In-Box Review
Heinkel He 162 Spatz

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Eduard's set consists of 3 etched frets packed with parts, plus a small sheet of film for gunsight reflectors. Now, the Salamander is quite a diminutive aircraft, so some idea of the complexity of this set comes from the rather daunting parts-count; 228 etched parts - a fair number pre-painted. There may be one or two spares - Eduard are usually pretty good at including extras for some of the very tiniest parts in case of accidents, but I wouldn't count on too many of the 200 parts not being needed for this major upgrade. This is a set aimed fair and square at experienced modellers and it adds detail to the Tamiya kit, both inside and out, from nose to tail - although you won't be surprised to read that by far the majority of the parts are devoted to the interior.

The set broadly covers the following main areas of the kit:
The cockpit,
The undercarriage bays,
The engine,
and adds an entirely new option:
An open cannon bay.

The cockpit comes in for a major overhaul. Virtually everything is either dressed-up with extra details or replaced completely. Tamiya's rather peculiar ejector seat gets the sides and handles that were so obviously missing originally, and the rear bulkhead with its launch rails is all new. The seat is further improved with an excellent multi-part pre-painted harness to replace the kit's decal version.

The cockpit sidewalls get a number of extra details and the side consoles must be trimmed smooth to fit pre-painted placards and a much better detailed throttle quadrant. The plastic rudder pedals go in the bin to make way for new etched items complete with toe-straps, and no Eduard set these days would be complete without a pre-painted instrument panel. This should look excellent with the bezels glazed with Future/Klear, but the real show stopper may well be the new gunsight above it; this consists of a tiny detailed box which must be folded to shape before the reflector holders and glasses are added. It might be fiddly, but the result should look superb.

The undercarriage legs and wheel bays are the focus of quite a lot of new detail. The legs get obvious additions like brake-lines and delicate little tow rings etc., while the main wheelwell (in particular) benefits from plenty of extras, such as new sidewalls, brackets and etched facings for some of the plain plastic surfaces. The kit's original bay is good; with the extras it should look excellent.

Tamiya make a big deal of the kit's engine, with the option to display it on the aircraft with the clamshell covers open or mounted separately on a miniature dolly. It's a very neat little model of the BMW003, but is absolutely crying out for the mass of addition pipework and wiring that is so evident on the full-sized engine... which is where Eduard step in, with 41 new parts to help bring things to life. Some of the parts add or replace brackets and covers on the kit parts, but the bulk of the etched pieces represent pipes and cabling. Of course this raises the age old problem of how well flat etched metal can hope to portray 3-D pipework. Purists will say it can't and, if you follow that principal, then the parts here are best used as templates for replacements made from fusewire and solder. For many, the very complexity of the additional parts will be impressive - and building up the flat parts with coats of paint for more "body" will be quite sufficient for a tremp d'oeille effect.

The last major part of the etched set adds a brand new fuselage cannon bay. This requires the kit's original access door to be removed from the left fuselage half and a neat new interior added from folded metal parts. 13 parts squeeze into the cramped bay, plus a new 2-part door which must be curved to shape. The new bay should look great, but what confused me is that the instructions show a MG151 cannon. The Tamiya kit doesn't include one and it's not part of this detail set, so I'm not sure where the cannon is supposed to come from. It's a shame that Eduard didn't include a resin MG151 to fit in the etched bay.

The remainder of the set is devoted to small touches like new trim tabs and loop aerial, plus a neat little locking handle and catches for the canopy.

The instructions are very clearly illustrated on seven sides of A-4. The diagrams are colour-coded in red to indicate where kit parts must be modified or removed, and blue for the new etched pieces and their locations. The system works well and the assembly is divided into handy "bite-sized chunks" to keep everything straightforward despite the high number of parts.

This is certainly not a set for beginners, but Eduard's etched details for the Tamiya He 162 will make a huge difference in improving the kit. While not designed to fit the older Trimaster/Dragon model, experienced modellers may well be able to adapt the parts for that kit too. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Despite a few questions hanging over its dimensional accuracy, Tamiya's He 162 is a nicely produced kit with a fair amount of detail. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of scope for improvement and Eduard have produced a very comprehensive photoetched set which corrects some of the errors and fills in a lot of the gaps.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 49 339
  Suggested Retail: $24.95
  PUBLISHED: Jan 06, 2007

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. 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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