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.
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 your self 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 warpage 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 tailplanes 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 glazings 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 suppled 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
After Market Goodies
To the best of my knowledge there are no after market items for this kit.
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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