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Messerschmitt Bf 109C/D

Classic Airframes, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 4125 - Messerschmitt Bf 109C/D
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 34 parts in grey styrene; 17 parts in grey colored resin; photo-etched fret; 3 clear injection molded parts; printed clear acetate sheet (instruments); instructions; decal sheet and painting guide for four aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$40.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Without question the best injection plastic Bf 109C/D in any scale; accurate; excellent surface detail including crisply recessed panel lines, very high quality plastic moulding; impressively detailed resin parts; includes plenty of parts options; separately packed clear, photo-etched and resin parts; thin, three-part canopy; interesting and varied marking choices.
Disadvantages: Some modelling experience helpful for preparing resin parts; hole will have to be drilled for wing machine guns; Electrical socket and oxygen filler point need to be rescribed further aft.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 C/D  is available online from Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

Although modellers have a great selection of Messerschmitt Bf 109E, F, G and K kits, the situation has been fairly grim for fans of the early Jumo powered prototypes and early production models.

Hobbycraft's 1/48 scale kits are widely available and inexpensive, but they are seriously flawed in terms of accuracy. Problems include too shallow and misplaced gun slots, incorrectly positioned carburettor intake scoop, inaccurate panel lines and cooling slots on the cowling, poorly shaped and poorly detailed radiator intake, very poor Schwartz propeller, short wing slats, undersized canopy (and one-piece too), cockpit configuration more typical of a later model and some 109E attributes on the fuselage.

Classic Airframes continues their family of Jumo 109s with the new Messerschmitt Bf 109C/D kit. This kit shares the basic components with the recent Classic Airframes Bf 109 A, with new parts included for the major characteristics of these later models.

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale early Bf 109 kit comprises 34 parts in grey styrene; 17 parts in grey colored resin; a photo-etched fret; 3 clear injection molded parts; printed clear acetate sheet (instruments); instructions; plus a decal sheet and painting guide for four aircraft.

In common with the Bf 109 A kit, the plastic parts are absolutely first rate. Moulding quality is excellent, and the highly polished finish does not reveal any moulding imperfections on the exterior surfaces. This shiny surface will be especially useful for modellers who plan a bare metal finish for their Bf 109. Panel lines are crisply recessed, and fabric control surfaces are quite subtly done. The main difference between the 109 A plastic and this new release is the wings. These are equipped with the short leading edge slats.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The shape of the model looks accurate - a vast improvement over the old Hobbycraft kits. Specific attributes of the early 109s are well represented, including the wing root fairing without the reinforcement strip, long leading edge slats and the location of various hatches and panels. A plastic Schwartz prop plus a VDM variable pitch unit are both included, but the Schwarz prop can go straight to your spares box for this version.

Although there are no locating pins on the main parts, the bottom of the wing has been reinforced with a long spar. This will add rigidity and ensure the correct dihedral.

Resin parts are beautifully detailed. The one-piece cowls are cleverly delivered with the carburetor intake scoop, exhaust panel and even machine guns cast in place. Two different cowls are offered - one with the early exhaust ports (basically holes in the cowl), and the second with the late-style ejector ports. Cleverly, the ejector exhausts are cast as part of the one-piece resin upper cowl. The position of the gun troughs, panel lines, exhausts and slots look to be correct.

Other unique attributes of these early Jumo 109s are well represented too, including a separate radiator intake fairing with fine radiator face detail cast inside, well-detailed cockpit floor and sidewalls, the seat, instrument panel with integrated gunsight, and the standard control stick. I was impressed with the rudder pedal assembly too, which even includes cast-on hydraulic lines behind the pedals.

The remaining resin parts are the wheels featuring nice deep hubs, short-length leading edge slats and wheel well inserts. A selection of the parts are presented below:

 

 

Some of the parts, including the radiator front, oil cooler, Schwartz prop, wheel well inserts and the instrument panel, are cast onto stout blocks so a combination of a good razor saw and caution will be required when preparing these resin components.

The photo-etched parts supplements all this nice detail with an instrument panel, harness, a fuselage face with cooling holes (a really nice touch), additional radiator face details and two alternate main gear doors. If the modeller wants to slice off the tail wheel oleo scissor, a photo-etched replacement is also supplied.

Accuracy is generally very good, with only a couple of nit-picky issues. The oxygen filler point and electrical socket on the kit's starboard fuselage are actually in the positions for the 109 prototypes/A/B. These were moved farther aft on the 109C and D. There is a good illustration of these differences on the "109 in Spain" website http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/drnash/model/spain/bf109.html 

As long as we are on the subject of minutiae, the wing gun access hatches are the correct shapes and locations on the upper and lower wings, but there is no indication for drilling the hole in the leading edge.

Note that the gun barrels did not protrude from the leading edge. That only started with the MG-FF cannon fitted to the E-3.



Markings

Four interesting marking options are offered on the instructions - a night fighter in 71/02/65 based in Norway during 1940, and three machines finished in the more usual 70/71/65 splinter pattern - Red 9, -+- of JG 132 in Germany, 1939; and White 2 of 1/JG137 from August 1939.

There are also plenty of very interesting after-market decals available for these late-Jumo variants if you want a bit more variety.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Classic Airframes has delivered, without question, the best detailed and most accurate injection moulded Jumo-powered Bf 109 kit available in any scale.

Granted, this model will need a little more cleanup and preparation of parts than a long-run release from Tamiya or Hasegawa. Also, the lack of locating pins will call for extra care and dry-fitting. In other words, modelling skills are required, but anyone who has already built a Classic Airframes kit should not have any trouble coming up with a great result straight from the box.

I have already built Classic Airframes Bf 109 A kit and, with a little extra time spent on preparation, it was a real pleasure to work on. 

I feel that Classic Airframes'  Messerschmitt Bf 109C/D would be an ideal candidate for a modeller who has a few plastic kits under their belt and would like to try their first limited run offering.

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.
 

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.


Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com


Review and Images Copyright 2006 by Brett Green
Page Created 14 March, 2006
Last updated 14 March, 2006

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