Eduard 1/48 Bf-109G-6

KIT #: 8368
PRICE: 3,300 yen at HLJ
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Profipak version. Lifelike Decals 48-034 “Messerschmitt Me-109 Part 6".


          The most-produced single variant of the Bf-109 series was the Bf-109G-6, which first appeared in February 1943 and featured heavier armament than the previous versions, with the 7.62mm machine guns replaced by 13mm machine guns, which necessitated a large fairing over the gun breaches, known as the “Beule” (bump).  This aerdynamic excrescence reduced the top speed by 6 mph as compared with the Bf-109G-4.  Over 12,000 Bf-109G-6s were built between February 1943 and the late spring/summer of 1944, though the exact number is not known due to the fact that many damaged aircraft were recovered and rebuilt at the factories.  The Bf-109G-6/U2 featured the GM-1 nitrous oxide engine boost, and many featured the tall wooden tail introduced to improve direction stability and reduce the amount of strategic aluminum used in the airplane.

 Erich Hartmann:

          Anyone who is not familiar with the life and career of Erich Hartmann, history’s top-scoring fighter pilot, is hereby required to terminate their membership in the 109Nutz Association.

           While Hartmann’s career is indelibly connected to II/JG 52, he was transferred from that unit at the end of January, 1945, and made Gruppenkommandeur of I/JG 53, which was also on the collapsing Eastern Front at Veszprem, Hungary.  Hartmann was only with the unit for two weeks, from February 1-14, 1945.  During this time he flew a Bf-109G-6/U2.  While he had removed the famous “black tulip petals” from all aircraft he used after applying them to the famous “Gelbe Ein” Bf-109G-6 in the fall of 1943 due to the fact the distinctive insignia made him too visible to his Soviet opponents, he had the JG 53 airplane painted with a variation of the black tulip insignia as a morale-builder for the other pilots in the recently-decimated unit.  During his time with I/JG 53, he scored his 337th victory on February 4, 1945, during a freie jagd flown with Obergefreiter Erich Sommavilla as wingman.  Sommavilla’s 109 experienced mechanical trouble and he aborted the mission; Hartmann spotted a formation of Il-2s on his way back to base and took out one with his famous tactic of approaching from below and waiting until the enemy aircraft “filled the windscreen.” Hartmann was replaced as Kommandeur of I/JG 53 on Fevbruary 14 by Hauptmann Helmut Lipfert.  After a leave at home that would be the last time he saw his wife for ten years, Hartmann attended Me-262 training after being asked a second time by Adolf Galland to join JV 44.  At the end of March, he returned to JG 52 at the request of Geschwader Kommodore Hermann Graf, and assumed command of I/JG 52, which he led until the end of the war.


          Eduard’s Bf-109G-6 was eagerly awaited by modelers, who expected the kit to become the “definitive” Gustav in 148, in the way their Spitfire IX took that position for Spitfire kits after its release.  Unfortunately, Eduard managed to make some mistakes in measurements, which resulted in a internet firestorm as the disappointed and jilted lovers expressed their dismay and anger.  Things became so extreme that some Very Well Known Serious Modelers made what can only be called Damn Fools Of Themselves, with ridiculous claims that the kit was “over-scale” by anything from 1/47 to 1/45, depending on the level of what must have been alcoholic stupor the complainer was in when they pulled out their measuring sticks. 

          In fact, the kit is 1/48, and Eduard is guilty of using plans and drawings that were as accurate for the 109 as were the “marvelous” Aero Detail plans used by Hasegawa for their 1/48 Spitfire IX kit back in 2001.  Outside of wingspan (4mm too much) and fuselage length (2mm too long) all other measurements of all other parts are exactly the same as the 1/48 Zvezda Bf-109F kit, commonly considered the “gold standard” in the 109Nutz Association.  Comparing the Eduard kit with the Zvezda kit, cooler heads have noted that the extra fuselage length appears to be in the area between the rear of the cockpit and the leading edge of the vertical fin, while the 2mm difference in each wing is found in the center of the wing in the area of the wing flaps.

          When I first built a review model of this kit, I found that I could cut off 2mm from the outer end of each wing and then attach the wingtip, having only to clip the aileron and the leading edge slat by the same amount.  Doing so lets the model sit next to other 109s from other manufacturers without the wing calling attention to itself.  Technically, this isn’t right since the aileron and the slat are the correct span, and the additional span is in the flap.  However, as one noted Experte pointed out, one cannot cut the wing in that area successfully.  Most modelers appear to be leaving the wing alone, or clipping the end as I did in the name of “visual accuracy” even if it isn’t technically accurate.  The final decision of cut or don’t cut is for the modeler to decide.

          The surface detail of this kit is as nice and petite as that found on the Spitfire IX kit, and is certainly the best of any 109 kit in any scale.  All control surfaces are molded separately, so they can be posed dynamically.  The cockpit is the best and most-accurate kit cockpit of any 1/48 Bf-109 model.  The kit provides only the Messerschmitt and WNF “Beules.” The Profipack version includes the usual photoetch frets that provide extra detail for the cockpit and such items as the wing radiators.  The kit provides decals for five different airplanes.  Unfortunately, the most colorful option is for an Erla-built Bf-109G-6, which requires a modeler to either replace the right side “Beule” with an Erla Beule from a Hasegawa kit (it’s a drop fit) or to make the little “tongue” from plastic.


          I first started with the wing sub-assembly, since I planned to make that 2mm cut on each end and modify the ailerons and slats in the name if “visual look”.  Once I did that I proceeded to assemble the multi-part wheel wells (which aren’t as fiddly as those of the Spitfire), then assemble the wing and attach the radiator flaps and wing flaps in the down position.  I didn’t waste my time on adding the photoetch additional radiator detail, since you can’t see anything in there anyway.

          I then proceeded to paint the cockpit parts with Tamiya “German Grey” which is “close enough” to RLM66 for my liking, then to attach the various photoetch detail parts after assembling all the plastic parts.  I opted not to use the photoetch rudder pedals since my experience is they are easily knocked off after being attached with CA glue, and besides there is not a lot of opportunity for even the most determined member of the Penlight Brigade to see anything in there once the cockpit is assembled.  I did use the photoetch instrument panel and the seatbelts.

          I then attached the cockpit to the right fuselage half, and proceeded to assemble the fuselage.  Since I was doing a Bf-109G-6/U2, I used the tall vertical fin parts and tall rudder. 

          With the fuselage all assembled, I attached the wing sub-assembly and the horizontal stabilizers with elevators in the down position.


           For those who would like a detailed description of how I do German winter camouflage, I’ll refer you to the special article I wrote a few years back that you can find here, and for those who can’t be bothered, what I did was give the model a WNF camouflage scheme in RLM 74/75/76, utilizing Xtracrylix, after painting and masking the yellow area on the lower engine cowling and the fuselage stripe, then applying thinned Tamiya Gloss White over the upper surfaces until only a hint of the lower pattern showed through in various places.  I then took a 1/4 inch flat brush and applied even-thinner Gloss White over that while the paint was still curing, in order to get light “brush strokes” into the finish.  When done, I applied a black “7" decal on the fuselage and then “brushed it out” with that quarter-inch brush and thinned Gloss White, so that it could still be seen through the paint.

          The Lifelike decals provide the best set of markings for this airplane, since they supply the correct number of tulip petals for the lower cowling.  The decals went on with no problem and snugged down under a coat of Micro-Sol.  I then painted the interiors of the fuselage and wing crosses with Xtracrylix RLM74 as called for in the kit instructions.  When all was complete, I gave the model several coats of Xtracrylix Clear Flat varnish.  I finished the painting by applying Tamiya “Smoke” for the exhaust and oil cooler stains. 


          Eduard has the angle of the landing gear wrong, so that it looks more like a Bf-109E when finished.  I shaved the attachment plugs of the gear legs and installed them at the correct angle.  I then attached the wheels and gear doors, and the tailwheel.  I finished by unmasking the canopy and attaching the Erlahaube canopy in the open position.  The photos of this airplane don’t show a lot of weathering since the winter camo covered any of that.


           Yes, it would have been nice if Eduard had gotten everything about this kit as nice and accurate as they did with the Spitfire.  As a model, it will build up to be one of the best-looking Bf-109s available, whether you leave the wings alone or clip them.  Those who demand rigorous accuracy should await the announced Zvezda Bf-109G-6.  In the meantime, those who have bought the kit will not be disappointed with the final result if a good-looking model is your goal.

August 2014

Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review kit.  Order yours at this link.

Thanks to Lifelike Decals for the decal sheet.

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