Valiant Wings - Airframe Album 10: The Me163 Komet

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VLW-AA10

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Series author Richard A. Franks tackles the Me 163 as follows:

  • Preface/Introduction.  The book begins with 18 pages of context for the technical information that follows.  Franks traces the Komet’s evolution from the interwar designs of Alexander Lippisch and initially tentative Luftwaffe interest in the Me 163 to series production, operational service and the challenges that accompanied both.  Planned future development is also covered, as is the fate of Me 163s in Allied hands and Japanese attempts at licensed production in 1944-45.
  • Chapter 1: Technical description.  This chapter is a 34-page walk-around of the Komet, combining black-and-white period photos and technical drawings with color photos of surviving Me 163s for a detailed examination of the airframe.
  • Chapter 2:  Evolution:  prototype, production and projected variants.  The Me 163’s revolutionary design demanded an extensive development program, with numerous prototype and pre-production machines required to refine the technology to a standard acceptable for operations.  Franks covers this evolution thoroughly, from the first pre-war glider to the numerous Me 163 B testbeds.  Projected German and Japanese developments are also covered, with the detailed text and diagrams backed up with useful period photos.
  • Chapter 3:  Camouflage and markings.  Me 163 camouflage ranged from monochromatic prototype schemes to the variety of greens, browns, greys and blues seen on late war Luftwaffe aircraft.  Most modelers will choose a subject from the latter period, and this chapter describes and illustrates the main color combinations seen on Me 163s.  There’s also an examination of Me 163 stencil and national markings, drawing on photographs of the Komet currently in the Australian War Memorial that were taken before its original finish was unfortunately overpainted in the late 1970s.
  • Chapter 4:  Models.  This chapter on models is a welcome addition to the Airframe Album series (there wasn’t one in the previous example I’ve seen, on the Bristol Blenheim).  Four kits are built:  in 1/72 Libor Jekl tackles PM Models’ DFS 194 and Special Hobby’s Me 163 A, while Steve Evans builds Trimaster’s 1/48 Me 163 B-1a and Meng’s new 1/32 kit of the same subject.  All four builds are well written and photographed, and will be of great help to anyone working with these kits.
  • Soft Cover
  • 114 Pages