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1:32 Messerschmitt Me 410A-1

James H

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1:32 Messerschmitt Me 410A-1
Catalogue # HPH32023R
Available from HPH for €196.00




The Me 410 had a sort of ignominious history. By the outbreak of World War 2, the Bf 110 was already a little long in the tooth, and after the success of Blitzkrieg in Poland and the Low Countries, the limitations of its design had become painfully apparent during the Battle of Britain, when losses for the type had become quite severe. The Germans, never ones to let the grass grow under their feet, had already started to design the successor to the Bf 110, and this, the Me 210, first flew around the start of WW2.


In an unprecedented show of faith, the RLM granted Messerschmitt to put this machine into full production, despite it not having being proven in both performance and handling trials. What was worse, the Me 210 had a number of design flaws which were literally to prove fatal to some of the crews that flew it. The favour in which Willy Messerschmitt was held, had now been proven to be acutely embarrassing to both the RLM and the Messerschmitt company itself. Whilst the Me 210 did see service in a small number of variants, it's successor, the Me 410, was already coming on-stream, with a number of existing Me 210's being recalled and updated. A number of Hungarian produced machines, designated Me 410Ca-1 entered service with the Luftwaffe, and they were relatively well-received.



The Me 410 had uprated engines, as well as an extended fuselage which helped with handling characteristics. Other changes included automatic leading edge slats and outboard forward wing sweep. The new aircraft was designated Me 410 in order to disassociate it from the rather abortive Me 210 programme. This new aircraft was nicknamed 'Hornisse', or 'Hornet'. Carrying an internal bomb bay within the nose, and packing serious forward facing firepower of two MG17 machine guns and two MG151 cannon, these were also supplemented by a further two MG131 machine guns installed into rear-facing barbettes and controlled remotely by the rear gunner/radio operator. Without a doubt, the Me 410 design was actually quite versatile, with a number of versions spawned which carried heavy guns within the forward bomb bay. The type was also capable of carrying multiple WGr.21 rockets underneath its wings. Despite the relative success of the Me 410, and a promising development program ahead of it, production was cancelled in favour of the Me 109G, and even more ironically, the Bf 110G design which was finding a renewed success as a night fighter. Total production run of the Me 410 stretched to around 1200 machines.




The Me 410 is almost identical in size to the Bf 110, but the box in which HPH have released this new multimedia kit will surely make you think otherwise. In comparison with the Dragon Bf 110 box, this one is a little understated. Yes, it's got quite a reasonable upper surface size, but it is also quite shallow. Don't let that fool you though. This is one cleverly packaged kit, and one that is simply choc-full of resin, photo etch and turned metal parts. Two schemes are available 'out of box' and both of these are shown in profile on the lid. We'll look at those schemes towards the end of this article. Open that lid and you'll see probably one of the best-packaged kits on the market. That is perhaps with the exception of the clear parts. No biggie, but again, I'll come to that shortly.




The inside of this large box is compartmented specifically to cater to the various larger assemblies primarily, with a number of other compartments set aside for mass bagging of the many other smaller parts. All resin parts are packed into a number of zip lock bags with the larger parts being wrapped in layers of bubble-wrap. Peeling back the initial layers of bubble-wrap, the first thing we come across is a wallet containing a large decal sheet, HGW laser-cut seatbelt set, two wallets containing photo etch parts, an instruction manual on CD, some HPH leaflets, a bag of turned metal parts, vinyl masks, and last but not least.....a rather tasty Belgian chocolate. The latter might be a gimmick, but so what! My wife certainly enjoys these, and it didn't last long once the kit was opened!




We'll look at the fuselage halves first. You really must see past the rather jaggy resin edges, as these of course need to be carefully ground away in the clean-up phase. Look across the surface of the parts. You'll see the most refined panel lines, and the some superbly refined raised detail. Port and access panel detail is sharply scribed, and the whole exterior exhibits some rather fine riveting. I feel this is pitched correctly, with a quite subtle appearance that is lacking in most injection moulded plastic kits. Internally, the detail is every bit as good, with clean stringer and other constructional elements. Cockpit and gunner side-wall detail is excellent, with cutaways included in that detail into which the various assemblies fit. My test fit shows that these parts perfectly align.




That internal detail also includes the tail wheel area. Bulkheads will be installed here, along with a highly detailed tail wheel strut, reinforced with a steel pin. If you wish to install the detail for the forward bomb/gun bay, then you will need to remove the doors which are cast in a closed position. Replacement doors are supplied for posing them 'open', so don't worry about saving the removed resin. If you don't want to pose them open, the fuselage still has a very good level of cast detail in situ in this area, which of course can be seen through the glazed nose of the Hornisse. HPH have cast the fuselage beautifully thin, and very lightweight. Whilst the resin has a lot of inherent strength, just be cautious when you're removing the waste material before construction.










You'll notice the tail fin is a separate part. This approach is good as it means that this isn't cast with a thin fin which could be warped and difficult to align properly. The resin fin itself is a single piece, with a separate rudder. A little clean up of this area and the excess resin at the rearmost tail/fuse area, will be needed. It's clear to see what needs to be removed. My parts have numbers written on them internally. For me, it's #133. I presume this is the 133rd kit to be produced. Who knows? Apart from some excess resin at the tail, and a small stub on the nose, there's no sign of any casting block. Once you've cleaned up the mating surfaces, you'll need to remove the webs from the cockpit area, barbette, wing area etc.






With this kit, there's no fumbling with wing dihedral and trying to ensure that port and starboard are aligned equally. The lower wing is a full span part, which in itself is a serious feat of resin casting. There is a full length casting block that will need removing from the front edge of this part. Thankfully, the connection to the part is quite thin, and shouldn't be too difficult to remove and quickly profile the leading edge. Some other areas will also require cutting out, such as radiator, undercarriage, and aileron filler resin webs. Again, no big shakes, and will be quite simple to perform. Detail on this part, and on the upper wing panels is excellent, with the same standard of fine panel lining, access panels, raised detail and subtle riveting. Looking at the underside of the upper wing panels, you'll see some wheel bay detail. This will be surrounded by a rib and spar box to complete the area. The forward spar extends into the wing center section, which then glue together to give extra lateral strength.














You'll notice that the engine/undercarriage nacelles aren't cast along with the lower wing. These are separate units, and they align perfectly with the finely scribed guide lines on the lower panels. These are cast with the lower main gear doors closed, as many period images do show them closed while on the ground. If you do wish to saw the rear covers off the nacelle, and pose them open (as they are on the machine at RAF Cosford), then you'll have the added benefit of seeing the wing internal detail.






As with most resin kits of this ilk, there aren't any engines supplied in this kit. Instead, there are two upper forward engine cowls which fit directly to the lower nacelle, and into these fit plates which hold the engine exhaust manifolds, which are suitably hollow ended These upper cowls are also 'handed', as are the nacelles, meaning that they have to fit the correct side of the machine. These parts are marked with an L and R internally. Also identified with the same key is a forward internal cowl insert into which you'll plug the pins onto which you'll hang the propeller/spinner assembly. That insert, which is suitable tapered and fits perfectly, also has an arrow pointing upwards, for better clarity.








The spinner is cast as a single piece, with holes to take the separate prop blades. HPH seem to have got the shape of these parts just right. You will need to put your own hole into the rear of the spinner, and a jig is provided to help you do this.


You will have noticed that I said the ailerons are separate parts to the wings. This is the same of the landing flaps and also the rear radiator plates/airbrakes at the trailing edge of the wing. Resin and photo etch inserts fit along the trailing edge of the wing in order to blank off any gaps in the airframe, and at the juncture of where landing flaps end, and airbrakes start. Every minute detail is present. When it comes to posing the flying surfaces, this is easy as they are pinned into position, so all you need to do is to use soft copper or brass wire and et voila! The same applies to the rudder and elevators too. Whilst the vertical fin plugs into the upper fuselage via a resin tab, there are steel pins cast into the horizontal stabilisers, and these plug into the pre-determined holes in the rear fuselage.




When I say this kit is amazingly detailed, that is probably an understatement. There are a number of large zip-lock wallets in this kit, containing hundreds of resin parts, and some of these larger wallets have a number of small wallets within. These predominantly contain the parts which are cast onto unfeasibly thin resin sheets, so they have less chance of totally breaking apart within the package. Thankfully, HPH do include these parts grouped together as sheets on their parts plan, making it fairly easy to locate the bits you need quite quickly.


To remove these parts from the resin sheets usually takes no more than a quick twist of the sheet, and a clean up with a knife. If the sheet is a little thicker in places, and the parts more fragile, then I recommend removing the majority with a knife. The instructions do say that this backing should be sanded off to remove the minor extra thickness. You'll find in most cases that you won't need to do this, or you certainly won't need to remove much material, if you do decide to sand.




Now, those big bags of resin. I'll not categorise and describe every single part within this kit, but look at the key areas, and describe the overall detail of the kit. A number of parts are cast on thin sheets, as I've just said. Some of these thin sheets are duplicated, where there is a need for two of each part to be used, such as undercarriage brackets and main gear nacelle interiors. The most crucial, load bearing parts, i.e. the undercarriage struts, are cast with pre-formed metal wires within them. These are extremely rigid, and will more than cater to the job they were designed for. The tail wheel leg has a false fork which only appears to hold the wheel. There is actually a length of wire protruding from the leg which will insert into the wheel itself. Of course, the fork will hide this. A small length of wire will be needed to thread through the fork and wheel too, for effect.








Wheels are supplied weighted, and with separate hubs, Detail is generally excellent. I did find the tail wheel hub a little undersize, but that's a quick fix. If you're a detail freak, then the cockpit is seriously going to impress. The pilot's office is based around a tub with consoles containing moulded detail. A set of colour PE is supplied too, and if you want to use this, then you will need to remove the cast detail. Instrument panels and other details within look excellent, and they include instrument bodies to the rear. You'll just need to add a little wiring to these. The pilot seat is supplied with two resin cushions, which although almost hiding the seat detail, will look very good when fitted. Pilot knee pads are cast as a part of the cockpit tub. Side wall detail and that for the sliding rudder control assembly is perfect, with numerous small parts including junction boxes. Between the rudder pedals, a sheet of glass was installed to aid the pilot's downward view when bombs were carried. This part is supplies as a pane of crystal clear resin.






HPH have supplied the bomb/gun bay with a full suite of detail, which looks excellent. To display this detail though, you will need to pose the forward bomb bay doors open. These doors are cast closed on the fuselage, so you'll have to take a razor saw to them and remove the resin. Don't worry about saving the doors. Throw them away. HPH have provided a set of extra ones which contain internal detail and the swing brackets.


The rear gunner's position is no less well-appointed, with more great side wall detail, compressed gas bottles, foot rest, radio equipment and remote barbette controls. Unlike the pilot area, you will actually need to install some of the coloured photo etch here, as most corresponding parts do not have any cast detail. These include fuse/switch-banks, and the many radio transmit/receive sets. As a note here, these units are cast with wiring looms in place.






Internally, there are also fuel tanks and a large number of other smaller detail parts, some of which sit on a thin upper deck which spans the full length of the pilot and gunner positions, but allowing space to fit the many glazings around its circumference.


A key feature of the 410 was those remote gun barbettes. Discs of waste resin will need to be removed from the fuselage, and a retainer disc glued in from the fuselage interior. These are drilled to accommodate a pin which will ensure you can actually rotate these guns into any position you require. A two-part barrel/muzzle assembly is supplied for each.












Most larger resin parts are supplied in a number of zip-lock bags, and contain some sort of casting block, albeit minimal, and easy to remove. You'll find a good number of parts for which the casting block is already removed, and just a little cleanup is required before assembly. Having these parts together in larger bags has no ill effect on them at all, as the bags are also bound with bubble wrap when inserted in the box.


Resin quality is excellent throughout, with only an occasional air bubble being the very worst you'll have to tend to, and those are extremely rare in this kit. All parts are easy to clean up, and no mould release residue is apparent, although I still recommend washing parts in warm soapy water before any paint hits them.








Now, my only real bugbear with this kit, and it concerns the clear parts. HPH are masters of producing superbly clear resin, and they are connected to their casting blocks by means of a narrow resin wall. The problem for me is that all clear parts are packaged into the same bag, and that can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to their clarity being damaged with scuffs and scratches. My parts, thankfully, are in perfect condition, and I suggest you package these parts into their own wallets as soon as you get your kit.




Framing quality is sharp, and casting beautifully thin. This is a complicated canopy, so take your time. Both pilot and gunner positions can have their sections posed in an open position. Clear resin parts are supplied for the wingtip lights too. You will need to saw the grey resin and replace with these parts.


TWO photo etch frets are supplied, produced by Eduard. One is colour printed, whilst the other is in bare brass. The colour fret, as you will imagine, contains all of the various instrumentation panels and consoles. The split IP in the Me 410 is provided as a lower instrument face, and an upper instrument panel. Various levers etc. are supplied on this fret.








The bare brass fret is larger, and contains cockpit parts such as rudder pedals etc. and also a large number of other parts, including radiator screens, control surface linkages, undercarriage and bomb/gun bay detail, aerials, aileron mass balances etc. Too many parts to try to determine during the course of this review. I would perhaps thicken up the lower aerial rails and mass balances with a little thinned white glue.








There are no pesky colour PE seatbelts in this kit. HPH have included a set of HGW's laser-cut fabric seatbelts, designed specifically for this release. These are colour printed and even have laser-engraved stitching which will look great when a wash is applied. Read SP&R's reviews on these to give you an idea about how to work with them. A small PE fret is included which contains the various clasps and buckles. Assembly is easy, and the end result spectacular.






Vinyl masks are included to help you when it comes to covering that complex canopy, prior to airbrushing. There isn't any real shrinkage to be seen, and if the finished model I've seen online is anything to go by, these should fit very well.




A bag of turned metal parts is included for MG barrels, blast tubes, and also the under-wing WGr.21 rockets. Production quality is superb, with beautifully milled holes in cooling jackets, and those blast tubes which are pre-profiled to fit into the interior bomb bay. Those rockets are turned aluminium, and will be fitted with a PE exhaust gas collector ring at the rear. Their launch tubes are lengths of aluminium tube. The fit is excellent. Should you not wish to fit rockets, then resin fuel tanks are supplied.






Instructions are superb, if not perhaps a little ambiguous in some places. Starting with a photo parts list, and followed with a Gunze paint reference chart, seatbelt and mask instructions, all sections in this are depicted with photographs of the actual model, with notes attached, including reference to any PE parts, where applicable. You will need to be careful with the instructions as occasionally, you will see something fitted which just appears from nowhere. Usually, you will see this being fitted later in the presentation. This is just how these guys have built their test model. Some things such as tail wheel addition are a little ambiguous. You are advised to study these images for many hours, along with the parts, and dry fit before you commit to glue.
















Unlike normal instructions, these are supplied on a CD. The primary file is a 180mb PDF, but all pages are also supplied as JPG. With a model this size, you are advised to print this manual out, but I warn you, it is FIFTY-TWO pages long! The colour TWO colour schemes are provided in the rear of the manual, in plan and elevation form. Decal placement is easy to follow. The schemes are:

  • Me 410A-1, Erg. Gruppe/KG51 (Jagd), Germany, 1944
  • Me 410A-1, 5./ZG26, Königsberg, Germany, July 1944

Decals are provided on a single sheet, which look to have been printed by Eduard. It certainly has the appearance of their product, and I've always had good success with them. A full suite of stencils is also supplied, alongside national and unit markings, and the good news is that swastikas ARE included! I don't know if these are snipped out for German sales, or a different sheet is included.




Printing is thin, and everything is in perfect register. Carrier film is minimal, and colour reproduction looks solid and authentic.


Simply put, this is a seriously amazing kit, dripping in enough detail to satisfy the fussiest of us. Kit design and production is also equally as good. I will tell you that this is not a kit for the faint-hearted, or someone with no experience of resin kits. It's a complicated kit which requires much understanding of all construction sequences before you even open your glue pot. You will need to measure, and ensure everything aligns perfectly all the way through. Those canopies and glazed nose are a certain width, so ensure that this is reflected in any part clean up you perform. This isn't a cheap kit, but for the model you get, and the limited nature of it, it represents a very reasonable value for money. If the Me 410 appeals to you, then this is just about the only kit available in 1:32, if you ignore vac-form.


Very highly recommended


Our sincere thanks to HPH for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. Please let these guys know where you saw this review.


James H.




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Good Lord no wonder it has a $275.00 to $300.00 US price tag!!! You get everything including the kitchen sink, lol! I bit pricy for my mosel budget but I will enjoy watching your build James. Really interested in hearing what building in resin is like. I ordered a nose conversion for my upcoming Ju88A-6 nightfighter build which is resin so will get an introduction with it.

Thanks for the fantastic review as it was most informative.



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Good Lord no wonder it has a $275.00 to $300.00 US price tag!!! You get everything including the kitchen sink, lol! I bit pricy for my mosel budget but I will enjoy watching your build James. Really interested in hearing what building in resin is like. I ordered a nose conversion for my upcoming Ju88A-6 nightfighter build which is resin so will get an introduction with it.

Thanks for the fantastic review as it was most informative.




I'm really looking forward to your Ju 88 build, Ralph. I know resin is a new medium for you. Got any questions, then please ask via forum or PM :)

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Wow, this is lot of bang for your buck ... I love the Me 410!

Great review Jim. As complex and as detailed as this kit is it really deserved a good, lengthy review - job done!

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Great review James.  What a beauty of a kit.  Pricey?  Yes. 


However, you get all the bells and whistles (PE, Masks, Turned Metal, Textile Belts) in one package, really no need for any aftermarket.  Take a mainstream 1:32 kit and load up on aftermarket and the final cost is comparable.  Would like to see AM parts for a BK 5 cannon Me 410A-1/U4.


Am seriously considering to thin my stash to ease financials to get this kit.


Oh, and the Belgian chocolate...a great peace offering to the spouse to cease any questions on cost of kit. :)

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