Special Hobby 1/72 HA-1112 M-1L 'Buchon'
|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 As such, this plane was an improvised assembly of outdated components for the specific purpose of controlling Spanish colonial territories in Africa where a higher level of technology was unnecessary, and moreover not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.
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