World's first operational jet fighter, 1/40 (minifig) scale
About this creation
Given the historical significance of this aircraft, combined with her sheer beauty (from certain angles, it looks very shark-like), I was shocked to see that MOCs of the Schwalbe are few and far between. None of which feature the sort of attention to detail afforded to other planes, such as minifig compatability, retracting landing gear and functional flaps/elevators (I tried rudder, but didn't like the look, though I may revisit it later). Only one tried to tackle the 30mm cannons. But then they ARE ridiculous to try and recreate in Lego.
So I took it upon myself to design one of these jets. I hope you like the results. I may even put it into bricks at some point in the future when I'm not spending my money on things like food.
Okay, so first up the A-1a, which was the production version fighter or fighter/bomber.
Armed with 4 Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 108 30mm Cannon in the nose, this fighter could make short work of any allied aircaft in her gun sights. Testing verified it to be exceptional for the role for which the 262 was designed - requiring on average 4 hits of HE ammunition to down an enemy bomber (as opposed to 25 hits from a 20mm MG) and just 1 hit to knock out an enemy fighter.
The guns are a little hard to see in most images, so I've chucked a shot of the silver paint scheme here to show them off ^-^
Demonstrating the deployed tricycle undercarriage is an A-1a rendered in a colour scheme based off that of German Ace Walter Nowotny's 'White 8'. I must have gone through at least 10 different designs for that nose wheel, and ended up changing it again at the last minute to what you see now.
I would have liked a little more ground clearance for those Junkers Jumo 004 Turbojets, but that would mean either making the engines smaller and compromising the shape, or removing the innermost landing gear well doors, compromising accuracy.
As for balance, I am unable to test, but can say with almost complete certainty that with the current design, it is too rear heavy to sit on all 3 wheels. There is some room left in the forward fuselage for adding balancing weight, be it a ton of 1x1 plates or something heavy like one of those ancient magnetic connectors.
Below are 2 more A-1a's demonstrating the external stores - the 262 could carry external fuel tanks, bombs or even wire-guided rockets. The one on the left is carrying 2 such rockets as well as demonstrating the functional canopy. The hinge mechanism is very simple (though can be difficult to move on LDD owing to 4 joints), but is completely invisible from the outside - no nasty joins on one side of the fuselage to ruin the symmetry :3
One of the main problems encountered with the 262 as an interceptor was the relatively short range of the MK 108 cannon combined with the high speed of the aircraft. This meant that pilots had little time to adjust their heading once the target was in shooting distance without risking crashing into them. Coming close to an enemy bomber as such an attack necessitated would bring the jet into hitting distance of the target's defensive .50 machine guns - making an attack even riskier.
A proposed solution to this was the A-1a/U4 - which did away with the 30mm guns in favour of a single 50mm anti-tank gun. It was intended solely as a bomber-destroyer.
2 aircraft were constructed to this design, but the 50mm gun consistently jammed in test flights, so the idea was abandoned. Still, it makes for one badass looking plane.
The B-1a was built as a 2 seat trainer variant, some of which were then modified to become the B-1a/U1 nightfighter, sporting the FuG 218 Neptun high-VHF band Radar using 'stag's antler' antennae mounted on the nose.
The toughest part of this variant was the inclusion of the stretched cockpit. To make it even more of a challenge, all of the images of the twin seat plane seemed to have the Luftwaffe insignia slightly further forward than their single seat counterparts, so I figured, 'what the hell'.
I'm pretty pleased with the way this turned out, though the current version doesn't have independent canopies like the real thing... though I have a solution that may make it's way in eventually.
By now you're probably saying 'Ben I'm bored', but I still have one more version that I wish to force upon you before you can leave some words of your own.
I was a pretty big fan of Heroes of the Pacific back in the day, and the Ace version of the 262 had a special place in my heart. So much, that I opted to paint an Airfix model in similar colours rather than the awesome green-with-red-details that I am so fond of in this plane. Unlike my other attempts at fiddly model planes before it, I was actually rather proud of the black Schwalbe. It had dark grey leading edges in the wings, a White skull on the left fuselage and blood red indian-ink style flames under the engines and nose. In that same red (Though VERY hard to discern from the black) was the name 'Infernus', written neatly where the left wing joins the body.
So here she is, in lego form (minus the skull, lettering and decals).
Almost there. Thought I couldn't let you go without showing off all the pretty versions and paint schemes together.
Please rate and comment. Feel free to try and build one of these, but please, if you use the design or elements of it, don't forget to give credit where it's due. Like that bleedin' nose wheel (I must have pulled out so much hair over that one!).
You have done an excellent job on these! So many, ansd so well rendered. -Even if it is "just" LDD, this certainly deserves 5/5. -It also deserves to be realized with real bricks, so I hope you will do that when teh economy are up to it!