Unicraft 1/72 Mistel 4 - Me262/Ju287
With the war going badly for the Germans, unique adaptations of obsolete weapons gave rise to the Mistel, or piggy-back duets of aircraft. One craft serving as a parent or guide ship, the lower component being the warhead, which was released in the vicinity of the target. Once in the vicinity of the ground target, the two craft separated, leaving the lower warhead to glide into the target. The force of the ensuing explosion would be enough to decimate the target in one fell swoop. Many such Mistels were built using the Bf109/Ju88 combination with some success. While this idea used old and worn out equipment, some paper projects envisioned new and radical designs, one such design was the Mistel 4 which consisted of the Me262 as the controlling aircraft with a Ju287 as the 'warhead'.
Despite being jet powered it's doubtful that any such plane would make it to its target with Allied air superiority being what it was. The United States for a time experimented with explosive laden B-17 and B-24s controlled by radio also as expendable bombs. Needless to say the idea never caught on.
I received the kit - actually a conversion - securely packaged and bundled from the far-away land of the Ukraine. Despite the long wait, it was well worth it. The conversion actually requires an upper component; in this case a Revell Me-262a-1 and a lower take off dolly from the MPM Me-262 Mistel kit.
It's quite a large kit and also very simply designed. The light blue resin pieces are contained in a portioned plastic bag to keep the brittle parts from damage. All surfaces are engraved, maybe a bit deeply, but a good coat of primer will soften them. A two-part fuselage, two wings, two tailplanes and a rudder round out the main parts. Casings for the two Heinkel jet engines are cast on the pylons with separate intake and exhausts, these later being borrowed from a Hasagawa Me-262, as it was a tedious endeavor to use those supplied.
No decals are supplied as it was forbidden to use national markings on expendable aircraft such as missiles or bombs, but the box art looked so good I decided to put crosses on the usual locations!
The construction was straightforward, both fuselage halves are lightly sanded on a flat surface and joined, all panel lines match up. Give all surfaces a light 600 grit sanding to get rid of some irregular surfaces and you're off to the races.
The wings and tail planes need to be sanded off their molding blocks. Carefully follow the separation lines and the fit to the fuselage will be almost perfect. Two wires are inserted as support for the wings as they need some helpful reinforcement. The tailplanes need careful alignment, horizontal to the ground line, while the main wings have a great deal of dihedral to them. Watch also the two engines; hang them perpendicular to the ground line not to the wing. A long probe with the contact fuses is placed on the nose, and the rudder at 90 degrees to the tailplanes and thats all there is to it.
Painting as to match the groovy artwork was done with Mr. Color RLM 76 overall with RLM 83 Light Green mottle on all upper surfaces. A yellow nose and decals were added to this disposable bomb.
The upper component is the new and wonderful Revell Me-262a-1, a great little kit for a little pocket change; the only modification is the inclusion of a Cooper Detail interior to spice things up. This was also painted partly fictitious and partly real to match artwork on the Mistel box. The lower trolley was robbed from the earlier mentioned MPM kit and is built up stock.
A simple kit, perhaps the most difficult part of this three-piece conversion is the bomb itself, but it makes up into quite a nice piece. Igor at Unicraft has, perhaps justifiably so, been criticized by the hobby community in the past for a difficult and rough product line. I can assure you all, that his current projects are up to modern standards and are well within intermediate modeler's skills. I for one enjoy a bit of a challenge and the unusual projects hand-made by Unicraft are well worth the effort.