May 4, 2015
Hangar 47 takes a look in the box with previews of the Heinkel He 280 by Eduard, the Beagle Basset 206 by Airfix, the Yaklovlev Yak-30 by Amodel, and the Junkers Ju 88-C6 nightfighter by Revell-Germany....
While often unacknowledged in the history books, it is the Heinkel He 280, and not the Me 262, that blazed a trail in military aviation as Germany's first jet fighter, taking flight a full year before Willy Messerschmitt's offering. When the He 280 first flew in March 1941, there was no official notice or appreciation of the achievement, despite the fact that it represented the birth of a state of the art combat aircraft. Hitler and Goering were slow to realize the potential of jets. Ernst Heinkel was first, but faced obstacles beyond engineering challenges in getting the He 280 into production. Skepticism about jet propulsion technology, politics within the Nazi heirarchy, and rigid, conservative thinking within the German High Command and Air Ministry, set up formidable roadblocks to his brain-child. By the time he overcame them, the He 280 had been surpassed in performance by the somewhat more advanced Me 262. Eduard's He 280 features engraved panel lines, photo-etch details, paint masks, a metal nose weight, and resin detail parts including a pilot's seat and realistically bulged wheels for the landing gear.
At first glance just another sleek, twin-engine executive aircraft, the Beagle Basset 206 entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1965 as a liaison and communications aircraft, featuring as much radio equipment as a large airliner in order to fulfill the RAF requirement of positioning its strategic bombers. Stable in flight with quite responsive controls, the Basset had an unusually rugged airframe, and was designed to require a minimum of maintenance when operating away from a fixed base. Withdrawn from service in 1974, it remained popular in civilian use for many years afterwards due to its roomy, comfortable cabin, state-of-the-art communications systems, and overall ruggedness. Airfix/MPC's kit features optional position landing gear, extensive raised rivet detail, two pilot figures and a display stand.
The Yak-30 is perhaps one of the world's best jet trainers that never entered service. Beat out of first place in a Soviet Air Force-sponsored jet trainer competition in 1959 by the Czechoslovakian Aero L-29 Delfin, the Yak-30 lost despite its superior performance, superior maneuverability and lower
production costs. But politics played its role behind the Iron Curtain, as it did elsewhere -- the Red Air Force awarded the contract to Aero, in part to further cement Soviet-Czech relations in a satellite country that at times showed signs of wanting to break away from the Warsaw Pact and join the West. Amodel's Yak-30 features engraved panel lines and a one-piece injection molded canopy.
Before being pressed into service as a nightfigher, the Junkers
Ju 88 had proved its versatility across multiple theatres from the North Sea to North Africa in various configurations as an effective bomber, fighter-bomber, and torpedo bomber, capable of speeds of up to 300 mph. It was particularly deadly once modified as a nightfighter, moreso when outfitted with two upward firing 20mm cannon ("Schrag Musik"), enabling it to take maximum advantage of the critical blindspot of RAF night bombers. Revell-Germany's Ju 88-C6 nightfighter kit features raised panel lines, a basic cockpit, optional position landing gear and removable engine cowlings to reveal a detailed pair of Junkers Jumo 213 12-cylinder radial engines.