Bf-109 V-13 Conversion

Published on
November 13, 2020
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/32
MSRP
$45.00
Product / Stock #
32-V13RS
Base Kit
Eduard 1/32 Bf-109E Over the Balkans Peninsula
Company: Werners Wings - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Werners Wings - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

I was given the opportunity to review the Eduard 1/32nd scale “Bf-109E over the Balkans Peninsula” and since I’d already built the Eduard kit I thought why not use it to build the V-13 Record Setter. Luckily for me, IPMS thought why not as well.

Eduard Kit

Before I get to the conversion, let me talk about the Eduard kit itself. Having built the first E-4 kit that Eduard came out with, I thought I would be seeing the same thing. I was wrong. There were some issues with the first kits, especially with the wheels, canopy, and slats. Well, thankfully, Eduard listened to most of the complaints. With this release, the canopy has been reworked to a correct profile and the wheels were replaced with resin Brassin ones. Actually, Eduard gives you options on the hubs. The first one is a single piece with detail on both sides. The second one is the internal detail with a separate fork piece, which is realistic. Also presented in this offering is the Brassin stuff, which is a new tail wheel, tail wheel strut, and tail wheel bay insert.

In my release, the decals were not printed as crisply as other Eduard releases and had some bleed on them. The packaging of the decals caused some scraping of the German crosses. This is the second time that my Eduard decals have been marred in handling. I think they should be safeguarded by being packaged separately. The marking options offer a very good selection of markings, with five unique looking Balkan 109s. I would have used them had I been building the Balkan markings.

OK, admittedly, I have a vested interest in the conversion set, since I market them. For those who know me, you will always get brutal honesty from me. So, if you keep that in mind, let’s get to the conversion.

History

The V-13 was a prototype for the Emil series of aircraft. It was debuted at the 1937 Dubendorf Air Races, where it won its events. After the air race, the aircraft was returned to Germany, where a successful attempt to capture the air speed record was taken in November 1937. Before the attempt, there were some things that had to be done to the airframe, most noticeably streamlining of the spinner, windscreen, and oil cooler. Everything else was basically the same. All the seams on the airframe were polished and a new coat of polished paint was applied.

Werner’s Wings Conversion

The conversion was mastered by Tom Bautch after seeing the 1/48th scale set that I released about a year earlier. Tom did a wonderful job using the information that I had, some of which I got after the release of the 1/48th scale conversion. We based it on the Eduard kit because, at the time, it was the best kit of the Emil available. The set comes in a heavy duty box with Tom Tullis artwork on it. The instructions are step by step, using the assembly sequence in the Eduard instructions and noting the difference that would have to be done.

The contents consist of 19 pieces of light grey resin and three small decal sheets. The resin gives you a new nose, exhausts, spinner, oil cooler, and mass weights. Also included is the streamlined vacuform canopy produced by Falcon.

The decals are printed by Microscale and, while basic, they contain all the markings on the real thing. The V-13 in Record Setting markings really only consisted of civilian registration markings on the wings and a red banded swastika on the tail. Not much else. I think this leads to the sleekness of the machine.

Pre-Construction

Since the Record Setting version was highly polished, I elected to fill all the panel lines and the rivet detail. I didn’t want the panel lines to completely vanish but have a hint of them. I know – it’s not as accurate, but it’s visually more appealing to me. Anyhow, a combination of Apoxy Sculpt, Tamiya putty, and even correction fluid were used to make the panel lines go away. All the control surfaces were also sanded down a bit to smooth them out as well. All this created a lot of sanding dust and more sanding that I remember doing in quite some time, but I thought it was worth the effort.

Once happy with the panel lines, it was time to move on to the conversion. I had to cut off the nose as indicated in the instructions. I think it is easier to do it now before any of the parts are joined. All the cuts are along panel lines, so it is easy enough to do.

Cockpit

The cockpit of the real V-13 is unknown, at least to me. It may have been like the D model or as in the Emil. I chose to do it like the Emil, just because it was already in the kit. The interior builds up nicely and with little complications. You get the choice of either the spade grip in the conversion or the kit stick. I elected the spade grip. I left off all the pre-painted stuff until after the interior was painted and weathered. Again, since there are no photos, I sanded off the oxygen system. I painted my interior with Gunze RLM 02 with a light wash of burnt umber and some minor chipping in silver. The interior is quite convincing when finished.

Fuselage

You have to build the kit without the engine and gun system as per the instructions, so construction progresses rapidly. Before I knew it, the fuselage halves were being joined. The fit was very good, with no filler being needed. Now that the fuselage halves were together, it was time to start adding the conversion nose parts. The fit was good. I did have to add a spreader bar to the upper cowling to get it to fit properly. The rest of the parts fit well. I think any misalignment was my fault and not the conversion set. If you start at the firewall and work your way out, you should have no big problem.

There is one issue that the modeler will want to look out for on the conversion parts. The streamlined oil cooler needs a good amount of filler to fair it in. I used Apoxy Sculpt and had no issues. We just couldn’t think of a way to make that cooler with the limitations of resin casting, so some basic modeling skills are required.

The tail assembly fits perfectly, with the locking tabs ensuring that everything is aligned. That and the struts provide plenty of strength.

Wings

On the wings, besides filling the panel lines and rivets, I had to fill the hole for the guns in the front of the wing. The slats are a little too large, but I decided I could live with that minor issue. I could have added the slats and filled them in, then rescribed the correct size slats. The wings fit well with no filler needed.

When I test-fitted the oil coolers on the wings, I realized I forgot to sand them flatter. The instructions show exactly how far down but, bottom line, they have to be made smaller as the Record Setter had smaller wing coolers. The conversion set also provides a splitter plate for the radiator fronts. The corresponding PE radiator cooling parts will need to be cut down as well for them to fit.

When I butted the wings to the fuselage, I noticed that the dihedral was a little flat. Not a big deal, but I don’t remember that problem on my first kit. I just sanded down the mating surfaces to get the look I was after. A little bit of filler was needed on the front and back of the wings where they meet the fuselage for a perfect fit.

Painting

As with all my models, I washed this one with grease cutting dish detergent. I masked off the cockpit area. I then primed the whole model with Gunze 500 primer. I had plenty of things to fix, since it was supposed to be a glossy model when done. I ended up priming the model quite a few times in my attempt to fill all the panel lines, rivets, and areas that required filler.

Once I was happy with the results, I added the rest of the cockpit prior to adding the canopy.

Now I needed the canopy to be faired in so that it was also seamless. This was easier said than done. Vacuform canopies are hard enough to fair in, but making them look like the rest of the model would require Apoxy Sculpt and correction fluid. In retrospect, I think next time we should have included the aft part of the canopy in the vacuform canopy. As it was, the aft part of the kit canopy would not work, as I needed a curved panel from the E-1/E-3. I had to raid my E-1 kit for the correct canopy. The canopy fit was actually very good, typical Falcon quality. I wanted mine to be closed so that I could appreciate the streamlined look. If I didn’t, it would have been a whole lot easier to add. As it was, it really wasn’t a whole lot of work. I finally got it to look right. I did notice while checking my references that the front canopy is actually missing two vertical panel lines. It is easy enough to correct by masking and painting them in, but even the best research can miss some things.

I had to scribe a circular fuel access panel on the left side of the fuselage below the cockpit.

Now that everything was added, the canopy was masked off with Tamiya tape. The whole model was wiped down with Polly-S Plastic Prep. This is an essential step, if you ask me. The Plastic Prep removes any oils but also builds up a static charge that repels dust. Gunze RLM02 was added to the canopy area. Then Model Master Acrylic RLM 63 was sprayed over the entire model. The wheel well area was masked off and painted RLM02 after the RLM 63 had dried.

Little Pieces

The landing gear was added at this time. I used my CB Productions landing gear alignment tool which made everything easy.

Building up the wheels was easy enough. I am lazy, so I went with the single resin internal piece. The fit wasn’t optimal but it fit well. I did have to fill around the inside radius with white glue, which filled up the gaps nicely. The tires fit very well on the axles. Then the resin landing gear covers were added.

Decals

A coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss Base was used to get the model ready for the decals. The decals are printed by Microscale, so I used the Microscale system. They fit fine and look great when applied. The decals were sealed with Future.

Final Construction

I added some wire to the brake lines on the landing gear, since Eduard gives you the piping. The resin mass weights and pitot tube were added. With that, the masking tape was removed from the canopy. Prior to removing the masks, I used a brand new #11 Xacto blade and sliced through the layers of paint. I did have to touch up some spots but overall it wasn’t too bad. I polished the canopy with Novus polish to finish it off. The resin spinner and back plate were mated up with the prop, then glued in place. This finished off the model.

Conclusion

Was this an easy conversion? No, not really. The filling of the nose oil cooler was annoying and I wish we could have come up with a better solution. The filling of the panel lines was the hardest part of the conversion. If you can live without that, then the conversion is actually very easy. Everything fit as advertised, after you add the spreader bar to the upper cowling. The Eduard kit parts fit well and should prove no problem whatsoever for even novice builders. I enjoyed them. Are they perfect? No, but they are really nice and I think a good value for the money. The inclusion of the masks, pre-painted photo etch, and Brassin resin pieces are all a great addition to a really nice kit. The only part of the kit that lets it down is the decals. I would still use them, but they could have been better.

It is self-serving for me to recommend the V-13 Record Setter conversion, but it is a very nice set that I’m glad to add my name to. Tom did a great job. Falcon and Microscale always do great work. If you don’t like the streamlined look, there is always the V-13 and the V-14 from Dubendorf available from Werner’s Wings.

Highly recommend, both the conversion and the kit.

Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

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