Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109F/G 'Graf'
|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109F/G 'Graf'|
|PRICE:||$34.95 DSRP, but can often be found for less.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The first real airframe update to the 109, and one that would last it for the rest of the war was in 1940 with the Bf-109F. Though the plane was a bit late for the Battle of Britain, the F model was the main plane for the Russian invasion and for most of the fighting in North Africa. Many of the Luftwaffe's pilots thought the F model was the best 109 built as it had very good maneuverability and still had reasonable fire power. The later G model had a more powerful engine, but was burdened by heavier armament, armor and systems. Each increase in horsepower was followed by more and more weight. All this reduced maneuverability considerably, despite the last versions being the fastest in a straight line.
Hermann Graf is one of the more interesting of the top aces. With 212 victories, he was one of the Luftwaffe's best. Along with most of the JG 52 personnel, Graf was handed over to the Russians shortly after his surrender at war's end. Having become famous via the Nazi propaganda machine and as the Commander of JG 52, Graf was singled out for attention by the Soviets. He was imprisoned until 29 December 1949. This relatively early release was by many perceived to be caused by his willingness to co-operate with his Soviet captors, something fellow pilots criticized him for, especially following a 1950s book by fellow fighter ace & Soviet POW Hans "Assi" Hahn entitled I Tell the Truth.
This led to Graf being largely ostracised from post-war Luftwaffe comrade associations. After his release Graf became a salesman for an electronics manufacturer, and eventually rose to Head of Sales for the company. In 1965 Graf was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and he died in his hometown Engen on 11 April 1988.
Hasegawa has been considered by most to be the 'rebox king' and for good reason. It has successfully reissued kits over the decades with little more than a new decal sheet and perhaps a resin or cast metal bauble tossed in to make some esoteric sub-variant. No where is this more to be seen than in their Bf-109 series, which must have over 50 different boxings of their E and F/G kits. As it is such a well know and frequently reviewed kit, you'll excuse me for just providing a scan from the instructions of the sprues.
This particular kit is no different aside from offering some spares that can be put to good use on other kits (Hobbycraft comes to mind. This one can be built as one of two planes that ace Hermann Graf flew while in Russia. You can do either his F-4 or G-2 version. Since there are some differences between the two variants, you'll have a choice of clear bits, prop blades, oil cooler and supercharger intake.
A bit of minor modification of parts will have to be done in terms of opening up holes and carving wheel wheel openings, but nothing very strenuous. The kit interior is acceptable for most, though the various aftermarket interiors do provide a higher level of detail for those who want it. Though not used, there is a trop sand filter if you wish to use other decals. Otherwise the umbrella mounts will need to be removed from the fuselage. As with other Hasegawa 109s, the flaps and slats are separate so can be posed in a more natural setting.
Instructions are superb as always and provide colors from the Gunze line along with RLM shades where appropriate. Both markings options are in the standard RLM 74/75/76 scheme with various levels of mottling on the side. The F has a full yellow nose and a yellow fuselage band (offered as a decal but you'd be better off painting it). The G has just a yellow spinner and lower cowling. Interestingly, neither has the lower wing tips in yellow, a standard Russian Front marking. It may be an oversight, but I'd do some research just to be sure. Decals are well printed and provide all the markings needed for either camouflage option.
Despite what is becoming a 'grand old lady' of the Hasegawa kit line, this one is still a superb model when built and thanks to Hasegawa's quality control, the parts are as crisply done as they were when first released well over a decade ago.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or ask them to order it in 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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