A Model 1/72 Bf-109F-4/6
|PRICE:||$16.95 from http://www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Ask any Luftwaffe pilot from WWII who had a chance to fly the Bf-109F and they will tell you that this was the best of the entire line. The DB 601 provided a lot of power and the aircraft was not burdened down with heavy armament or thick armor, making it a delight to fly. Of course, the exigencies of war were such that more armor, more equipment, and more power were required, making the later 109s faster, but less maneuverable.
A Model is a Russian company (at least I assume so though only the Polish distributor is mentioned on the box) that has a quite large catalogue of kits, most of them in 1/72. This is one of their newest releases and provides us with a 109 variant that has been kitted before by Heller, Jo-han, Italeri, and Fine Molds to name a few. Only the Fine-Molds kit is a good representation, but its lack of general availability and somewhat high price keep it out of modeler's hands.
This kit by A Model is listed as being for experienced builders and is called a short run kit in the instructions. True to form, the sprues are large, the gates intrude on the surface detailing and there is some flash on many of the parts. This is due to low pressure injection molding and is something we have come to expect from these sorts of kits.
Once one gets past that, one finds that the detailing on the parts is actually quite good. I found no sink areas save the usual '20mm hole' in the chest of the pilot figure. The kit offers a plethora of detail and optional parts. For instance, the centerline gun is separate, first time I've seen this in any 1/72 109 kit. There is full engine detail including separate upper and lower sections as well as engine bearers and overflow tanks. The lower cowling includes inside detail not seen before above the radiator in case you wish to display that open. You can also affix the upper cowling sections in the open position to show engine detail. The cockpit is also well detailed with belts molded on the seat itself.
When it comes to the outside of the aircraft, there are a multitude of options. You can build a standard fighter, a tropical version, one with the under wing cannon, a fighter bomber that offers two centerline options and for the first time ever, a photo-recon aircraft. The three piece canopy is well formed and a bit thick. There is an additional piece for the armor plated windscreen. You may notice three spinner and two prop options and there is an additional lower cowling among the parts not used in this boxing. I should also mention that the kit fuselage has the required rear external braces found on these variants.
Instructions are well done with nicely drawn illustrations that also provide color information using Humbrol paints. The well printed and matte decals provide markings for four different aircraft. First is white 10 of 1./JG 54 in Russia during 1941. This is without the usual yellow theater markings and in standard RLM 74/75/76, as are the next two options. Next is the F-6 photo recon plane shown on the box art from (F)/122 in Sardinia during 1942. White spinner and fuselage band. The fighter bomber version is white 11 from 10./JG 26 in France during 1942. Finally the the trop version of 7./JG 27 in Libya during 1942 in the standard desert scheme with white nose, wing tips, fuselage band and rudder with yellow lower cowling. Though the ability to do a 'gunboat' is provided, none of the included decal options is the R-1 variant.
Despite being listed as short run, this kit is one that could be built by any intermediate level modeler. I think that the somewhat fiddly-ness of all the small parts would be the major block to the tyro. For the rest of us, this certainly is an excellent option to the Fine Molds kit and the ability to do all those options makes it quite attractive.
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