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Mitch K

AZ Bf 109G-6, Slovak Air Force

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I've had a few mojo bashes recently, last but not least the Tamiya Henschel Hs129 that I bought as a mojo-builder but turned out to be so inaccurate I abandoned it!

 

I partial built an AZ Bf 109G a while ago, and although there were niggles (mainly because it was the first thing I'd build in 25 years...), I liked it overall. So I went full tilt and bought the Joypack with three of the things!

 

You get a full set of six sprues of the main parts, plus a small sprue with a few bits intended for early-model versions, and three canopies. This latter is a slight disappointment. There are two of the later Erla Haube, but only one of the early, framed canopy. I've got my eye on doing three builds that don't use the Erla Haube, so I feel a visit to the Wanted/Swap forum coming on! There are no decals, of course, but I have what I need in the spares box for the first build, and an order in to cover the next two!

 

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Much muttering has been expended over the perception that the AZ fuselage is too shallow in the lower nose area. I think  there is some merit in this contention, and because there's a reasonably easy fix, I decided to give it a go. You make a cut with a scalpel or uber-fine saw as shown, then fit a wedge of plastic card, running from the front of the exhaust area to the rear of the cut. The wedge is 1mm thick at the wing root end and tapers out to nothing. I've managed to lose the photo of the wedges as they were fitted.

 

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This is the cockpit, out of the box except for the seat straps. I think the level of detail provided in a kit costing just under six pounds is excellent.

 

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The exhausts got drilled out. These have to be fitted from the inside, before closing the fuselage. The fit is pretty tight and I wouldn't fancy trying to bodge them in from outside later and finding I had managed to force one inside the fuselage where I can't get it back!

 

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The fuselage closed up without too much difficulty (unusually for me!). The cowling went on better than I recall from the previous one. The gaps are a little too wide to be convincing panel lines, so a slick of Vallejo acrylic filler served to tone them down. My luck with this stuff has been variable. Trying to do holes/sinkage hasn't really worked - it doesn't seem to key well and shales off when I try to sand it. However, putting a little bit into an over-wide seam then smoothing away the excess with a cloth or cotton bud has been great. A slight polish up with some micromesh once the filler is dry is all that is needed.

 

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The same applies to the join where the tailplane and rudder fit. This is before the polish up with micromesh. The glue mark in front of the supercharger inlet isn't quite as nasty as it looks, but will receive attention soon. The wedges in the nose are just visible below the exhaust.

 

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The chunk of plastic card is a spacer to deal with the change of shape of the nose.

 

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And here we are with the lower wing fitted, aligned closely with the edges of the fuselage. The wing fit was slightly loose, and the white line at the rear is a 10 thou card shim to take up the slack. So far, so good!

 

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Here are the upper wings with some scary-looking lumps of clear sprue glued into place as navigation lights.

 

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I roughed them down with a Dremel to get this:

 

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Finally, wet and dry followed by micromesh down to 12000 grade gave me these, which I'm pretty pleased with. Now to fit the upper wings!

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1 hour ago, Mitch K said:

The fuselage closed up without too much difficulty (unusually for me!). The cowling went on better than I recall from the previous one. The gaps are a little too wide to be convincing panel lines, so a slick of Vallejo acrylic filler served to tone them down. My luck with this stuff has been variable. Trying to do holes/sinkage hasn't really worked - it doesn't seem to key well and shales off when I try to sand it. However, putting a little bit into an over-wide seam then smoothing away the excess with a cloth or cotton bud has been great. A slight polish up with some micromesh once the filler is dry is all that is needed.

Hi Mitch!

 

If you mean seams of the top part of cowling there is no seam there in a real 109.

 

Cheers,

 

AaCee

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56 minutes ago, AaCee26 said:

Hi Mitch!

 

If you mean seams of the top part of cowling there is no seam there in a real 109.

 

Cheers,

 

AaCee

Gotcha! This will be dealt with... 

 

Thanks,

 

M

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The seam that isn't a panel line that Aacee is referring to is the once where AZ split off the different cowlings: there's the hinge line you describe, Corsair, and the other seam on the cowling is down at exhaust level, so I need to deal with the seam from gluing the bits together. 

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Right, the next, potentially nasty, stage was getting the upper wings on. I glued the wing roots first, carefully aligning the wing and fuselage to minimise issues later (I hope)!).

 

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Turning it over, so far, so good. Excuse the filler on the cowling - that will be sorted, but at the moment fitting the wings is as much as I can cope with at once!

 

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Clamped up, the leading edge closes up evenly across the two sides, although there's a bit of a chasm. My suspicion is that this might not be especially stable when it's filled and sanded, and the filler might well crumble. So, a bit of reinforcement in the form of some plastic card wedges. The gap isn't as alarming as these would suggest, actually.

 

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Having roughly chopped these down, I filled the gap with white milliput. This is my go-to for big gaps because it smooths out easily with a damp finger, doesn't crumble and is solvent-free, so doesn't dissolve what you're filling. On the other hand, it's as hard as iron and trying to sand it whilst not totally removing the soft AZ plastic is not the simplest task. I added the drain tube/reinforcement strut for the radiator at the same time. The rack for the underfuselage tank is clearly visible on most of the photos I have of Slovak Bf 109G's so I put it on now.

 

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After a last bit of fettling, I think I'm happy to go forward. The joints where the outer wing panels and those around the oil cooler inlet were a bit too wide, so a wipe of filler went on. When this shrinks as it dries it ought to reduce these nicely.

 

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Before closing up the cockpit, there's a few last bits. The head armour was painted up. I added some slight extensions at the bottom corners to allow it to attached to the cockpit.

 

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Here it is in situ.

 

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The kit includes a perfectly functional, if not mega-detailed, gunsight.

 

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I added brake pipes to the main gear legs from fine wire. Hopefully over the weekend I'll get the canopy on and some primer down.

 

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I sprayed the wheel wells with RLM02, then masked them with blutak, before going with the yellow RLM04 for the wingtips and fuselage band. The bit under the nose is an artefact of me not looking at the reference properly and going at it like a bull at a gate! The tail and wingtips were masked, but the extra bit was left!

 

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The Slovakian Air Force 109's (of all marks) were all ex-Luftwaffe aircraft (as opposed to new builds supplied directly). The Slovaks painted over the existing markings, then put their own roundels and codes into place.

 

On the fuselage and tail, the crosses and swastikas were covered in a very dark colour. Some sources state this is RLM74, but the tonal difference between the pre-existing RLM74 and the new fuselage band is very large. I can think of three reasons:

1 The original paint had faded very badly and this new paint  represents the actual colour;

2 At the relatively late stage of the war this applies to, inter-batch quality control on paints was greatly relaxed.

Having looked at a lot of pictures of Luftwaffe aircraft, I haven't seen anything that really supports either of these hypotheses. Which brings me to the third reason: it doesn't closely match RLM74 because it isn't RLM74 but is actually a Slovak colour which was regarded as "fit for purpose". I darkened up some RLM74 with Tamiya NATO black and used that.

 

The band is quite wide, and varies in application: on some aircraft it goes all the way around the fuselage, in others it excludes the underside; on some aircraft the forward margin is sharply masked and on others it's sprayed freehand.

 

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The band and the diamond-shaped area on the tail where the swastika was got masked off.

 

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Time to get some RLM76 on!

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I sprayed RLM76 overall - it's a good base a shows up dings, gouges and scrapes pretty well.

 

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I then masked her up like the mummy of king Tut!

 

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The upper surfaces are RLM74 over RLM75, with mottling on the fuselage sides of 74, 75 and 02. With the masking off, here's the final result. I'll gloss her later, then I can go with the decals.

 

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Here she is with the decals on. These are from a mixture of sources: the national markings are from Blue Rider, the code numbers from Fantasy Printshop and the stencils are from Print Scale.

 

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In the mean while, I've got the undercarriage etc all painted up and ready:

 

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And look what's arrived - Rob Taurus vacformed early-model framed canopies for the other two builds! The black object is a sheet carrying a set of tiny but perfectly formed ventilation scoops visible on the lower area of the canopy on most versions. These look super and appear to me as though they will go on without too much difficulty.

 

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