Hasegawa 1/48 Bf-109F-4 trop 'JG27 Africa'
|PRICE:||$10.00 from a vendor|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2008 Limited Edition reissue|
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.
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 and Zvezda. However, the Zvezda kit, though nice, is a real bear to build with the ICM kit being just a bit easier. In my opinion, the Hasegawa kit is still my first choice.
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. There are several unused sprues and these are what's needed to do the 109F-2. So if you don't want to do the kit as boxed, and you have aftermarket markings, this would provide another option. 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.
Instructions are superb and provide Gunze paint references as well as generic and RLM colors. Markings are for two planes of JG 27 in desert camouflage of RLM 79 over RLM 78 with white nose, wing tips and fuselage band. The lower cowling on both is yellow. In fact, the only major color difference is that on the second option the demarcation line for the lower color is half way up the fuselage. Though a fuselage band decal is provided, I'd recommend painting this feature. Both planes are flown by relatively well known aces Roedel and Schorer. Decals are nicely printed and include all required stencils.
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, it could be difficult to find locally, but the auction sites should be a good place to look.
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