Monogram 1/48 Bf-109G-10

KIT #

5225

PRICE:

$Currently (2002) Out of Production

DECALS:

One aircraft

REVIEW &
PHOTOS :

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Same as the RoG mold from the 80's

HISTORY

The 109G-10 was actually the last 'production' Bf-109 built. The plane first flew a few months after the K-4, using airframes currently on the assembly line. In the past it had been thought that the G-10 was made of rebuilt airframes, but this has since been shown to not be the case. These airframes were brought up to as close to K-4 standards as possible.

The result for researchers is that the plane is as difficult to identify from photos as just about any 109 variant. Early G-10s did not have the DB.605D engine in them and had to rely on the earlier DB.605AS engine. These 109G-10/AS airframes can be distinguished by the absence of two small 'bumps' under the forward cowling as on the later aircraft. Early G-10s also had the narrower 660x160 wheels and tires so didn't have the long wheel fairings in the upper wing. Those with the 660x190 wheels and tires had the longer fairings.

All G-10s had the Erla Haube canopy and tall wooden fin and rudder. Some had a short tail wheel strut and others the longer version. There were also two different rudders, one with two additional external trim tabs. In addition, there were two upper cowling designs, the type 100 with a smooth upsweep on the left side and the type 110 with a flat plate fairing instead. While many G-10s had a deeper oil cooler than the earlier G-14, this was not always the case. A final difference was that some had a short antenna mast and some had none at all with the antenna lead going right into the fuselage spine aft of the cockpit.

WHEW! That makes for a lot of different variations. Unfortunately, most profiles will not show the upper wing fairings and many photos are such that this feature is not visible. This makes it almost impossible to determine if an airframe is a G-10 or a G-14 or even a later G-6, especially if it had the 605AS engine. Only serials could tell. This has led to several aircraft being identified as a G-14 in one book and a G-10 in another!

THE KIT

  Revell/Monogram's kit is based on the G-10 that is held at the Chino Museum in California. However, Chino's G-10 is not your regular run of the mill G-10. The most common combination of parts for a G-10 were the DB 605D engine, the type 100 cowling, wide 660x190 wheels (therefore the wide wheel fairings), the taller tail wheel strut, and the rudder with the two external trim tabs.

Chino's plane has a shorter tail wheel and the wide wheels.  Not many G-10s were built like this. Generally, if the plane had the short tail wheel strut, it had the thinner wheel/tire combo and no large upper wing fairings. This will come to bite me when looking for a camo and markings scheme later.

The kit itself has engraved panel lines, a fairly compete cockpit with sidewall detail, and the drop tank mount molded into the lower wing. For decades, was the most accurate 1/48 109 kit on the planet. This has now changed with the newer Hasegawa 109 kits, but it is still quite popular with builders thanks to its much lower purchase price. Even today with it out of production, it is easy to find at around $7 or so from swap meets or on-line auctions. When compared to the Hasegawa kit, its deeper panel lines and generally lower level of overall detail is apparent, but it still builds into a very nice model, especially if you want to fork over a few bucks on some aftermarket detail bits.

This particular kit was given to me by a fellow who knew it wouldn't get finished. It had been started and came with no instructions, no decals, and no clear bits, but with a small Eduard brass  fret (though for a 109G-6, was just as good for a G-10). I'm always a sucker for basket cases like this and thanks to a rather large spare parts bin, felt it would not be impossible to make this one into a fine model.

CONSTRUCTION

As I mentioned, the kit had been started. The wings were glued together, the exhausts glued into the fuselage as was the nose radiator. There was no seat to be found, but one was gleaned from the spares bin. The cockpit floor had the rudder pedals broken off, but these were replaced with small strips of plastic on which some generic German pedals from a Reheat brass set were glued. From the Eduard fret, a floor plate was installed after the kit plate was scraped off. On the side walls, the kit trim wheel attachment point was removed and the brass trim wheels and chain were glued on. There was also a small instrument panel and other brass 'thingie' (I think for the O2 regulator), attached.

The main instrument panel had its detail sanded off and the Eduard one put in its place. The brass instrument panel was two parts with a small raised section. These were 'glued' together using Future. Once painted, a clear film with instruments was attached to the back (again using Future) and the back of this film painted white. Then it was attached to the kit panel, again using Future. If the part will have no stress on it, Future or clear paint will work quite well. It gives you time to fiddle with it before it dries and won't make the types of horrible mess that superglue will. If you need firm attachment, super glue or epoxy are still the best way.

Prior to all these brass bits being attached, all cockpit parts were painted RLM 66 as was the interior walls. Then when all was in place, some detail painting was done and the whole thing lightly dry-brushed with aluminum. Then the cockpit was glued to one side of the fuselage and left to dry. When I was sure that the fuselage would close properly, the oil cooler grille was painted black and the fuselage halves glued together. During this time, I was also reading up on various G-10s in the references, trying to find one that would match what was given in the kit and what I had decals for. No joy. However, I did find one with an extended tail wheel strut that would fill the bill nicely. Scrounging through the parts bin, I found a long strut, but no wheel (it had been used on the Otaki P-47D). I cut off the kit tail wheel and removed the molded on fork. Then I glued it in place in the long strut. A hole was drilled in the rear fuselage to accept the new strut. Now I finally had a plane to match both photos and a decal sheet!

When the fuselage was glued together, I also glued on the wings. The fit of this kit is really very good, making it one that even a relative beginner will do well with. Meanwhile, I had a few minutes on my hands, so removed the elevators from the horizontal stabilizers. It is an easy task to do and takes about 10 swipes on each side with a hobby knife to make the parts easily snap free. A bit of sanding on the edges and they were set aside until a little later. I've never seen a 109 on the ground with the elevators in the neutral position, so figured why not?

With the stabilizers and elevators glued on, I turned my attention to the canopy situation. If you recall, this kit came with no canopy. I pulled what looked like a good replacement from the spares box. It appears to have come from a Fujimi kit. It is also a tad narrower than the opening. Since I'll be displaying the canopy open, this won't be apparent. The windscreen, however, was not a very good fit and had lots of gaps. These were filled with super glue. Then the canopy was tacked down in the closed position with a touch of super glue and all was masked with Tamiya Tape. I must confess to you that the panel lines on the Fujimi canopy are not very crisply done and the clear parts are a bit thick as well. However, they are no worse than the original Revell parts and you can do the canopy open, which you can't with the Revell bits. Yes, I could have used a vac canopy, but if I have a choice, I'd rather not. With that done a hole was drilled where the rear wheel strut was to fit and the kit was off to the paint shop.

PAINT & DECALS

  I know that there are a lot of people out there who poo-poo the preponderance of Luftwaffe in general and the 109 or 190 in particular. However it is the wide variety of camouflage schemes that these planes carried that is much of the appeal. To me, the painting stage is exceeded in interest only by the research portion of kit building. With these late war planes, you have such a variety of schemes and colors. You also rarely have photographic reference which gives you some leeway with the color police.

On all my models, I first paint the underside color. In this case RLM 76 from the Aeromaster enamel line. Then the underside of the tail planes was masked off. The cockpit area was painted RLM 66 at this time as it would be seen from the inside. After allowing the paint time to cure, the uppersurface color of RLM 83 bright green was painted, also using Aeromaster enamels. The rudder was to be painted RLM 75 with RLM 82 mottling. This was done using Aeromaster enamel for the RLM 75 and Extracolor enamel for the RLM 82 mottling. Later it was masked off to prevent overspray.

Back at the rest of the airframe, RLM 81, again using an Aeromaster enamel was freehand painted on the upper surfaces. I can tell you that since switching from a Badger 150 to an Iwata Eclipse a little over a year ago, my Luftwaffe paint schemes have greatly improved. It also helps that I thin the paint a bit more than usual and spray at a rather low pressure.

I now had all the major colors on it with quite a bit of overspray onto the previous RLM 76. After letting all that cure, the wing roots were carefully masked off, again with Tamiya tape (try it, you'll like it). Then the sides and overspray were carefully done with more RLM 76. I now had the basic camouflage scheme on the plane in five colors!

With that done, the main gear was attached after being painted RLM 02 grey and having the oleo section wrapped with Bare Metal Foil. The tail strut and wheel were then glued in place and left to dry. Next painting step was to do the very light mottling applied to the this aircraft in RLM 83. After that paint had dried I mixed up a batch of Aeromaster Italian grey and sprayed over where the German markings would have been on the wings, fuselage and tail. A bit of additional touchup was needed as I missed the RLM 76 on the bottom of the rudder. Then clear acrylic gloss (Future) was sprayed full strength in light coats to give a sheen needed for the decals.

I chose Aeromaster 48-007, Italian Bf-109s, for the decals to be used on this kit. I had already used one of the subjects from this 1992 sheet on an AMT Bf-109G-4, but had not used any of the RSI markings that were given. With at least 5 ANR subjects on the sheet, I could do a G-6, G-10 or a K-4. The sheet supplies all of the markings needed, but none of the stencil ones. The first thing I did was to apply all the Aeromaster decals. I had no real problem until it came to the nose spiral. It seems that 10 years is too much for this sheet as the spiral broke into about six large segments. Throwing caution to the wind, I pieced together a rather convincing spiral from the bits. A touch of Solvaset on all these markings made sure they wouldn't be going anywhere! When dry, the model was wiped down with clear water to remove any excess solvent and the control surfaces were highlighted with a Rapidograph pen. Then the entire model was given a coat of matte clear to seal in the decals.

THE LAST ROUNDUP

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, with the kit properly decaled, the last pieces were glue in place. This included the wheels (which do look like the tires are flat, but are so nicely detailed), and the gear doors (which are a trifle too long, thanks to the flat tires, but don't look too bad). With the plane now able to stand on its own, I turned my attention to the drop tank. This kit has the rack molded into the bottom of the wing. It also had the two aft mounting lugs for the tank broken off. These were drilled out and two sections of stretched sprue were glued in place. They were then painted and the tank mounted. It looks quite good other than being about half as thick as the front ones!

The canopy and windscreen were unmasked and the canopy popped off as it was to be displayed open. First, though, the interior needed a couple of more items. First, it needed some seat belts. I had a very nice sheet of decals for instruments and belts produced by ProModler and one of the belt decals was used. It took some effort to get it in, but once placed, a touch of Solvaset was all that was needed to get things to drape properly. With that done, I still needed a gun sight (remember, this kit came with no clear bits). Scrounging through the spares bin, I found one for a 109E. Not exactly the same, but better than nothing. I had no luck finding any head armor that was proper for the Erla Haube canopy so left it off.

Next, holes were drilled in the fin and fuselage spine for the radio antenna. When that was done, some clear sprue was stretched to provide the needed antenna. I prefer the clear stuff as it curls a lot less and, like the real thing, is nearly invisible. Look at a photo of an aircraft with these antennas and they are very difficult to see. I know that some don't install them at all, but to me, the plane looks incomplete without it. Sure, it may break off at a later date, but that is then and this is now! Once the antenna was installed, a flimsy brass loop antenna was glued in place (I used it as the kit loop antenna was gone).

Almost done. The last things were to glue on the canopy and a thin piece of sprue to act as a canopy wire to keep the canopy from flopping over. Then the position lights were painted and some pastels were used to simulate engine exhaust.

CONCLUSIONS

And there you  have it. A kit that cost a fraction of what the Hasegawa one does (even when adding the wheels, etched set and decals, which many will add to the Hase kit anyway), and looks just fine when it is finished. If you don't want to gussy it all up, it builds equally as good out of the box. It is a kit that can be enjoyed by new modelers as well as those of us who have been around for a while!

March 2002

REFERENCES

The Messerschmitt 109 in Italian Service, D'Amico & Valentini, 1985

Messerschmitt Bf-109G, Robert Peczkowski, 2000

Warpaint Special #2: Bf-109, edited by Alan Hall, 2001

German Aircraft of the Second World War, Smith & Kay, 1978

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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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