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Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4

 

Fine Molds, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: FL2 Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 42 medium grey beautifully moulded plastic parts on five sprues; 2 clear parts on one sprue; 2 poly caps for prop retention; decals for one aircraft on two sheets plus a four page fold-out instruction sheet with history [in Japanese]; build diagrams, paint/decal drawings but no parts plan.
Price: 2200 Yen
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Long, long, long awaited subject; beautifully moulded; highly detailed; separate engine covers and some engine detail.
Disadvantages: One-piece canopy with windscreen armour moulded on; cockpit sidewall detail quite shallow; F-4 fuselage has early model strengthening strips on; tail and decal camouflage too dark and doesnít match artwork on box top.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Glen Porter


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FirstLook

 

At last,  from Fine Molds of Japan, we have a top quality Bf 109F in 1/72 scale.

Modellers have been waiting a long time for a decent Friedrich after the disappointment of the Italeri Bf 109F and now Fine Molds have come along with a beauty. Sure, its got faults, but what kit hasnít, and these are fixable.

First of all, letís look at the good bits. I work on the Duck Principle and it certainly looks like an F.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Panel line detail is suitably fine and crisp, the wheel wells are deep and the right shape and the engine side detail is, I think, a nice touch.

 

 

The transparent parts are very nicely shaped and beautifully clear.

Unfortunately, the canopy is a one-piece affair with the windscreen armour moulded on. Now, if you like to model your aircraft with canopies closed, this is great. I would prefer a three-piece so I can have it open and the windscreen armour separate please.

Most of the interior is very good. Fine Molds even supplies optional head armour one with the top plate and one without. The sidewall detail is a bit faint, even more so than Tamiyaís 1/72 109E, however I think most people will make do.

A pilot figure is included. Itís a bit rough but with some clean up it could be used. I just wish they would put a bit of character in them like having the head turned or looking up or both.

All the ancillary bits look the right shape and have plenty of detail.

When I picked up my kit from Brett (we bought them, not freebies from the manufacturer) we were initially concerned about the shape of the wing tips and the hight of the tailplane on the fin. After consulting Monogram Close-Up number 9 I have decided both parts are accurate.

The main flaps are moulded onto the upper wing, which makes it a bit harder to drop them.

Fine Molds has not supplied a tropical filter or wider blades and deeper oil cooler for an F-4 Z Trop with this release, although the parts breakdown suggests that it is a possibility in the future. As I want to model Marseilleís F-4 Z Trop, I can probably get away without the prop and oil cooler and I can get a tropical filter from one of my G kits.

Fine Molds has used the same fuselage moulding for both the F-2 and F-4 kits. This is okay but means the F-4 has the strengthening strips on the rear fuselage although these can easily be scraped off.

My biggest personal concern with the kit is the camouflage decals. First of all I think they are too dark. Okay, I know there was a lot of variation in the colours of WWII aircraft, but I think these are outside these variations and will make the model look too dark overall. Secondly, the art work on the box top show squiggly lines on the fuselage sides in what looks like RLM 02 but on the decal sheet they are blotches in a darker colour, possibly 70 or 71. Now, this is a pity because I, and many others, have trouble with narrow squiggly lines but no trouble with blotches. Even if I didnít use them on this kit they would be handy to keep.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

 

 

Conclusion

 

I must stress that none of these shortcomings mentioned are serious. All can be gotten around and most modellers will simply ignore them.

Even built straight out of the box, this will be a very good model and with a little extra work it will be a stunner. We have a plethora of Gs and recently some very good Es but now we have an excellent F.

Thank You Fine Molds!

Highly Recommended.

Model purchased with reviewer's funds
 


Review Text Copyright © 2005 by Glen Porter
Images Copyright © 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 20 February, 2005
Last updated 19 February, 2005

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