Academy Models has re-released a well-known Bf-109G2/G6. I said well-known because it has been released in the past, at least, under the HobbyCraft brand. They might have been other boxings too.
When you open the box, you find 3 main sprues plus two small sprues with the clear parts. You get about 85 parts. Many of the parts are unused or optional meaning this is a simple build and you get lots of extra parts for the spares box. Not a bad thing at all.
I believe the molds date to the mid-1990s and they do hold well. No flash anywhere to be found and the recessed panel lines are small and crisp. The overall surface detail is adequate for the vintage of the molds.
A highlight of this boxing is the decal sheet (printed by Cartograph) and it includes a total of 8 markings, covering only Luftwaffe airplanes while deployed in Greece, Italy, North Africa, Russia and in Defense of the Reich duties.
Construction of this model is straightforward and it starts with the cockpit, which is very simple. Under a framed canopy it will look just fine. I added some seatbelts made of Tamiya tape as that was the only missing part. It would have been nice to get seatbelts in the decal sheet.
Before you close the fuselage sides you must add the engine exhaust and the propeller holder. I personally appreciate when the engine exhaust can be installed after painting. This is, perhaps, the biggest drawback in the whole engineering of this model, which is a minor inconvenience.
Construction moves quickly to the wings, which depending on the version you are assembling might need different holes drilled. Beware that the wing has many different options for ordinance, so there are many recessed areas to be drilled. Therefore, look at the instructions very carefully and drill the appropriate holes only.
As a general note I should say that the instructions are clear and well-drawn. Given that you have 8 different finishing options, take your time and become familiar with the instructions and which steps are applicable to your model. The differences in the models go beyond the camouflages. Different nose bumps, air-filters, etc are applicable to each case.
Once the fuselage and wings were ready as subassemblies it was time to put them together. I ran into a couple of issues at this point. The lower central wing piece was a bit larger than the opening in the fuselage. That was very easy to correct by lightly sanding the central back area of the wing to match fuselage opening. The other issue was a gap on the right wing to wing-root fuselage that some putty took care of. Also, the nose panel (for the guns) does not fit quite right. After applying some putty and sanding the seams I was ready to paint.
I choose to a North Africa airframe and painting was accomplished with Model Master Enamels and my Badger 200 airbrush. There is no fuselage band decal in the sheet, so you must paint and mask it, which is easy to do. After painting and a gloss coat I was ready for the decals, which behaved beautifully. They are printed by Cartograph and you get top notch quality there.
At this point I brush painted the engine exhausts and applied a panel line wash, to bring out some of the detail. It should be noted that the panel lines are so thin and shallow that in some areas the gloss coat pretty much “filled in” the panel lines and the wash had a hard time staying in place. I might consider slightly deepening some panel lines if I were to build this model again.
I was on the final stretch and I added the landing gear, which has very positive locators for the main legs. The tail strut broke off when I was placing in into the locator hole. It was easy to reinforce it with a thin piece of metal wire. I added the propeller, the aerials, plus a flat coat and the model was ready.
In this boxing you get an easy and low stress “Gustav” and an excellent decal sheet. Is this the best 109 out there? Certainly not but you get lots of extra parts and if you are smart about it, you can probably get some other cheap “Gustavs” out there and use some of the excellent leftover decal markings.
Recommended for entry-level modelers or for those advanced modelers that need a break from more complex builds.
I would like to thank Academy Models, Model Rectifier Corp and IPMS/USA for the review sample.