21st Century Toys 1/32 Bf-109F-2
|KIT:||21st Century Toys 1/32 Bf-109F-2|
|PRICE:||$23.15 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Pre-painted 'snap' kit|
Allow me to copy from an earlier article so I can fill this space:
Acknowledged by those who flew it as the best of the 109 series, the Bf-109F was the result of trying to smooth out the edges of the earlier variants. This meant a refined forward cowling for the DB601 engine and more smooth and rounded wing tips along with shorter ailerons, the result of the increased size of the coolant radiators under the wings and the need to exhaust them at the trailing edge.
The F model also did away with the wing guns, relying on two 7.7mm nose machine guns and a 15, later 20mm nose cannon, though most pilots thought the plane was underarmed, but did like the additional maneuverability afforded by not having the weight of guns and ammunition in the wings.
The aircraft first started coming off the assembly line in late 1940, entering service in early 1941, where it was an unpleasant surprise to the British as this new Messerschmitt was pretty well superior to the Spitfire V then in service in most regimes. The best variant, the 109F-4 entered unit service in early 1942 where it gave sterling service until pretty well supplanted in most units by the G model by the end of the year.
OK, I admit that it is going to be a bit of a stretch to call this a kit. But, since some assembly is required, it barely falls into that category.
Truth is that I saw this listed and was under the assumption that it was the complete kit version that some others have built. I was rather surprised to find that it was not, though in looking back, the relatively high price should have been a clue. It is also my fault for not reading the item description and just ordering from the listing.
Packaged in a very sturdy box, the model is pretty well complete except for the addition of a few items that would have either broken off or for which there was insufficient room in the package to have already attached.
Basically, one gets a full fuselage, a full wing with landing gear installed, a pair of under wing 20mm cannon, a bomb, a drop tank, and a small bag with the pitot tube and radio mast and a single screw.
Assembly takes less time to perform than what it takes to read this article. You do need a #1 phillips screw driver and have to give some of the parts a bit of 'oomph' when pushing them in place. The pitot tube was quite loose and I had to glue that one in .
Care needs to be taken as well when extending the landing gear as there is considerable resistance to getting them in final position. The kit has moveable slats (which actually move too much), and a canopy that can be posed open to show the pilot and interior. Generally, the gaps between the parts is about the same as the engraved detail so that doesn't look too far out of place. There are colored formation light lenses that the kits do not have. Painting is really quite good, though I did notice that the intensity of the yellow fuselage band was a bit different from right to left side. The whole thing doesn't seem as 'tight' as a standard complete model and it creaks and groans from flexing as one strafes cats, spiders and other enemies of the Reich.
So there you have it. Should you buy this kit? Well, it is great to be able to have something go from box to shelf in 15 minutes. A perfect solution to 'model block'. It also looks really nice on your shelf and until you get close, you can't tell it didn't take weeks to build. Those who have the inclination could easily glue and putty it and repaint it, providing a pretty nice model at half the cost of the Hasegawa kit. You might notice that there is no swastika on the fin, so you could also add that little item.
It is also nice for the young-uns, though I'd recommend not adding the pitot tube or radio mast or under wing guns as the kiddies will probably just break them off or lose them. They are kids and probably will think the holes in the lower wing are supposed to be there. It is also the sort of thing you might consider taking to the office. You can have the landing gear retracted and your co-workers will have fun spinning the VERY free propeller assembly. You can also tell them you painted it and so gain additional points with the babes.
You can get this and other interesting kits and accessories from www.greatmodels.com
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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