Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109G-2
KIT #: 09588
PRICE: Ä29.95
DECALS: Two JG 54 options
REVIEWER: Sjon van der Heiden
NOTES: Verlinden Super Update Me-109G-2 no 1302 used

HISTORY

Just about everything has already been written about the infamous creation of Willi Messerschmitt. All the more surprising that really very little is known about JG 13 which nonetheless flew exclusively with the Bf 109 throughout the entire war. As of the autumn of 1941 all their aeroplanes wore a highly experimental camouflage scheme consisting of irregular polygons. Only one photograph is known to exist of such an aeroplane. Itís weiŖe doppelwinkel, the 109 G2 of
Gruppenkommandeur Maj. L. Schlemiel (Stab III./JG 13). As nighttime turned into day, he was forced to attempt a belly landing, because something happened to him while he was flying home. He severely damaged the portside wing when the plane finally came to a stop at the end of a muddy field, only 24 hours from Tuzla. Several days later it was partly dismantled and transported back to base. Here is where the photograph was taken. As grainy as that picture is, it still gave me a pretty good idea of what it must have looked like.

It was obvious that to recreate the state the aircraft was in I was going to need more help than from mister Hasegawa alone. Alongside aforementioned kit I also purchased Verlindens Super Update set for the Me-109G-2. And even then some serious scratch building would be involved.
THE KIT

Inside the top opening box are 8 sprues in grey coloured styrene and 2 clear ones. Not surprisingly quite a number of parts are not for use, 26 to be precise. Some of these are optional (like different styles of
drop tanks), others are for different subtypes of the G or even the F version. Some of these parts could have been omitted all together as both the entire E and L sprue are labelled not for use (machinegun cowling and main wheels). Kudos to Hasegawa for including these parts all the same. The gun cowling and main wheels for the G2 are provided as resin parts. The quality of these and the quality of the styrene mouldings are top rank. The detailing is superb, there is no flash and there will be no visible ejector pin marks once the model is completed. There are very shallow sinkholes on both flaps but I did nothing to try to correct this and once painted with matt paint they are impossible to discern. The interior is a bit Spartan but I suppose itíll be acceptable to most. No pilot is included.

There are two decal options. Decals are good and react perfectly to
Microscale solutions. A nitpicker might say that the white is really more like ivory but Iím not really into that kind of thing. The instructions are superb and colour call-outs are generic as well as for Gunze Sangyo and  Mr Color paints. All in all there are 95 parts to this kit, including the resin ones. Of these, 26 are labelled not for
use.

The Verlinden set consists of 52 resin parts and an additional 56 brass photo etched parts. Also included are a piece of flexible resin tubing and two diameters of brass wire. At Ä 31.95 it is actually slightly more expensive than the Hasegawa kit. The set consists of a new cockpit, a DB 605 engine, poseable control surfaces and several other exterior details. Not all Resin parts are as crisply moulded as one would like them to be. The detail on some parts is considerably softer than on most. Seven parts are cast onto a wafer which makes removing them particularly time consuming. On the other hand the castings are well done with only two or three pinholes. Only one piece was slightly damaged during handling and could be repaired with Evergreen sheet. On the downside, some detailing on the sidewalls isnít there (including the prominent fuel line on the starboard side) and will have to be scratch build. Also missing are the struts that support the engine bearers, nor is there any reference made to these in the instructions. After a good perusal these were exposed as a joke. They are vague at best, not to mention incomplete and sometimes downright wrong. You will definitely be needing pictures of the real thing to be able to finish this one. As a consolation, the brass photo etched parts are perfect. A very nice touch is the fact that besides the entire seat harnesses,
Verlinden also provides all the buckles separately. This way you can make your own straps out of Tamiya tape if you believe that will look better.
CONSTRUCTION


Construction starts withÖ the portside wing! Since this was going to be my first attempt at super detailing anything, I figured I had better see if I was any good at it. So, out came the razor saw and of went the wing. I also removed the wheel well, and opened the holes in the leg trough. Installing the photo etched walls of the wheel well was tricky as it involves a lot of bending and curving. Getting the edges flush with the underside of the wing is another time consuming chore, but since the insert is made of brass, itís easy to work with. The detail this insert provides is impressive. Too bad though it doesnít even remotely resemble the outlay of a G2 wheel well wall (or any other version I know of). In total Iíve spent countless hours searching for reference material on the 109, but I figured Verlinden would have done his homework properly and never bothered to search for any reference for the wheel well. Unfortunately, this turned out to be Verlinden's first mistake of many. I could have hidden most of it by using the photo etched canvas cover, but then I would be practically back to square one detail-wise, so Iíll rest with it in the knowledge most wonít notice.

After this I removed the lower wing panel to show of the rib structure in there. I duplicated the panel in wine bottle foil and bended it backwards, as if the panel had been ripped open during the belly landing. The internal bracing and several bulkheads had to be made from scratch by using Evergreen sheet of various thicknesses. All the lightening holes were made with a no. 11 blade gently turning around till the desired diameter is acquired. The hinges and eyelets were also made out of Evergreen sheet. First I made a hole and then I would cut the shape around it. I opened up some of the inspection hatches and made some covers. I suppose these hatches actually open up to something very important to inspect, but since I was unable to find out what was supposed to be behind them, they open up to a carefully black painted void. A lot of time went into thinning down the plastic around all the areas I opened up.

I scratch build some interior detail on the oil cooler flaps and replaced the inlet flap with Verlindens photo etched substitute. The aileron was cut of and replaced by the Resin one. But not before I had cut a big hole in that one too. I tried to simulate torn fabric by making some ribs out of styrene and cover these with tin foil in which I could then poke some holes. Nice experiment, but no cigar. Oh well, Iíll make sure to bend the wine foil panel in such a way it will hide most of it. The edges of the slat were thinned down and then I twisted it with the help of a candle flame.

By now the wing is bristling with detail. So much so, that the moulded on wing tip light looks a bit out of place. So I cut out the ďPerspexĒ section of the light and glued in a piece of styrene rod. After this had cured thoroughly, I cut it back to a mere 0.5mm to simulate a light bulb. I painted the whole affair silver and picked out the bulb in red. After this, two successive drops of Testors Kristal Kleer made for a Perspex cover. Quite an improvement, things are looking great.

Next up was the cockpit. Apart from some missing detail on the sidewalls it all looks decent enough. The fit is very good and the only trouble I ran into was self induced. Youíre supposed to assemble the photo etched trimwheels directly onto one another, but this way they look like one wheel, instead of two. So I put a piece of plastic in between them. And you already guessed: after this the whole affair is just this wee bit to wide to fit in there. But after a lot of dry fitting and fiddly things, I managed to get everything in place. As a matter of fact; the original styrene Hasegawa trimwheels look better, being three dimensional and all. But they would make for an even bigger problem. The missing detail was scratch build, the most prominent of all being the fuel line of the droptank. It was made out of copper wire with a tiny bit of clear stretched sprue in the middle. Little pieces of foil posing as rubber connections. I scraped away two moulded on switches from the instrument panel and replaced them with two photo etched switches from the spares box. I must admit I took a little shortcut with the instrument panel. The dials have some raised detail to simulate the hands and such. I simply highlighted these with white, while I should have cut out the individual dials of the instrument decal, and placed them in their respective bezels. That would have looked so much smarter. Contrary to what the instructions make you believe, the Revi C12 should not be assembled directly onto the instrument panel. So I used a piece of plastic to put a little distance between the panel and the gun sight. And while I was at it, I also added two electrical cables to connect it to the instrument panel. Impossible to see once the windscreen is in place, but at least I know itís there. When the time came to put the cockpit in between the fuselage halves it all fitted perfectly.

On to the engine. This takes up the better part of the Verlinden set, and it will take up the better part of your modelling time. All the detail is there, and if it werenít for the lousy instructions, this would actually be a decent kit. But now I think it is just impossible to complete the engine without the help of other references. Thank goodness there is a plethora of reference material on the internet alone, so allís not lost.

All wiring and plumbing are done by copper wires of different diameters. The ignition wires are particularly tiny, some 2-3mm. I glued straight pieces onto the engine block and let them cure thoroughly. Then I bent the other ends into place and I didnít even bother gluing them. The rest of all the plumbing is pretty hard work as they crisscross and interconnect with one another. You really have to figure out yourself what will be the best order into which to construct everything. By now things are beginning to go awry. The instructions will have you put the oil coolant header tanks way to far to the front of the engine. This is due to the fact the tanks are some 3mm to long. This should be taken off from the rear end of the tanks, and the middle of the tanks should be directly under the engine suspension points. If you do not get this right, the engine bearers will misalign and as a result, so will the entire engine. Now there should be 2 struts supporting the engine bearers but there are not. Nor are these mentioned in the instructions. They are easily scratch build, but not as easily installed. They interfere with the exhaust manifold. They shouldnít (and in reality they donít), but they do here. There is just no other way to fix this than to take some material from the back of the exhaust stacks. Needless to say I discovered this after gluing the exhausts in place. So off they came, and back on they went. After successfully reattaching them, I noticed they flare up, instead of sticking out at a 90ļ angle. I just didnít feel like getting them off once more to fix this problem and took my chances at nobody taking notice.

I scratch build a circular bracket round the coolant reservoir. This is only necessary when you leave off all of the front cowlings, otherwise the coolant reservoir and its bracket will be obscured by them. It is just as well to leave them off by the way, as the front cowlings are far from circular and will not align with the spinner plate. The spinner plate is supposed to be attached to the front cowling, and with this absent I attached it with the help of a brass pin. The pin will also double as a piece of the barrel of the 20mm canon. Painting was done as I went along. Most of it is semi gloss black to which I added a tiny bit of gun metal. All plumbing was painted aluminium. Some very subtle drybrushing was done and I made an ďAĒ out of a piece of white decal. The rust was simulated with the help of pigment powder. After this the assembly of the firewall was childís play. Well, apart from getting the pieces off that wretched wafer that is. Just be careful though as the attachment structure for the main landing gear is very delicate indeed.

Even though the port wing was removed, the main landing gear was still in place. I bended it a little as it probably got damaged during the emergency landing. I cut off the upper part of the landing gear doors and replaced it by a piece of Evergreen sheet at a slightly odd angle. I also battered up the door itself. I scratch build a brake wire and the attachment mechanism with which the landing gear attaches to the firewall framing. The tires are cast in resin and this was the first time I got weighted tires in a standard kit. It was also the first time I didnít need them! So I carefully sanded them to shape and filled in the weighted area and rescribed the thread pattern.

By now I had a wheel, a wing, a cockpit and the better part of an engine. It was time to get some work done on the actual aeroplane. First I had to get rid of quite a bit of plastic. The rudder was cut off in favour for Verlindens counterpart, as were all of the cowlings in front of the firewall. The wing root on the portside had to be cut off as well. This then had to be faired over with Evergreen sheet followed by a lot of  putty, sand, repeat. Some of the underwing fairings stick out from underneath and are quite visible. Thereís also the depression for the attachment point of the wing. So I replaced the plastic with wine bottle foil to get a better in scale thickness, and embossed the depression with the help of the original plastic part. The eyelets were once again made out of Evergreen sheet and the lightening holes were made twisting a no. 11 blade until the desired diameter. All cabling and wiring was left off till a later date. I opened up the compass compartment and made some internal detail (no compass though, as I initially thought it was the radio compartment and kept wondering why I was unable to find any reference for it). Finally the firewall and the gundeck were put into place. As I build the model minus the port wing, the installing of the firewall took some slight adjustments. In fact, the position of the main landing gear structure is now not entirely correct, as the firewall is designed to fit in between the two fuselage halves. In reality the beginning of this structure sits flush with the skin of the aeroplane, whereas the model shows a step of about 1mm (indeed, the thickness of the plastic fuselage half). I could have corrected for this, but then it would have been obvious the port and starboard side were asymmetrical. Then I figured that nobody would know these kinds of things anyway and didnít bother. The gundeck by the way, should not be cut along dashed line if not using part 23, as Verlinden would have you do. Perhaps you could do so if you were using part 23 (the gundeck cowling), but even then I would favour sanding it to fit instead of cutting it all together. I spruced up the gundeck a little by adding fine copper wire to simulate the many electrical cables.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Time to put some paint on it. I brush paint all my models with Humbrol Enamel paints. The fact the camouflage scheme of Maj. Schlemiels plane appears to be hard edged was quite welcome, as brush painting feathered edges can be quite challenging. I had to practice some artistic licensing colour-wise, as the available information only mentioned the
Reichsverteidigungs band to be green. As this was a really wacky scheme, I figured the base colour just might have been the illustrious greenish RLM 84. In my opinion Duck egg blue is the perfect approximation (donít let the name fool you). For the pattern of irregular polygons I settled on a bluish grey. The rudder is definitely white, but since all the front cowlings are removed there is no way in telling if the nose was painted differently. Since this really could have been anything, I figured I might just as well stick to the original scheme.

So I got some Tamiya tape and started cutting. This is hard work. Painting took me about one tenth of the time I needed to get this thing masked. Why, I spent the better half of an evening just getting all the masking off! Brush painting always produces thicker layers of paint than spray painting would, and this results in a noticeable step at the edges of the paint. All of these edges were sanded or scraped away to end up with a perfectly smooth finish.

There are two thingamajigs moulded onto the port side of the fuselage near the cockpit but I only discovered their function just after the completion of the initial painting. They are supposed to hold an
umbrella to keep the sun out of the cockpit. Obviously, this will only come in handy in the tropics, so they had to go. The affected paint was touched up invisibly (sort ofÖ).

I traced the panel lines with a soft graphite pencil and after this the model received a coat of Testors Gloss varnish (from an airbrush) in preparation of the decals. I was able to use all the kits decals, except for the geschwaders insignia. The decals settled down perfectly with the aid of Microscale solutions (a first for me with Hasegawa decals). After I washed the model to get rid of the setting solution residue I sprayed the model with Testors dull coat for the first time. At the beginning of this build I had wondered what to do about the rivets. Ignore them, or spent an eternity poking a few thousand holes in the plastic? I finally settled on drawing the rivets with a pencil. This way, they can only be seen from very, very close by and are virtually invisible from more then 30 centimetres away. I think this effect looks much better then actually poking the rivets in the plastic as this invariably gives an overdone impression. This was also the moment I really dinged up the model. I gave it a worn look by simulating chipped paint, scratches and sun bleaching. This was achieved with a combination of silver pencil, paint and pigment powder. I also used white pigments to tone down the black of the markings. After this it received its final coat of dull varnish. A final weathering should still be given, but first there are still some items to attach.
FINAL CONSTRUCTION

So far so good. But by now weíve come to a point, Iíve been dreading for quite some time. And yes, getting the engine attached to the firewall turns out to be impossible. Had I already mentioned the struts under the engine bearers were missing? Well, even if you scratch build them, they wonít do you any good in the attaching department. The struts will have to wiggle their way down to their attachment points and itís just not possible to get all four attachment points at their right location without smearing CA glue all over your model. Whatís also missing is the piece of the 20mm gun barrel between the firewall and the rear end of the engine. Itís hardly noticeable as it is obscured by a lot of equipment. But then I thought to use that barrel as a sturdy attachment point for the engine. Now getting a barrel in place was easy, but determining where to locate the hole in the engine proved to be more difficult. First I made a barrel of exactly the right size to fit between the firewall and the engine and glued it in place with the tiniest amount of glue. Then I put a dot of white paint at the end of it and dry fitted the engine to the firewall (still without the struts, as they would only interfere with dry fitting). This left a perfect white dot at the rear of the engine. Quite a deep hole was drilled and a larger barrel was firmly glued to the firewall. After a final test fitting of the engine, the struts were glued to it with the
help of a makeshift jig to ensure the correct angle and after this it was relatively simple to get everything in perfect alignment. Rock solid as well.

Weíre nearly there. The canopy was masked and painted (inside and out) and I simulated the two Perspex handles on the sliding panes with two very small drops of Testors Kristal Kleer. Verlinden does make a clasp for the opening portion of the canopy, but has overseen two diagonal struts in the corners of the windscreen. These were made out of copper wire, as was the canopy retainer. Now was also the time to install the seatbelt that can be seen hanging ever so casually over the rim of the cockpit. It took a lot of bending and tweaking, but I finally got it looking just right.

The propellers had to be bent every which way and I figured dipping them in boiling water would do the trick. Obviously not. So I tried a candle flame. The first one immediately shrivelled some 4mm shorter, but since itís bent, no one will notice. Numbers two and three were done with a little more care. After attaching them, the plane received its final weathering consisting of graphite and silver pencil to simulate fresh paint chipping, and a good coat of dust and soot, simulated with the help of pigment powders.

As is my usual, I made the aerial from one of my hairs, but itís definitely the last time I will do that. Not that Iím going bald (no reallyÖ), but itís like the darn things keep growing once they are attached. I do not have a degree in biology but itís either that, or my model has shrunk. Cause when just glued into place, the line was really taught, but since then it has slackened considerably. I still have to make a proper diorama in which the plane will take its rightful place and Iíll be sure to find a substitute for it before then.
CONCLUSIONS

Well, there you have it. Major Schlemielís plane become flesh. Albeit in quarterscale. Believe it or not but this project kept me occupied for over two years. I would say pretty good value for the money. The Hasegawa kit is just superb. I cannot give it enough credits. The
Verlinden set on the other hand is a different story. The level of detail is nowhere near that of the G6 set from Aires. Compared to that the gun barrels from Verlinden look like featureless lumps of resin. And then there are the lousy instructions, inaccurate parts or parts that are missing all togetherÖ Still, with a lot of work and even more patience, a decent model can be produced. And if itís a G2 you want to super detail, the Verlinden set is the only game in town as far as Iím aware of. I really enjoyed myself and Iím actually quite pleased with the result. Now all thatís left is building that diorama.

A special thanks to my dear friend mister Kraaijenbrink who was kind enough to make all of the photographs. Except of course the original picture of major Schlemiels planeÖ I shot that one.
REFERENCES

The 109 lair. Everything you ever wanted to know about this plane is all there. And that which isnít, is happily provided by mister Ritger himself once asked. Without him and his website, this build would not have come to completion. Thanks Lynn.

Sjon van der Heiden

September 2008

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