German Fighter Messerschmitt Bf-109 F2
I’m sure that everyone is aware of the Messerschmitt Bf-109 series of aircraft. The F model entered production in November, 1940 and differed from the previous “E” models by using a more powerful version of the DB 601 engine and featuring a more streamlined nose cowling. Armament consisted of two nose mounted machine guns and a cannon shooting through the engine crankshaft. Many of Germany’s top aces preferred the F model over the earlier E or even the later G and K models. I recommend Lynn Ritger’s two books from SAM Publications for reference purposes.
Many manufacturers are bringing out fairly detailed 1/144 kits. When I signed up for this review, I had expected the model to be somewhat complicated considering that Zvezda produce a reportedly excellent 1/48 kit of the Bf-109 F2. When the box arrived, it featured the same front cover drawing as the 1/48 kit. When I opened the box I found out that this was a kit for a game piece for “Operation Barbarossa 1941”. It consisted of a one piece fuselage, a one piece wing, two stabilizer halves, a one piece landing gear, a prop, canopy and the supercharger intake. An alternate landing gear part was supplied for a gear-up version. Instead of the colorful box scheme, the decal sheet consisted of fuselage and wing crosses and white with black outlined numbers from 0 to 9. No swastika was supplied.
On closer inspection, I found the parts to appear very accurate and surface detail was excellent for the size. I decided to see how nice a model I could make with the basic kit. The first step was the assembly. I was able to remove all of the parts from the sprue, clean up the sprue attachments, sand some minor joint lines and glue the kit together in nine minutes and thirty two seconds! So much for the first part, now I had to finish the model.
Painting and Decals
I could not find a source of 1/144 scale decals for any Bf-109 models. I could have copied some of my 1/72 sets and printed them half size on some decal film but I wasn’t ready to go that far yet. I decided to use the decals provided. The first problem was to find a paint scheme that utilized simple white letters with black outlines. I found several that were close but the one I decided upon was that of Gerhard Barkhorn of JG 52. It was a simple scheme of RLM 74, 75 and 76 with a yellow nose and a broad yellow band around the rear fuselage. The markings called for a white “5” without the outline. After determining that it was not feasible for me to remove the black outline, I decided that Herr Barkhorn really should have had a black outline on his plane. I found an old 1/72 scale decal set of kill markings that provided a swastika of the correct size. I painted the bottom surfaces of the canopy flat black so that I would not get a reflection off of the surfaces. I also enlarged the rear mounting hole in the canopy and splashed some flesh and brown paint in the hole to give an appearance of a pilot. Finally, I added an antenna mast out of stretched sprue and the antenna out of the thinnest wire in my stash.
I enjoyed this project. It was kind of a “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” project but it was a simple and accurate kit. What did I have to lose? For anyone trying to make this kit, I have two recommendations. Since the landing gear is in place as part of the basic assembly, be careful of them. The model slipped in my hand and as I caught it, I folded one of the gears. Also, do NOT drop the canopy on the floor – enough said.
All in all, this was a fun project and resulted in a good looking model for my shelf. This model may cause some manufacturers to release some decals for this model. It also can lead to a lot of “what-if” schemes.
My thanks to Dragon Models USA for supplying the kit and to IPMS/USA for providing the kit to me for review. It is difficult to find hobby shops that carry this kit currently but it can be ordered from the link above or from some gamer supply stores. Note, Zvezda also offer a LaGG-3 in the same series.