Dragon DRW50267 German Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a Night Fighter w/ Nose Radar - 10./Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.
The first design work on the Me 262 began in October 1938, with the first test flight, piloted by Fritz Wendel, occuring on April 18th, 1942. Tests continued well into 1942, although by this time the Me 262 was outfitted with two highly-efficient BMW turbojet engines. When he saw the aircraft for the first time in early 1943, Hitler insisted that the plane be designed as a low-level bomber instead of a fighter, which undermined the sleek aerodynamic properties of the jet aircraft. After much in-fighting among the Luftwaffe's upper echelons, the plane was eventually converted back into a high level interceptor, with series production beginning in the spring of 1944. The first jet fighter unit, commanded by Major Walter Nowotny, was formed in the summer of 1944 and was composed of many of the Luftwaffe's leading aces.
By war's end, 1,433 Me 262s had been produced, far too few a number to have much of an impact on the Allies strategic bombing campaign. In the end, the Allies' superiority in numbers overcame the tremendous technical achievements ushered in by the Me 262 program.
This 1:72 scale twin seater version of the Me 262 was used as a night fighter and is fittend with a nose-mounted radar set. This particluar bird was piloted by Staffelkapitan Kurt Welter of 10./NJG 11, which was based in Germany during 1945. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: November 2006
Historical Account: "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" - Development of the world's first jet-powered aircraft actually began as early as 1938 in Germany, culminating in the advanced Me 262 fighter. A more unusual version of this famous Messerschmitt was the Me 262B-1a, a two-seater trainer version that was necessary to help pilots transform from propeller-driven to jet-powered aircraft. Fifteen of these two-seaters were built in the autumn of 1944, with more being subsequently manufactured as night fighter versions equipped with radar.
Several two-seater "B" trainer variants of the Me 262 had been adapted as night fighters, complete with on-board radar and "deerhorn" antennae. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, Night Fighter Unit, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945.
However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Sau methods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable many pilots had to do their first flight in a single seater jet without an instructor.
Kurt Welter was an experienced Luftwaffe pilot. On September 4th, 1944, he was transferred to a special unit wholely dedicated to intercepting RAF Mosquito twin-engine bombers by night. He then went on to take command of Sonderkommando Stamp, later re-designated 10./NJG 11, which also specialized in fighting Mosquitos. This unit was equipped with Me262 jet fighters, just like the one represented in this latest release.