MPM 1/72 Bf-109T

KIT #

72066

PRICE:

$

DECALS:

Two aircraft

REVIEWER:

Mark Fordham

NOTES:

Short run kit

HISTORY

 Prehaps the most interesting conversion of the Bf 109 E was the Bf 109 T  series of carrier-borne fighters intended to operate from the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. Messerschmitt’s Augsburg designing office ahd been instructed to develop a specialized shipboard variant of the Bf 109E fighter  and consisted of adapting the basic Bf 109 E-1 in which the gross wing area was increased by the extension of each outer panel by 21 inches (54 cm). Catapult points were added and an arrester hook was attached aft of the seventh mainframe, the local structure was strengthened  to absorb the stress. The T was fitted with manually folding outer wings.

When work on the Graf Zeppelin was halted in May 1940 the assembly of the 60 Bf 109 T-1 fighters by the Gerhard Fieseler Werke was halted until the decision was make to complete the remaining aircraft as T-2’s without carrier equipment and deliver them as land based fighter-bombers suitable for operation from short strips.

 The Bf 109T-2 were delivered to III/JG 77 and later to I/JG 77 operating out of Norway.

THE KIT

MPM’s 1/72nd scale Bf109 T is one of this manufactures earlier efforts and has been upgraded with a bag of Resin bits and a Etched brass fret consisting of a very nice instrument panel, rudder pedals and seatbelts.

All MPM’s parts along the edges are covered in bumps and ridges that need to be carefully sanded off before use and it goes without saying that a bath in soapy water is the order of the day to clean up the mold release agent

 Construction begins with the careful removal and cleaning up of the solid one piece wing, begin solid the wheel-well detail is cast in and is already boxed in (thankfully)

I was going to do a "What-if" type T with folded wings and promptly cut the outer wings off along the molded lines. but as true to my luck I  found out afterwards that the Bf 109 T was never designed to have folded wings I decided to save that idea for a later hypothetical Navalised Fw 190D-9T and do this one out of the box and glued the wings back together.

CONSTRUCTION

MPM give you a little bag full of resin cockpit details including side walls, floor, seat and rudder pedals, these were cleaned up and carefully painted and drybrushed to bring out the detail. The instrument panels is made up of two pieces of etched brass with a thin sheet of plastic with the etched dials sandwiched between them, on assembly they certainly look the part and put a lot of 1/48th scale cockpits to shame for detail.

Once the fuselage was glued together and the one-piece wing joined it was time for the filler, The joints around the lower wing/fuselage needed a certain amount of filler but the upper fuselage just needed a light scrape and sand. At this point the fuselage gun ports were drilled out and the forward engine vents were sharpened up and cleaned out. Hollow Guns were stretched and cut from the plastic Cotton Bud  (Q-Tip) shafts to the desired thickness and added, this really make a huge difference to the look of the model and is an easy way to make gun barrels if you are like me and can not get access to hypodermic needles or brass tubing thin enough.

 Tailplanes were given the once over and added and trying to clean up the tailplane struts drove me crazy as they were badly “bumped and ridged”.

I originally used the resin undercarriage legs supplied with the replacement resin bits but found them, while perfectly detailed and scaled, just to damn thin to support the weight of the model, even after one night my “T” was doing a very good impression of a bandy legged Giraffe. So off came the resin legs and the original plastic ones were used, nowhere near as detailed but at least the prop blade wasn’t touching the ground! I did however use the pre-weighted resin wheels after filling a couple of very small pin holes in one of them.

 With the “T” Sitting on its undercarriage it was wheeled of to the paint shop for it’s first coat of primer.

CAMOUFLAGE & MARKINGS

Which one to do? That is for me the hardest choice when trying to choose what version or set of marking I would pick when doing a model, MPM gives you a choice of a BF 109 V-17a  with full arrester gear W. Nr. 301, Travemunde or a “Non Naval” Bf 109 T-2 of JG 77 Wallisheck April 1941. The T-2 ended up being my pick because it had a nice looking mottled fuselage (and as you all know I’m a sucker for mottle!) The instruction sheet state Humbrol colors so after a overall coat of RLM 65 Hellblau (Humbrol H65) the RLM 71 Dark green (Humbrol H 116) was applied as per instruction sheet and left to harden up for a few days.

The wing camouflage and upper fuselage were masked off and the final color of RLM 02 Grey (Humbrol H78) was sprayed on and then the fun bit began. the fuselage mottle was then carefully applied using a Paasche airbrush spraying about 15 p.s.i. After many touch-ups and repaints the desired effect was produced.

Due to overwhelming work commitments during the last few months of 2001 and the beginning of 2002 the kit was then packed away for 4 months, only just seeing the light of day last week. After spending hours tracking down all the bits and pieces that had escaped the box after being shelved it was time to finally finish the beast.

After the now almost  required coats of future was gunned on and left to dry the Decals were applied with no problems apart from some slight slivering on the fuselage side codes. The swastika's are made up from two separate pieces that defied all attempts to get them  to line up properly, (Since the photos have been taken the swastika have been removed and replaced from a set of generic ones from Siga Decals).

Finally a light coat of Humbrol Satin with a few drops of Tamiya flat base added was sprayed over the model to seal in the decals and cat hairs.

CONCLUSIONS

The MPM Bf 109 T turned out to be a nice little model that is in the grasp of most modelers, Highly recommended as a first limited run kit or someone sick of "shake and bake" kits. As New Zealand approaches  winter again I hopefully will have time to do more of these limited run kits Like MPM's BF 109T

REFERENCES

Tom Choy's beautiful 1/48th BF 109 T also by MPM

Mark Fordham

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

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