Me 264 V1

The Me 264 came about as the result of Messerschmitt wanting to work outside the prewar decision that the RLM had placed on them that restricted them to designing and producing fighters and some general discussion in the industry that was prodded by the RLM concerning the idea of bombing the U.S. from European bases should the U.S. enter the war against Germany. While it was thought that the material damage that could be done would be minimal the propaganda to be gained and the effects on morale would be worth the effort. The industry was asked by the RLM for proposals for aircraft for this purpose but did not issue a specification and it was stressed that the aircraft would be a long term low priority project. Focke-Wulf, Junkers and Messerschmitt submitted proposals, the Fw-300A, which was an extended range version of the of their four engined bomber project, the Junkers 290 which was in the process of being evolved from the Ju 90 and the Me 264 which was an entirely new design.

Dubbed unofficially the Amerika Bomber, the Me 264 was an extremely advanced design and although the RLM did not, at this stage of the war consider any decision relating to a long range bomber as a matter of urgency, they did request additional studies based on the use of six engines from all three companies. Due to Dr. Messerschmitt's influence, permission was granted for detail design to proceed and construction of three prototypes to commence. work began in 1941 and the first prototype, the V1 was completed in late 1942.  Messerschmitt envisioned the aircraft as being capable of carrying a 3,968-lb bomb load to New York with the actual attack taking place at extreme high altitude to avoid interception. All defensive armament being deleted in order to save weight and drag. For simplicity it was powered by four Junkers Jumo 211J-1 engines complete with cowlings and radiators from the Ju 88A-4. Flown for the first time in December of 1942 and for all intents and purposes a flying test bed as by then the U.S. had entered the war and the RLM had firmed up their requirements for the
Amerika Bomber. What the wanted was a larger bomb load and effective defensive armament that would require the use of six engines for the required performance.

For this Focke-Wulf proposed the Ta 400 which was to be evolved from their early Fw 300A, Junkers offered the Ju 390 and Messerschmitt  tender the Me 264B with six engines. The RLM favored the Ju 390 owing to the high number of common parts with the Ju 290 which was then in production and Messerschmitt was instructed to modify the second and third prototypes to the maritime reconnaissance role. The RLM requirements were not finalized until March of 1943. By late 1943 the V2 was being readied for ground tests when it was destroyed by an Allied bombing attack. Various other changes were considered for the V3 aircraft but by the beginning of 1944 strategic material shortages prevented committing the 264 to production and the program was terminated before the V3 was finished.  At this time the first prototype was to have been placed at the disposal of the Osermaschinen company for use as a test bed for a steam turbine power plant that was to use a mixture of solid and liquid fuels (65% pulverized coal and 35% petrol), however the V1 was destroyed in a bombing raid before its conversion could take place.

The Kit

The Special Hobby Me 264 comes in one of those dreaded end flap boxes with rather optimistic artwork of the ME 264 flying over New York City. Inside the box there is one large bag and inside it are two others. The large bag contains every thing except the resin parts and the decals which are in separate bags. The clear parts, which are vacuformed were in with the rest of the parts, not the best way to do that ! The parts are molded in a dark gray plastic and feature recessed panel lines that are a nice size for the scale and uniform in appearance. The surface is glossy but not totally smooth but not as bad as many limited run kits. A good coat of primer should take care of most of it.
All the parts have a bit of flash with the small parts being a bit worse than the large parts. Like most limited run kits there are no alignment pins on parts. There are a couple of nasty ejector towers that are in the flight deck area that need to be removed but those are the only ones that I found and there were no sink marks or other surface blemishes that I could find, The lines outlining the control surfaces are a little shallow in my opinion but that should not be hard to fix if it bothers you. One of them for the flaps on the lower wing has some filled areas that need cleaned out.
The control surfaces are all fixed. The propellers are the assemble them yourself variety that the European kit makers are so fond of.The gear struts are sturdy and have a nice solid mounting. They need to be as weight will need to be added to the nose to prevent tail sitting. The instructions recommend 60 grams (about 2.1 oz) be placed in the area behind the flight deck. The wheels are rather plain with no tread and are not weighted. The wings are long and thin and appear to have a little warp to them so care will be needed when gluing them up. Probably the weakest points of the kit are the wing to fuselage join and the tail to fuselage join and the tail end plates to the tail planes which are all butt joints and most likely would benefit from some pins of some sort. All together there are 96 parts molded in gray. See photos below.

Some of the parts are supplied in resin, mostly cockpit parts but also the wheel wells, engine fronts and prop spinners. The cockpit is reasonably well furnished for the scale with a flight deck with seats, radios and other details. The seats have belts molded in but no harnesses. The resin parts were sharply molded and showed no short shots or bubble holes. The control wheel in my kit was broken. Altogether there are 27 resin parts. See photo below.

The clear parts are vacuformed and two of each are supplied. The nose glazing is very well done with nice frame detail and the plastic is very clear. The upper glazing for the cockpit does not have as good of frame detail and will be difficult to mask. There are four other small round windows that the instructions indicate using clear parts cement to create the glazing for but the holes are not open in the fuselage so you have a choice to drill them out or ignore them. See photo below.

The decals are thin and in register and include swastikas albeit the multi part type. Markings are supplied for the V1 aircraft as it appeared in 1942. See photo below.

The instructions consist of small 14 page booklet, page one is history and specifications in several languages, page two and three are a parts map and icon chart, pages four through twelve are assembly diagrams and the last two pages cover painting and markings, only RLM color numbers are supplied.

After Market Goodies
To the best of my knowledge there are no after market items for this kit.

This looks to be a nice kit even for a limited run kit. It is a large kit for 1/72 scale with a wing span close to two feet. There are no real terrible issues and I would recommend the kit to any with some experience with limited run kits.

Links to kit build or reviews
Here and here are other in box reviews and a build / review with some nice photos here.

"Warplanes of the Third Reich" by William Green

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Updated 9/27/09