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AntoineG

Messerschmidt Bf 109E-4 'White 5' - Airfix 1/72

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Hello folks,

 

My lovely wife decided last weekend to spoil me and offered me Airfix’s Messerschmidt Bf109E-4 in 1/72 scale. As I’ve been a bit inactive in the WIP section, I decided to share that build with you and to provide a (hopefully) daily progress (well, today will cover the first two days of the build).

 

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Willing to have a white nose 109 in my collection for some time, I purchased Almark decal for early Bf109E over Europe and will go for the ‘white 5’.

 

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As usual, I started with a good bath in soapy water to remove any potential remaining grease from the mould.

 

Airfix new 109E is a good kit and loads of builds and reviews can be found on the web. Planning to display the model with an open canopy, I decided to improve a bit the cockpit though.

 

First thing was to remove the moulded belt from the seat. At the same time, the oval-ish hole for the seat belts was drilled in the back of the seat. I continued with the trim wheels next to the seat. To create those wheels, I used two different sizes of Punch&Dye. After some tries, I managed to get two reasonable circles. Two disks coming from the left over (inner circle from thz smaller size Punch&Dye) were then cut to replicate the three supporting branches and glued back into the larger circle. A small bit of plasticard was used as a support and everything was glued next to the seat. Finally, a small piece of ø1mm rod was added to form a lever.

 

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The work moved then to the side panels: on the left side, it was quite simple with only the throttle box with its lever to add (not the neatest detail I have ever made... 😧).

 

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The right side required more work. I started with the electrical distribution box made of a small rectangle of plasticard, using very small length of rod as switches. If you count them, there are a couple missing. But the idea here is not to be 100% accurate but to have a busy-looking cockpit as close as possible to the reality. Then is added a small box with a bit of copper wire for what was probably the control box for the fuel (identified with the colour yellow of the pipe). The next bit was a bit more challenging: the oxygen system. The kit provides it as a (very) thin shape moulded on the side of the inner fuselage. As, from my point of view, it is one of the most noticeable part of an early 109 cockpit, I decided to give it a bit more ‘fat’. For that, I started with a thin sheet of plasticard that I drilled following amesh I had drawn beforehand on the plastic. Once happy with the result (a few trials were required), I glued the obtained grid on a piece of sprue that had been shaped to give a ‘correct’ appearance.  Looking at the picture, I realised that I could have used my sand stick a bit to clean the part. But looking with my eyes only, the result was satisfactory. To finish the oxygen system, a few bits of plastic rod, small plastic discs and thin copper wires were added.

 

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While the glue was drying, I moved on to the other parts that will require a layer of RLM02 paint. This includes the wing radiators that saw their inlet and outlet thinned down using a blade. The head armour plate was also thinned, using a sanding box this time.

 

Once ready, RLM02 (Gunze H70) was sprayed and after a few hours drying, black, yellow, blue and white were hand brushed on the different details (after looking at the pictures, some touch-up are required...).

 

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So here it stops for today.

 

Cheers,

Antoine

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Hi,

 

The assembly continued today.

The preparation of the cockpit proceeded first with an aluminium dry-brush. Then a black oil paint highly diluted in white spirit was applied to highlight the details. Any excess was removed with some paper towel.

Before spraying matt varnish to seal everything in, I added some Eduard seat belts and the control stick.

 

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In the meantime, the few extras I ordered have arrived by the post: a control panel by Yahu, gun barrels from Master, canopy mask from Montex, exhaust tubes from SBS (one of mine had a moulding issue) and rear wheel from Quickboost.

 

With the control panel arrived and the varnished dried, it was time to glue the cockpit and the fuselage halves together.

 

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The gap that can be seen before the cockpit was reduced later on.

 

That’s all for today.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

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Nice work! Can't beat a 109

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Hi,

 

The program for today was quite straight forward: assembly of the wings, lower cowling and upper cowling (don't forget to paint the engine in black).

 

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On the upper cowling, the representation of the machine guns were removed and Master’s replacement put in place. Not a difficult operation but one has to be careful as the plastic under the gun barrel is very thin and one can push through with a sharp blade quite easily. The difference in the position of the R/H and L/H barrels was achieved has much as I could but I can’t guarantee the 1.3mm required by Master….

 

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Finally the flaps were added. I fidgeted a bit with those parts. In the end, the attachment pins were shortened and then they fell in place with no more trouble.

The horizontal stabilisers have not been glued yet as, after a dry fit, I decided to install them after the paint. I anticipate it would ease the application of the mottling.

The kit is now ready for the filling, sanding, re-scribing stage but apart from some areas, I don’t expect much touch-up.

 

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Cheers,

 

Antoine

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Hi,

When I stated two days ago that I didn’t expect much touch-up, I was right and wrong.

There is indeed not much touch-up. The fit of the kit is very good and most of the filling can be done with a small drop of superglue applied with a tooth pick.

Touching-up takes me more time than planed tough. That is mainly due to the specific layout of the 109: its fuselage is indeed made of multiple half sections. That means that one has to ensure that all the vertical engraved panel lines go around the fuselage and are parallel but also that there are two longitudinal lines, one on top and one below, just on the glued junction of the fuselage halves.

… and its takes me some time to have all those re-scribed properly… I’m still working on it in fact…

For info, this filling and engraving work is done using a squadron engraving tool, superglue and Dymo tape… loads of Dymo tape…

 

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Another part that requires some work is the landing gear bays. Their walls are indeed split into two: one half on the upper wing and the other half on the lower wing. That leaves you with a terrible seam line just in the middle. I haven’t managed it properly yet either.

 

Finally, as I needed to do some touch-up of RLM02 paint in the cockpit and in the landing gear bays after my first try of filling that ugly gluing line, I used that opportunity to put a bit more paint in the airbrush tank and sprayed it over the re-scribed area to check how they look. I also started to paint the upper wing and the horizontal stabilizer. To give a little more depth to the paint, after a couple light layers of pure H70 from Gunze, I added a few drops of “Hemp” (H336) in the RLM02 and sprayed it lightly in the centre of the different panels.

 

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The paint looks good to me. The re-scribing not so much…

Hope to have better news tomorrow.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

Edited by AntoineG

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Hi,

 

This 109 will remain untouch on my workbench for a few days as I'm going to get surgery tomorrow. 😷

So no progress today as I had my mind in getting ready.

Hope to give you an update soon.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

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4 hours ago, AntoineG said:

I'm going to get surgery tomorrow

Best of lucks!

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Hi,

Thanks Sturmovik for your support. The surgery went well and I am now back to work and behind the work bench doing my own plastic surgery 😷.

It has not been easy to get back behind a keypad though.

 

But let’s have some news of the 109 now.

The main paint job is now completed and I’ll move soon to the decal stage (needs some repairs and a layer of gloss varnish first).

 

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A trip back in time is required though to tell you the story of what happened since my last post.

 

While still trying to get a nice longitudinal line on top and under the fuselage, I finished the wings and horizontal stabilisers paints with the RLM71 (Gunze H64). When dry, they were all masked for the next steps.

 

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Work switched then to the propeller. It needed some trimming to remove a nasty seam line. What I discovered after a first layer of RLM70 (Gunze H64) is that it required also some filling and sanding. It looked like there had been some moulds misalignment issue here. A final coat of Black Green sealed everything in and the hub was hand painted in aluminium (Humbrol 11).

 

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Next came the landing gears that have already been painted in RLM02 during one on the numerous painting sessions with that colour. The chromed sliding tube was hand painted with Humbrol 11 and a brake wire was added (made of thin electrical wire).

 

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As stated previously, one of the main (possibly the only) low point of the wing assembly is in the landing gear bay and the horizontal seam line. I tried first to fill it with the white Perfect putty from Deluxe as any excess can be removed with some water wetted towel/cotton bud. The result was far from satisfactory. After some though, I decided to give a try to another solution, using aluminium tape that was applied on the bays’ walls. Any excess was trimmed with a sharp blade. After a layer of RLM02, I was happy with the result.

 

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Once that done, I prepared the model for the paint stage. The gunsight was added. The windshield and rear canopy were glued with white glue. And…. another issue raised…

 

Bu my wife's calling me so I’ll explain tomorrow.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

Edited by AntoineG

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Hi guys,

When the time came to start installing the windshield, a dry fit showed that the fuselage was larger that the windshield by 1 mm approximately so it would have been quite obvious in the end.

My first move was to place two thin lengths of stretched sprue on the side of the cockpit opening, on which the inner side of the windshield will rest, giving it an acceptable width. It worked perfectly well but… it was now too low by a bit less than 1mm. Again, quite visible. Hence the added stops were remove, strips of plasticard were glued on the sides of the cockpit and lateral stops added again.

 

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A final dry fit showed an acceptable fit. It was then possible to carefully glue the windshield with some PVA glue. I kept it (delicately) finger-pressed in position (one didn’t want to brake it, did we?) for some long minutes. Any gap around the windshield was filled with Perfect putty.

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

 

Antoine

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Nice work Antoine

 

I'm just straying back into 1/72 from 1/32 and can now appreciate just how small some of the parts you're dealing with are..

 

Nice save on the windscreen..

 

Matt

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Hello,

 

With the windshield fitted and masked, the model was ready for the full painting phase (the upper wings were already finished - see one of my previous post).

First, RLM65 (Gunze H67) was applied all over and some post shading with that color lightened with some white was applied.

Once dried, the sides of the fuselage were masked and the RLM02 (Gunze H70) was applied and post shaded with a mixture of H70 and H336.

The next day, additional masks were applied for the RLM71 (Gunze H64). Again, some post-shading with some lightened RLM71 with a few drops of H336.

Once done, the masks one the fuselage were delicately removed and a session of molting started, first with the RLM71 and then with RLM02.

 

Can't resist putting the picture again 😇

 

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When everything has dried (and a bit longer, just to be sure), the flaps and the horizontal stabilisers were attached. For the stabilisers, the E version of the 109 has struts to support them.

We hit here one of the (maybe only drawback) of this kit. Indeed, Airfix definitely should like to send spare parts to their modeling customer as the way the small parts are attached to the sprue would most generally lead to the parts to be broken. Even by using a red hot knife blade (a technic taught by one of my fellow club member who took pity of me when he saw me trying to remove some very tiny parts from a sprue of Airfix's (again) lovely F4F - thanks mate!!!)

So, for the struts, the final score was even: 1 saved, 1 broken. 😓

For the dorsal antenna, Airfix won :fraidnot:

 

With some patience, everything was in place and in the end, no glue was applied on the stabilisers. They are only maintained in placed by a tight fit and the struts (that were glued).

Everything was then ready and the kit received a layer of gloss varnish to get ready for the decals.

 

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I started with the Almark decals.

It was the first time I was using them. Hence I started with the black crosses for which I could have found replacement.

 

A note on Almark decals.

I think it is appropriate to say that Almark is a "small" decal producer. The sheet I have is printed on a single support, hence one has to carefully cut around each element. This takes time but it prevents any potential silvering. The decals reacted very well with MicroSol and MicroSet solution and complied perfectly with the kit engraved panel lines. In the end, it takes some extra time, but I should say that I was very pleased with the results and I recommend Almark decals, except for beginners.

 

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For the stencil, I preferred to use Airfix decals to save time....

 

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Waiting for the decals to fully settle down before trapping them with another layer of gloss varnish, it is time to share with my lovely wife a nice glass of red wine ( a Chateau Neuf-Du-pape 2004 I have completely forgotten we have). 🍷🍷

 

More fresh news hopefully tomorrow...

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

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Nice progress. As many have mentioned here, you can't beat a 109.

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True enough.

From my humble point of view, the only other aircraft that can beat the 109 in term of paint sheme possibilities is the P51.

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Nice!

 

Don't see the RLM 70/02 scheme often which is a shame as it looks very good on a 109 and 110..

 

Matt

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31 minutes ago, Mattlow said:

Don't see the RLM 70/02 scheme often which is a shame as it looks very good on a 109 and 110..

My favorite on german aircraft

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Hello,

 

As planned, a layer of gloss varnish was applied to protect the decals from the upcoming weathering.

 

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Waiting for the varnish to fully dry (minimum 24h), I prepared the last small details. Using a hit blade to detach the parts from the sprue, the process was quiet successful. Final score for today: part detached - 3, parts broken – 0.

And even when removing the remaining of the sprue gates, the carpet monster has to continue its diet (he nearly swallowed the rear wheel as a breakfast today…). The results is not perfect (especially with a macro view) but it is as far as I dare to go from fear of braking the parts.

 

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So not a bad day in the end, even if only small progresses were made.

 

Cheers,

Antoine

 

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Glad to see you're progressing well with the Messi, you're almost there!

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Thanks.

Hopefully it will be finished on time for SMW.

 

Btw, the carpet monster nearly got its revenge. As you can see on the last posted picture, the small parts are still a bit crude and while carefully cleaning one of them, it decided to zip away from the tweezers..  After 10 minutes on my knees looking for it, I finally found it lying quietly on the workbench, close to where I've left the tweezers.... :banghead:

 

So defintely enough for today!!!

 

Cheers,

 

Antoine

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1 minute ago, AntoineG said:

the small parts are still a bit crude and while carefully cleaning one of them, it decided to zip away from the tweezers..  After 10 minutes on my knees looking for it, I finally found it lying quietly on the workbench, close to where I've left the tweezers.... :banghead:

 

That's why I don't add the small pieces, I don't want to lose them.

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