Classic Plane 1/72 Resin Haluan (Messerschmitt) HA-300
The Egyptian Helwan (also Haluan or Heluan) HA-300 lightweight jet fighter is an exotic and enigmatic aircraft. It is quite unique by being the lightest Mach 2 fighter ever built (at a take off weight of 3.200 kg for the first prototype and 4.500 kg for the planned series version). It was the last jet fighter conceived under the direction of Willy Messerschmitt, and in its later stage (after Messerschmitt dropped out of the project) the development team was actually headed by Kurt Tank, that other famous German designer. And it was truly cosmopolitan from its conception onward.
The development actually started in 1952 in Spain, based on late WW2 developments undertaken in Oberammergau. With declining Spanish interest, Messerschmitt must have been quite happy when Egypt signed a contract in 1959 to continue the development of this fighter.
The final development resulted in a tailed delta configuration, not unlike the MIG 21. Power for the small and light delta fighter came from a Bristol Orpheus 703 engine in the first two prototypes, whereas the third prototype and the series were planned for the locally developed Brandner/EGAO E-300.
The project team consisted of Egyptian, German, Swiss, Spanish and Austrian members. As they did not have any experienced local test pilots, Egypt sought and found help from another non-aligned country: India provided Kapil Bargava for the flight tests.
The first prototype flew for the first time on March 7, 1964, the second prototype (depicted in the model) on July 22, 1965. While the prototypes displayed pleasing handling characteristics not unlike the similar (but lower performance) Folland Gnat, there was little doubt about its inferiority to the MIG 21, which had at that time already entered service with the EAF. This, combined with the very slow development process and economic problems in Egypt finally led to the cancellation of the whole project. The third prototype (powered by the Brandner engine) was completed and ground tested, but never flew. In May 1969 - 17 years after the development had started! - the curtain finally fell for Messerschmitt´s last fighter.
The second prototype has actually survived the cancellation. It was transferred to Germany in the early 90's and found its place in the Oberschleissheim Air Museum just outside of Munich.
Classic Plane has just released a resin kit of the Ha-300. If the original was an international (Egyptian/Spanish/German/Austrian/Indian) affair, the same is true for the kit: The kit was developed by Adel Makhlouf, a Syrian living in Germany. Detlef Schorsch, the man behind Classic plane, took over the production, which in turn is done in the Czech Republic.
The model is up to the standards we expect today from a resin kit. It comes in a sturdy box containing 29 resin pieces (including a single piece fuselage/wing assembly), two vac formed canopies, a comprehensive decal sheet and a good construction sheet including a nice five-view drawing.
The kit matches these drawings very well. It also looks quite convincing when compared to photographs of the real thing. The only fault I can see is a discrepancy in the length of the trailing edge flaps, but this can easily be corrected by filling and rescribing.
The complete fuselage/wing structure enables a fast assembly of the kit. The wing trailing edges are very thin and need no further attention. A small mold demarcation line on the fuselage needs careful sanding. Due to the nature of the main structure, detailing of the somewhat basic cockpit (consisting only of a instrument panel molded into the airframe and an ejection seat) will not be easy. Too, the engine nozzle will benefit from some detailing.
The surface detail is quite good, with a minimum of fine recessed lines. The undercarriage and wheels are again very nice, but quite fragile for the heavy weight of the main structure. All undercarriage covers are there, but they will benefit from some careful thinning. The fin and rudder come as seperate parts, again with very thin trailing edges. Also, the front edges of the air intakes are thin enough to look very convincing. A number of sensors and antennas and two clear, vac formed canopies complete the parts.
The decal sheet (done by MPD) looks extremely good, supplying not only the basic markings, but also the red/white arrows of the prototype and dual language (English/Arab) Danger and No Step markings.
It will be difficult to find a more exotic aircraft when jets are your interest. The original was also a highly attractive aircraft, and that look is well captured in the model. The model is not without weaknesses, as both the cockpit and the engine nozzle will require some detailing, and I would also consider replacing the undercarriage struts with some stronger metal replacements. But in total you get a very nice and complete model with a superb decal sheet - and all that for a very good price
As far as I know, the Haluan Ha-300 is at this moment available exclusively
at the Modellbaustudio Rhein-Ruhr.