Hasegawa vs Academy Bf-109G-6

KIT #: 00916 and 1670
PRICE: $24.99/12.99
DECALS: Three options per kit
REVIEWER: Nathan Stevens
NOTES:  A solid one on one showdown


From Academy instructions:

In an attempt to improve on the Luftwaffe capabilities back in the 1930’s, Professor Willy Messerschmitt developed the Bf109.  The proving ground for this agile aircraft was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, where it proved superior to all opposing fighters.  During WWII the Bf109 Messerschmitt was used as an escort for German bombers during the Battle of Britain.  In this capacity it was shown that the Bf109 had too limited a range to be fully effective in that capacity so it was decided that it should be used as a defensive fighter.  As the war progressed the G version was developed to improve performance.  This version became the most extensively built of the Bf109.  To increase its capabilities a Daimler-Benz DB605A 1,475Hp 12 cylinder engine was used.  Since the Messerschmitt weighted in at only 6,900 lbs, it became a very powerful flying machine.  The main armament of the Messerschmitt Bf109G was a pair of 12mm machine guns mounted under the cowling ahead of the cockpit canopy.  Of course, they were synchronized to fire through the three bladed prop.  It was also armed with a 20mm MF151 or 30mm Mk108 cannon that was fired through the prop spinner.  With the improved horsepower and armament the Bf109G became one of the most respected fighter aircraft of WWII.  It was in this aircraft which was flown by Major Erich Hartmann that he achieved 352 confirmed kills.  It is thought that some 35,000 Bf109s of all versions were produced.  Many went into Czech Air Force service after the war, and was also used by the Israeli Air Force.

The Finnish government started negotiation for the contract for Messerschmitt Bf109G fighters late in 1942.  Following first delivery for 30 G-2’s, the delivery for G-6’s was started in March 1944 and the Finnish Air Force received a total of 111 G-6’s.  The Messerschmitt BF109G-6 showed a remarkable improvement over the previous fighters employed by the Finnish Air Force.  It was superior to all the Russian fighters as to performance and could outmaneuver the La-5 and the Airacobra fighters employed by the Soviet Air Force against Finland though it showed a few shortcomings due to the poor manufacturing standard later in the war and the continuous engine problems due to the low oil pressure.  Finnish pilots flying Bf109G’s scored 663 victories while 27 Bf109G’s were downed during 1943-44 conflicts.  After the war Bf109G was used as a standard fighter by the Finnish Air Force till the last ones were phased out in 1954 with some converted into night fighters recognized by the “Moon and Bat” emblem.  There were eight pilots scored 20 or more victories while they were flying BF109G’s in the Finnish Air Force.  The most successful pilot was Warrant Officer I.Juutilainen who scored 58 victories with Bf109G in a total of 94 victories in his carrier. 



 This kit represents what we’ve come to expect from semi-current generation of Hasegawa 1/72.  It starts with a basic cockpit with lightly detailed floor and seat, seperate stick, instrument panel with decal, and no sidewall detail.  The canopy is molded as one piece so for most the interior is adequate as you can see little through all the canopy framing anyway.  Options include a one-piece Erla Haube canopy, early and late headrest armor, R-6 underwing 20mm cannon, tropical intake, FuG 16 radio antennae, and R-3 Type C centerline droptank.  Other highlights are the separate tail suggesting optional use of the tall tail (though it’s not included), separate prop blades, separate exhaust and fairings, separate upper cowl, tiny aileron horn balances, and machined wheels.  The antennae mast appears to be somewhere between the short and tall version and the elevator trim tabs also appear to be a compromise in width.  The DF loop is appropriately small though a touch thick (a difficult hurdle in this scale.)  Cowl bulges as usual aiding in backdating if one is inclined to do so.

 Markings for this “Finish Air Force” boxing include:

 MT-452 of Night Fighter Squadron 31, Flying Regiment 3 during June 1948.  This is in a mostly standard scheme of 74/75/76 with RLM 66 Erla Haube canopy.  Piloted by Sergeant E. Aromaa

 MT-402 of Fighter Squadron 33, Flying Regiment 3, Summer 1949 painted up for pylon racing during the midsummer festivals in a scheme Hasegawa has chosen to call “green:!  The decals themselves suggest quick, mask-free hand painting, a nice touch.

 MT-451 of 34th Fighter Squadron, Flying Regiment 1 during July 1944.  This is again 74/75/76 with the late canopy and optional swastika type markings or a more politically correct cross.  Flown by Staff Sergeant E. Lyly


 This is another of Academy’s better works.  It’s largely similar to the Hasegawa offering but currently rates at a fraction of the cost (like about half. Ed).  The cockpit is of better detail including a touch of sidewall detail, raised instrument detail, separate seat, and 2 separate trim wheels.  Options include trop filter, pressed or inserted gun troughs in separate upper cowls, FuG 16 underwing antennae, R-6 underwing cannon with separate gun barrels, R-3 installation with optional Type B or Type D drop tanks, and a right cowling bulge with the oil pump blister and generator cooling scoop for those doing a trop version.  The rest of the parts breakdown is similar to Hasegawa with a separate tail (no tall tail), separate exhaust and fairings, horn balances, Df loop, and machined wheels.  The antennae mast again seams ‘medium’ but the elevator tabs look properly small.  The prop is a single piece.

 Markings are all in 74/75/76 and include:

 An R6 version of 7/JG 53 in Sicily, July 1943, flown by Uffz. Georg Amon

 Kdr.II./Jg 52 of Hptm Gerhard Barkhorn

A Trop of 7/JG 27, Oblt. Emil Klade, January 1944 in Greece


Both kits are comparable all through the construction process so I’ll skip the obvious and get straight to the gory details.  The fit of both kits comes well within the range of what one might expect upon opening the box.  The detail is well done as is the fit.  Very little filler was needed on either. 

 Starting from the front, the Academy kit has a more pointed spinner and a shallower oil cooler scoop which looks more appropriate for an ‘F’.  The props are nearly identical though the Hasegawa offering looks at most a scale half inch broader in chord but this could simply be a difference in the amount of seam sanding required.  The Hasegawa supercharger intake slightly fatter but both look fine to me.  The Academy cowling didn’t fit particularly well and needed some filler.  Fit-wise this is the kit’s weak point.  The cannon breech bulges differ greatly between the two.  Academy’s is of larger diameter, covering more surface area but is relatively thin and the profile is a bit squared off particularly towards the front.  Hasegawa’s bulges are almost perfectly round, smaller and look a bit inflated.  Neither fit perfectly so a touch of thin filler would be welcome on both kits.  I chose not to for the purpose of photo clarity.  Academy’s exhaust stacks are more pronounced and protrude more making the less detailed Hasegawa offerings look more accurate.

 Underneath is the general area where Hasegawa started taking on filler, as seen in the picture.  Both kits have the correctly offset drop tank mount.  Academy’s piece has a little more detail but Hasegawa’s offers crisper molding.  Academy also offers much better detail under the wing, most of this is rivet work which adds a lot of depth when it comes time for the washes.  Each kit differed greatly in their approach to the underwing cannon.  Academy offers a one piece gondola with separate cannon barrels.  Hasegawa choose to split the gondola in half with the barrel molded to one side creating a little more seam work.  Neither kit offers wheel well detail of any sort.  Both are somewhat boxed in but neither really hit the mark.  Academy managed to recreate the tunnel for the gear leg but Hasegawa choose to skip it.  Both kits offer similar landing gear and wheels with thin and detailed gear doors.  The legs on the Academy kit are slightly more detailed but Hasegawa’s tire tread grooves are more sparse which looks better to me.

 Academy splits upper and lower wings into complete halves creating a seam at the rear whereas Hasegawa went their usual route with the tips, ailerons, and flaps molded into the top half.  Both fit fine so either is fine with me.  With that said, the Academy control surfaces are way more pronounced, perhaps a bit overdone while the Hasegawa surfaces are subdued to the point of blending in with the panel lines.  The upper wing tire bulges are another glaring difference.  Academy’s bulges are shallow and narrower.

The canopies are near matches, both fit the same with the square cut at the lower forward edge and both would need some filler at this point to look correct.  Nearing the end, I found the fit of the Academy tail superior to Hasegawa’s requiring no filing or sanding to get proper fit.  The Academy tail itself appears a bit too long in chord and/or too short in height compared to the Hasegawa which also offers a more realistic tail wheel with a well molded dust cover.  One fault I picked up right away in the Academy offering was the shape of the stabilizers.  They looked far too squared off so I took to sanding them into shape.  In retrospect I can see I overdid it but it still looks better than before.  These pieces are also slightly deeper in chord then the Hasegawa version.  They still don’t look quite right but they’ll do.

Side note:

Now, some of you may notice none of my kits have aerial wires.  With my limited available space, kits get moved around and reorganized regularly.  As most of you know, the wire is among the first to go so I leave it off.  It will be a simple enough task to add the wires when I’m rich and famous and have plenty of room a few years down the road, right?


I choose to go with the kit markings in the Academy kit.  For my first 109 I figured it would be best to start with a 74/75/76 scheme and the JG 53 scheme fit the bill just fine. 

The colors are as standard as it gets.  I painted the white tail band and yellow nose first, masked for the RLM 76 and then shot the 74/75 though scotch tape masks for the splinter.  The mottle using was done freehand using my old Iwata airbrush.  The decals are typical of Academy quality.  Every little tiny stencil is supplied dragging the project on for hours.  They’re a bit translucent so the white doesn’t match well with the tail band I painted but they settle into nooks and crannies just fine.  Where the effort comes in is getting rid of the silvering which I always seem to fight with Academy decals.

I want a good supply of Luftwaffe birds across my display before I jump into axis/allies so I rounded up the beautiful Eagle Strike 72012 sheet.  It contains markings for 6 109’s and only one in standard 74/75/76.  I went for a G-6 of unknown unit in the spring of ’45 camouflaged in 82/83 over 76.  It may be the Model Master paints I use but the 83 light green makes the 82 dark green look too brown in my eyes.  I sprayed most of the plane in 76 and then applied liquid mask for the ‘splotching’ on the fuselage sides.  The instructions weren’t clear on the point but I found it unlikely that the mottle would cover the upper wings.  I brought forth my beloved silly putty for the tight demarcation lines and worried little about overall quality as this was obviously field-applied.  When I tried to remove the liquid mask it choose to pull the underlying 76 with it.  So that was an entertaining waste of time and it was back to little bitty paint brushes to reapply the splotches by hand.  In hindsight, I should have doused the RLM 76 with Future giving the liquid mask a smooth surface that it wouldn’t so easily bind too.  It’s worked well for me over smooth Alclad so that will be an experiment for the future (so to speak).   The decals were far easier to apply.  They reacted perfectly to MM setting solution, requiring no solvent and no struggle.  As a bonus, being field applied camo I rejected all the stencils and just went for the basics.


 I can’t tell you what you should do but after having fought this campaign my vision is clear.  Both are great kits and a true joy to put together.  Each offers advantages over the other and each has it’s shortcomings.  There’s one major difference and that is price.  Older boxings of the Hasegawa kit are by no means hard to come by and if the price on one is ever comparable to Academy’s, I’ll take it.  At the same time when it comes to the local hobby shop, your likely to see the Academy kit priced at less than half of the Hasegawa kit.  The choice here is obvious.  Now, to see them side by side with a matching price tag, you can take your pick.  I’ll take both!

 Academy review kit courtesy of hiding money in the Paypal account so the wife doesn’t see.

 Hasegawa review kit courtesy of www.dragonmodelsusa.com You can find Hasegawa kits at your local shop or on-line retailer.

Nathan Stevens

April 2009

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page