Review: Valom 1/144 Me 1101 Vs. FW TA-183

History

The Messerschmitt Me 1101 was Messerschmitt’s response to the RLM’s Emergency Fighter Program of 15 July 1944. The initial design featured wings that could be set at various sweep angles before flight. Although this feature wasn’t planned to be included in the production aircraft it was used on the V1 prototype for testing purposes. Eventually Messerschmitt lost the competition to the Focke-Wulf Ta-183 due to technical and design problems and lower than expected performance due to weight increases.

The Focke-Wulf TA-183 ‘Hückebein’ was the winner of the RLM Emergency Fighter Program, but where Messerschmitt managed to build at least one prototype, the Hückebein wasn’t even out of the design phase when the war ended, with its first flight planned for May 1945.

Valom

If you haven’t read my previous review of the Polikarpov TIS (MA), Valom is a small Czech manufacturer that makes short run plastic kits. They have all kinds of interesting subjects that you don’t see every day. This kit is one of those rare kits you don’t see very often in other manufacturers catalogs.

The kit

1/144 scale is tiny, and the aircraft themselves are also relatively small. Inside the box we find a bunch of sprues, two for each aircraft type. As the kit contains two Ta-183’s and two Me 1101’s the total number of sprues is eight. These sprues are neatly packed in a plastic bag, one bag for each type. The bag also contains the instruction sheet, decals and PE. Yes, this small kit has (optional) PE parts. More on that later.

The plastic is nicely molded, but doesn’t have a lot of detail, but enough for a 1/144 scale. One area where both types are lacking is the cockpit. There is not even a hint of a cockpit in both. You’re supposed to glue the canopies onto a flat surface and that’s it. Not that you can do a lot with such a tiny cockpit, but at least a seat would be nice. The kit also includes some pilots, but some of them seem to have been hit with large-caliber weapons. Nothing that a little bit of putty can solve though, it is after all ‘just’ 1/144 scale.

IMG_20170502_151648

Standing at attention with a giant hole in your abdomen

The few other parts are nicely molded and fit well together. But beware: Valom doesn’t seem to believe in locating pins, as there is not a single pin in sight. The other parts included are a set of Rurhstahl X-4 missiles (the first ‘operational’ wire-guided anti-air missile) and a set of external fuel tanks and the necessary pylons for both. The tanks are a bit heavy on detail, the panel gaps look just a bit too large. But the X-4 missiles look interesting.

And this is a returning feature in this kit, some parts look good and others are lacking in some way. One of the biggest let downs are the engines. The engine intake is represented by a simple disc-with-a-stick-on-it. At least some texture on it would be nice. Well, at least it’s easy to fabricate if you sacrifice these parts to the Carpet Monster.

Both the Me and the Ta have two paint schemes listed in the instruction sheet. The Me 1101 has a night fighter variant with radar antennae on the front and a regular day fighter scheme. The Ta-183 also has two paint schemes. One is a bright orange Japanese version, presumably some kind of test variant, and a regular daytime fighter scheme from the Luftwaffe.

Clear parts

The clear parts are simple. Just a few pieces of clear plastic that are well molded but suffer a little from distortion. In this scale it’s barely noticeable and there is no cockpit on both kits, so this isn’t a huge issue.

PE Parts and decals

The PE parts included in this kit are for the antennae on the front, as well as the regular round radio antennae found on most, if not all, Luftwaffe aircraft. And that’s about it.

Conclusion

This is a very small and fun kit. It’s perfect for a Luft ’46 diorama (which is what I bought this kit for). It’s simple and small, even when 4 aircraft are included. And you can have some fun with it and build your own Luft ’46 Staffel over the weekend

Score

8.5/10

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