Grand Messerschmitt project: Towards complete airframes

When I dreamed up this project I was afraid that things might get too overwhelming at some point. Well, that is not the case yet anyway, since I am making very good progress with all my Bf 109s. This week I have managed to build five airframes to a point where they are basically missing just some details before I can start airbrushing. Some questions still remain (such as whether I will use Squadron vacuform canopies with those aircraft whose cockpit is open) but generally I can see how I will take this project from where it is now to its conclusion.

Counterclockwise, from back left: FineMolds’ G-2, FineMolds G-6, Premium Hobbies’ G-14, Airfix’s E-7, and FineMolds’ G-6.

Here is my status report on the state of the project at the moment:

  • G-2 “MT-231”: There is nothing much to say about the FineMolds’ kits, they just go together very easily and have practically nothing to fix; I barely even needed to fill any seams. The G-2 airframe is now complete, and there are only some minor things to work on around the cockpit. After that, some airbrushing. This aircraft will have the standard Finnish “warpaint”: olive green and black camouflage pattern on the top side, light blue (RLM 65, in fact) on the bottom.
  • G-6 “MT-431”: Similarly to the G-2, the kit went together without problems. This one is waiting for the canopy to be installed, after which it will be ready for airbrushing. This aircraft will have an interesting “hybrid” color scheme: standard Luftwaffe RLM 74/75/76 mottle scheme, with the black part of the Finnish “warpaint” sprayed over. Note that this aircraft will have the tropical air filter fitted. Tropical? In Finland? Turns out several Finnish Bf 109s used the tropical filter, a handy accessory when operating from dusty makeshift airstrips.
  • G-6 “MT-452”: After completing the basic airframe (wings, tail surfaces) I noticed some damage to the right hand side split radiator flaps. It looked like over-eager application of Tamiya’s liquid cement. See below about a new repair technique I tried. After some more work on the airframe (e.g., the cowling and the canopy still need to be installed), this one will also be airbrushed in the standard Luftwaffe scheme, but will then be “enhanced” with lots of field-applied paint patches, etc., since the model will represent a post-war Finnish aircraft at the end of her career.
  • G-6 “MT-456”: The Premium Hobbies’ G-14 requires more work than the FineMolds’ kits. For example, the kit offers very little for the wheel wells, so minimally they need walls built; I will do this next using 5 thou styrene sheet. I also decided to drop the flaps and open up the split radiator flaps. Luckily the kit is quite accurate, so no major surgery was required otherwise. One notable thing that needs to be fixed is the oil cooler exhaust, but the Eduard photo-etch set that I am already using has that part. Anyway, with this one we are nowhere near airbrushing yet…
  • E-7 of JG 5: The Airfix E-7 is a fairly nice kit, although I did have some minor problems in getting parts to fit, and as a result, ended up with some minor filling and sanding. Because I am leaving the cowling open, some more substantial surgery was needed around the engine. The kit has a solid “wall” behind the cowling, but that is not where the firewall was in the real aircraft (it was much further back). Thus, I needed to cut it open in order to fit the MG 17 guns on top of the engine block (the opening is visible in the picture above). I will be using a leftover part from the FineMolds’ G-2 for the guns.

The damage on the split radiator flaps on one of the FineMolds’ kits was troubling. I tried a new technique (for me anyway) that I learned recently from Roy Sutherland of Barracuda Studios, posted on his Facebook group “Barracuda Studios’ Ready Room” – the method is best described by Roy’s own diagram, below (used with his kind permission).

The results were excellent, I have to say. Project saved!

Here we are at step #4 of Roy’s method, waiting for the CA glue to cure.

Next time I will discuss reference material. As we all know, the Bf 109 is extremely well documented, and there are a lot of books and magazine articles out there.

Bf 109G-2? Well, not so fast… this one is originally a Hispano HA-1109, restored and rebuilt with a DB 605 engine. I took this picture back in 2007 at das Militärhistorisches Museum auf dem Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow (formerly “Luftwaffenmuseum”).

Previous: Super-detailing the “Emil” | Next: Reference material

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