|KIT:||Sweet 1/144 Zero Fighter and Flight Deck|
|PRICE:||¥1,000 from www.hlj.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two complete kits|
The Bf-109 underwent two major changes during its history. One was when the Junkers engine was replaced by the Daimler Benz DB 601 with the E model and the other was when the airframe was refined with the introduction of the Bf-109F. Gone were the square wing tips and the clunky cowling. A retractable tail wheel was added and all armament was placed in the nose. This included a 15mm cannon that was later changed for a larger 20mm version.
To may of the Luftwaffe's long-term pilots, the Bf-109F was the best of lot, before it was weighed down with additional equipment that often happens with a long-developed airframe. It was in the deserts of North Africa that the 109F was the master of the skies. Fortunately for the Allies, the number of aircraft in the theater was never very great and thanks to Germany's inability to properly supply her army and air force, the Germans were soon forced out of Africa and back to Europe.
Sweet's Aviation Model Division has finally gotten around to doing a 109 and has chosen the 109F as its introduction to the genre. It is a logical step as much of what comprises the F can be adapted to doing the G model later on.
Molded in a tan plastic, Sweet has captured the look of the 109, something other small scale manufacturers have missed. I couldn't see any area where the shape was not consistent with the prototype, even down to the rear fuselage external bracing. The kit offers a minimalist interior, consisting of but a seat, which in this scale is probably good enough as little will be visible through the canopy anyway. One has the option of installing a drop tank, sand filter and armored windscreen.
The kit parts are totally free of flash, sink areas or visible ejector pin marks. Both of the optional canopies are nicely molded with well-defined framework. Masking these will be a challenge and I can imagine that many will opt for either brush painting or applying decal strips in the appropriate color.
In line with other Sweet kits, the star of the show is the decal sheet. This one offers no less than seven different options, with enough additional markings to do three complete aircraft, even though only two are supplied in the box. Not surprisingly, four of the markings are for Marseilles while other markings are for Fenzl, Götz and an unknown pilot. All are in RLM79 over RLM80 with the demarcation line at various positions on the fuselage. All have white spinners, wing tips and fuselage bands as required in North Africa. They also have yellow lower cowlings. One of Marseilles aircraft has a red rudder, though most researchers now think that this was a brown oxide primer and not RLM 23. The decal sheet is superbly printed by Cartograf. As a bonus, there are markings for Marseilles' Kubelwagen "Otto" in 1/144, 1/72 and 1/48 scale
A really great kit that 1/144 military modelers will have to have.
My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours direct.
Kit courtesy of me and my digging through the HLJ's Sweet box at the Atlanta Nationals.
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