Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109F-2 'Esquadrilla Azul'
|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109F-2 'Esquadrilla Azul'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reissue with fresh decals.|
Among the many pilots who flew the Bf-109 in its many different variants, they will generally agree that the very best of them was the Bf-109F. It wasn't the most powerful as it still used a 1,100 hp DB 601 engine; it wasn't the fastest; the 109K-4 holds those honors; it wasn't the most heavily armed as late 109s had a 30mm nose cannon as well as 12.5mm nose guns and some had cannon in the wings; it wasn't the most maneuverable as the earlier versions of the 109 were lighter and able to be flung about with some abandon. However, it did combine all these attributes to a lesser degree and was a real pilot's aircraft. Fast enough to engage and disengage from battle, heavily enough armed with a 20mm nose cannon and with no wing armament, able to be maneuvered fairly well when compared to others.
Like all 109s, it was constantly modified and actually was only the 'top dog' for a short time until the next version came along. The F-2 was the first real production 109F and as such was greeted with delight by those who flew it. It did have a major structural weakness in the tail section that required reinforcement to prevent it from disengaging from the airframe during combat. Initially there were external straps attached to fix this, but in later F-4 versions and subsequent models, this reinforcement was internal.
The 109F was also flown by a number of foreign countries and units. That includes a squadron of Spanish Volunteers known as the Esquadrilla Azul (Blue Squadron) This was a small Spanish expeditionary air force that fought on the eastern front (Army Group Center) from 1941 until 1944 with a total of 5 Spanish Squadrons flying BF-109 and later FW-190 which flew a total of 1,918 missions as part of Jagdgeschwader 51 better known as “Molders”.The squadrons worked in succession beginning with the first arriving on June 1941 until the last official one on February of 1944. This is the only Spanish unit to have fought in the Battle of Kursk. Its combat record consisted of 277 air kills and 74 aircraft destroyed, with a loss of seven Spanish pilots, 3 of them missing in action.
There is really nothing new about this kit aside from the decals. Hasegawa has been doing limited reissue kits for decades and that is much of what keeps Hasegawa going. The molding is just as crisp and well done now as it was 15 or so years ago when this kit first appeared on shelves. It is still about the best that is out there, even though there has been some additional competition from ICM. However, the ICM kit, though nice, is just a bit 'rougher' than this one from Hasegawa.
Typically, there are some parts that are not used and that is shown on the sprue layout. The kit itself is pretty simple to build. Not a lot in the way of fiddly bits as the 109 just was not a complex aircraft. These sprues are all part of the base 109F-4 kit (the first of the series produced) and what you don't use on the sprues are the tropical air filter and the larger supercharger intake of the F-4. As with all Hasegawa 109 kits, you get separate flaps and coolant flaps. You also get a fairly well done cockpit with the option of raised detail or decals for instruments. The canopy is also separate from the windscreen and back section so it can be posed open.
For those who want to douse the kit in aftermarket, there is a ton of stuff available. Instructions are superb and provide Gunze paint references as well as generic and RLM colors. Markings are for two planes of the Esquadrilla Azul. Both are in RLM 74/75/76 with heavy side mottling and yellow lower wing tips. The fuselage band is provided as a decal though you may want to mask and paint it to match the wing yellow. Spinner has a 1/4 segment in white. This was often brush painted so the edges were not always very sharp. Hasegawa started making very nice decals a few years back after decades of markings that were thick and had off color white and red. These should be no problem and should react well to setting solutions.
This is an excellent kit which is pretty well a standard in the hobby for this aircraft. It builds into a superb model on its own and can be further enhanced if you wish. As this is a limited run boxing, if you wish this kit with these markings, I suggest picking one up soon as they quickly sell out.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop today or have them 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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