The following introduction is provided by ICM:
Insufficient attention to long-range bombers forced the Luftwaffe command in the middle of World War II to look for other ways of striking long-range targets. One of these options was the Mistel strike composite aviation complex. The idea was to make one of the aircraft of the complex a kind of large guided projectile, the second aircraft (located on the top) took over the control functions. The strike aircraft was supposed to be a conventional bomber. In it, instead of a cockpit, a huge war head with an explosive charge weighing about 1800kg was mounted. The planes had to fly in a couple, and the control plane could receive fuel from the tanks of the lower plane. In the Mistel 1 variant, the control plane was the Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 fighter, and the attack plane was the Junkers Ju 88A-4 bomber. The training version of the complex for practising control and guidance methods received the designation Mistel S1.
This offering from ICM of 1/48th Mistel S1 arrives in a flip top cardboard box, with an additional card lid showing the artwork for the model. Inside are three bags, one containing the Hinkle, another containing the Messerschmitt and the third containing the framework for putting the two together. An examination of the contents reveals no obvious concerns to me, other than the minor issue of flow marks on the larger parts of the models, but these do not feel to have caused any defamation when running my nail over the lines. The Ju-88 is one of the newer models from ICM, with the Bf 109f-4 being an older kit and the only new part being the framework to bring them together. As these kits have been reviewed individually in the past, I am going to keep this very short and simple - pointing out highs and lows as I see them.
Two lows inside the cockpit of the Ju-88 is that the pilots seat is in two halves and will require some careful clean up. Secondly, there is no harness detail provided for the seats. In all other respects I am happy with what has been provided such as decals for the instrument cluster. A particularly nice aspect of the cockpit is the radio clusters at the rear of the cockpit area. All of the external surfaces have been nicely recessed as regards panel detail and I am also quite pleased to see the centre portion of the lower wing extending beyond the bounds of the fuselage as so providing a good area of contact for attaching the rest of the wing assembly. The vertical tail fin is provided separately and hiding any misalignment of the joint here will prove difficult. The flight control surfaces have all been provided separately and so can be positioned as required by the modeller.
The undercarriage of the Ju-88 is a particularly pleasing area of the model, as both main wheel structures can be assembled off of the model and so providing great access and the ability to add extra detail as required by the modeller before being added to the model and the engine nacelles being added around the wheel structure. The Jumo engines on this release have been fully provided in the kit, although vision of this aspect is not very good but some panels have been provided separately. The glazed portions of the models are of a high standard having good clarity and not being overly thick. While on the subject of the clear portions of the model, it is worth noting that ICM has provided patterns at the end of the instruction booklet in order to create your own masks. Something that I initially missed is that the wings are modified on the upper surface at the root to accommodate the framework for the Bf109.
The Bf109 supplied in this kit is not without some issues, mostly with the cockpit interior layout, which it is my understanding that it is inaccurate mostly where the back end of the the cannon protrudes into the cockpit. The cockpit seat leaves something to by desired, as not only is it very simplistic but no harness detail is present at all. The high point in this release is that again an engine is included, which has quite a good level of detail to it including the machines guns mounted to the top of it. The cowling to cover the engine have been provided as two separate pieces, but I believe that they have not been cut or shaped correctly. Panel line detail on the wings and fuselage is pleasing in its shallowness and size. The canopy of the model is a little thicker than I am used to of late from ICM, but that is not the end of the world. One area of concern with this release, is that it is my understanding that the under carriage wheels of the Bf109 stayed in the deployed position during flight and you are only shown the model with the wheel retracted. I have done some searches online and while I have managed to find some images with the wheel retracted while the Bf109 is attached to the Ju-88 it is still my belief that it is the exception rather than the rule. With everything said so far I still feel that it is a reasonable representation of a Bf109 and if you wish to improve upon it, you could always look towards Eduard of something like that. Another aspect that I am not happy about on the Bf109 is that the locating holes for the framework are not touched upon until the model is completed, and so you are expected to measure and drill holes in a completed model. The framework to join the two together looks quite pleasing and it is on this sprue that you will find the undercarriage doors and wheels for the Bf109.
ICM has provided two alternate finishing options for this release, these are:
Ju 88A-4 (Mistel S1), German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS), Ainring, Germany, 1944
Ju 88A-4 (Mistel S1), Nordhausen, Germany, Early 1944
Bf109F-4 (Mistel S1), German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS), Ainring, Germany, 1944
Bf109F-4 (Mistel S1), Nordhausen, Germany, Early 1944
I am very pleased to see this release from ICM, as I have the Revel and Dragon model of the Mistel in 1/48th scale and I think this addition adds a nice visual difference to these previous releases. One area of concern is that the Bf109 is not in my opinion of the same quality as the Ju88, but this is easily overcome as there are a host of Bf109 models available in this scale. If you decide to go with what’s in the box, I would at least look to scratch build or go down the after market route for seat harnesses. Regardless of the negatives I have raised here I am really pleased to see this release.