Special Hobby 1/72 HA-1112 M-1L 'Buchon'

KIT #: 72308
PRICE: $23.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short Run kit (2014 release)


The Spanish government in 1942 arranged a manufacturing licence with Messerschmitt AG to build the Bf 109G-2, with DB605A engines, propellers, instruments, and weapons to be supplied from Germany. This proved impossible, as Germany was incapable of meeting her own needs, let alone Spain's; in the event, only twenty-five airframes (minus their tails) and not even half the necessary drawings were delivered. Initial airframes were powered by Hispano engines.

The final variant was the HA-1112-M1L Buchón (Pouter), which is a male dove in Spanish. It first flew 29 March 1954. The 1112-M1L was equipped with the 1,600 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 engine and Rotol propeller, both purchased as surplus from the UK. This engine had a chin intake, that altered the lines of the Bf 109's airframe visually. As such, this plane was an improvised assembly of outdated components for the specific purpose of controlling Spanish colonial territories in Africa where a higher level of technology was unnecessary, and moreover not available in isolated Spain at the time. Its armament consisted of two 20 mm Hispano-Suiza 404/408 cannons and two Oerlikon or Pilatus eight-packs of 80 mm rockets. It remained in service until 27 December 1965.

HA-1112-M1Ls remained in flying condition until the mid-1960s. This made them available for theatrical use, masquerading as Bf 109Es and Gs in movies like Battle of Britain, Der Stern von Afrika, Memphis Belle, and The Tuskegee Airmen. Remarkably, Buchons also played the Bf 109's opposition, the Hawker Hurricane, in one scene in Battle of Britain.

The HA-1112 have also flown in the film Battle of Britain alongside the CASA 2.111 bombers. which were a Spanish-built version of the Heinkel He 111 German bomber. They had the same engines, the Rolls Royce Merlin 500.


 The HA-1112 has been released in both major scales in the past. Probably the most well known is the 1/48 Hobbycraft kit, which, despite its age, is still a nice build. In 1/72, however, none of the mainstream kit makers have ventured into producing one. This has left the field open to the short run types, of which this one is undoubtedly the best. Also boxed as the version which took part in the movie 'Battle of Britain' in 1969, this one concentrates on those in active service with the Spanish Air Force in the 1950s and 1960s.

Molding is quite good and what one expects from modern, high end, short run kits. There is a small amount of resin for guns and exhaust as well as a photo etch fret that covers mostly cockpit bits like harness, trim wheels, rudder pedals and such. There is also an oil cooler grille, radiator grilles, and wing fences along with little teeny bits that I usually lose trying to install them.

The interior consists of a cockpit floor, rear bulkhead, seat tub and a forward bulkhead along with a control stick. A section of acetate is provided for instrument faces that are placed behind the etched panels. There is also interior sidewall detail. This is all trapped between the fuselage halves and the upper and lower cowling sections attached.

Wings are single lower piece with two upper sections. Tailplanes are a single molding. One installs the wing radiators from the outside of the wing and there are separate radiator coolant flaps for the rear. Landing gear has etched oleo scissors  and the proper disc wheels. The HA-1112 had an unusual cylindrical drop tank with conical ends, and one does not see too many photos with this being carried. The kit does come with the four dual rocket rails and rockets. These were almost always installed.

Topping off the cockpit is a single piece canopy section into which one installs the armor plating. The prop assembly has all the blades mounted together and trapped between forward and aft spinner sections. Exhaust, gun barrels, and wing fences are some of the last pieces installed.

Instructions are very well done and though there are 17 steps, the actual construction sequences are only 3 of the 12 pages in the booklet. The rest is color and markings as well as adverts for other kits. Three color options are provided which seems to cover the planes operational service. The first option is a Spitfire-like camo scheme in dark green and dark olive with blue-grey undersides. Next is the box art option is overall blue while the third has the blue only on the underside with the upper surfaces in silver paint. Paint references are in Gunze colors. The decal sheet is nicely printed and should prove to be quite thin.


You cannot have a proper 109 collection without these post-war types. Like the Avia, these were built in small numbers and were somewhat makeshift due to the lack of proper DB.605 engines, but they served their purpose and the Spanish ones lasted in active service longer than any of them.



April 2017

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