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Messerschmitt Bf.109T (4806) 1:48


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Messerschmitt Bf.109T (4806)

1:48 A&A Models by Modelsvit

 

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When Germany first laid down the ill-fated Aircraft Carrier DKM Graf Zeppelin in 1936, the question of its complement of aircraft was already settled.  It would carry a variant of the Bf.109 as a fighter, and the doughty Ju.87 Stuka as bomber, and as such was engineered with those airframes in mind, averting the need to have folding wings that add weight to an aircraft.  The 109 was given the variant T for Träger, which mean Carrier in English.  It had extended wings with larger flying surfaces, plus a tail-hook and catapult launch gear for taking off and landing on carriers.  The T-1 was the first airframe to be completed, and underwent catapult tests before it was ordered in small numbers.  With the cancellation of the carrier, those airframes were apportioned elsewhere, and a T-2 variant was created without the carrier specific components.  Some of the T-1s were cross-graded to T-2 standard, which found their way to Norway with 11./JG 11, and when the carrier project was temporarily re-started it was decided that the T was outdated by then, so an alternative was sought.  That too was re-assigned in a remarkable chronologically close case of history repeating itself, while the T-2s continued in service in Norway until mid-1944, after which time any remaining airframes were used as trainers.

 

As far as we know none of them survived the war or the culling of Axis hardware that followed it, but if you extended the wings of a Bf.109E-4/N that you happened to have lying around with the DB601N engine, you’d be 90% of the way there.

 

 

The Kit

In 1:48 we have had one styrene kit in the past, although it is better described as mixed media, dating back to the 1990s.  This is a new tooling from A&A Models, a brand of Modelsvit, and this kit can be best described as a mainstream kit, with styrene the main building material.  It arrives in a moderately-sided top-opening box, and inside are four sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a Photo-Etch (PE) sheet, decals, vinyl masks for the greenhouse canopy, plus an instruction booklet on glossy paper, printed in spot colour.  In terms of detail, it is best described as a medium-to-long run kit, with a good level out of the box that although it is not leading edge, it is perfectly suitable for the majority of modellers.  Those looking for a fully riveted kit, you’ll need a riveting tool, and parts will need some clean-up around the details, as there are some small elements of flash here and there.

 

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Construction begins with laminating the cockpit sidewalls and detailing the inner surface with controls and equipment that you’ll see in pretty much every 109 kit from the past 30 years.  The cockpit floor has rudder pedals and a small equipment box added, then it is attached to the rear bulkhead and inserted into the port fuselage half along with a gaggle of additional equipment and controls.  The pilot’s seat is well-detailed and has four-point PE belts added, plus a tiny adjuster for the mechanism, then it is installed and joined by the control column.  There are two options for building the instrument panel, both of which have styrene backing plates with decals for the instruments, then an optional PE layer that is laid over the decals so that the dials show through, then the gun-sight and various PE levers are inserted.  Before the fuselage can be closed the tail-wheel needs to be completed, so the instructions have you build all the gear at once.  The main gear legs have separate oleo-scissors and the large bay door captive to the strut, then the two-part wheel is glued onto the axle stub, while the tail wheel has a 2-part yoke and single part wheel.  The tail-wheel is fitted into a bulkhead within the bay during fuselage closure.

 

The fuselage has a simple rendition of the DB601 engine moulded-in, similar to that of the Airfix kit a few years back.  The two halves are brought together with the instrument panel added at that time along with the aforementioned tail-wheel, ensuring that the cockpit rear deck and tail-wheel bay are painted before doing so.  You can pose the engine open by adding the bearers and top of the block, or place the cowling and stub machine guns over it and close it up.  Meanwhile, the full-width lower wing is fitted out with gear bay walls, then it and the two upper wing panels are joined with the fuselage, adding clear wing tip lights as you go.  The radiator baths with cowlings and panels are made up, as is the supercharger intake housing and chin-mounted oil cooler intake and fairing, plus a belly-mounted fuel tank with shallow pylon for later use.  Before the chin intake is inserted, the prop axle is pushed through the hole from behind, so that the single-part prop, back plate and spinner can be added, leaving it to spin if that’s your thing.

 

At the tail the elevators and their fins are supplied as separate parts for posing, as is the rudder.  The elevators are braced by two diagonal struts from below that are common on the earlier 109s.  The Ailerons and flaps are also separate, with aerofoil “humps” fitted to the flaps before installation behind the radiators.  Mass balances are added to the ailerons, and a T-shaped pitot-probe is affixed to the port wing underside, with the T-1 variant having a tail-hook and two small J-hooks that resemble a tow-ball, but are probably the catapult launch hooks.  Staying on the underside, the main gear, optional fuel tank, exhaust stubs and a choice of two wing-mounted gun barrel types are all fixed in place, then the model is flipped over to have the canopy and aerial made up. You have a choice of open or closed by choosing different parts, with a set of head-armour inserted inside the sideways opening canopy part.  An optional extra bullet-proof panel can be fitted to the front of the windscreen, which is best done with a clear gloss varnish and some care to avoid bubbles that can appear as frosting when dry.  A set of vinyl masks are provided to ease masking of the many panels, which can be a bane for many modellers.   Finally, the aerial is glued into the aft of the fixed portion of the canopy, with a choice of tropical or standard filers to fit into the depression in the port side of the fuselage.

 

Markings

There are four decal options in the box, two of which are T-1s, the others are T-2s without the maritime parts.  They are printed on white decal paper, which is fairly unusual, and there is a good choice of schemes, despite the fairly limited use of the variant.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Bf.109T-1 Germany, 1941
  • Bf.109T-1 W.Nr.7780, Pillau, Germany, 1942-3
  • Bf.109T-2, 2./JG77, Lister, Norway, Summer 1941
  • Bf.109T-2 W.Nr.7767, JG11, Oblt. Herbert Christmann, Lister, Norway, Winter/Spring 1944

 

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Decals are by Decograph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  The stencils are dealt with in a separate page at the beginning of the profiles.  Swastikas are included, although they are split to avoid issues in territories where that symbol is illegal or discouraged in law.

 

Conclusion

It’s good to have a modern kit of the 109T, and although parts clean-up may take a little longer, it will be worth your while, as you’ll have a Bf.109 with long wings that will confuse people who have never seen one before, who might think it’s a high-altitude type.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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