One of the truly great fighters ever produced, the Bf
109 also stands as the most widely produced fighter in aviation history and
the mount of the most prolific aces of World War Two.
In continuous frontline service from the
beginning to the end of the war, the Bf 109 began life with such advanced
features as all-metal, flush-riveted, monocoque construction, a closed
canopy, automatic leading edge extensions, and retractable landing gear.
Various attempts to replace it always fell
short, and the Bf 109 could more than hold its own in the hands of a
competent pilot at the end of the war, despite the fact that its basic
design was at least a decade old at that point.
Early versions saw action over Poland in 1939,
and then became the chief nemesis of the RAF during the bitter fighting over
the English Channel during the summer of 1940.
But it would be over the skies of the
Soviet Union where the Bf 109 would rack up absolutely
Several different pilots scored more than 200
kills in the Bf 109, and one, Erich Hartmann, shot down an unbelievable 352
To put this in perspective, the highest scoring
Allied ace of the war was Ivan Kozhedub of the Soviet Air Force – with 62
Flying against overwhelmed Russian forces that threw
thousands of outdated aircraft into the air, Bf 109 pilots were able to
amass scores unheard of in the West.
When Spitfires, Mustangs, and Thunderbolts
began prowling the skies over Germany
in 1944 however, the Bf 109 saw its fortunes change.
Fighting over its home soil, its days as a
frontline fighter were numbered.
Still, the Bf 109 will always be remembered as
one of the most iconic weapons of the war.
The most widely produced variant of the Bf 109
was the Bf 109G-6.
Erich Hartmann flew several different G-6s over
the “Ostfront”, always labeling them with an affectionate nickname for his
Hartmann’s life story is truly amazing; in some ways
his aerial exploits during the war are less interesting than his harrowing,
ten year period of captivity in the postwar Soviet Union as well as his
reinstatement in the jet-equipped Luftwaffe following his release.
Hasegawa’s 1/48 Bf 109G-6 is a
well chronicled model, so I’ll spare the details.
Suffice to say that the model is molded in light
gray plastic and is of very high quality with finely recessed panel lines
and a nicely detailed cockpit.
of this kit was quick and smooth.
I added a few parts to the model to increase the
level of detail.
I used an Eduard Zoom Color Photo Etch set to
enhance the instrument panel and cockpit area.
An “Erla Haube” canopy was sourced from
Squadron, and an Eagle Parts
resin spinner was added.
I also used a set of resin exhausts from
While these additions were relatively minor and
inexpensive, this model quickly became one of the most severe cases of AMS
I’ve had since I built (and still haven’t finished) my latest 1/35 M3 Stuart
sprayed a primer coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 onto the aircraft and then
checked for any seams that needed to be touched up.
I then airbrushed Testors Acrylic RLM 66 over
the masked clear canopy parts to replicate the dark gray of the inside of
the canopy frames.
During the same session I pre-shaded the panel
lines as well.
Next I airbrushed Testors Acrylic RLM 04 on the
undersides of the wingtips, underneath the cowling, and the band around the
These parts were then masked off with Tamiya
The underside was airbrushed with Testors
Acrylic RLM 76 Light Blue, and then I applied the RLM 74/75 pattern to the
wings and upper fuselage, spraying it all by hand.
I masked off the root areas of the wings and
horizontal stabilizers, and then sprayed the RLM 76 on the fuselage sides,
being careful not to overspray the RLM 74/75 on the upper fuselage.
Once this had dried I applied the RLM 74/75
splotches and spots on the fuselage sides, and then lightened the mix of
each and sprayed some random patches on the wings and upper fuselage to
The exhausts were hand-painted Testors Rust, and
then the machine guns, prop hub, and tires were hand-painted Tamiya XF-69
Both the exhausts and the machine guns were
lightly dry-brushed with Testors Steel.
The prop blades were
Testors RLM 70 Black-Green, and the wheel wells and landing gear were
painted Testors RLM 02.
I painted the sides of the wheel well Testors
Leather to simulate the leather covers that were often fitted to those
Future was then airbrushed onto the whole model in
preparation for the decals.
The Aeromaster decals worked just fine with
Walthers Solvaset; no bubbling or other annoying behaviors arose (the same
cannot be said of me after eating pizza…)
I airbrushed a coat of Future over the whole
model again to seal the decals.
that had cured for a couple of nights I applied a wash of 50/50 Lamp
Black/Raw Umber oil paint to all of the recessed panel lines.
I then airbrushed a coat of Testors Lacquer Flat
Finish over the whole model, and then airbrushed a very thin 50/50 mix of
Tamiya Black/Red Brown over the panel lines, exhaust areas, and behind the
Next I added some paint chips around the nose
cowling, cockpit area, and wing roots using a Silver Berol pencil.
My final weathering step was to airbrush a bit
of Tamiya Desert Yellow on the tires to simulate some dust and dirt.
I painted the wingtip lights, glued on the
prop, pitot tube, and canopy, and then completed the model by adding the
antenna wire using “EZ-Line” from Bobe’s Hobby House in
Sometimes it seems like adding on those final
fiddly details takes as much time as building the model!
If you haven’t tried Hasegawa’s
1/48 Bf 109G-6 yet there is nothing to fear.
It is a rapid, pleasant build that presents no
I can see why it such a popular kit, and also why many
modelers enjoy building their own Gruppe of Bf 109s!
Osprey Publications, Aircraft of the Aces #37,
“Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front”
Squadron/Signal Publications, Aircraft in Action
#57, “Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Action, Part 2”
Squadron/Signal Publications, Aircraft Walk
Around #43, “Messerschmitt Bf 109G”