loving attention. That upgrade work doesn't just begin and end with the exterior, as the product title suggests, but also extend to a number of non-cockpit interior areas, such as the engine and weapons bays. Packaged in Eduard's familiar letterbox format wallet, the Me 163B exterior set comprises of a single bare brass PE fret measuring around 145mm x 80mm, containing over SEVENTY individual parts. A good number of frame edges etc on this fret are extremely delicate, so Eduard have thankfully made their connection tabs super fine so you don't distort anything when you try to remove those parts. For the Walter rocket engine itself, only a couple of quick fixes are required, as Meng did a bang-up job in this area. The rocket exhaust needs to have its external fire ring removed and replaced with a rolled PE part which contains the exhaust gas holes around its circumference. This requires just a little surgery. A little more PE is added to the combustion chamber, with what appears to be an access port. When you split the Komet in two, in order to display that engine, you'll see some of the sloppiness of Meng's design. Whilst there are a couple of inserts which fit into the wing root, allowing the sections to be fitted together, if you pose the model as sections, then the ugliness of the hollow wing root and the flat, featureless mating surfaces can be seen. You need to know here that adding a lot of the detail in this set will call for you displaying the model as separate parts permanently. You will NOT be able to unplug and plug the tail unit at will. This is no loss, as the tail section is a poor fit when you mate it to the fuselage. Those mating surfaces between the tail unit and fuselage are covered in circular and partially circular PE, with rivet detail added. This goes a way to hiding any joints in the plastic parts in this area. In some cases, a little surgery will be required to shave off a small amount of plastic detail. Those ugly open wing root areas on the tail section will also have a constructional plate glued over them, and internally, where an insert isn't a very good fit, a circular bulkhead, with rivet detail, will hide Meng's sloppiness. Moving onto the spine of the Komet, and the detail that can be seen here. The underside of the removable hatches displays zero detail on the underside of those panels. Eduard have created a framework which you need to bend to the inside curvature of those parts, incorporating the rear detail for the latches also. On the spine itself, missing detail from around the fuel filler point is now added, and the incorrect moulded detail on the ammunition saddle is forever banished with a photo etch fix. Meng did a pretty reasonable job within the weapons bay, but in reality, it isn't as accurate as it should be. You will need to remove the moulded detail on the wing root and replace some PE strips which need to be bent into the angles that these structural beams had. I do find it surprising that Eduard didn't also include the linkage detail for the rudder in this area too. I added this into my own Komet (published issue #222 Tamiya Model Magazine International). Other weapons bay detail includes the rib sections which sit either side of the electrical firing unit. Again, I'm also surprised that Eduard didn't elect to produce a wing rib to cover the horrible joint which results in the bay area when you glue the upper and lower panels together. You'll need to use plasticard to fix this rather sloppy area. Finally, for the weapons bay, new external panels are included to replace the rather thick plastic ones which suffer from ejector pin marks on their reverse. One thing I really like about the Meng kit, are the air brake panels on the wing underside. You can pose these in an open or closed position. Like the rest of the PE that Meng supplied, they are perhaps a tad thick. Eduard furnishes us with a new set of air brake panels, and also modifications to the rams which actuate them. Lastly, we turn out attention to the landing skid and wheel dolly. The skid itself benefits from a more accurate upper surface, with some missing detail from within the skid well, being added in there as riveted strips. In some areas, you will need to shave off moulded detail again. Meng's wheels also lack a little something too, so unless you decide to go with the new Barracuda resin replacements, then the parts on this set might just be enough for you, as they include new rims and axel plates. The instructions for this set are typically 'Eduard' in style, with line drawings being used, and coloured ink to highlight areas of work and areas where detail needs to be removed. Conclusion Having already built a Meng Komet, I see this set, and the others we previously reviewed, as being pretty essential fodder for the modeller who wants to make a far more accurate job of their Me 163B than Meng allowed for. A little work is required in removing some plastic here and there, but nothing onerous. I mentioned a couple of things which I thought would have perhaps been included in this release, and for me, their omission is a little odd, but apart from that, this set really is a 'must have'. Highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. Consider joining Eduard's Bunny Fighter Club programme for extra discounts on Eduard products in their e-shop. James H
  7. 1:32 Me 163B interior and masks Eduard Catalogue # See article for code and price Available from Eduard Do you ever build a model as soon as it's released, and then just wish you'd waited a little while to see what aftermarket sets would be released. You knew there would be some, but impatience takes over. That's exactly how I felt when I recently built the Komet for Tamiya Model Magazine International (to be published March 2014), especially considering that the base kit lacks in detail in a good number of areas. Eduard to the rescue with these new sets that have been sent for review. The exterior set will follow in our next samples package. Now, I'm pleased I have another Komet in stash... The sets that Eduard have sent to us are: #32802, Me 163B interior, 22,95 € #33130, Me 163B interior ZOOM, 18,75 € #JX161, Me 163B masks, 9,95 € Essentially, the Zoom set is a cut down, and cut price version of the full detail set, but tackling on certain, key elements of the main set. We'll come to that in a moment. All of these sets are packaged into the standard Eduard re-sealable thin sleeve. #32802, Me 163B interior Meng's Komet cockpit is pretty deficient in many key areas of detail. There was simply no excuse in missing out the amount of key detail that can be seen in just about every photograph and drawing you see on Google. When I built mine, I had to address a number of basic omissions in the kit, but thankfully Eduard have tackled every single one of those, plus the things which I simply hadn't got the time or inclination to sort myself. The rear cockpit bulkhead is pretty bad in terms of accuracy or scale, and it will take a lot of determination to put this right without an aftermarket set. Thankfully, this set doesn't shy away from fixing this poor area of the kit. You'll need to do some major surgery to remove the moulded plastic structures first though. With the plastic gone, you can now install an entirely new seat framework, complete with the various fine girder sections and seat installation rails. Of course, a seat is also included, produced in two parts, and including a set of belts to replace the poor ones supplied in the kit. Bulkhead detail also includes the rather obvious control surface linkages that protrude from this area and into the wing roots. If you thought the bulkhead needed work, then the same can certainly be said of the cockpit floor and side consoles. An entire photo etch floor is supplied to fit over the plastic one which is pretty much devoid of detail. Another strange anomaly in the kit, but thankfully corrected here are the side console straps. The consoles were actually fuel tanks, and they they were secured with fabric straps; 2 vertically and 1 horizontally. Strangely enough, Meng didn't include the horizontal on in their moulded detail, so Eduard have included entirely new sets for here. You will of course have to remove the moulded detail for the ones they did include though. There is also extra detail to add to the console avionics units, by means of coloured photo etch, and other parts. This level of detail also spills onto the separate inner cockpit sidewalls whose detail is more or less replaced with PE alternative parts. Having built this kit, I can say that this new detail is 100% worth the effort it will take in removing original detail and fitting this. Other internal cockpit detail includes the rudder pedals, control column wiring, gun sight and mounting deck, and the small canopy opening handle. Eduard are well known for their instrument panel parts too, and the same is included here. The kit dies actually give the option for either a moulded plastic IP, or a simple plastic base with PE parts, but of course, these aren't coloured, unlike these from Eduard. When it comes to making my next Komet, I'll use this version as it's a massive improvement over what is offered in the kit. The IP is produced from a layer with printed instruments which is overlaid with the instrument panel fascia. The effect does look very good. Oddly enough, there is no detail for the engine in this set, so assume it might be in the exterior set, but there are two more parts included here in colour PE, or should I more correctly say 'two alternatives of two coloured parts'? These related to the ammunition saddle, and are an indication of the ammunition used in this, dependent on whether you use the MK108's or MG 151 option. #33130, Me 163B interior ZOOM As mentioned, this is a cut down version of the previous set, with only the colour fret included. It is worth mentioning here that the colour frets in both this and the set above are SELF-ADHESIVE too. #JX161, Me 163B masks Another set I wish I'd had when I built my first Komet. This includes masks for the main canopy, rear external windows, and also the internal, armoured quarter-light windows which sit in the pilot's rear bulkhead. The main canopy mask is provided as an external outline only, with the suggestion you use masking fluid to fill in the centre. DON'T do this if you use Klear or similar for your canopies, as they WILL fog in reaction to the latex/ammonia. Instead, use scrap pieces of mask sheet to infill. Instructions All three sets have clear and concise instructions, with any surgery required, readily illustrated and easy to follow. Conclusion Eduard have done as good a job with this as they did with their set for the old Hasegawa kit, but of course the base Meng kit is infinitely superior to the Hasegawa one, so this set can onl go a long way to produce the very best Me 132 in 1:32 scale. Some scraping and hacking will be needed in that cockpit, so I wouldn't recommend this for an absolute beginner. Detail levels supplied are perfect in order to fix what Meng decided, in their wisdom, to leave out. The only things not included are two fuel lines running from the consoles to the rear bulkhead. Just get some lead wire out, and the job's a good 'un, as we say in this part of the UK. Very highly recommended James H Our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review samples seen here. To purchase directly, click the links in the review. Consider joining Eduard's Bunny Fighter Club programme for extra discounts on your purchases.
  8. I've received some real aggravation recently about posting this build up here, so I caved in.... I'm building this one as another bare wood and metal machine. The Meng kit is superbly engineered with some very innovative touches. There are a couple of things let it down, and one of those is the cockpit. There are a myriad of things not included, in there in terms of parts and detail. There are fuel tank (console) straps missing, levers and switches missing, as well as absent fuel piping, floor detail and numerous other things. The back bulkhead is also very simplistic. I added the missing strap to the fuel tank consoles, and gave them the extruded rubber texture by softening the plastic with Tamiya Extra Thin and then dragging a stiff, flat paintbrush over them. So many more hours could have been spent in adding more detail, but time isn't something I have here (magazine work), so I added some strut to the rear bulkhead, lead wire for fuel pipes, and some of the excellent Airscale placards. I opted to use the plastic and PE instrument panel option, and each of those gauges was a separate decal! I don't know why Meng didn't print them as two decals which covered the whole panel. Another bad design as I had to align every one roughly, pop the PE on, and position properly....remove the PE and then bed the decal down. Tedious. The second bad design of this kit is the horrible wing joint seam that can be seen inside the gun bays. It really is shite. I spent a lot of time making a template for this area so I could blank the seam with plasticard, and add some strut detail. I painted this with Alclad and added some random red patches (primer) that you can see in Martin's excellent walkaround images in our gallery. Extra wiring detail was also added to the guns. The rear internal tail section has MDC Duralumin decals added, so give a little interest. Tedious to add, but looks far nicer... Don't let my comments put you off this one. It's a great kit, and I have another TWO on order!
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