Trumpeter 1/48 Me-509

KIT #: 02849
PRICE: $31.99  SRP
DECALS: Two options - both fictitious
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken

New tool kit


The Messerschmitt Me 509 was a project underway in Germany during World War II based on the Me 309 but with the engine located behind the cockpit like the US Bell P-39 Airacobra. The engine was a Daimler-Benz DB 605B driving a three-blade propeller and armament was to consist of two 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns and two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons. The tricycle landing gear from the Me 309 was retained, which worked better on the 509 due to the lower weight on the nosewheel - the Me 309's front landing gear had collapsed during trials. Visibility was also better with the smaller nose. The project was cancelled along with the Me 309, but the Japanese made a similar aircraft, the Yokosuka R2Y Keiun, which suffered from engine overheating.


 I have to say that this one was a bit of a surprise to me. Of course, I do not follow upcoming kits as much as many others, so it was nice to see it being done. As I had built a few Hobby Boss 1/48 aircraft kits with much success, and since HB is supposed to be part of the Trumpeter family, I fully expected this one to be nicely done.

I was not disappointed as upon opening the box, I found three grey and one clear sprue, all molded to modern standards. The kit has fewer than 100 total parts, so it is not at all complex. We are provided with a full cockpit with sidewalls. Photo etch is provided for the rudder pedals, harness and the radiator grilles. You have to use the p.e. as there are no alternate plastic bits. There is an instrument panel with raised detail and a decal is also provided for this.

The wheel wells are all nicely detailed. The nose gear well sits under the cockpit floor piece. Each of the main gear wells has six separate pieces that make up the interior walls. This seems to me to be an example of molding something simple in multiple parts just to kick up the parts count a bit. Fortunately, this was not done with the prop so we have a one-piece version. Exhaust are installed from the inside so must be in place before the fuselage halves are together.

An interesting molding is done with the tail planes. These comprise of the control surface being molded in with the upper half. I approve of this as it removes the need to get a sharp trailing edge. This same approach is not taken with the wings. All control surfaces are molded in the neutral position. The 509, like the 309, would have had a retractable radiator. This is only shown in the lowered position, which would be appropriate for a plane on the ground. The three piece canopy assembly can be posed with the canopy open if one wishes. There is no indication of any nose weight being needed, but I can bet that you will need some so plan for it during the build. As the installation of the prop is about the last thing, you might well be able to delay weight installation until that time.

The instructions are the landscape booklet type that is typical of Trumpeter. The construction drawing areas are quite large with plenty of white space. Gunze paint references are used and shown throughout the build process. There is a nicely done set of markings for two totally fictitious aircraft. BOth are RLM 76 undersides with one having RLM 74/75 uppers with RLM 66 mottling and the other having the topsides in RLM 75/83 with RLM 82 mottling. You get the usual swastika in pieces and a selection of data markings as well as two fuselage bands. Of course, the Luft '46 crowd will undoubtedly be doing some interesting markings for this one.


Perhaps this kit will be part of a resurgence of Luft '46 subjects, this time in 1/48 scale. The molding is excellent and I fully expect the fit to be equally good. For those of you who have built one of the various resin 1/48 Me-309 kits, this one will look very nice sitting next to it, and be a lot easier to build. In fact, since doing a 309 will pretty much only require new fuselage halves, I would be willing to bet that there will be one done in the future, and perhaps a 609 as well.


January 2010 

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.

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