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11
Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet

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The only rocket propelled interceptor ever to be used operationally, the Me163 Komet was deployed by the Luftwaffe in a desperate attempt to combat the Allied strategic bombing offensive during the closing stages of the Second World War.

The Me163 stemmed from a research programme conducted during the late 1930s and flight trials of the first powered prototypes began at the Peenemunde West rocket test centre in the latter months of 1941. Although the Me163's Walther rocket motor endowed the aircraft with a maximum speed far in excess of any other fighter of the period, the volatile reactants employed often caused the aircraft to explode.

The sole Luftwaffe unit to become operational with the Me163 was Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Wing) 400. Tasked with protecting the vital Leuna oil refineries near Leipzig, Me163s from this unit first engaged Eighth US Army Air Force B17 Flying Fortresses on 16 August 1944. By the end of the war nine Allied aircraft had been shot down by JG 400; however, severe fuel shortages and technical problems hampered operations and the unit suffered heavy casualties. Limited by its short range, lack of endurance and unreliability, the Me163 represented little more than a futile, if ingenious and courageous, attempt to wrest control of the air over Germany from the Allies.
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About the Author

About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...


Comments

Darren, thanks for posting this. It'll be helpful when I'm building my Meng ME163. I'm wondering about the camouflage on this one though-- and how close this is to the real thing. Do you know anything about the "paint lineage" of this particular ME163? I see what looks like the British marked and repainted A/C in the data plaque, but this current scheme is a definite re-paint-- were there any original photos showing this scheme at the museum? VR, Russ
MAY 27, 2019 - 04:20 AM
Like most things in museums I would imagine it has had a few paint jobs.
MAY 27, 2019 - 04:44 AM
Yes, but that one is rather unusual with the "swirls" in it-- I'm wondering if it's based on an actual paint job. VR, Russ
MAY 27, 2019 - 05:19 AM
One of the staff there works with my daughter on the Victor and I have asked her to try and obtain the information from him for you.
MAY 27, 2019 - 07:44 AM
Darren--Thaks much! That's above and beyond! It's just such an unusual scheme-- I'd really like to try and replicate it, if it has a basis in fact. VR, Russ
MAY 27, 2019 - 10:29 AM
I have been advised that this colour scheme is based on a factual aircraft and I have requested any further information that can be provided.
JUN 02, 2019 - 05:55 AM
Thanks much Darren. I can add this scheme to my file on possible schemes for my Meng ME163. VR, Russ
JUN 02, 2019 - 07:07 AM
Darren, thanks for posting these excellent images of the Komet. I, too, look forward to the information on the camo paint.
JUN 06, 2019 - 10:18 AM
Thanks Darren, for posting this! These are some beautiful (and for the modeler, useful) closeup shots of this remarkable little bird. I'd use care when replicating the paint job on this aircraft, though. It has been completely repainted by restorers, so using this museum specimen as a historical painting guide would be like using someone's skillfully painted model for reference - definitely attractive and possibly accurate, but still a secondary source.
JUN 06, 2019 - 02:19 PM