Hobbycraft 1/48 Hispano Ha-1112-M1L

KIT #

1523

PRICE:

$15.98 MSRP

DECALS:

1 Spanish AF, many BoB movie planes

REVIEWER:

Olivier Lacombe

NOTES:

The two Staffel from Battle of Britain can be made, but see below.

HISTORY

During World War II, Spain maintained a somewhat neutral position in Europe.  On one side, it made sure not to start a fight with Germany, but it also made arrangements to help the Allies in some sort of ways.  For example, they manoeuvred politically to stop Germany from invading Gibraltar and thus putting a serious dent in Britain’s defence of the Mediterranean and Spain was one step closer to liberty for many shot down or escaped airmen.   

Spain’s friendship with Germany went back to the Spanish Civil War and the Condor Legion which helped put Franco at the head of the country and crush the Republicans.  It was thus logical that Spain looked at German designs for its own Air Force.  The He 111 was one of the bombers used by the Condor Legion and at the end of hostilities, 58 remained in Spain.  The crews loved the aircraft and arrangements were made to procure a manufacturing licence for Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA). 

 Apart from this bomber, in 1942, the Bf 109G-2 was selected for production at Hispano-Aviación and 25 machines were sent by Germany to speed up the process.  The airframes arrived safe and sound, but bombings prevented the engines from arriving, and the Spanish engineers had to adapt the aircraft to take a Hispano-Suiza engine instead.  The tail was offset to counter the torque of the Hispano-Suiza which revolved in the opposite direction of the DB.  This first version was dubbed the HA-1109-J1L but it wasn’t performing enough and was phased out in 1947.

 In 1951, the HA-1109-K1L made its debut with a French Hispano-Suiza HS-12Z-89 of 1 300hp under the cowling and until 1954, around 200 were built.  Armament was of wing mounted machine guns and 4 under wings 80mm Oerlikon rockets.  The next step was to install a Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 (the Merlin torques in the same direction as the DB, but the Spanish didn’t offset the tail again, and that makes these birds extremely tricky on the ground) driving a four-bladed Rotol propeller and the first such aircraft, the –1109-M1L made its maiden flight in 1953.  The deep scoop under the nose made the aircraft named Buchón after a deep-throated pigeon from northern Spain.  The final version was the HA-1112, similar to the –1109-K1L but with two 20mm canons in the wings instead of the machine guns and 8 rockets instead of four.  Production ceased in 1956 and training versions were produced along with the fighter-bombers.

 After they were phased out, seventeen were given a new life as actors in the epic Battle of Britain motion picture, where they played the role of Major Foehn’s and Major Falke’s (Galland look-alike) red and yellow nosed bastards.  Nowadays, one is still flying in California, and another one is poking holes in the wild blue yonder in France, at la Ferté-Alais. 

THE KIT

What you get is the typical Hobbycraft offering : 3 sprues of light-grey styrene, one with parts exclusively for the Buchón, such as the fuselage, prop, cowl bulges, spinner, rockets, canons and their fairings and 2 sprues with Gustav bits and pieces (a spinner is included for the DB version).  The interior is fairly complete with pedals, trim wheel, and the engine-mounted cannon of the Gustav that you will have to discard, because RR Merlins never had such a weapon.

 The marking sheet is excellent, with markings for one natural-metal Spanish aircraft and almost all of the movie’s machines : Major Foehn’s red-numbered Hispanos, but curiously, Hobbycraft doesn’t give you the yellow numbers for Major Falke’s outfit, so you have to rely on white ones or get yellow ones where you can.  Another odd omission is the lack of chevrons to depict the squadron leaders’ personal airplanes and furthermore, stencils are not provided, but such sheets are easy to find for the 109.  One nice touch is the green stripes for the canopy framing, but the colour is somewhere between RLM 70 and 71.  And yes, the swastikas are provided, albeit in two pieces.

 The instruction sheet is better than what you can expect from Hobbycraft, with reference degrees, millimetre spacing for certain parts, and most of all, the aircraft actually looks like what it’s supposed to be on the sheet!  However, no interior colour references are given, so you will have to rely on research to get it right.

CONSTRUCTION

I started out the usual way, with the cockpit.  Not knowing what paint I would use, I watched the movie until I was convinced enough to paint everything Model Master Olive Drab.  The details were then picked out with flat black and everything was glued in place (save for the gun butt) and touch ups were made as necessary, along with light aluminium dry-brushing on the floor.  The cockpit was then glued to one fuselage half (disregard the “trim to fit advice” in the plan, I found it to be unnecessary) then was matched to its opposite.  Everything was then set aside for a while.

 The wings deserve a special treatment : before they are glued, you have to drill small holes in the bottom piece to allow the fixation of the rocket racks if you intend on building a Spanish Air Force version and you have to open the shell chutes.  Also, on the top halves, you can open holes to better install the wing bulges, but I didn’t and the fit didn’t suffer much.  Once the holes were dealt with, the wings were mated with the fuselage along with the stabs and the putty work started.

 The seams are not bad at all, but I always putty my aircrafts up with Tamiya Putty.  This one was no exception and  after everything was wet sanded, I primed the joints with Testor Combat Grey (little jars).  When I was satisfied with the results, I added the cowl bulges and the tail plane struts, but I discarded the machine gun tube thingies, since they look awful and are not really apparent if not totally absent on the movie aircrafts.  These lack any positive location pins, so you’ll have to rely on your eye to ensure that they are symmetric.  I glued the gun barrels without the fairings and the landing gear legs on, as the movie clearly show that the doors and the legs are the same colour. 

 Before gluing the spinner to the prop and the back plate, I drilled a hole in the middle of it since Buchón Bf 109 look alike all have this feature, but Spanish aircrafts in service never had it.  The interior of the spinner was painted flat black to avoid any transparency effects.  For the wing bulges, since I didn’t drill the hole, I faced a small challenge.  Where the heck to they go?  The plan is vague about it, but in the movie, when Major Foehn climbs in his machine prior to the first German attack, you can clearly see where they should be.  Also, I held the model before a strong light and marked the location with a pen.  Again, eye symmetry was used for proper alignment.  Finally, the radio mast was glued in place and the plane was shipped by road (literally!) to the paint shop.

PAINT

The cockpit was masked and the entire underside and fuselage sides were sprayed with Model Master’s RLM 65, along with the wheels, painted that same colour (I have no idea why, because all my references show the wheels painted Olive Drab or RLM 71, but anyway, I like the look of it.)  After that, the sides and the underside were masked and the model was given a coat of Model Master RLM 71.  The plan is really good when it comes to painting the splinter, but I modified it for ease of painting : the top cowl has the demarcation line closer to the windshield and on the left wing (again, I have no clue why), the demarcation line is not at the wing root, but about a quarter of an inch out.  Once everything was properly masked with Tamiya tape, RLM 70 finished the job.  The spinner was given a coat of Model Master RLM 04 and it was time to complete the build.

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES

I painted the tires on the wheels and I hand painted the tail wheel RLM 65 before gluing it to the proper location.  Hobbycraft have you enlarge the hole and  cut a length of the strut before attaching it to the fuselage.  I complied with the hole enlargement, but declined the cutting, applying glue then inserting it until I was satisfied with it.  I glued the wheels on the struts and made sure they canted outwards to give my Buchón the proper ungainly look.

 The exhausts are moulded on a plate that you glue right under the cowl bulges.  It goes along very well and I painted mine with Model Master Jet Exhaust, since the colour is almost like a brand new exhaust set.  At this point, the pitot tube was hand painted RLM 70 and the tip with Chrome Silver.  The small aileron weights had been glued prior painting, but they had been knocked off (Nein!) and I carefully glued them back on with superglue.  The propeller assembly was glued in place with white glue, the gun tubes were hand brushed Gun Metal and the aircraft was once again ready for the next step, decals.

DECALS

My Buchón is one from Major Falke’s outfit, Weiss 2 (but it should be Gelb 2 to be exact, but I’m not going to fuss about it) and I used the kit’s decals, they went on perfectly, even without a gloss coat.  Take care when choosing which squadron insignia you choose, because the two movie squadrons have shields that are extremely similar.  Major Foehn’s has a swastika in it, but not Major Falke’s.  I had no problems whatsoever with the two parts swastikas and the large numbers with lots of clear film didn’t silver at all.  The only thing wrong I see with the decals is that the under wing crosses seem a tad large, but it’s not that bad and you can always find a replacement. 

CONCLUSIONS

I am really pleased with this kit, in fact I think it’s my favorite.  The awesome look (in my opinion!) of the Casa along with the neat Luftwaffe splinter makes for a striking model.  The kit is easily built, I recommend it to anyone, and as for references, you only have to pop that VHS cassette in the player! 

REFERENCES

 TAYLOR, John W.R, Combat Aircraft of the World, New York, Berkley Windhover Books, 1977.

 RUDHALL, Robert J, Battle of Britain Film the Photo Album, Worcester, Ramrod Publications, 2001.    -----» a must, go get this book!

 HAMILTON, Guy, Battle of Britain, MGM/United Artists, 1969.  (motion picture)

Olivier Lacombe

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