Book Review
Modelling the Messerschmitt Me 262

by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

A very welcome addition to Osprey Publishing’s Modelling Series manuals, “Modelling the Messerschmitt Me 262” brings to light one of the most important aircrafts of it’s era, most definitely the first and altogether most successful of jet fighters used in WWII. This book presents great historical and background information of the jet, as well as six different build chapters covering many variants and many scales, from 1/72 to 1/32, with multi-modeling skill levels represented.

Osprey Modeling #12
Publish Date - 10 March 2006
7.25 inches x 9.75 inches
80 pages
196 Color Photographs
Authors- Brett Green and Robert Oehler

I. “The Messerschmitt Me 262”
II. “The Messerschmitt Me 262 in Plastic”
III. “Tiny Turbo - Building Revell’s 1/72 Scale Me 262”
IV. “Tamiya’s 1/48 Scale Messerschmitt Me 262”
V. “Second-Hand Stormbird - Tamiya’s 1/48 Scale Me 262 Refinished and Put to Flight"
VI. “Building the Tamiya Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a in 1/48 Scale”
VII. “Under New Management - Converting Tamiya’s 1/48 scale Me 262 to a Reconnaissance Version”
VIII. “Dragon’s 1/48 Scale Me 262 Family”
IX. “Night Fighting Turbo - Dragon’s 1/48 Scale Me 262B-1A/U1 Night Fighter”
X. “Hasegawa’s 1/32 Scale Me 262”
XI. “Ghost Fighter - Hasegawa’s 1/32 Scale Me 262 in an unpainted & Puttied Finish
XII. “Further Reading”
Index and Colour Reference Chart

When I first learned about this new title from Osprey Publishing, I will say that personally I was quite excited to see what these two very talented Author/Modelers could do with the subject matter at hand. Although not many model kits of this nature have been manufactured (compared to some subjects) there still are plenty of kits to choose from and quite a few A/M accessory sets to change variants.

First designed in 1938 by Messerschmitt, the Me 262 Schwalbe (or swallow) was the worlds first fully operational turbo jet aircraft, although the plane did not see active service until 20 June 1944. To say that this was a major leap for the German Luftwaffe is an understatement, but the Me262 was not the only German jet fighter to “fly the unfriendly skies”, but undoubtedly the Me 262 was the most successful fighter of them all.

An all metal, low wing, twin engine aircraft, the Me 262 was sleek and really attractive looking machine, with it’s “shark like “ lines and smooth appearance, this plane just had a persona of “looking fast”, even when setting still. More than 1400 of these planes were produced in German factories, but less than 300 of them ever saw combat.

Even though light-years ahead of Allied aircraft, this jet-craft definitely had it’s downfalls. If the Germans had had more time and resources to work out the bugs, the outcome of WWII may have been very different. The Me 262 required an extremely long runway for take-off and landing operations, which of course means extra added covering fire was needed for the jet’s protection just to get it off (and back on) the ground. Also note that the craft was not easy to operate at all, and required some of Germany’s finest pilots to fly them. On top this off, quite unbelievably the Jumo 004B turbo-jet power plant had a life expectancy of only 10 to 25 total hours! - mainly because of the rarity of high temperature alloys for the internal and external construction of the engine.

General overview
Beginning the book is an informative Introduction chapter, giving a brief history of the development of the Me 262, following then into the second chapter which holds a comprehensive listing, in chart style format, of all the available model kits of the Me 262 and their manufacturers, as well as all of the aftermarket conversion kits and accessories available. Overviews and author recommendations are also included in this chapter.

These two introductory chapters lay the groundwork for the real “guts” of the publication, which is the volume's six project build chapters which will be covered more in full in the next section. These builds range in scale, skill level and subject variant, and folks, there is some really good stuff here! Using close-up full color photography the authors take you through the construction and modification of these Me 262 variants, with excellent supporting text instruction to aid the modeler in the re-creation of these beauties. Each of the build chapters begins with a project overview in a chart style format, extremely useful right off the bat, which lists the subject being modeled, the modeler himself, skill level, base kit, scale, paints, marking sets and accessory kits that may be required for the project.

Many useful tips and techniques are covered in the construction of each of these variants, which will prove useful to the modeler in other modeling projects as well. Honestly speaking, some of these projects are quite detailed and intense, definitely aimed at the more advanced to even master modeler level, but there are also intermediate projects included. It doesn’t truly matter though, as these techniques will help to sharpen the skills of modelers of all abilities who are studying these pages.

The Build Chapters Overview
1. “Tiny Turbo - Building Revell’s 1/72 Scale Me 262": This build utilizes Revell’s Me 262B-1a 1/72 scale kit (built as a 262A-1a) and adds 4 additional aftermarket update sets, and a special decal set to recreate the Me 262A-1a “White 1”, a jet plane that originally served with Kommando Nowotny, the worlds first operational jet fighter unit.

2. “Second Hand Stormbird - Tamiya’s 1/48 Scale Me 262 Refinished and Put to Flight!”: In this chapter the author/modeler takes a Tamiya Me 262A-2a that he had previously built in 2002, and uses his skills and a new decal set to convert and refinish it to a Me 262A-1a. This chapter has some dandy repair and refinishing tips in it’s pages!

3.“Building the Tamiya Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a in 1/48 Scale": Using Tamiya’s 1/48 scale Me 262A-1a (#61087) as a base kit, adding decals and four more additional conversion and aftermarket accessory sets, the author/modeler reproduces the Aircraft W. Nr. 170305 of 9./JG 54 stationed at Munchen-Rein Airfield in May 1945. Finished in a spectacular blotch pattern camo scheme, the results are terrific!

4. “Under New Management - Converting Tamiya’s 1/48 Scale Me 262 to a Reconnaissance Version”: This is a really cool build here, folks! Again, using Tamiya’s 1/48 scale Me 262 A1a for the foundation kit, then adding two conversion sets and two accessory kits, the author/modeler does a complete conversion to shoe the Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U3 reconnaissance variant, complete with two camera’s in the nose~Note: this chapter is geared toward the master modeler, with major detail construction involved. The results are superb!

5. “Night-Fighting Turbo - Dragon’s 1/48 Scale Me 262B-1a/U1 Night Fighter”: Utilizing the only option available for building this variant, DML’s Me 262B-1a/U1, this build chapter explains how to accurately reproduce this version quite brilliantly, with extensive photo’s and text. Another master-modeler project.

6. “Ghost Fighter-Hasegawa’s 1/32 scale Me 262 in an Unpainted and Puttied Finish”: The last of the build chapters, and also one of the most unique, re-creates the first Me 262 to be captured intact by the U.S. forces, the “Werknummer 111711 “ at Rhein-Main, 18 March 1945. Presenting the “finished” model in an unfinished state, this build represents some of the late war Me 262’s that were delivered for service without any camouflage paint, just bare metal and extensive putty on all seams. Quite a unique version, indeed!

Closing the book is a listing of suggested further reading, of subject variants and history of the craft, and the Osprey Colour Reference Chart listing 8 color variants and their explanations.

Overall, this new manual from Osprey Publishing does not disappoint in any manner. It's skillfully written, with accurate build reproductions, unique and interesting variants, superb step-by-step color photography and detailed instructional text. Definitely a two thumbs up, and highly recommended from this modeler's point of view.

Many thanks to Sheeba Madan, of Osprey Publishing New York, for providing us with this early review sample.
Although not the most user friendly aircraft of it’s time, the Me 262 definitely was on the doorstep of the oncoming jet age. This new manual from Osprey Publishing will help the modeler to accurately this “before it’s time” jet fighter.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1841768006
  Suggested Retail: 18.95
  Related Link: Osprey Publishing Official Web Page
  PUBLISHED: Feb 04, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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