Academy 1/48 Bf-109K-4

KIT #: 12228
PRICE: $33.00 SRP
DECALS: One option

True Details Cockpit and Quickboost Exhausts


The Bf-109 does not really need an introduction.  It is the one of the most well known, seemingly most fought over in discussion boards, often discussed and probably most modeled plane in history.  There has been much written about it in many many many different places on the internet.


Black 4 of JG52 was a well known plane that was captured in May of 1945.  There has been some talk that it was the personal mount of Hartman or Graf because of the bright red tulip markings, but probably not.



This is the Academy/Hobbycraft Bf-109K-4.  It is a special boxing as it contains Cartograph decals which replace the terrible Academy ones and it has three metal detail parts (pitot tube and 2 gun barrels for the fuselage guns.)  The markings are for the well known Red Tulip’ed Black 4 of JG52. 


These kits aren’t as detailed as the Hasegawa 109s, but are straight forward simple builds.


The kit is similar to the parts breakdown of the Academy Bf109G-14.



It all began with the cockpit.  I had bought several resin cockpits to use over the years and had an extra True Details Bf-109K-4 cockpit kicking around so I decided to use it with this kit as the kit cockpit is rather simple.  This particular TD cockpit is not a big deal to assemble and the only issue I had was the time it took to sand down the casting block for the main cockpit tub.  Once cleaned up, the parts were painted RLM66 and the remaining details were hand painted various colors.  I removed all the kit supplied cockpit detail in the fuselage through use of a wood cutting tools and sanding.  I CA glued the Quickboost exhausts into place and then glued fuselage together and inserted the cockpit in place from underneath and secured it with CA glue.


The wings were glued together with no issues.  I added some thin plastic card strips to add some detail that was missing in the wheel wells.


Once wings and fuselage were assembled together, I threw the plane in the box for a week so that the glue would cure.


It took some filling and sanding to remove all the seams I needed to remove.  After that I polished the plastic with sanding cloths in preparation for painting.


The prop and stabs were glued on after painting while the canopy was masked.  I had painted the cockpit deck and canopy interior color when I preshaded the plane. 



The Bf-109K-4 was the standard late war RLM 74/75/76 combination.  The plane was primed with Tamiya RLM02 and various panel lines were preshaded with flat black and RLM66.  When it was dry, I sprayed on Poly Scale RLM 76 to the undersides and lower half of the fuselage (the wheel wells were masked) as well as the landing gear doors.  Once it was dry, I sprayed on the Poly Scale RLM74 and RLM75.  The mottling did not go as well as I hoped.  I had problems with this paint before and I thought it was my error and inexperience.  It seems I wasn’t entirely the issue here as I have had no problems with Luftwaffe mottling with Tamiya or Gunze paint.  After some touchups, I got it done and let the paint dry for a day before doing the other painting.   The canopy was painted at the same time.


Based on my previous experience with tulip decals and decals on complex shapes in general, I decided to paint the red tulips instead of use the kit decals.   Another reason (albeit a much smaller one) I have found that the color on the decals tends to be slightly different than the paint I use.


It took a lot of careful masking and measuring to get the first masks into position.  I did two Tulips at a time rather than all at once because it would be easier fix a mistake.  The white was painted first.  It took a couple of hours to do all of them.  I had to touch up a couple of them because I had put them in the wrong position according to the instructions.


The Red (RLM 23) was next.  I took my time to carefully mask off the white sections of two tulips.  I used Tamiya tape because I can see through it and it allowed me to align each piece so that there was a uniform thickness of white.  I added more tape to protect from the overspray and sprayed each tulip red.  The prop hub parts were sprayed at the same time.


There was a little bit of paint leaking through the tape, but I fixed it using a fine tipped toothpick dipped with white paint.


Once it was dry, I sprayed on a couple of coats of Tamiya Gloss in preparation for the decals.

This particular Academy kit came with Cartograf decals so there was no howling about decal problems.  I used all the decals except the Tulip decals.  There were no issues.


Apparently “Black 4” was in relatively good shape when it was captured so I only used a  thin watercolor wash and some exhaust/gunfire stains using the Tamiya Weathering set.  The excess was removed with wet Q-tips and Xtracrylix Flat Coat was sprayed on for the final coat of Xtracrylix Flat Varnish.


I added the metal gun barrels, metal pitot tube, wing weights, canopy, canopy wire and IFF antenna.  The landing gear had been previous painted (wheels were painted RLM66 (rubber) and gloss black (hub) while the gear itself was painted RLM02) and weathered (the oleos used foil to represent the chrome and the brake lines were made from 30 gauge wire) were glued in place.


The tail antenna was missing so I cut a triangular piece of plastic card, super glued one end of a piece of repair thread and then attached it to the piece of plastic card.  Once it was cured, I glued the plastic to the tail, drilled a hole based on the instructions, inserted the repair thread into the hole and secured it with CA glue.  The thread was tightened with an extinguished match.



The Academy/Hobbycraft K-4 is a nice easy kit to build even with the TD cockpit.  It has some accuracy issues and some of the detail very simplistic, but I think it is not enough to detract from building the kit for most people and the metal parts were a nice touch. The Cartograph decals were an obvious improvement over the in house Academy decals.  I recommend this kit for all skill levels.

Dan Lee

October 2012

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page