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First Jets

Last year, Special Hobby released a long awaited 1/48 scale kit of the Gloster E.28/39 Pioneer. The kit, despite its shortcomings, is a must in any WW2 aircraft collection. But what about the Heinkel He178, the very first jet in aircraft history? Condor (now MPM) released a 1/48 kit of the German jet in 1995 so it is possible now to display the first jets side by side on your shelves. To see which manufacturer made the best representation of both planes, I decided to build them with nothing more than what's in the box and by following the instructions and painting guides as close as possible.

Sunday August 27th 1939, Ernst Udet received a phone call from Ernst Heinkel:
- "Good morning," said Mr Heinkel, "I just wanted to say Flugkapitän Warsitz successfully made the maiden flight of the first jet plane in aircraft history: the Heinkel He 178!"
After a moment of silence Udet answered:
- "That's very good! Congratulations for both of you! But now let me go to bed again..."

Fortunately, the Germans leaders never realised the importance of the jets until the very last moments of the war, when it was too late. The first British jet, the Pioneer, flew only on April 8th 1941and the overall performance wasn't better than its older "brother" from Heinkel! But the British engineers did catch-up in the following years and both the Me 262 and Gloster Meteor did see operational use at the same time in summer 1944.

About the Author

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.


Jean-Luc no need to make it shorter next time, with that kind of information and work to be displayed it's the length it needs to be long or short. Good job, keep up the good work.
AUG 15, 2005 - 09:21 AM
Hi what a great feature. Excellent work Jean-Luc. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from first to last. Thanks and cheers Peter :-)
AUG 15, 2005 - 05:54 PM
Bonjour Jean-Luc, Excellent review of these early jets! don't worry about the lenght of your text, only your subject that counts! Félicitations ! Francois
AUG 15, 2005 - 08:08 PM
Jean-Luc, Yes sorry it took so long to get it published, the learning curve came down a little. The length is fine don't worry about that (just replace ! with . and all will great ) I enjoyed reading it and, More importantly I will probably buy these 2 models on the basis of your review/build, thanks. Mal
AUG 16, 2005 - 06:59 AM
Hi all! Thanks to all for your nice comments! I really do appreciate them as they are good motivation to do some more! Peter, I have a project on the go that will probably interest you! Stay tuned! Chuck and François... vous l'aurez voulu! I can even make longer........ ZZzz! ZZzz! Zzzzz! Mal!!! What about my !!!s, I wondered if it was a Mac/PC compatibility problem!!! I like my !!!s! Doh! What!? It's to much!!! Ok I'll make an effort next time! Maybe I'm too enthusiastic!!! :-) Jean-Luc
AUG 16, 2005 - 07:39 AM
Braggard :-)
AUG 16, 2005 - 07:46 AM
I'm not! You should see the lousy car I'm driving! :-) I said I can make longer... not I will make longer. Jean-Luc
AUG 16, 2005 - 07:56 AM
Oh oh... are we getting in to a "size matters" issue here...tut tut... :-) Jean-Luc...you just make them as long as you want... :-) Cheers Peter :-)
AUG 16, 2005 - 06:37 PM
Nice article, Jean-Luc. Both nice clean builds also.
AUG 17, 2005 - 03:31 AM
Excellent article Jean-Luc! Sorry - I've only just had a chance to read it! Just for the record - re- the missing prototype "P" on the Pioneer; according to the only known photo, the prototype marking doesn't seem to have been applied at the time of the first flight. For anyone interested in the story of the E.28 (and early jet developments), Tim Kershaw's "Jet Pioneers" is a must read, with plenty of previously unpublished photos and drawings. All the best Rowan
AUG 18, 2005 - 09:12 AM