Italeri 1/72 Mistel 1






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




One of the more fanciful ideas to come out of Germany during the second world war was the development of the Mistel composite aircraft. The theory was that an obsolete or war weary bomber could be fitted with a special explosive in place of the crew and normal bomb load. This plane would be piloted by a smaller fighter attached to the bomber via a set of drop-away struts. Once aimed at the target, the bomber would be remotely placed on autopilot and the upper fighter would separate from the bomber as the lower section heads for its target.

It was developed to be able to take out large targets, like enemy battleships or aircraft carriers. Tests with the specially shaped charges showed that it could easily penetrate through any known armor materials. These were tested on an old French battleship that had its turret armor increased by several feet of thickness. The warhead not only penetrated all of that, but also another 50 feet of the ship!

With such success, an order was placed for what is now known as the Mistel 1. This composite consisted of a Ju-88A bomber with a Bf-109F or G upper aircraft. Mistel trainers had regular cockpits in the bomber section. However, these could be swapped for the warhead in a matter of just a few hours. The Mistels were actually quite easy to fly once the pilot got used to being tens of feet above the ground. The additional power and lift of the attached fighter greatly improved takeoff and flight performance. However, this and later Mistels were not the weapon that was hoped. Many were lost as the lower component would become erratic once disconnected, and crash short of the target.  There were some successes, but as a whole, the program was a huge disappointment.



As you might expect, you get basically two kits in one for this kit. One is the Ju-88A-4 kit and the other is the Bf-109F. However, if you think you can build a regular Ju-88A-4, you are sadly mistaken. Though nearly everything else on the sprues is the same, the fuselage halves are quite different. You also get NO clear bits for the Ju-88. You don't need them as a bomb doesn't need to see where it is going! The Bf-109F is the same with no modifications at all, though it really needed to have one done and I'll get to that a bit later.

You will have an interesting combination of kit styles as well. The Ju-88 is one of the older Italeri kits and has raised details. The 109F has engraved. The Ju-88 is one of Italeri's nicer kits despite its age. It has a reasonable amount of detail though some aftermarket bits would probably be desired to spruce it up. The Bf-109F, despite being a relatively new kit, got rather greatly dumped upon when it came out. Apparently it isn't up to specs in some areas. The only one I noticed right off are the landing gear doors and the wings look a bit short or a bit too broad. Not sure which. However, I'll delay overall judgment until the kit has been built. I did notice that the included the tail stiffeners that have been left out of larger scale kits by a certain Japanese model maker. I'm not very fond of the separate tail, but apparently there is or was plans for a G version. If those 'things' in the kit are supposed to be upper wing wheel humps, I'm glad I've never seen the G!

One bit of information that was not transferred to this kit is that the Mistel 109Fs had a slightly different canopy. Being situated so high up, some downward vision was needed so the sides of the canopy were replaced with bulged sections. This isn't included in the kit, only the standard 109 canopy is in there. To be more accurate, you'll need to vacuform one to specs.

As to Mistel specific bits, you get all the needed braces for the upper 109F and a long fuse warhead to stick on the Ju-88. There were two other types of warhead used on the Mistel, but the long 'elephant nose' version was the most common. In addition, you get a set of gear doors with half wheels to do your 109 'wheels up' if you so desire. The 109 was seen both with wheels up and down while the composite was on the ground.

Instructions are very good, as one expects from Italeri. Clear construction and painting steps with colors given in generic terms as well as Model Master colors. The decal sheet is well printed and offers markings for one Bf-109 and three lower sections. Actually, the only difference in the lower section is the number. Colors for the two are quite normal with the 109 in RLM 74/75/76 and the Ju-88 in RLM 70/71/65. Thanks to the new book out on the Mistel by Classic publications, you can do some research and come up with something a bit different, though much of it will be simply code and number changes. To my knowledge, no unit markings were used on Mistel 1s.


Well, there you have it. An interesting combination of models. Those who have an extra 'regular' Ju-88A can do a Mistel S1 trainer using what is in the kit with the addition of an extra brace under the nose to prevent the prop from accidentally entering the lower cockpit. This is a kit that I have seen built and it does make an impressive display. Both kits seem to be pretty easy to build with minimal fuss and can be recommended to those with some experience building twin engined bombers.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that averages thousands of visits a day, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.