Avis 1/72 Bf-109D-1
KIT #: BX 7210
PRICE: $14.95  at http://www.scale-model-kits.com
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit


Developed from the V10 and V13 prototypes, the "Dora" was the standard version of the Bf 109 in service with the Luftwaffe during the period just before World War II. Despite this, the type saw only limited service during the war, as all of the 235 Doras still in service at the beginning of the Polish campaign were rapidly taken out of service and replaced by the Bf 109E, except in some night fighter units, where some examples were used into early 1940. Variants included D-0 and D-1 Models, both with a Junkers Jumo 210D engine and armed with two wing-mounted and two nose-mounted 7.92 mm MG 17s.The D-2 was an experimental version with an engine mounted machine gun but this installation failed again. The D-3 was similar to the C-3 with two 20 mm MG FFs in the wings.

A total of 647 Bf 109D of all versions were built by Focke-Wulf, Erla, Fieseler, Arado and AGO. Messerschmitt is listed as having only four Bf 109D produced, probably the D-0 preproduction series with the serial production transferred to license manufacturers. Several Bf 109D were sold to Hungary and Switzerland. From the standpoint of visual identification when comparing it to the 109C, there is pretty much nothing to make one or the other stand apart. The D model simply had the same equipment as the C version, except the D model had a carburetor instead of the C model's fuel injection.


       This appears in all respects to be a new mold kit. The instructions state that this is a limited edition kit, which to most of us means short run and it very much appears to be just that. The somewhat soft light grey plastic is molded on three somewhat thick sprues. One clear sprue carried two somewhat thick single piece canopies.

The cockpit seems well appointed for this scale and there is good detail on the inside of the fuselage halves. The lower cowling/radiator section is well molded and made up of many parts, so I can foresee this being a bit of a fiddly construct in this area. A number of parts are quite small, such as aileron mass balances, oil cooler and some others, so care will be needed in construction. The kit features a separate rudder and the upper wings also include the ailerons and flaps, ensuring a relatively sharp trailing edge. Personally, I prefer things to be like this. The parts themselves are all a bit on the rough side when it comes to the edges, so all will need at least a good sanding. Sprue gates are commendably small for a short run kit. Many of these gates run onto the part itself so will need to be carefully cut free and sanded. This is, after all, a low pressure short run kit so one expects these things. I did find but one sink area, that being on the fuselage opposite some cockpit interior detail. Easy enough to fill and sand.

Instructions are well done and provide the usual illustrated drawings for construction steps. Each step lists the parts used. Color information is generic with RLM references provided as appropriate. They correctly call out RLM 02 for the interior color. Markings are for two planes. One is the box art aircraft from JGr102  as flown by Hannes Gentzen during late 1939 in the standard splinter camo of RLM 70/71/65. The other is a Condor Legion aircraft. It is shown as RLM 71 over RLM 65, but I'm inclined to think it was probably RLM 63 as photos of Condor Legion 109Ds are always a rather light shade when compared to those later done in a splinter scheme. This aircraft would have had a white spinner, rudder and wing tips. The decals are well printed and quite matte. Only use will determine how well they work.


   When you start on this one, keep telling yourself that this is a short run kit and you'll not have any troubles. By that I mean that all the parts will need a bit extra cleaning up, all the mounting holes will need to be enlarged or the pins on the parts will have to be reduced in size. You'll need to test fit every part that is glued together to be sure that the fit is good and most of these will need additional sanding to achieve that good fit. After all that, you'll need filler anyway. Well, at least I did.

I started with the cockpit on this one as there are not really any major subassemblies. This area had the seat and such glued in place and everything was painted RLM 02 Grey. For this kit, I decided to use the superb Agama line of enamel paints. I like them very much and their RLM shades seem to be among the more accurate available. When aligning all the bits in the interior, I made sure they all fit into a fuselage half properly. It is important that this be done or the halves won't close. A bit of detail painting was done on the molded in sidewall detailing, but I did not go overboard and you won't see much of this through the somewhat thick transparency.

The fuselage halves were then closed, trapping the interior bits along with the lower forward cowling piece. This has the radiator section in it and this section needed some trimming to fit properly. I then fit the upper cowling and here was my first use of a lot of filler. I eventually found that the cowling was still a bit too high as it wasn't masked all the way by the prop spinner. Avis also does not open the cooling slots in the front, but they are outlined so you can open them or did as I and paint them.

By far, the most work was with the wings. Thelower section has a large 'plateau' area in it that if not sanded down, will prevent the wing halves from properly mating. I tried one wing just doing the outer third, but it needs to have the whole wing done, at least on the leading edge. The wing/fuselage join was rather good though of course, filler was needed on the underside and front. No problem with the tail planes. The rudder was left off as it was to be painted white before installation.

The canopy was easy enough to mask and it needed some sanding work for a good fit. Trust me to think I had it all done only to find it wasn't perfect. There is a cooling intake for the upper right cowling that needs to be installed. This is a bit too tall and were I to do another of these kits, that would be sanded down a lot more before gluing.


 I chose to do the Spanish Civil War version. No pilot name is given, but apparently this was the aircraft of Werner Mölders. The kit instructions would have me paint this RLM 71 over RLM 65, but I believe it was RLM 63 on the upper surface so that is what I used. It is decidedly darker than RLM 02, a shade I'd have used 5-10 years ago, be we have learned a lot about early Luftwaffe colors since then. But first, the underside RLM 65 was painted as were the horizontal stab  braces and the outside of the gear doors. Gear legs, wheels and inside gear doors were in RLM 02, the standard primer of the time. The tires were painted Weathered Black from the Floquil line once I had rescribed all the missing tread that was removed during sanding. Remember back when I said you'd do a lot of sanding?

Then the wing tips, rudder and prop spinner were painted gloss white from the Testors Model Master line. There was the usual back and forth painting to take care of glitches. I have to assume you all do this or perhaps I'm just a klutz at heart.

Before applying decals, the gear legs were installed. I really had to trim down the main gear attachment pins to get them to fit the holes in the wing. They were easily twice too big. The tail wheel hole was enlarged at this time and the gear legs glued in place. When dry, the main wells were brush painted RLM 02. I noticed that I'd forgotten to install the lower cowling coolant exhaust plate. This was glued on and painted. Then the airframe was given a gloss clear coat prior to decals.

The decals themselves are quite good. I had not a lick of trouble with them, though one does have to be super careful of the rudder X decals as they are quite thin and fold over easily. A drop of Solvaset had them snuggled down in no time. I did not put the duplicate kill markings on the right side of the fin as I could find no photos that showed this. If it happened, they can be added at a later date. A coat of matte Future was then applied and left to dry. I had forgotten to paint the black areas around the exhaust so masked that off and painted it matte black. The stubs were painted with 'tinny tin' from the Vallejo Gaming line.


Final bits involved attaching the wheels and gear doors as well as assembling the prop. I used Humbrol aluminum for the prop blades, brushed on with a wide brush full of paint. When dry, the prop was trapped between the spinner halves and then glued onto the front of the cowling. I attached the tail plane braces at this time as well. It wasn't very clear exactly how these were to fit so I did my best in getting them in place. The masking was removed at this time from the clear bits. No paint bled under the tape, for which I was quite pleased. I drilled a hole for the radio mast, glued it on and painted it with RLM 63. A bit of Tamiya 'soot' from their weathering sets for the exhaust and I was done.


As is often the case at the end of a build, I was pleased with the results. The process of getting there took work and I fully expected it to be so when I started. This is not as easy a build as the old Heller kit, but it has more detail and I think that most of you will be able to make a nice model out of what is provided.



July 2009

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