Heinkel He162A "Salamander" Volksjager (1944)
About the Design
By late 1944, the Luftwaffe was in deep kacke. It didn't have the manpower or materials to produce the twin-engine Me-262 jet fighters or Me-163 "Komet" rocket-powered interceptors it so badly needed to take on the Allies' bombers and their fighter escorts. Its 11th-hour solution was a fighter design competition open to all of the Fatherland's major aircraft manufacturers.
The winner of this contest was Heinkel's Me-162A "Salamander" or "Volksjäger" (People's Fighter). The plane offered the Luftwaffe just what it was looking for: It required only one jet engine; it was made primarily from wood, a non-strategic material; it could be built quickly by semi-skilled slave labor; and the controls were so simple that even young glider pilots could handle it.
The first Salamander prototype was ready to fly in December 1944 -- a mere 68 days after the Luftwaffe approved the project -- and the first operational copy began tests just one month after that. The first squadron of 50 Salamanders was established at Leck in Schkleswig-Holstein on May 4, 1945 -- only to surrender to British ground forces four days later.
About the Kit
Our records suggest that this diminutive Lindberg Line model was the first He-162 to be mass-produced in injection-molded polystyrene. Originally released in the early 1960s, it was briefly re-released in the mid-1970s with new box art.
This model was built from an original issue. Not only is this the oldest model in the entire Fantastic Plastic collection, but, yes, its wings are on backwards!