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Author Topic: Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!  (Read 1288 times)

Pen-Pusher

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Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!
« on: November 20, 2016, 10:57:17 AM »
Having bored everyone with the speculative ‘Butterfly’ version of the Me.163 I thought I might actually go back to the beginnings of this unique aircraft - well almost? Condor makes the only 1/72 Me 163A kit which consists of  a single sprue, a one piece canopy, a small number of photo-etched parts including a clear decal film for the instrument and of course a decal sheet for two aircraft.

The injected parts are cleanly moulded with very little flash. They look nicer than the average MPM kit (although Condor is part of MPM), being smoother and with no ‘chunks’ missing from the mould. Later Condor kits are produced in conventional 'long-run' metal moulds, whereas MPM kits are produced in non-metallic 'short-run' moulds which means the quality of the former is, as would be expected, somewhat better. Overall, the outline seems fairly accurate but the wing leading edge has more of a continuous curve than the ‘kink’ you see in many photographs. Perhaps this more continuous leading edge represents the mysterious 'V4' wing which (as the model shows) has the leading edge slots moulded on. This would be correct for all Me 163A's except the first prototype (KE+SW). But the flaps are missing and as far as is known only the first prototype lacked them initially. So a bit of scribing will be necessary! Trailing edges on the wings and tail fin are quite thick and need some attention. Sadly the landing skid is moulded in the retracted position which will make more demands on my primitive scratch building abilities.

The one piece canopy is very small making it a waste of time to spend too much time and effort on cockpit detail (audible sigh of relief) unless you're going to build it with the canopy open. The cockpit is also a bit basic.

On building the major components there are a few fit problems. The point where the one part fuselage underside/lower wings meets the upper fuselage assembly just forward of the wings' leading edges leaves a large step that needs a lot of sanding to remove. Other than that, the fit is good and the way that the upper wings meet the fuselage sides is quite neat.

The rocket exhaust fairing is too large and require some reduction (2 mm) to correct. Also, I believe the R4M rockets may be out of scale, ie., too large and not well proportioned. As only one (a/c #2) of the ten A’s built was fitted (See photo) with these I am going to omit them entirely.

The decal sheet is printed by Propagteam and offer two options, KE+SW and CD+IO, the former being the famous record breaking aircraft which achieved 624.2 mph in level flight way back in 1941.

The painting instructions give RLM02 and RLM76 as overall schemes. I'm still not convinced that KE+SW was painted in RLM02  - and a photograph of the rocket-armed Me 163A shows some sharp rectangular spots instead of mottles. More research is needed here I think?

« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 03:23:27 PM by Pen-Pusher »

Pen-Pusher

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Re: Me 163A
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 03:22:45 PM »
With a little (No, I lie - a lot) work, the forward fuselage/nose/wing contour is much better. As I said, the 'skid' isn't supplied so it will have to be scratch built. I am pleased with the straight line of the lower fuselage after 'surgery' on the rear fairing...

Pen-Pusher

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Re: Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 06:46:28 PM »
Whoah - I need my sunglasses for this one!

Pen-Pusher

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Re: Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 10:40:46 AM »
Build more or less completed I turned attention to the colour of this particular aircraft. Many have suggested RLM02 was the overall scheme for a/c #V1 (KE+SW) and #V4 (CD+IK) but Erik Luber in his excellent writings on his father's career with early German rocket and jet planes, insists the colour was more akin to a sky blue than the grey/grey-blue referred to in other sources. Aircraft #V6 (CD+IO) was certainly painted in RLM02 at one stage with a mottled RLM76 over the front 1/3 of the upper-surface only. Aircraft #V5 (GG+EA) and #V9 (?) may have sported a linen colour as yet not identified.

For it's record breaking flight in 1941 (KE+SW) seems to be painted with a semi-gloss or satin finish but this may be the effect from flash photography of the day? Anyway, I've opted for Vallejo sky blue and light grey mix at six parts to one and a dull satin coat - so any fault is mine alone.

Manufacturing the correct skid was more problematic than anticipated as (another peculiarity on the prototype it seems?) the main skid only extended from between 20-30 cm below the 'keel' as opposed to later a/c where it dropped to a full 60 cm. As far as I can make out the tail skid was fixed and frequently became detached on landing?
« Last Edit: November 23, 2016, 01:40:15 PM by Pen-Pusher »

Pen-Pusher

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Re: Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 05:18:30 PM »
Finally, on Thursday my 'Sunday' project is finished....

Roger

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Re: Me 163A - a rainy Sunday project!
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 06:39:26 PM »
Nice bright model that, and several days quicker than my JP!
Roger