Bf 109 G14/U4 Part 1
This is a new tooling of the Bf-109 G14 from Zoukei-Mura introduced in 2022. The following comes directly from their website:
The special limited-edition Bf 109 kit featuring the aircraft piloted by Erich Hartmann, the WWII Luftwaffe ace who shot down the largest number of aircraft in the history of air combat, will be available via pre-order only. In addition to the Cartograf printed exclusive decals featuring the famous black tulip, a resin figure of Hartmann himself by Master Box will also be included with each limited-edition kit! From the outbreak of WWII in 1939 to the end of the war in 1945, the Bf 109 gave way to many ace pilots until it finally disappeared into the yonder. Now it will be revived as an SWS kit!
The Bf109-G14 series started production in the summer of 1944. It was a stopgap production run prior to the start of the K series 109s. The G14 was fitted with a DB 605AM engine with a larger supercharger. Modified flight control feedback mechanisms to reduce stick forces were also incorporated (although this mod did not always make it into the field in a timely manner). A Erla canopy hood improved pilot visibility. The engine mounted weapon could be either the 20 mm MG 151 (150 rounds) or the 30 mm Mk 108 cannon (60 rounds). The ZM G14 kit contains the Mk 108 cannon. Two MG 131 machine guns were mounted on the top of the fuselage ahead of the cockpit. Source: William Green: Warplanes of the Third Reich.
What’s in the Box
There are 14 sprues, including 2 clear sprues. It is obvious from the sprues that multiple versions of the G model 109s can be made from this kit, including early and late G6’s and other versions of G14’s. Both early and late canopy styles (early three part canopy) and the Erla canopy are present (both styles). In addition, masks are included for all versions of the canopy that come with the kit. Check your references if you choose to divert from the kit instructions and markings. The moldings themselves are a nice sturdy grey plastic and I have not noticed any odd deformations in any of the plastic parts to date. The clears are, well, clear with no deformations visible. Separating from the sprues proves to be no problem. Some seam cleanup is required, especially on the pipe fittings associated with the engine. As for sink marks, they are well placed and hidden from view. The only exception to this is on the right fuselage half interior (Sprue A) if you opt to have the access door open on the left fuselage half. And even then, you have to get light in there to see them.
There are two different instrument panels present, grey plastic and clear plastic. For the grey plastic you are given three approaches to completing the panel. Large decals containing multiple instruments, individual instruments, or hand painting the reliefs inside each instrument. For the clear panel, there are two approaches applying large decals on the back of the panel, or you can diverge from the instructions and place individual decals on the front or rear of the panel.
Wings. The lower wings (Sprue B) are broken into three different panels. Not sure of the reasoning behind this and makes me wonder about seem cleanup during construction.
Instruction Manual, Paint/Markings Guide, Decal Sheet
ZM Instruction manuals are designed to look like an aircraft technical manual. The instruction manual is in two languages, Japanese and English. It opens up on page 3 with a brief history of the 109 including a brief overview of the engine and armament. The assembly information (pages 4-5) contains summarized information about the Bf109 G14 as well as a brief bio of Erich Hartmann. Color call outs (page 6) are straight forward using RLM numbers. The instructions utilize Vallejo and Mr. Color. Any brand of paint can be used with little effort. The meat of the instructions are broken down into five sections, Engine, Cockpit, Fuselage, Wings and Landing Gear, Painting and Decals, and a Parts list. Each section highlights the parts required for that section (see Ins Fuselage highlight image for an example), and include multiple pictures of the sub assembly or assembly (see additional instruction images). There are also exploded diagrams of various parts locations throughout. This helps a lot with parts placement.
The painting guide in the instructions is in color which makes for an easy to use reference.
There is a nice rendition of a 35th scale figure of Paint Masks are also included.
I have already started putting this kit together. I have discovered a few pointers to help in assembly that will be addressed in the follow-on full build review.
Thanks to IPMS/USA and Zoukei-Mura for allowing me to review this kit.