by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
All this was mounted on a rocket-powered dolley. A Walter RATO pack was to be fitted, along with smaller rockets attached to both the parent aircraft and "bomb". On the evidence of this model, while the front wheel acted as a castor, quite how the whole contraption was to be steered is anyone's guess... takeoff would have been "hairy", to say the least!
Dragon's Me 262 has been around for a good many years. In fact it first appeared around 1989 under the TriMaster label. In their day, these much vaunted "hi-tech" kits set new standards for detail and were among the first mass-produced models to incorporate etched-metal and white-metal parts. With the demise of TriMaster, the moulds passed on to Dragon, who have continued to release the model in various guises. Many of the original metal parts have been replaced with plastic items and the Me 262 has subsequently appeared as both Revell and Italeri kits.
Dragon's Me 262 has always been acclaimed as a fine kit, if a little tricky to assemble (the wing / fuselage joint is a particular pitfall and has inspired a number of articles on how best to tackle it), but Tamiya's release of a 21st century '262 model must have convinced many that the old warrior's days were finally numbered.
Dragon have responded with a clever bit of marketing; by combining their existing kit with new mouldings for the Mistel lower-component fuselage and take-off trolley, they can benefit from the renewed interest in the Me 262.
Main PartsConsidering that this kit has been in almost continuous production for nearly 15 years, the moulds have survived very well. A little flash is beginning to creep in but the parts compare amazingly well with an original TriMaster kit. By using existing sprues, Dragon have been forced to supply an amazing number of duplicate parts; in fact, your first impression will be that something's wrong! Somehow, you've got an extra kit for free! Actually it does make sense... but it's time to expand your spares box...
The new parts are cleanly moulded on two sprues. Perhaps surprisingly, the "bomb's" fuselage appears to be all new - subtle differences in detail suggest this isn't simple a modification of the old mould. The 5-wheel dolley shows some nice detail, although the moulded-on hydraulic lines might be better replaced whith sprue or wire, because they cross some awkward joints. The supporting pylons look suitably sturdy to support the two aircraft.
The RATO units are neatly done, but the parachute-pack for the dolley's Walter motor is a bit "rigid". The dolley wheels are moulded without "flats" which, considering the weight of the Mistel combination, seems unlikely to say the least...
DetailsThis kit features a welcome return of the original etched parts, missing from some earlier re-boxings. Included is a nice set of seat-harness plus cockpit and undercarriage components. The harness, in particular, has been criticised over the years due to its stiffness, so some softening over a flame will definitely be in order.
Less welcome is the retention of the vinyl tyres. These seldom look very convincing, in my opinion,
and there's always the risk of an adverse chemical reaction between the vinyl and polystyrene parts.
A very clear, 3-part canopy is provided. It should be said, all the parts are separately bagged, so the clear parts are well protected.
Instructions & Colour SchemesThe instructions are, in part, unchanged from the TriMaster originals. This means they still contain some notes referring to options which haven't been available for 15 years! Despite this, they are easy to follow. The new sections aren't drawn to the same standard as the old: the dolley doesn't look bad, but the aircraft looks very odd indeed...
A neat set of decals is provided for two notional aircraft of KG (J) 54. These are printed by Cartograf and are in excellent register, but no Swastikas are included.
The colour schemes depicted are keyed to Gunze Sangyo and Italeri paints, featuring a "winter" scheme with an RLM 76 over-spray on the wings for the parent aircraft, with natural metal (plus sealer) for the bomb.
Accuracy?My only reference for an Me 262 "Mistel" is a drawing which shows the parent aircraft with a clear, bombardier nose (which was actually once available as a TriMaster kit). Regarding the "bomb"... the kit parts feature flare dispencers, which seem rather pointless and why bother filling the seams on a bomb? As for the dolley... would the RATO unit have a parachute and not the dolley itself? As for the colour schemes, "standard practice" towards the end of the War was increasingly for natural-metal undersides and I can't help thinking ground crews would have made some effort to camouflage the lower component "bombs" before they were ready for use...
Who knows!? Expect to see a lot of builds of this model! Super-detailers may be tempted to drop the leading edge slats, while the lower component offers obvious conversion potential for the proposed Schnellbomber & Aufklärer projects featuring a cockpit in the nose.
Conclusion£28.50 sounds expensive but, considering the fact this kit just about includes parts for 2 aircraft, with masses of spares, plus the dolley... it's really good value for money. Coincidentally, it's exactly the same price I payed for a single TriMaster Me 262 way back in 1989...