Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109K-4


JT 63 (9063)


$25.95 MSRP


Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The final Bf-109 variant to be built was the K model. It took all of the improvements of the G series and combined them into a single airframe. Gone were the bulged cannon feed covers; replaced by a smoother cowling. Also incorporated into this variant was a fully retractable tail wheel and the inclusion of outer gear doors, a modification that was planned for the G series but never incorporated. The K also had the taller tail wheel and the taller fin and rudder that had been applied to later versions. Also standard was the Erla Haube canopy that was standard on the G-10 and later G-14 versions. Similar to most G-10 and some G-14s, the K-4 had the wider wheels that required wide fairings on the upper wing.

All K models were new built airframes and production commenced in late summer of 1944. Actually the planned start-up of the K model was mid 1943, but events (such as a lack of engines and work on the Me-209 and 309) were such that this never occurred. The DB 605D engine was more powerful and as such, consumed more fuel than the earlier versions so range was actually less than the earlier G models. This wasn't really a problem by this time in the war as the Reich was slowly shrinking. Thanks to the relocation of some systems, such as the MW 50 injection system, the balance of the plane was improved to similar to the F models, an aircraft that most 109 pilots have said was the best flying of the lot. A number of aircraft had the outer gear doors removed and the tail wheel fixed in the lowered position.

K models started to enter unit service in numbers during the fall of  1944.  No other variants were built other than the K-4, though a number of variants were proposed. Despite a lot of conjecture, no photos of other versions/prototypes have ever surfaced. All 109Ks were built by Messerschmitt, unlike the other versions that were built by a number of companies. To my knowledge, no K models have survived.


For a look at what comes in the box, please visit the preview.  


I'm nearly embarrassed to say that it has been over a year since I built a 109. Not sure just why the long (for me) drought, but this kit was actually started around February of this year and it wasn't until August that I decided to actually sit down and finish it. Perhaps it was the fiddling around with the resin cockpit that did it. I find resin/etched metal aftermarket cockpits to be nice, but something that, for me, really drags out the construction.

Anyway, I did first start with the cockpit. I had a very nice Aires cockpit set that is a combination of resin and etched metal. Well the resin part went together without a hitch. I painted everything in there RLM66 and left the sidewalls off until I was ready to insert it. Then I basically walked away for it for six months.

When I returned to the kit, I installed the wing radiators, painted them black and gave them a bit of a drybrush with aluminum. Then the upper wing areas were glued to the lower section, but not until I'd opened up the holes for the upper wheel bulges and the lower antenna. I also opened the holes for the drop tanks and filled in the vent on the bottom that the K didn't have. Once the wings were together, I used a touch of filler around the slat areas and in a spot where the part had broken from the sprue and left a gouge.

On to the fuselage which was painted RLM 66 on the inside and then glued together. Don't forget to trap the piece in the front to which the spinner will attach. I used filler on the chin radiator area, upper and lower fuselage. There are some sink areas near the aft wing attachment point. A bit of modification needs done as well. For some reason, Hasegawa molded the tail wheel gear doors open. Nice, but not at all prototypical. You see, when the gear was down, these doors were closed unless some sort of maintenance was going on. In fact, so troublesome was the door mechanism that the tail wheel retraction mechanism was often 'hard wired' in the down position. That means you have to cut off the doors and glue them shut. Naturally, it doesn't work that way so in addition to the doors, I needed some card to fill in the space between them and then had to sand the dickens out of them to get them to conform to the fuselage.

While that was going on, I removed the small box from the back cockpit wall and glued in the brass access panel and handle. These items were held in using clear paint. Same with the instrument film behind the instrument panel brass. If a part doesn't have any stress on it, there is no need to use superglue. Helps avoid a real mess as well. During this time the upper cowl was glued in place. An outstanding fit. Same for the supercharger intake.

After completing the interior and giving it the usual dry-brushing, it was installed in the fuselage. Now I should mention at this time that first the instrument panel had to be glued in place. Not exactly a snap as there is a very thin attachment area for it. I also discovered that the two aft alignment bars for the kit cockpit needed to be removed. The instructions say nothing about this, but if it isn't, the cockpit sits too far forward. The back of the seat should be about in line with the opening in the fuselage. It took come careful cutting to get this done, but one complete a bit of superglue was used to hold all the pieces in place.

Next I glued on the wings. The fit is really super and I don't think I'll even be needing more than a touch of filler. Tail planes fit equally well with no problems at all. At this stage, the best thing to work on would be the flaps and radiator door openings. There are a variety of positions in which these can be displayed; from full down to full up and stages in between. Having done quite a few with the flaps down, I decided on flaps almost all the way up on this with the radiator doors fully lowered. None of my other 109s are in this configuration. I only glued the flaps and lower radiator door at this time for the upper door would have to be taped up when it came to painting. At this time the slats were also glued in place.

Now for something a bit different. The plane I'm going to model is an early production aircraft in the 230xxx production range. Photos of planes whose serial number is just before and just after it show a very dark landing gear leg. Apparently it was not uncommon for gear legs to be painted RLM 66. RLM 02 and bare metal were also used. I decided to give the RLM 66 a try as I'd not done one with this color before.


Bf-109Ks were painted in three distinct camouflage patterns, though there were some detail differences. The first batch used a very high fuselage demarcation line aft of the canopy with a medium line forward that could have some rather deep 'dips' of the upper camo scheme. You could see similar schemes on 109G-10s built around the same period. Later schemes carried the upper colors down the fuselage more and I'll cover those when I get around to doing another one. Since this plane was from the initial production batch, the drawings in the decal sheet were correct for this particular serial number.

Colors for this plane are RLM 81/83/76 with some of that greenish RLM 76 that many call "RLM 84". I decided to use the new 'Colors of Eagles' acrylic paint. This paint is an acrylic that is made by Vallejo paints in Spain. It is thinner than Vallejo's normal line and part of the Aeromaster/Eagle Strike line of companies. I was told at the Nationals that this paint could be sprayed right from the bottle, though there is a suggestion that it be mixed 10-15% with distilled water. I went for the 'right from the bottle' bit and it seemed to work just fine, though it wouldn't hurt to thin it a bit. The benefit of the 'nose drops' bottle is that you can squirt some right into the airbrush if you want to do a small touch-up. No need to mess up a bottle or color cup! Anyway, it dries to a satin finish and can easily be handled within a short period of time. I waited 4-6 hours between colors. It accepts Tamiya Masking tape with no problems, but like any acrylic, will lift up if sprayed on a greasy surface or if cut.

The first color sprayed on was RLM 76. When dry, I masked the tail planes and then masked the canopy parts. I found that fitting the windscreen was a bit of a problem with the etched instrument panel as it made the gun sight slightly interfere with the clear part. A little 'adjustment' was needed and then the clear parts were glued/tacked on for painting. The upper surface was then given an overall coat of the RLM 83 Dark Green. The RLM 81 brown was then sprayed on freehand to provide the second upper camo color. Finally the RLM 84 was sprayed after masking some of the RLM 76 bits. Then I started to do the fine detail stuff. At least I tried. I found that Color of Eagles acrylic was just like all the other acrylics I've tried and failed to give me the kind of fine detail I wanted. I tried all sorts of air pressure and mixing ratios with no luck. Then I put the acrylics away and tried to fix stuff up as best I could with enamels. Hindsight tells me that I should have just resprayed the entire model with enamels from the start, but I wanted to try to salvage the paint scheme. Bad move on my part. I hand painted the blotches on the fin/rudder as these were painted separately from the airframe using masks.

With the camo pretty well on, though I really didn't like it that much, I overcoated the kit with Future and took it back to the workbench to add on some of the final pieces.


First up, the True Details wheels were glued in after enlarging the holes to fit on the axles. Then the inner and outer gear doors were fixed into place as was the tail wheel. I assembled the prop but without the spinner. Then I applied the decals. I used the 9./JG 77 'White 17' markings of Aeromaster 48-223 'Operation Bodenplatte pt 2'. They went on without any problems. After the spiral decal was put on the spinner, it was glued to the  backing plate and onto the nose of the plane. The guns were then installed in the cowl. Exhausts, which were painted Burnt Iron, and the glare shields were then glued in place. I left off the aileron balances, Morane antenna and pitot tube until the last. I did attach the radio mast and DF loop antenna, which were hand painted once put on. Then the kit was given a semi-matte coat. 

Returning to the bench, I highlighted all the panel lines with dark grey pastels. These were scrubbed into the panel lines and then the entire kit was wiped down with a tissue to remove the excess. The end result is quite pleasing and looks much better on the lighter portions of the aircraft than the dark, where they can barely be seen. Another overcoat with matte to seal in the pastels. Then the other small bits were attached and had the paint touched up. While attaching the canopy in the open position, I noticed that the instrument panel had come adrift! Getting it glued back in was a real chore and I managed to break the resin control stick in the process. I was getting frustrated now so took a few minutes to compose myself. I figured that rather than do more damage trying to attach a radio wire, I'd leave it off. Removing the masks and gently gluing the canopy in place, I took the model to be photographed. Half way through the canopy fell off! I reglued it, finished the photo session and quickly put the model into the display case before I broke something else.


Many will tell you these Hasegawa kits are a breeze. In many way they are and in others they do take careful construction. Despite the problems I ran into during the final stages (self-induced though they were), I enjoyed building this one. Especially since it is the first 109 I've done in what seems like a year. I'll give another one a try here in the near future and am sure it will turn out MUCH nicer.

September 2003
#1281 in a series

Review kit courtesy of me.

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Reviews Index Page