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Der Red Komet!
DML's Messerschmitt Me-163B
In Review

By Neal "Sci-Fi" Izumi

Check Out Club Meeting: September 2008 Meeting

Featured In: September 2008 Newsletter

DML's Messerschmitt Me-163B in 1/48scale

DML's Komet has been around for a number of years, and its ancestry can be traced back to the Trimaster kit from the 1990's. DML has dispensed with the white metal and steel wire/tubing of the original kit and provides replacement parts in plastic. The new seat and tail wheel are not as detailed as their original metal counterparts, but are easier to clean up.

Overall, the kit is well detailed; the wings even have the characteristic wash-out twist. Parts and decals are provided for the all-red Komet as well as four operational aircraft.

For this boxing, DML has thrown in the rocket engine and service crew from their Ba-349 Natter kit. The photo-etched fret has been redesigned to accommodate the engine framing.

An unexpected bonus is the inclusion of a duplicate sprue which contains the fuselage parts. For those who wish to display the aircraft in a state of maintenance, the tail section can be sawed off from the rest of the fuselage without fear of losing material on either side of the cut. If an intact aircraft is modeled, a fairly complete fuselage section, sans wings and clear parts, can also be built to represent a disassembled airframe.

I found one big and a couple of little faults with the kit. The emergency canopy release lever is missing, which should be immediately ahead of the normal release handle on the cockpit sill. The cockpit tub lacks the fuel lines that run from the sidewall tanks to the rear bulkhead.

DML's Messerschmitt Me-163B in 1/48scale

The take-off trolley (actually it is not much more than an axle with wheels) needs one locator pin removed to fit onto the skid. The mounting flanges are provided on the sprues, but cannot be used because they don't align with the release mechanism on the skid.

The rear fuselage halves require some gentle bending to match the forward fuselage contours, especially at the lower right corner. It is not a big deal, but it will save on filling and sanding later on.

The biggest problem with the kit is that the landing skid struts cause the back end of the skid to set at an incorrect attitude. I had to remove the locating pins from the middle and rear struts, and glued them wherever they landed in the skid well. The photo-etched skid well is a tight fit into the lower fuselage, and getting the skid assembly in place was a real bugger.

DML's Messerschmitt Me-163B in 1/48scale

The painting guide has some inaccuracies in the cockpit area; photo references of the knobs and levers will come in handy. Although not mentioned in the instructions, there is a circular clear glass insulator where the radio mast attaches to the fuselage. I punched out a circle of masking tape to cover this area during painting.

The kit was finished entirely with Testors Model Master enamel paints. The Insignia Red I used failed to cover the British Crimson basecoat, so I ended up with a very red-brown Komet.

The decals had minimal carrier film, but were stiff and responded very slowly to Mr. Mark Softer. The decal sheet is short one pair of white T-Stoff markings and lack swastikas. Both were sourced from my dwindling supply of spare decals.

Despite the kit's shortcomings, the end result is unmistakably a Komet, and it is still the best kit available of this tiny rocket fighter.

DML's Messerschmitt Me-163B in 1/48scale

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