Building the Hasegawa Me 262
by Sašo Knez

Me 262, the first jet that entered operational service, combine that with the Experten that flew with it and the desperation of the last days of the war, and have a very charismatic airplane. Ever since I bough the book JV 44 the Galland Circus by Robert Forsyth (I needed it for the Revell Fw 190D9) and read the adventures of Galland, Steinhoff, and Bar I decided—yes I will build the Me 262 and it will be a JV 44 machine. When starting this page, I found Brian Cauchi's article, and decided that I will build the Hasegawa Me 262.

Starting off
I bought a bunch of old Hasegawa kits from a guy in the USA. Amongst them was the Me 262. The kit was in the original shrink-wrap! As I was still finishing off the Revell Dora, I put the kit under my desk—10cm away from the heating radiator, and it was December...I also bought the Eduard PE frets for the Revell Me 262 to save time, and also incorporated the Mk.108 cannon from the exellent Ulrich Puchala range.

The Gun and the Wheel bays

The construction started with the front wheel bay. I copied the bulkheads from the kit part since I needed some room to add the details and painting. The top rounded section was made from thin plastic. The inside of the wheelbay was detailed with plastic strip glued into previously sawn holes. I added the spring in my usual style, i.e., a thin copper wire wrapped around a rod of the correct dimension.
When working on the bulkhead I also did the gunbay bulkhead. I used the vertical kit part but made new horizonal floor. After the basic shapes were determined I started cutting out the nomerous holes in the floor of the gunbay. I selected to use the PE parts meant for the ejection ports on the fuselage as the ejection ports visibile in the gunbay. Then I glued the whole structure to the left side of the fuselage. The joints were then sandpapered. Then I made the gun ports on the fornt wall and the sadle for each gun. For the cannons I used the exellent Ulrich Puchala Miniature Mk 108. The two outermost cannons were detailed on the back side with a bit of plastic and the attachment points were driled out and some copper rode inserted. I then detailed the back wall with plastic strip to represent the reinforcing metal bracing. I first cut a strip of plastic the same width as the reinforcing strip. Then this was cut to apropriate lenght. After that I cut a small wedge on the top of the strip. Then a narower strip was glued on top of that. The wedge was made so when you look at the top of the profile you will see the correct shape of the profile-as it would be bent, and not from two strips.
I also added the triangular metal plate which carried the cannons fuse boxes. With this the bay is left alone for the moment.
Radio Compartment
Then my atention turned to the radio compartment. This is very easy since Eduard provides the pars neaded for this compartment. After claeaning the PE radio box covers, I attached them to plastic strip of various thickness. From the Aerodetail reference I conclouded  that the lowest radio panel wouldn't be visable, so I saved this one for the Fw 190A where it is more visable. I also determined that the backing plate has the wrong positining for the boxes, so I made a two plastic sheets of the correct size. They were painted yellow. Then I filed the boxes to shape using the glued on PE parts as a guide. They were painted RLM 76 (dark grey) and glued on the supporting plates. The whole asemblly was then glued on the fuselage.
Cockpit
The basic shape of the tubular capsule was made from scale plans in the Aerodetail. The two vertical bulkheads were made off the thickest plastic I could find then it was cut out with a Olfa round cutter. After measurments I discarded the Eduard PE capsule as being too short. This was really no problem since the shape is easily reproduced with thin plastic. So I test fitted the vertical bulkheads into the fuselage opening ant they were just the right size which again confirms the correct shape of the fuselage. Then I attached the thin plastic skin to the two bulkheads, but glued it on the one side and left the other side open to make the further detailing easier. The detailing itself started off with the seat assembly.
Then the instrument plate was checked against fuselage width and noted that it was too wide. When this was corrected the backing film was attached. Also for the centre panel I attached the backing film and then some more plastc sheet so it would have the correct 3D effect. As it turned out that the backside of the instrument panel was also visibile from certain angles I added the plastc instrument cups and the coresponding wires. It was now time for the side consoles.
The basic PE parts are OK and they make the job a lot easier. But don't use the PE levers, if you have any respect for yourself. I have special tehnique with making levers, that works exellent every time. You take a plastic rod with the same diameter as the knob of the lever. Then you saw in a wedge in this rod. then you cut the rod just a bit further of the wedge. Then you take a plastic strip, and glue one end in the sawn-in wedge. When everything is dry cut the knob of the lever on the other side of the wedge so you detach it from the plastic rod. Then you just cut the strip to apropriate lenght. This tehnique gives you an absolutley correct leverer and minimases the small parts handling. I made all the levers on the conslole by this tehniqe excpet the trim wheel which are taken form the Italeri jerry cans set, and represent the British style caps.
When the consoles were finished they were glued to the seat assembly. The pretty straightforward rudder pedals system was added to the floor. The rudder pedals were suplied in the PE fret. the whole thing was then painted RLM 02 and the instrument panel was painted RLM 66. After this washed and drybrusing but also some 'colour detailing ' to the knobs were made. The instrument panel was glued to the side consoles and the capsule's plastic skin was then glued up to the top. The capsuel was then again test fitted into the tapped-together fuselage and it became obviuos that no corrections are required. I detailed the exterior of the capsule with bits of plastic and leftover PE parts.
Central Wheel bay
I removed the ejector pin markings on the fuselage with scribing but when I tried to do that I snaped off a great chunk of fuselage that formed a wedge below the cockpit. I glued it back in with a LOT of normal modeling glue so it melted the plastic and prevented any further braking. The internal part of the snapped off bit required a bit of putty, all in all a very easy job, the external part was different but I will get back to this latter. So I made the fuselage ribs from plastic strip. Then I glued the fusleage together. As mentioned before I had this kit stored within a direct source of heat so the fuselage was warped a bit. This was very easy to correct since I only had to align the fusleage with some jigs made of styrofoam and masking tape, then I just let the modeling glue work it's magic. The fuselage was set aside for a week.

When I checked (again) that nothing was missing in the cockpit I glued the cockpit bath tube in the fuselage. It was now time to tackle the nomerous instalations in the central wheel bay. I made the big auxilary fuel tank with lamintaing plastic and detailed it with copper wire for the weld seams and one tie down buckle on a plastic strip.

When on the subject of weld seams there is another method that I really like to use. I stretch a very thin plastic rod and glue it (with modeling glue) on where the weld is located. Then I wait a it for the glue to secure the plastic wire to the surface and also to melt it a bit. Then I just roll a rough circular file along the joint with medium presure applied. This gives it an irregular texture that really comes out with drybrushing.

The other boxes are pretty straightforard. Now the part of the wheel bay attached to the bottom wing was addressed to. The kit luckly has the cenral bottom of the wing correct and independent to the other parts of the wing. Firstly the attachment points were deleted (hot knife then filed and sandpapred) Then basic walls were made with plastic sheet. these were sandpared and puttyed to conceal the joints. Now I thought since the Eduard offers the whole bay as PE parts that now I am on easy street...Mhhmm..sure! Of course I was wrong and it turned out that the PE parts are about 5mm to wide. My friend was building the Me 262 by Revell and he said that they are slightly to wide even for that kit. So I made my own parts and used only the horizontal curved PE part. The front of the bay attached to the bottom of the wing is really the wing's spar. So I detailed it with plastic to give it the proper 3D effect. The rivets were duplicated with a help of a saw. I find a normal saw for sawing in panels much usefull for representing rivets because it is sharp an of couse you get the 'rivets' that are equally set apart.

After this I painted the wheel bay. I chose a mixture of unpainted aluminium and RLM 02 primer. The aluminium was airbrushed while RLM 02 was brush painted. Everything was now glued together and the roofs of the wing wheelbay was added. Now a great deal of wires and control poles were waiting me in the fuselage wheel bay. these were slowly added. There are three types of instalation in the bay;

First there are the control surfaces control poles, these were made of copper wire then an U shape profile was bent from aluminum and then attached to the both ends of the pole-a lot of dry fitting is necessary here.

Second there are the electrical instaltions, which are mostly yellow wires bonded together wit clips. You must shape the wires first and the paint them since paint doesn't have the same flexibility of the copper and it will crack up.

Third there are the hydralic lines that run from the cockpit. These are made of unpainted solder wire. I found a neat trick when modeling this. Since the lines are runing from the cockpit from the same attachment point that is well visibile with it's bronz valves for the lines. I tried several ways in representing this but failed until it came to me that I could use the insulation from an electrilcal wire. So I pulled it off the wire carefully then cut it to same lenght so that I got some nice little circles. This trick was then used troughout the model and it made me wonder how I could ever manage without this trick.

I worked from the top to reduce the omnipresent scenario that I would work myself in a corner. When this was compleate I glued the bottom centre wing to the fuselage. no need to add here that it was a teribille fit due to the all new bulkheads in the wheelbay. But this will be refered to later.

So if you plan that you won't open the turbine I am happy to inform you that the dificult part of the model is over. For those of you who will open up the turbine this was a nice warmup pratice wasn't it?

Wings and Tailplanes

Nothing special here on the wings-no let me think there are the flaps,slats, the turbine, the warpage, the panel lines...grrrrr.

The flaps and slats were droped on when the plane was on the ground so of course I had to includ this. And furthermore pilots never really left the control stick in the neutral position, because personally I leave the control stick in that position which makes exiting the cockpit easiest.

So firstly I glued the wing together and then glued the wing to the central part of the wing which is already glued to the fuselage. Use a LOT of glue here! it will make everything else easier. Now since you will be cutting the wings mating surface you have to be very, very carefull and plan the whole proces. Work with only one cut off surface I recomend starting with the inner flap. Cut out the flap with a hot knife. Then insert a plastic spacing block in the wing I repeat-use a lot of glue. Then scribe the edges a bit, then glue a plastic foil (again the thinest plastic) cover of the hole in the wing. Repeat this proces will all the surfaces. For the slats just scribe a bit of plasitc (1-2mm) off the leading edge. The edges should be sharp so I used a nice amount of putty. But as said I learned a lot about putying on this kit. Now I chose one that I will compleately open one turbine and keep the other one unexposed.

The turbine gondola is made of many parts and they are divided as the real panels were. But one detail is missing on the othervise exellent turbine asemblly. There was a gap in the turbine nozzle netween the turbine itself and the covering panels. This is most evident on photos and a model wouldn't be correct if this was missing. So no problem I will stretch form the inner nozzle and then insert it in the kit's turbine. Right so there is a step in the kit's exit nozzle. I like the hot knife for cutting best. So I took my hot knife and started to remove the step. Yes I confes the knife sliped. So with this in mind I didn't have any real choice but to cut off the whole rear end. To replace it I took the kit's turbine body and taped it together and filled it with plaster. I also let the plaster to go out of the nozzle and form a bit of a head. Then I poped the body open and took the plaster out. The head was now smothed to continue in the profile. So this is the master for stretch forming. After a few trys I found two most up to standard turbine cones. The first was glued on the turbine gondola and the second was glued inside of this. So you get two circles at the end of the turbine, decide if that is worth it. The rest of the gondola was plaqued with bad fit, but mostly it was my fault.When this was straigtened out the turbine was glued to the wing. I found that experienced modelers can correct own mistakes, but no matter how experinced you never stop making them...

The flaps were made using the kit's part that I cut out and shaping the 'leading edge' airfoil profile with putty. When it was dry I filed it down. A lot of dust here so you should use an old toothbrush to clean the file once in a while.

The tail structure was detailed, resribed and the surfaces were cut out.

Rescribing Panel Lines
Many modelers rescribe the panel lines as the first thing that they do, but I am not as confident. Especially with German planes that have the fuselage band type panel lines since I always fear that when glued together the panel lines won't meat up. So the panels are rescribed now. I use a saw to rescribe panels. nothing here to say except work slowly and carefully, if you make a mistake correct it with superglue. For round or oval acess hatches I use drawing templates and a sewing needle. Fot the tyipical German hatches I made myself a template from clear plasticard. Of course you have to use the only inner templates! Like if you want a circle you must find a template with a 'hole' about the same diameter as the circle.

But when on the subject of the fuselage I must correct the part of it that snaped away. So the snaped away part was raised by about 1mm above the normal fuselage shape. I filled this down. But there were a lot of blemishes left on the edges so I had to use the putty. Now I learnt some lessons here. First I aplied the putty from the mouth of the tube to the model when I sanded this down I found that when I was sanding I was uncovering a multitude of bubles, you know like with very bad resin. Over these bubles more putty was aplied and then sandpapered. Repat this proces until the surface is perfect. Then another lesson came on the slats opening. I took some putty from the tube onto my finger and then rolled it into a ball then into a rod and, then back to a ball...well I played a bit. This ball was then aplied onto the surface and firmly pressed down. When I started sanding I didn't discover anymore bubles! Again when correcting the surface use small amounts of putty aplied with knife edge tip. These small amounts can be sanded in an hour.

The obvious choice when opening the turbine is that I one would represent the turbine in the position as it is in the Deuthches museum in Munich, Germany, because of the available photos.As easy as the chioce was it also brought a few problems with the construction of the wing. The Hasegawa wing half is constructed with the centre section then one whole top part and the lower outermost part. But when the turbine gondola is left off there is a gap in the wing. After reviewing the photos that I took in Munich I noticed when with all the panels off, the spar is vissibile throught the back. Well off to work...again. The spar was built from plasticard and inserted into the wing. The spar is literlay floded with superglue on the backside and this improves the strenght off the wing a lot. By the way, whatever you do don't fill in the wings with putty for strenght, my friend tried that with the Revell 262 and the model almost fell apart when held by the wing tips. Also some supporting points were made in the front. Then a cover with plasticard was made and in it the holes and openings were drilled or shape filled. The joints were then sandpapered. See the photos for better understanding.

Undercarriage
The three undercarriage legs were made by my standard method by using metal/brass tubes and wrapping it with lead foil which can be then sanded to conceal the joints. This went without any problems and didn't take a lot of time. The support arms were made with in the same manner. When I was modeling the wheelbay I didn't place the undercarriage supports yet. I saved this till now since this leaves a chance to correct the lenght mistakes I made when modeling the undercarriage. Also back then I cut the brake line longer then normal to asure that there would not be any problems.
Left is the gunbay cowling and right is a detailed PE part that represents the central wheelwell cover
The wheel well covering doors were made from Pe parts further detailed with plastic to enhance the thichness. The tires were a completly diferent story. The tires suplied with the kit are made from vinly rubber. With the well known reservation that these may age badly, there was a huge mold release line running through the middle of the tire, and there were some flesh. Despite my best eforts I wasn't able o fix these faults. AND then Brian Cauchi, a good friend and often a saviour in my modeling project, came to the rescue, since he modeled the tires. He used the wheel hubs suplied by the kit, and then he sculpted the weighted tires with Miliput. I just detailed the hubs a bit. THANKS Brian!!
The tires still mostly undetailed
The Turbine
I decided to expose the turbine. It was so long ago, that I don't remember why, but I did. Anyway, I did open up the turbine.

It all started with a simple PVC tube. You can see it in the photo as the grey part. Then I added the carefully shaped and sanded plastic parts. The plastic was made in such a matter that when wraped around the PVC tube it confroms exactly and forms the right shapes. Then This central part of the turbine (cast housing) was cemmented to the correctly shaped strter engine reservoair and the turbine blades associated with this part. You can see it on the photo as the foremost, black part.

I cannot emhisize enough how important it is to fill and sand the joints here since the housing will be painted later in various metalic shades. if you check the photo carefully you will see that there are various shades of grey all over the housing. That is putty. A big (but not so time comsuming as one might think) job was to add all the nuts and bolts to the housing

The way that I have painted the turbine is something special. In spite of all the puttying I have done on it, the surface of the housing was still far from perfect. So I painted it overall grey and then used an almost dry brush (a soft, big one) to apply the metalic colour on the housing. The results are great. Far better then I would ever achive with the normal method.
The next thing was to slowly add the subassemblies to the turbine. Work were slowly and think, about waht you are doing, othervise I guarantee you that you will work yourself into a corner.
For the rear part of the turbine I used the parts supllied in the Hasegawa kit. in fact you get a whole turbine, but the front part is unusable. The rear parts are OK with slight modification. Use pastel chalk to reproduce the burnt rear part.