Me-163B "War Prizes" w/ Me-163B Komet Photoetch Detail Set
Brengun has released the Me-163B 1/144th scale kit before but this new boxing has markings for some “War Prizes” or captured aircraft. The kit parts are molded in gray plastic and comprise only ten parts per airplane. Did I mention that there are two complete models in each box? If not, let me tell you now that there are two complete models in each box.
The box also contains markings for three separate War Prizes: one British, a Russian, and a Me-163B still in German markings that was taken to the United States for evaluation. Fun Fact: The War Prize that was flown to the U.S. was flight tested by Major Gustav Lundquist. Major Lundquist, was later a Brigadier General and commanding officer at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, the U.S. Air Forces flight test facility.
These models are teeny tiny, measuring an inch and one-half in length with a wing span of two and one-half inches. Talk about fitting in the palm of your hand...both of them! But size doesn't matter in this case as there is lots of detail molded into the parts. And if the detail leaves you wanting for more, Brengun has a companion set of photo-etch to really liven things up.
That interior/exterior detail set has photo-etch bits for the cockpit, open or closed lower wing flaps, various antenna, and a boarding ladder. The cockpit detail includes a replacement floor with rudder pedals, side console detail, instrument panel with instrument faces, replacement seat, and seat belts.
Construction of the kit begins with the three part cockpit. Brengun supplies a cockpit floor, front console, and a rear bulkhead. Sadly, no decal is provided for the instrument panel. But you should be able to make a facsimile from some spare bits (decals). Or just skip all that fabrication noise and get the detail set.
The next step is to attached the wings. Afterward the take-off trolley is assembled. Brengun has thoughtfully provided the spinner cap for the airflow electric generator on the Me-163. The vanes (blades) for the generator are provided in the photo etch set. That piece sandwiches between the plastic spinner cap and the forward fuselage. . [Technical Note: The air flow electric generator was the propeller thingy on the nose of the ME-163 that supplied electrical power to the instruments and stuff.]
The last assemble step is to add the clear plastic canopy as well as the radio antenna mast. The canopy is a tad thick but this is styrene, so what ya gonna do? Brengun does make vacuformed canopies for various small scale aircraft kits and one can only hope that they will add those, for this kit, to their inventory. With all that aforementioned cockpit detail, a vacu-formed canopy, to show it all off, would be nice. I choose to show off that detail by cutting the supplied canopy with a razor saw. I kinda messed up and mounted the pilot seat too high which created a major fit issues. My bad!
The photo-etch detail set, sold separately, contains two complete sets of parts for the Me-163B “War Prizes.” The cockpit is fashioned by shaving off the side consoles from the styrene part and attaching those to a photo-etch floor. There are rudder pedals that are a part of the PE floor. Be very careful while handing this part as those protrusions are delicate. I managed to break them off with little to no effort.
Next is the seat, control stick, and some side console detail. I found this operation pretty fiddly and a bit overdone. I wound up using the kit supplied plastic cockpit part and selectively added some of the various photo-etch bits (seat, console detail, etc.). Remember the armor guys old adage about using photo-etch on your model...you don't really have to use it all. Or, is it old armor guys, not old adage? I forget!
Brengun has thoughtfully provided the rear deck that goes behind the seat and an instrument panel with instrument faces. The instrument panel gets attached to a separate front combing that really spiff things up immeasurably. The other bits that round out the photo-etch set are some flaps on the underside of the wings with actuators (tiny and beautifully detailed), various antenna, and a nifty boarding ladder.
These 1/144th scale “War Prizes” models from Brengun are dandy little models. The molded detail in the basic kit should satisfy just about anyone who builds in this scale. It should be noted that the level of molded detail Brengun has incorporated in this kit is way beyond what some other manufacturers provide with their small scale aircraft kits. While the decals/markings are pretty basic, this is a 1/144th scale model after all, they went on very nicely.
Should you decide to add a few bits and pieces or even the whole kit and caboodle from Brengun's companion, photo etch detail set you will have a stunner of a Me-163B in your collection. With those thoughts in mind, the price point Brengun is offering for this kit paired with the detail set, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal.
My thanks to Brengun/Hauler and IPMS/USA for the review copy.