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Meng Models 1/48 scale Me 410B-2/U4

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit:LS-001 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$89.95
Manufacturer:
Meng Models, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Pros:
Exquisite cockpit; good fits; beautiful decals
Cons:
Engine placement vague; prop shape wrong
Comments:
Injection-molded, 258 parts (14 photoetched metal), decals
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The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) was developed to replace the Me 210, which, in turn, was intended to replace the Bf 110 in the heavy fighter (Zerstörer, or Destroyer) category for the Luftwaffe in World War II. The 410 was certainly more successful than the 210, which was plagued with poor flight characteristics and saw only short-term use. The 410 served not only as a Zerstörer but also in the roles of light bomber, maritime patrol, and reconnaissance. However, like the 110, it was easy prey for single-engine fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and late-mark Spitfires. 


Meng Models’ first 1/48 scale aircraft kit kicks off the “Longiceps” series, the latest in a curiously dinosaur-named group of kit collections. Your hard-earned dollars will reward you with a sturdy package of crisply molded plastic, photoetched-metal pieces, a 23-page instruction book, and gorgeous decals printed by Cartograf. The instructions’ 32 steps include diagrams for two Me 410B-2/U4s, one flown by 6/ZG in 


Germany, 1944, and the other an example captured and tested by the Soviets after the war. Paint-color callouts are for Gunze Sangyo’s Mr. Hobby Aqueous Hobby Color and Mr. Color lines. A very impressive package indeed!


Construction begins in the cockpit — and what a cockpit it is! Detail is clean and accurate. There may be some small room for improvement from the aftermarket, but, really, what Meng offers is top-notch. My only gripes would be the thickness of the seat backs, which in the case of the gunner’s seat is over scale, and the lack of oxygen hoses for the pilot/gunner. Both items could be taken care of pretty easily, however. Seat straps are supplied as photoetched brass, a fairly standard inclusion these days.


There are few fit issues that cannot be overcome by test-fitting, although everything fits well inside the fuselage. . The rear gunner’s sight is well-done but a little fiddly to build. The canopy framing is molded inside the clear parts and should be painted before installation. I hand-painted it with Vallejo black gray and a fine brush. Installing the canopy can a bit tricky, due to the breakdown of parts.


The rear-fuselage side-mounted gun “barbettes” are designed so they can rotate, and the guns can elevate. They fit tightly, however, and are supposed to be mounted early in the build, increasing the risk of breaking the guns somewhere down the line. I left them off and simply press-fitted them into place near the end of the build.


Completing the fuselage, I moved to the wings. Everything progressed smoothly with no real problems. Surface detail is precise and consistent, though it may be considered a little deep and wide by some.


There are a few issues, however, concerning the flaps and ailerons, which are provided as separate parts. This should mean that these parts can be posed lowered or deflected, but if the flaps were lowered there would be large, unrealistic gaps on the top surface between the flap and wing skin. A radial fillet could be constructed fairly easily, but it would have been nice if this was supplied in the kit.


The elevators have no such problem, though, and can be mounted pretty much as you choose. The leading-edge slats are molded in the closed position but, like the Bf 109, would fall open when the aircraft was sitting on the ground. Adding this feature would involve complex surgery, unfortunately, at least until an aftermarket alternative is provided.


One nice feature is the option of having the wing-mounted radiator flaps either open or closed. Parts are provided for both configurations, with nice detail inside the parts for the “opened” option. It’s a sturdy assembly, thanks to thoughtful design. 


Meng did a really nice job on the Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines used in the Me 410. I elected to display one of them. Location of the completed engine inside the nacelle is somewhat vague, with no real positive mounting points. The propeller/spinner assembly is similarly vague, with nothing to center the propeller boss on the spinner back plate. Speaking of the propeller, the shape of the blades is way off; they are too pointed. Deciding which way is forward is a question, too. A few swipes with a sanding stick would fix the blade tips, though. 


The spinners look a little short and not bulbous enough. On the side where I installed the full cowl, I added sheet styrene backing plates to mount the exhausts; I simply glued the spinner directly to the cowlings, because there was no propeller boss to mount it to.


Meng’s kit provides one subtype of the Me 410, the B-2/U4 version, armed with probably the most devastating weapon mounted on an aircraft in WWII, the Bordkanone BK-5 5cm cannon. One well-placed shot from this weapon could bring down a B-17 or B-24. The gun is well represented, but it suffers from not having a solid, foolproof location for the attachment to the bomb-bay cowling. You may leave this panel unglued; friction alone will hold it in place. 


I painted with Mr. Hobby Mr. Color — RLM 02, 66, 74, 75, and 76, thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner — sprayed through my Iwata HP-B+ airbrush. (I wish I had discovered these paints years ago, as I was able to easily spray all of the camouflage freehand, masking only the canopy and white tail band.) Detail painting was done with Vallejo acrylics. The Cartograf decals performed wonderfully in terms of color density and adhesion. The spinner spirals were not a very good fit to the spinners, however, with quite a bit left over. I weathered with artist’s oil washes, selective shading with well-thinned Tamiya smoke, and a Prismacolor silver pencil.


This kit was a joy to build, and it just cries out for extra attention to painting all of that wonderful interior detail. There are some minor complaints, but they’re nitpicky, really, and easily addressed. Parts not used in this kit, such as the 21cm Granatwerfer rockets, presage future kits of the Me 410 from Meng. I look forward to the next in the Longiceps series!


Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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