Me 163B-0 'Komet'
Messerschmitt Me 163B-0 'White 42'
14./JG 400, 1945.
The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet is the only rocket-powered fighter to go in to
production and service, with over three hundred and fifty built. Development was
started with unpowered versions; after a long period of testing, modification and
familiarisation the first front-line unit, 1/JG.400 was formed in June 1944, and
with 2/JG.400 was operational at Brandis, near Leipzig, in August against 8th Air
Force B-17 raids. The Komet's use was limited by restricted availability of
materials and fuel, and at the end of the war in May 1945 many airframes were
found lifeless at airfields across the Third Reich.
“White 42” seems to have been one of the early airframes, fitted with 20mm. MG151
cannon rather than the 30mm. MK108s of the majority of operational 163s; this would
suggests that it was one of the first forty or so B models built. It carries the
badge of the training unit, known both as III/JG.400 and as IV/EJG.2, and was one
of many shipped to the United States for evaluation. Its history becomes uncertain;
the airframes were dismantled for transport, and it's believed to have been fitted
with the fin of “White 54”, and later to have been painted as “FE495”, the style of
designation awarded to ex-Axis aircraft set aside for study.
The 163 was not an easy aircraft to fly, and there were many landing accidents in
particular following from the use of a skid - which also inhibited the aircraft's
manoeuvrability on the ground and its ability to be returned quickly to combat -
and the volatility of the fuel, and it was said that it was responsible for more
deaths of its own service than of its enemies.
Scale 1:72 Wingspan 5.09" (129.5 mm)
Base size 4.84" (123 mm) square (No. 3)
Weight not including base 4.5 ozs (125 grams) Limited edition of 50 only