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Messerschmitt Me 246C Adler

by Mike Braun


Messerschmitt Me 246C Adler

images by Alan Del Paggio


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Dinah is available online from Squadron.com




In 1942 the Luftwaffe found itself sorely in need of a fast, high-flying, twin engine aircraft. The Messerschmitt Me 110 was ineffective in its intended role and the Me 210 was an aeronautical disaster. The German High command seriously considered license building the Mitsubishi Ki-46. 

Through the Nippon-German technical exchange program, a few Ki-46s were evaluated. It was soon discovered that although it was an excellent aircraft, its total lack of defenses, (crew and airframe amor plating, self-sealing fuel tanks, etc.) made it unsuitable for war in Europe.

But what if...



The Messerschmitt Me 246C Adler (Eagle)


The History That Might Have Been...

Because of the lacklustre performance of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the debacle of the Me 210, Professor Willy Messerschmitt was ordered to improve and produce the vaunted Japanese design. Shamed into submission, he began a successful production run of high altitude photo-reconnaissance aircraft. The Me 146 series was essentially a copy of the Japanese design substituting BMW 801A engines for the Mitsubishi powerplants. 

In 1944 the need for an even faster and higher flying photo-bird was realized and the Me 146 was radically modified. The rear cockpit was removed and the vacated area filled with larger fuel tanks and a water-methanol boost tank. The now single seat cockpit was reinforced to allow for pressurization. The wingspan was increased from 48 feet, 3 inches to 62 feet, 5 inches. To counteract engine torque and improve directional stability a new, taller tail similar to the Me-262 was installed. A large rudder trim tab and variable tailplane incidence adjusted the attitude of the aircraft as the large amount of fuel was spent. 

The powerplants were the BMW 801 TJ, modified to use two turbo-superchargers and large intercoolers. Driving VS-9 propellers, these powerplants were capable of generating 2200 horsepower at an amazing 40,000 feet. In emergencies or while flying over the photo-target area, MW-50 water-methanol injection could be engaged, adding another 300 hp per engine. With 5000 hp, cockpit pressurization, and the large wing area, altitudes of over 50,000 ft at speeds in excess of 500 mph were easily attainable. 



To increase range the aircraft's design had come full circle. All armor plating, self-sealing fuel tanks, and any unnecessary equipment was removed to make room to carry as much fuel as possible. Speed and altitude were its only defense. A Loft 21C telescopic range finding sighting system controlled the long-range cameras. To use the sight the pilot set the autopilot, swung the control column to the side, knelt forward, and using the controls on the sight, flew the aircraft much like a bombardier using a Norden bombsight.

Had the Germans developed such an aircraft, the "eyes" of their forces could have foreseen much of what the Allies had planned during 1944 and 1945, and possibly delayed the end of the war until more of the radical "Wonder Weapons" could have been utilized… hypothetically speaking!



Building the Adler


Tamiya's Dinah is a beautiful kit of a beautiful aircraft. I wanted to do something a bit different and while reading that the Luftwaffe actually did test a few Dinahs the idea came to me. 

Building "dreamed up" hypothetical models is a way for me to relax after the intense, self-imposed rivet counting associated with my usual modeling projects.

For the Adler, I started by cutting down the rear fuselage and filling the area in with sheet plastic. 



The tail was borrowed from an old Monogram Me-262, as were the extensions for the wing tips and the main wheels. The engine cowlings are a $4.00 swap-meet scored Highflight conversion to build a Ju-88 G-1 out of the less than perfect Hobbycraft kit. The prop blades and spinners were bagged from two of my many DML Fw 190 D-9 kits. (Wurger Mechanic prop and spinners are now in my 190 boxes) The oil cooler and intercooler scoops were cobbled up out of the spare parts box along with little extra doo-dads to spruce up the cockpit. The exhaust pipes are resin copies of some Ki 44 Tojo pipes. 

The paint scheme is pure speculation depicting what I think a high altitude aircraft should look like.

Markings came from various decal sheets. The nose art was cut from black decal film and depicts an eagle carrying a camera. 





I had tons of fun building this model. One of the highest compliments I have ever had for any of my models came from several people wanting to know if I had resin copies of the parts so they could build their own Adlers!



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2002 by Mike Braun
Images Copyright © 2002 by Alan Del Paggio
Page Created 02 Januray 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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