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Revell 1/32 scale Heinkel He 162A-2 "Salamander"

Kit: No. 04723
Scale: 1/32
Manufacturer: Revell Germany, +49-5223-965-223,
Price: $30.50
Comments: Injection-molded, 93 parts, decals
Pros: Sharply molded, great decals, thoroughly detailed cockpit, engine, and gun bay
Cons: A few sink marks on larger pieces
Revell Germany has added to the growing list of all-new 1/32 scale kits with one of World War II's most unusual fighters, Heinkel's jet-powered He 162 "Salamander."

The kit is cleanly molded in slightly soft white styrene. Some of the larger parts, like the fuselage halves and engine covers, had some sink marks that needed to be filled, but my kit was an early production sample, so these problems may have been ironed out.

The model has a lot of nicely engineered detail. The nose cone can be cut away to reveal the complex nose-gear retraction system, and the access door for the port nose cannon can be posed open, too. The cockpit has wonderfully engraved detail on the sidewalls and instrument panel, and even includes the window that allowed pilots to see into the nose-gear well.

Everything in the kit fit together nicely, but I did use a little gap-filling super glue to smooth the wings and tail assembly into the fuselage. I replaced the model's cannon barrels with aluminum tubing and added a metal pitot to replace the kit's delicate plastic one.

The model's showpiece is its dorsally mounted BMW turbojet engine. With careful painting, it looks great from the box, and a little extra wiring and plumbing will really bring it to life. The engine's clamshell access doors can be posed open or closed, and I can report that the doors fit nicely either way.

I airbrushed my 162 with Testor Model Master Luftwaffe colors, using the kit instructions as a guide. These Model Master paints have a semigloss finish, and I was able to apply the kit's thin, sharply printed decals without first applying a gloss coat. A little Micro Sol tightened down all the markings. Lots of tiny stencil markings are provided on the decal sheet, but you'll need to provide your own swastikas for the tail.

To keep the finished model off its tail, I filled the fuselage with a packet of 150 BBs I mixed with epoxy. Thanks to the model's design, it's possible to add just the right amount of nose weight at final assembly through the opening for the dorsal engine. There's a large open space for weight inside the fuselage between the rear wall of the cockpit and the maingear bay. Add weight until the nose gear touches the ground, then cap things off by gluing the engine in place.

Two references came in handy during construction: Dai Nippon Kaiga's Aero Detail 10: Messerschmitt Me 163 & Heinkel He 162 and Schiffer Publishing's Luftwaffe Profile Series No. 16: Heinkel He 162. I spent an average amount of evening and weekend time on Revell Germany's He 162, and enjoyed every minute of it. It's a great kit straight from the box, and superdetailers will have a great time opening up its panels and adding detail.

- Matthew Usher


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