The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft.
Work on the design started under the aegis of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS)—the German Institute for the Study of sailplane flight. Their first design was a conversion of the earlier Lippisch Delta IV known as the DFS 39 and used purely as a glider testbed of the airframe. A larger follow-on version with a small propeller engine started as the DFS 194. This version used wingtip-mounted rudders, which Lippisch felt would cause problems at high speed. Lippisch changed the system of vertical stabilization for the DFS 194's airframe from the earlier DFS 39's wingtip rudders, to a conventional vertical stabilizer at the rear of the aircraft. The design included a number of features from its origins as a glider, notably a skid used for landings, which could be retracted into the aircraft's keel in flight. For takeoff, a pair of wheels, each mounted onto the ends of a specially designed cross-axle, were needed due to the weight of the fuel, but the wheels, forming a takeoff "dolly" under the landing skid, were released shortly after takeoff.
Production of a prototype series started in early 1941, known as the Me 163. Secrecy was such that the RLM's "GL/C" airframe number, 8-163, was actually that of the earlier, pre-July 1938 Messerschmitt Bf 163. It was thought that intelligence services would conclude any reference to the number "163" would be for that earlier design. The Me 163A V4 was shipped to Peenemünde to receive the HWK RII-203 engine in May 1941. By 2 October 1941, the Me 163A V4, bearing the radio call sign letters, or Stammkennzeichen, "KE SW", set a new world speed record of 1,004.5 km/h (624.2 mph), piloted by Heini Dittmar, with no apparent damage to the aircraft during the attempt. Some postwar aviation history publications stated that the Me 163A V3 was thought to have set the record.
The 1,004 km/h record figure would not be officially approached until the postwar period by the new jet fighters of the British and U.S., and was not surpassed (except by the later Me 163B V18 in 1944, but seriously damaged by the attempt) until the American Douglas Skystreak turbojet-powered research aircraft did so on 20 August 1947 with no damage. Five prototype Me 163A V-series aircraft were built, adding to the original DFS 194 (V1), followed by eight pre-production examples designated as "Me 163 A-0".
History adapted from
This is manifestly a product of the MPM stable. Their signature packaging and moulding style is quite distinctive. The kit is short-run in nature, meaning that there is some flash to clean up and there are no location pins, but it is far more sophisticated than the image the phrase "short run" usually conjures up; there are some almost impossibly tiny parts on the sprues and the resin details as fine as any in the business.
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail with the lower fuselage being part of the wing assembly. They may be joined together and the seams dealt with before the cockpit pod is inserted. The plastic cockpit parts from the original boxing are left unused in favour of an excellent resin pod into which a seat with etched belts, etched rudder pedals, resin joystick and instrument panel are installed. An etched instrument panel face and film instruments are added to the instrument panel. The entire assembly can slide into the nose from the open bottom. The wheel dolly is made up from plastic parts with etch overlays which are folded over them. It may be left off if desired. A small skid glues to the bottom of the tail.
There is no engine in this kit, apart from the built-in rocket nozzle.
Each upper wing is a single piece. They assemble to the lower wing/fuselage section which completes the airframe. Etched wingtip skids glue to the bottom of the wings. Optional etch R4M rocket exhaust shields are provided for schemes 1 and 2, although the rockets are marked “not for use”. Etched ailevator actuators are provided.
The fin and rudder are part of the fuselage mouldings. Etch trim tab actuators are provided.
The Me 163 did not possess landing gear. After it skidded to a stop, a Scheuch-Schlepper
was brought out, and the aircraft lifted by inflatable bags. The Schlepper is moulded entirely in resin and the trailer in plastic. The mouldings in each are very nice. This is far superior to the Schlepper which came with the Heller Komet.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like an Me 163a.
Decals and Markings
Three options are provided, each in overall RLM 02 grey.
- 1. V-10 CD IO piloted by Lt A. Niemeyer (the marking scheme states that R4M rocket racks were fitted, despite the racks being marked 'not for use'). A light mottle of RLM 74 is applied to the nose and leading edges.
- 2. V-7 CD IL , a generic training aircraft of Erprobungskommando 16.
- 3. V-4 KE SW, in which Heini Ditmar set the 1004 Km/H speed record in October 1941.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.