by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Newly released to praiseful review in The Squadron’s Fall, 1972, magazine, Tamiya’s set of 1/100 ME-163b Komet and ME-262a Schwalbe, ". . . are beautiful. Detail is as good or better than offerings in 1/72 scale, fit is excellent. . . .". I was thrilled that Christmas to unwrap the equally praised F-86F/MiG-15 set, which I built and held on to for years after more recent builds were vanquished by fireworks.
30 years later...Squadron's review is right. This 33-year-old kit is crisply molded in gray plastic, virtually flash-free. The recessed panel lines are very delicate, and some disappeared from sanding. The cockpits have no detail except the instrument panel hood on the Komet, and seats for the incredibly molded pilots. The landing gear and wells are about what you’d expect with a 30-year-old small kit.
The Komet does have a wheel set and can be modeled for takeoff, flight or landing. The pitots are horribly thick and I left the originals on for your mockery. The only non-kit part is the loop antenna on the Schwalbe. The Komet’s 30mm gun ports are not open, nor the shallow gun troughs for the 262; it would take care to drill them open, and I just darkened them. What is 30mm in 1/100, .003mm?
Obviously not to today’s Tamiya standards, the fit is very good - no worse than my 1/48 Hasegawa B7A2 "Grace". The only real filling was required on the ME-262's bottom fuselage/wing junction, and jet engines cowl/wing leading edges.
Oh, and the canopies... Oh! The canopies!! The 262's split right along the longitudinal top frame while I was (tightly) clamping it for the glue to set! The nacelle openings are thin and easily harmed. Prefer ground-pounding or air-to-air? No problem, Tamiya gives you parts for either 262.
DecalsYou are treated to decals for several crates: a pair of JG 400's Komets, and Stormbirds for JG 7, JV 44 (General Galland’s) and KG 51. I wish every kit’s decals were like these! Thin, don’t curl, set snug, only need to soak several seconds. Data stencils are minimum and today’s sheet lacks the swastika – the 33-years-old brittle, thick ones are on the models.
FinishingBoth models were primed with automobile spray can primer and painted with Polly Scale RLM 76, 81 and 83. Neither are weathered as I wanted you to see the as-is panel details.
The choice to build them in flight on the stand is for saving space and lack of gear detail, and because I like stands. Expect my subsequent reviews of Tamiya’s 1/100 gems to be so displayed!
ConclusionThese are delightful little kits. I have yet to build a new 1/144 aeroplane so I can’t compare them, but I echo The Squadron that these are as nice as many pre-CAD 1/72 kits.