Hasegawa 1/72 Bf-109G-6 'Finnish Air Force'
|Scott Van Aken
If you don't know anything about the 109 by now, I'd be shocked. Needless the say, the most built and rebuilt variant was the 109G-6 a type that entered service just in time to participate in the Kursk battle in 1943. It was more heavily armed and armored so needed the additional horsepower of the DB 605 engine that it had to pull it through the air. All the additional equipment and weight turned the 109 into a bit of a pig, one that wasn't very good at dogfighting. However, in the hands of a proficient pilot, it would wreak havoc and was still a potent weapon.
Many 109s were exported during the war, most to Axis allies. Probably the biggest user of the type outside the Luftwaffe was the Finnish Air Force. These planes were one of the staple fighters for the last half of the war and served into the early 1950s. Several were saved back and are now in Finnish museums.
This is very much a first from Hasegawa that I'm aware of. This particular limited boxing is identical to one done about 10 or so years back; right down to the decal sheet.
This is Hasegawa's most recent molding of the Bf-109G that dates back to about 1998 or perhaps a bit later. At that time, it was correctly touted as the best 1/72 109 yet created. It had all that is still common today. Engraved panel lines, a number of optional bits and the now common method of providing inserts and kit designs to allow for many variants to be done from a basic kit. I'm not sure who made this sort of thing popular, but I'm thinking it may have been Fujimi. True, Hawk did this with their P-47 kit way back when, but it was considered pretty much an anomaly at the time.
The kit provides a basic cockpit which consists of a floor, stick and instrument panel with gun sight. There is no sidewall detail in the cockpit and a decal is used for the panel instruments. There is a sand filter available for the intake if one wishes and the kit comes with a drop tank and rack. As most Finnish 109s had the standard tail, that is what is included with this kit. There is both a standard and Erla Haube canopy provided (not shown).
Instructions are Hasegawa standard with Gunze references. There are markings for three planes. First is the box art plane from HLeLv31 (the night fighter flight) in June of 1948. Standard Luftwaffe 74/75/76 paint with fuselage mottling. Next is one that is listed as being in overall green with HLelv 33 in summer 1949. This is one of three that participated in an air race and has red/white bands on the left side of the fuselage and a letter on the left upper wing. The final option is from HLeLv 34 during July of 1944. It is in standard Luftwaffe camo and like the first option, has the later Erla Haube canopy. The decals are the current vogue where the whites are actually white and so should respond just like aftermarket decals. Those of you living in countries where the swastika is banned have an option of partial WWII insignia.
Though still a very nice kit and probably the second best around, it has since been eclipsed by the more accurate, though not necessarily easier to build kits by Fine Molds. Unless one knows a lot about the 109 or places this one next to a Fine Molds kit, one won't notice the difference.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this kit has certainly escalated in price over the years. Hasegawa announced a 30% price increase, and I'm guessing this kit shows that. It puts the Fine Molds kit even nearer to being considered more reasonable in light of this additional price. I'd also be remiss not to mention that this kit can easily be found discounted so it is not as high as it seems.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This and other fine models can be found at your local hobby shop. If not in stock, ask them to order it for you.
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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