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Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6 (BF001) 1:35 - no, that's not a typo!


Mike
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Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6 (BF001)

1:35 Border Model via Albion Alloys

 

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There must have been billions of words written on the Bf.109 over the years, which was the mainstay of the Luftwaffe's fighter arm, despite having been superseded by the Fw.190 and others during its service life. It kept coming back to prominence partly due to it being a trusted design, the manufacturer's sway with the RLM, and the type's ability to be adapted as technology advanced.

 

The G or Gustav as it was known was one of the later variants, and probably one of the better ones, with improved armament that give it a distinctive pair of blisters in front of the windscreen, plus mounting points for the 210mm rocket tubes used to disrupt the bomber streams in long range attacks that used timed detonation in an effort to create a huge explosion in the middle of them. The other minor changes were improvement to the armament, fitting larger MG.131 cannons in the nose gun bay which necessitated the aforementioned “nose” blister cowlings, or Beule.

 

 

The Kit

This is a first for me.  A 1:35 aircraft kit.  The majority of 1:35 kits I’ve seen over the years that aren’t AFVs have been rotary-winged, but Border have decided that AFV modellers and aircraft modellers should have the option of modelling in matching larger scales, opening up some much easier diorama opportunities into the bargain.  That’s correct.  I said 1:35, and they have some more subjects inbound to a model shop near you soon to further broaden their range.  Clearly this is a brand-new tool from Border, and arrives in a satin finished top-opening box.  This is a special Limited Edition boxing, and comes with a randomly assigned bonus in a gold foil envelope, with a couple of random goodies within.  My box had a handsome high-altitude pilot figure in resin, and a set of strong metal prop blades, but other figures, metal Wfr.Gr.21 rockets or Photo-Etch (PE) seatbelts are amongst the possible options.  There are also optional clear cowlings to show off the engine that have been moulded by including the canopy parts on the same sprue as the cowlings, with the unusual result that you also get a set of grey styrene canopy parts, which was initially troubling to this old modeller due to their greyness and shininess.  Then I started trying to think of possible uses for them, as I hate to waste things, although I struck out so far.  I really need to get out more!

 

Inside the box are eight sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a sheet of PE parts, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles for the included markings, plus a half-dozen additional profiles to whet your appetite for going off-piste in terms of markings, once 1:35 aircraft decals start to appear in the mainstream. The detail is excellent, with plenty of additional features included thanks to substantial use of slide-moulds, including hollow exhausts muzzles on the guns, detail on the cowlings, the supercharger intake, and panelling under the fuselage.  The surface detail is also of high quality, with engraved rivets and panel lines, plus finely moulded raised and recessed details where appropriate.  There are bound to be some for which the panel lines are maybe a hair too deep, but once painted everything should look great and the clear parts are just that – glossy, clear and shiny.  As well as the cockpit, a complete Daimler-Benz engine, cowling, detailed wheel bays, guns, Wfr.Gr.21 underwing rockets (with additional metal rockets if you get them in the gold foil lottery).

 

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Construction begins the block of the DB605A inverted V-12 engine, which predictably starts upside-down.  The reduction gear and drive axle are added to the front, with ancillaries in the rear, the crisply moulded individual exhaust stubs with their hollow tips, coaxial cannon and an excellent reproduction of the wiring harness for each side of the engine.  The supercharger “conch” and air input tubing are next, and are bracketed by the two cylinder heads, complete with their oil input/output pipes.  The cockpit is assembled on the flat floor, with separate rudder pedals, seat pan, trim-wheel, rear bulkhead/seat back and cannon breech cowling that inserts into the floor and front bulkhead.  The instrument panel is well-detailed, but there aren’t any decals to put into those well-defined instrument wells, which is one of the small drawbacks of the kit.  I’m going to have a look to see if the 1:32 Airscale Luftwaffe decals will squeeze in, but maybe Peter can resize them for the likely increase in 1:35 aircraft builders.

 

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The panel slots into the coaming, which fits on a base plate, and accepts the gunsight with its two clear parts, which will benefit from a dab of clear greenish blue on the edges to simulate their thickness.  When complete, the coaming assembly attaches to the top of the cockpit front bulkhead and supports the twin MG.131 cannons, each one made up from five parts for detail, even though they won’t be seen much.  The completed engine is restrained between the two engine mounts with their drop supports, and a small tank in one of the triangular interstices (good word!).  The tail wheel is next, with the hub slipping over the tyre, then slotting onto the axle, and trapped between the two halves of the yoke.  Moving toward closing up the fuselage includes making up the rudder, which has a hinge trapped between the two halves, and a tiny dot added to the lower trailing edge.

 

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The fuselage halves need prepping with interior detail to augment the ribbing that is already moulded-in, adding the fuel-line, throttle quadrant and other equipment to each side, with a pair of scrap diagrams showing the finished look.  Now you can bring those fuselage halves together around the cockpit/engine assembly and the horseshoe shaped oil tank, with the tail wheel and rudder at the rear.  Once you have it all aligned and the seams sanded, remember to leave the seams on the top and bottom of the fuselage, as panel lines can be found there on the real beastie so don’t bother sanding them back – just scribe them, or adze the outer sides of the fuselage join-line with a sharp blade to make the groove – I gave that a try, and it worked well.  The cowlings can be clear or opaque, and the clear ones are crystal clear, so you should be able to see all your hard work on the engine through them if you choose that option.  Each cowling panel has a section of the gun trough inserted from the inside, and with the single part Beule panel over the gun bays and the central spine fixed between the front and rear of the engine bay, the cowlings can be put in place, choosing to leave them closed or open, using a strut from your own supplies.  The supercharger intake horn is a slide-moulded single part that is quite impressive to behold, and makes for a handsome part that fits straight onto the port-side cowling.  A single internal panel is glued under the floor of the cockpit, which adds extra support to the wing tabs later in the build.

 

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Before the wings are started, the main gear legs are made up, starting with the two hub halves that are glued together and surrounded by the two tyre halves with radial tread, and another choice of weighted or unweighted tyres.  The main gear strut is moulded in two parts, with the oleo sliding inside the exterior casting, with a pin holding it in place but allowing it to slide between maximum and minimum range of extension.  The scissor-links are two separate parts, and you should glue those in place depending on how deflected or otherwise you want the suspension to be, ensuring that you set the two wheels at the same level.  Also, the parts are from sprue E, not F as noted in the instructions.  You also get a brake-line, a cap for the axle, and the captive gear leg door glues to the side of the leg.  You do this twice, as you probably already knew.  The upper wings both have their flap parts installed before attention switches to the full-width lower wing, which also has the two lower flap sections fitted, then a bit of confusion creeps in.  inside the wings, just outboard of the wheel bays, a pair of shallow two-part cylinders are made up and fixed into the wing lower.  I suspect that these have been drawn back-to-front, as the L-shaped ammo feed parts that fit into the slot in the top of the cylinders only install correctly when the slot is at the rear.  These are only required for the decal options with the wing-mounted gun gondolas, and the instructions advise you to only cut out the ammo slot for the other options.  In this case, you’ll need to fill those slots for Hartmann’s steed.  It’s a minor mistake, but it left me scratching my head for a minute.  Anyway, nearby is a small thinned-out section of the wing skin and another ammo chute that are both flashed-over, which indicates we’re going to be seeing more boxings.  The nicely textured radiator baths are inserted into their ledges, and the rest of the flying surfaces are made up in the same manner as the rudder, each one having a hinge-set that is made up from two rectangular sections that are linked by a straight rod.  The wings tops and bottoms are glued together, and for all the non-Hartmann decal options, the underwing gondolas are made up, consisting of the hollow muzzled MG, two PE brackets and a choice of clear or opaque gondola cowlings, although those aren’t discussed in the instructions, but you’ll find them on sprue G where the clear cowling parts and clear canopies can also be found.

 

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Flipping the wing over, the gear bay walls are detailed up by adding two PE skins into the rear walls, the leading-edge slats can be attached in either the open or closed position, and as they’re gravity operated, their natural position when parked will be deployed.  Check your references for the correct position and colour, as the latter seems to vary between individual airframes.  Also note that there are some tiny end-caps that you could add from scrap styrene if you’re so-minded.  The horn-balances on the ailerons, the radiator actuators and clear wingtip lights are fitted while the wings are inverted, and the cut-out for the lights has a small lump moulded-in to represent the bulb, which you can paint the relevant colour.  There is a set of Wfr.Gr.21 and their launch tubes included in the box, and you are advised to put these under the wings of decal option 4.  The markings aren’t numbered, but as there are only three, which is supported by the box art and decal sheet, however the only set of profiles with the rockets depicted are the ones in the “also possible” options for which no decals are included.  Unless I’ve got the wrong end of the stick somewhere?  That’s something I do from time-to-time.  The launcher tubes are well-detailed, having detailed supports, PE strakes running down the inside of the tubes, plus a cap and ignition wire at the rear.  There are two rockets on the sprues that you can slip inside those tubes, and they do fit loosely, so will probably work well with the PE strakes.  Just make sure you’ve drilled out the correct holes in the wing undersides before you get too far down the line.  With that the wings can be glued in place under the fuselage, with the uppers having a “hook” at the join-line that should pull the fuselage and wing root together.  The bottom engine cowling has lots of detail moulded into it, although if you decide to depict it hanging down, you’ll need to fill a couple of ejector-pin marks before you apply the paint.  The chin-scoop and oil-cooler radiator are made up from the C-shaped cowling, the posable flap at the rear, and a nicely textured depiction of the radiator front, which will look great with paint and a wash.  It attaches to the underside of the chin-panel in its recess, and on the flipside of the panel another part fits in place, after which you can glue it into position under the nose.

 

The elevators have posable flying surfaces, which are made up in the same manner as all the others, attaching between the two halves of the elevator fins, then are glued to the tail using the usual slot and tab method.  They’re intended to be fixed at 90o to the rudder, so you’ll need to check that yourself, rather than relying on the struts that were present on early models.  A blob of blutak should hold them in-place once you’ve set them to the correct angle.  The main gear slots into place in the sockets in the gear bays, and is joined by a long-range tank on a stubby pylon that attaches on the centreline, then the props are assembled.  If you got the metal blades like I did, you can put those in the two-part hub, or use the styrene ones that are on the sprues.  They attach to the rear of the spinner, and are covered over by the front, which has a hole in the tip for the cannon to pour out its rounds, and the completed assembly slides over the axle with glue or without – up to you.

 

Your final choice in the build is which canopy you wish to fit.  The traditional greenhouse starts at the windscreen, which has a couple of grab-handles added before it is installed, then it is joined by the squared-off canopy, which has a pull-handle and head armour fitted before it is put in place.  The more modern so-called Erla canopy has a different windscreen and grab-handles, and is joined by the sleek opening canopy, which has reduced framing to give the pilot a better view to the rear and sides.  This also has head-armour panel but with a clear insert, again to improve the view aft, and fitting it required the small step in the lower corner at the rear of the aperture to be cut away.  There are two G sprues in the box, one clear, the other opaque.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which parts to use there though.  The Erle canopy option has a short antenna inserted into a hole in the rear of the canopy, and a D/F loop on the spine behind it, while the original canopy has the aerial in the fixed aft clear section, with the D/F loop common to both versions.

 

That’s it! You’ve finished building possibly your first 1:35 aircraft model ever.

 

Goody Bag

Each box of the initial release of this kit includes a goody bag, which is literally a golden foil bag, but inside you will find a choice of random items as previously mentioned, including a resin figure.  My kit included the high-altitude pilot and a set of metal prop blades, with superb sculpting on the figure, which is broken down into merged torso and legs, separate head and arms, and finally an oxygen mask with hose.

 

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Markings

There are three full-page sets of profiles in the instructions, for which there are decals on the sheet, plus six more possible options if you have the decals or masks in your possession.  They are described as “just a random reference painting”, so have a squint, but don’t get too attached to them until you’ve found some decals to make it happen.  This also brings us back to a few other issues, in that Hartmann’s aircraft didn’t carry machine gun gondolas, but is shown with them in the profiles, and the rocket tubes are described as for “marking 4”, but there doesn’t appear to be one, as evidenced on the side of the box as well as the decal sheet, which only has decals for the first three subjects.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Bf.109G-6 Barkhorn
  • Bf.109G-6 Hartmann
  • Bf.109G-6 JG.53

 

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The decals are printed anonymously, and have good register, sharpness and colour density, but don’t include any stencils.  The swastikas for the tails have their black centres omitted for the convenience of those territories where its depiction is frowned upon, but the white outer is included on the outer decal, which should allow easy registration of the central X when you apply it over the top.

 

Conclusion

This is an unusual beast thanks to the 1:35 scale, and as such it’s going to generate some interest for that.  Add to that the fact that it’s a Bf.109G-6, and it should sell well.  It’s a well-detailed model with some nice accessories including  those funky clear cowlings and the weapons under the wings.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK in all good model shops.

Review sample courtesy of

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I like the look of the tooling here. However I think there should be at least some seatbelts and either a PE instrument panel or something on the decal sheet to use.

 

The Gold Bag is a bit of a gimmick I think, the pilot looks very good but the metal prop blades dont really offer anything over the plastic ones?

 

Julien 

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1 hour ago, Julien said:

...the metal prop blades don't really offer anything over the plastic ones?

 

Julien 

 

I'd agree: rather like Scale Aircraft Conversions metal landing gear; no extra detail and of questionable purpose. The figure looks good however.

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1 hour ago, Julien said:

but the metal prop blades dont really offer anything over the plastic ones?

 

 

Its so you can bend them up for a crash diorama

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.. bet it will be an arm and a leg with those details which sound great. Is ‘Border’ Japanese or Chinese?

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5 hours ago, FalkeEins said:

.. bet it will be an arm and a leg with those details which sound great. Is ‘Border’ Japanese or Chinese?

Chinese I do believe

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I am probably wide of the mark here, but the main parts look very much like those in the Trumpeter 1/32 Bf-109 kits which I owned some years ago. Is this the Trumpeter kit just rescaled to 1/35? If not, the breakdown of the main parts is remarkably similar and it looks like the same 'mad riveter' who tackled Dragon's 1/32 P-51D kit has been let loose on this one as well. As others have said too, the absence of stencils in this large scale is baffling as well.

 

Personally, I don't see anything here which makes it a replacement for the Hasegawa or even Revell 1/32 kits if you just want a large scale 109G but of course, the 1/35 scale will be useful for the AFV blokes and a possible use in their dioramas etc.

 

Gary

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