Monday, July 4, 2016


THE HEINKEL HE 162 SALAMANDER or Volksjager (People’s Fighter) flew only in the latter stages of World War II. Even so, it makes a great looking subject for a model kit from Revell.

SMN report: The He 162 was actually the fastest of the early jets, even if it arrived too late to be of much use against the Allied air fleets. But it’s an interesting subject for World War II modellers - and also for Luftwaffe 1946 fans. It’s jets like this that might have prolonged the war if they had been available earlier or in greater numbers.

The Revell kit's miniature BMW 003 turbojet engine (below) can be seen when the clamshell-style engine pod doors are displayed in the open position. It’s reasonably well modelled, but would be improved massively by the addition of some TLC in superdetailing, plus some careful ‘oily rag’ treatment.

Plenty of detail (below) marks the Revell kit as worth having. The nose gear assembly in particular (below) is worthy of note. And there is neat cockpit detail too; the seat looks good, and just awaits the addition of third-party detail-up  components.

The He 162 (below) is displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum, London. Here it nestles under the wing of an Avro Lancaster bomber.

Heinkel He 162 model (below left) compared with a Henschel Hs 132. They shared a similar configuration, though the Henschel design never saw service. Its cockpit was pressurised for high-altitude interception, the pilot stretching full-length along the slim fuselage, rather than sitting in a seat. As designed, the Hs 132 had no guns. Instead, the pilot aimed at, and dived on a mid-air target at up to 910 km/h (570 mph) then tossed a single bomb on it. Unsurprisingly, the He 162 won a competition between the two.

Revell is not the only maker of He 162 kits. The 1:72 Dragon kit (below) is a neat kit that provides an option for model fans who prefer the smaller scale.

The Revell video (below) shows a neat and desirable kit for World War II model makers.

The He 162 production line at Hinterbruhl (below) was housed in a bomb-proof underground cavern, drilled out of rock. Production of components was widely distributed, then brought together for final assembly. Despite its top-level secrecy, Hinterbruhl was captured intact by Allied forces in April 1945.

The flyable He 162 (below) was photographed at Freeman Field, Indiana, after transportation by sea from Europe.

The Revell 1:32 kit is one of the best available, especially as the large scale makes the most of the machine’s relatively small size - even to generous 1:32 scale, the model measures just 282 mm (11.12 in) long. But that’s enough for Revell to have given it the beans where the model is concerned, with plenty of nice detailing throughout, as well as interior treatments that can result in a handsome display model.

Hinterbruhl picture courtesy Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive).