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109 fan

KP Avia S-199

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I got rather excited after seeing that the KP Avia S-199 was available from Hannants. So I rushed off an order and got several of them in less than a week (which is remarkable since I live in Pennsylvania). I had been moving along with two Fine Molds Romanian Bf 109 G-6s, but a when the Avia arrived there was little doubt that it would jump to the front of the line. The initial impressions were very good. The quality of the molding is good and KP has gotten the little details right. As an example the fuselage radio access panel has a smaller panel in the middle which is correctly reproduced. Also the cowl bump has the appropriate strake to cover the engine mount, but also a smaller strake to cover the Focke Wulf type cocking mechanism on later S-199s. The instructions correctly point that this strake should be removed in the earlier Israeli birds, but left for the Czech models. There have already been numerous build-ups on Czech sites, some of these are quite excellent. So let's have a go at it...
The cockpit looks basically identical to the previous 109s from AZ, and is more than adequate. I sprayed it with Gunze lacquer RLM 02 and used a MIG Pigment enamel wash. This worked OK and dried very quickly. Details were picked out with yellow and blue paint. The seat belts are Eduard pre-painted items and the instrument panel is from a Fine Molds 109 G kit, simply because I painted five of them simultaneously. The dials are decals from the FM kit, placed in very hot water and applied over Micro Sol. This seemed to work better than other methods, including Solvaset. I will add some more washes using oils and a bit more detail painting next.
I intend this to be a quick build to see whether this kit captures the look of the Avia, or perhaps I should return to the Fine Molds conversion that I started a few years ago. We'll see...
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The next item for attention is the wing. Nearly all Avias had circular wheel wells, similar to the later 109 F variants. I decided to use .015" Evergreen sheet to blank off part of the well, then cut and sand to shape. Here are the inserts, sealed with super glue.
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After using a circle template to mark the area, I cut the plastic sheet with a scalpel then finished with sandpaper wrapped around a Prismacolor pencil. At this point I primed to check for imperfections. After a bit of tweaking, I gave the area a coat of RLM 02, which will be the final colour.
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In retrospect, I could have only blanked off the corners since most of the plastic sheet was removed . The shell ejection ports were also filled, since they didn't exist on the Avia. Interestingly, the Bf 109 G-10 restoration in the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville Oregon seems to have Avia wings. The original wings were scrapped while the plane was stored in Georgia and replacements were found in Czechoslovakia.

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Hello Barry,

where the information that "nearly all Avias" had the circular wheel wells is coming from? Actually, it was the opposite way; for instance all Israeli machines had the 'square' type. The circular bays are typical for airframes after major overhaul (since the squared bays lack the outer covers it was found better to modify themto circular shape) and partially, some new examples got them since the factory used parts bought in Bulgaria (ex Bf 109G2 - G14).

The cockpit colour was mid greyish-blue, not RLM02.

Cheers

Libor

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Interesting points, Libor. You are absolutely right about the cockpit color; don't know how I missed that one. Since the fuselage is closed up, I'll have to wait for my next build to do a correct cockpit. About the circular wheel wells, you also bring up a curious point. The Israeli aircraft were, I believe, from the earliest production batches. A number of them had the chin-mounted oil cooler ( coded D-107, D-108, D-115 and perhaps others). The only Czechoslovak Avia I have seen with this oil cooler was coded AS-11 and this had a most unusual nose contour. This configuration is depicted well in Radek Vavrina's drawing on p. 129 of the Jakab book ,,Mezek", Avia S/CS-199, Vol. 2. There is also an attractive profile drawing of this plane on p. 103 of Vol. 1 in the same series. All of these aircraft appear to have the squared wheel wells. Is it possible that these wings were taken from German stocks left behind at the WNF Diana works? Although the Wings & Wheels publication Avia S-199 & CS-199 in Detail states that the first 50 aircraft had the original oil cooler installed under the engine, I have never seen another Czech S-199 in this configuration.

About the wheel wells. I based this comment on photo observation. The iconic IF-01had the circular wells, as do several un-numbered aircraft in the Jakab volumes. Unpublished photos I have found on the internet show the same. Vavrina's drawings in his Detail Scale Aircraft Drawings book in the Avia also shows circular well. So I am drawing conclusions from what references I have available. I am glad to be corrected and I trust you have more information available than my resources.

Finally, a question. You mention the Bf 109 G-2 through G-14 used in Bulgaria. I have for some time been looking for information on Bulgarian 109s. There is an often published 109 E, and a head-on view of a G-10 showing the Bulgarian "Fatherland" markings as seen the the latest Squadron SIgnal Messerschmitt Bf-109 G Walk Around, p. 35. Do you know anything about the camouflage and markings of Bulgarian Bf 109s?

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Neat and tidy work so far on the cockpit; it looks great. I look forward to seeing the rest of the build.

Also the cowl bump has the appropriate strake to cover the engine mount, but also a smaller strake to cover the Focke Wulf type cocking mechanism on later S-199s.

Always wondered what the strakes were for on the S.199. Thanks for increasing the sum of my knowledge!

regards,

Jason

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Hi Barry,

the issue with chin cooler is no that easy. Avias were manufactured at two factories, Avia and Aero; the ones with the cooler were Avia serial nos.1-43 and Aero nos.281-287.

However, Avia used two size of coolers, "small" and "large" and they were also changing its position against the wing leading edge during the production. All these airframes apparently got the squared wheel bays. The coolers were changed to "heat exchanger" during repairs or overhauls. Photo of AS-11 is available, but the serial is not known. I have got the LS-7 photo (PM me if you want it) and I know there are other pictures in private collections of Czech ethusiasts. Note these machines could have different nose shape (without the step, similar to Bf 109).

Btw, what machines (code, serial if known) are you modelling?

I have no clue about camouflage of Bulgarian machines, but my club's fellow may know more - I'll come back to you.

Good luck!

Libor

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Thank you, Libor. That is exactly the sort of information I am looking for. Since this is just a quick build to determine whether it makes sense to continue with my Fine Molds Avia Conversion (and so far I think it does), I'm just going to use the kit decals for EX-59. This brings up another interesting point Czech Avias seem to have been painted in at least three different colors: 1) something resembling RLM 02, 2) a much darker green (RLM 83?), and what seems to be an intermediate color somewhere between those two. Can you comment on this?

I have the published photo of AS-11 but would be interested in any other material you may have. I will send a PM.

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More progress on the Avia. Here is the assembled fuselage with bumps/strakes and horizontals installed. The cowl bumps are a weak feature with relatively poor fit. I ground out the interior of the bump, sanded the mating surface and also bent the strakes inward. You can see the stress marks where it was bent. Even with these adjustment the fit was poor. I have faired in the edges with 5-minute epoxy, smoothed with a Q-tip dampened with alcohol. The rudder is a holdover from the AZ Bf 109 G kit. It has the angled lower edge and two trim tabs. I rounded off the lower rudder and sanded off the upper trim tab. The lower one was reshaped to resemble the original, but it should probably extend lower to be completely accurate.


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The wing/fuselage fit at the trailing edge is poor. It almost looks like a short short on the fuselage, but both sides are the same. I didn't notice this until it was time to glue the wing to the fuselage.



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I had considered building out the fuselage at the wing root, but that would be iffy at best. So I decided to lower the inboard flap. This could be tricky on an assembled wing, but I decided instead of removing the flap, I'd just bend it. After starting by cutting between the inboard and outboard flaps, I then scored the inside of the wing with a Micro Mark scriber. Finally I scored the upper surface with a scalpel and bent the flap lower. Not as good, perhaps, as removing the flap, sanding mating surfaces and reattaching, but it only took about 10 minutes and looks OK. The lowered flap hides the wing mating problem.



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Here the wing has been attached and the gap at the wing fuselage joint is filled in 5-minute epoxy.



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Edited by 109 fan

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So the same fit issues as their Gustav's then, not too surprising I suppose. I just hope their G10/12 kits are a better fit as I'm more of a kit assembler than a modeller!

Duncan B

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This is an interesting project of a type not seen regularly. I shall follow this with interest

Roger

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A bit more progress on the Avia. Here you can see the effect of the 5 minute epoxy used to fill in the rather ugly gap at the wing root. Some of that was me, trying to shape the upper wing to better fit the fuselage. I don't understand why people use sheet styrene to fill gaps like these. 5 minute epoxy or epoxy putty will do this job with a fraction of the fuss.


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I've been using Gunze Lacquer RLM 02 as a primer, much like the Germans. The canopy has been set in place to check its fit. In the background is a preview of coming attractions.



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Edited by 109 fan

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Very nice progress Starting to look the part!

Roger

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That looks great.

I've always liked the brutal look of the Mezek.

Karl

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Thanks for the kind words, guys. Things have progressed a bit on the Avia.



I've borrowed windscreen masks intended for the AZ Bf 109 and masked the sliding portion with Tamiya tape and a new bottle of Mr. Masking Sol Neo. I have several bottles of this stuff and the latest purchase is better than all of the others. It flowed much better and has a translucent quality.


Now on to the painting. This must be the most challenging paint job ever for a 109. Challenging to stay awake that is. Everything, and I mean everything, is the same color, RLM 02: airframe, landing gear, landing gear doors, wheel wells and wheel hubs. At least the spinner will have a little white on it and the prop is dark green...


Here are the masks.


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And the pretty much complete paintwork.


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I've opted not to pre-shade or use any other weathering contrivances at this point. The Czechs kept these aircraft rather clean. I will use an oil wash for some panel highlighting, but nothing too heavy.

Edited by 109 fan

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Hi Barry,

great job so far, I like that colour!

Btw, sometimes even the prop could remain 'RLM02' :-)

Cheers

Libor

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Thanks, Libor. It's Gunze Mr. Color (lacquer) PLM 02.

Duncan, other close up photos I've seen seem to indicate that the LG legs are the same color as the airframe. That's efficiency.

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The Avia has been glossed with Gunze X-100, thinned with Gunze Sangyo Leveling Thinner in a 5/1 thinner/gloss ratio. The decals are unusual in that they floated off the backing paper almost immediately, and if you use enough water, will easily slide around on the model. The density of the white is poor, however; not a good thing where 1/3 of the national insignia and the squadron codes are white. The printing and registration are excellent. My technique for applying the stencils involved putting a shallow puddle of Future down then floating the decal on top. This seemed effective in nearly eliminating any silvering problems. The final gloss coat was Future diluted 1/1 with Tamiya X-20 acrylic thinner. This gives a nice, smooth finish that I was never able to get with undiluted Future. Next will come a restrained oil wash.


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Looking great I like this a lot

Roger

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Thanks, gentlemen; I appreciate the compliments.

Everything I said about the Czechs keeping their Avias very clean...forget about that. The model looked too much like a diecast, so I dirtied it up. The primary colour in raw umber oil paint, applied liberally to the panel lines and some surrounding areas. For the flying surfaces, I added some black. This was followed by Vallejo satin, thinned with Tamiya X-20. We're approaching the finish line with this one. I'll spray on some restrained exhaust stains (curiously the Jumo doesn't seem to have been a very dirty engine, exhaust stains aren't very visible in most of the photos I've seen), then on to the fiddly bits.
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The Avia is moving toward the finish line. I've removed the canopy masking (again, I like the new Mr. Masking Sol. It doesn't adhere too much to the canopy and pulls off very cleanly). Also the landing gear, wheels, d/f antenna and exhausts have all been attached. I filled in the tire tread grooves with Mr. Surfacer 500 and sanded them smooth.


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Edited by 109 fan

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