Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet

Published: October 14th, 2010     
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Author: Bartlomiej Belcarz & Robert Peczkowski
Reviewed by: Keith Pruitt - IPMS# 44770
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-83-89450-51-7
Price: $39.00
Product / Stock #: Orange Series No. 8111
Product provided by: Mushroom Model Publications

This book is the most recent in MMPs Orange Series, chronicling the history and development of one of Germany's most unique fighter aircraft of World War II. From the beginning, with Alexander Lippisch's "flying wing" glider designs, through the development of the Me-163B operational rocket fighter, on through the experimental Me-163C, Me-163D, and the Me-263/Junkers Ju 248, this book covers an incredible amount of history and detail.

Also included are sections on the Komet in service with the Luftwaffe during the war. During operations, the aircraft took off under rocket power (which only lasted about 4 minutes), jettisoned the take-off trolley & wheels, and soared quickly to high altitude. At this point, it was a high-speed glider, which would make one or two firing passes on a bomber formation, and then glide back to base and land on the belly skid. Armed with two Mk 108 30mm cannon, it could inflict serious damage on Allied bombers. The incredible speed of the aircraft made it almost impossible for Allied fighters to effectively defend the bombers from the threat. However, the Me-163s rocket engine, and highly volatile fuel, made it almost as deadly for the German pilot, as well.

Like many of the more innovative German designs, the Me-163 reached production far too late to really make a difference in the outcome of World War II. With the advent of the jet engine, and the inherent dangers of the rocket powered aircraft, the Me-163 was never really developed, beyond the initial production, into the weapon that Lippisch thought it could become.

The photographs and line drawings in the book contain a wealth of detail information. For scale modelers, who have an interest in the Me-163, this book is an invaluable resource. For aviation enthusiasts, particularly Luftwaffe fans, this book is a great read, and contains lots of interesting statistics and photographs. Having built a 1/72 scale model of this aircraft, and being somewhat fascinated by the aircraft, I've been fighting the urge to really to use this book to its full potential, and pick up a larger scale kit to exercise my Advanced Modeling Syndrome. I highly recommend this book to any scale modeler, and particularly those with an interest in the innovative designs of the World War II Luftwaffe!

148 pages, 40 B&W Photos, 43 Color Photos, 46 Structural Illustrations (including 1/48 & 1/72 scale plan, 36 Color Profiles

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for this review sample and for the opportunity to do the review.

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