Trumpeter 1/32 Bf-109F-4/trop

KIT #: 02293
PRICE: $25.00 on sale
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The 1,350 PS (1,332 hp, 993 kW) DB 601 E was used in the F-3 and F-4 model together with a VDM 9-12010 propeller with broader blades for improved altitude performance. The DB 601 E was initially restricted to 1,200 PS (1,184 hp, 883 kW) at 2,500 rpm; however, the full rating of 1,350 PS at 2,500 rpm was cleared for service use by February 1942. The DB 601 E ran on standard 87 octane "B-4" aviation fuel, despite its increased performance; while the earlier DB 601 N required 100 octane "C-3" fuel.

Only 15 examples of the F-3 are believed to have been produced by Messerschmitt Regensburg between October 1940 and January 1941. Like the F-1, the F-3 was armed with the 20 mm MG-FF/M and two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s.

From the F-4 onward, the new 20 mm Mauser MG 151/20 with 200 rounds was used as the Motorkanone. The first F-4s reached frontline units in June 1941. Production lasted exactly a year between May 1941 and May 1942, with 1,841 of all F-4 variants produced. Some of the later models were capable of mounting two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons under the wing in faired gondolas with 135 rpg. These were designated F-4/R1 and 240 of them were produced by WNF in the first quarter of 1942. This optional additional armament was standardized as field kit for later G and K series. A special high-altitude variant, the F-4/Z featuring GM-1 boost, was also built with a production run of 544 in the first quarter of 1942 and saw extensive use. Finally, the Erla factory produced 576 tropicalized F-4 trop in the first half of 1942.

With its initial engine rating of 1,200 PS, the maximum speed of the F-4 (and F-3) was 635 km/h (394 mph) at rated altitude; and with the clearance of the full rating of 1,350 PS, maximum speed increased to 659 km/h (410 mph) at 6,200 m (20,341 ft).


We all know that Hasegawa was the first to offer us a really good series of 1/32 Bf-109s. Oddly, it took them a very long time to provide an F variant, but they did so. Trumpeter has also released a fair number of 109s in this scale and have included a 109F-4.  

Initially Trumpeter's 1/32 kit had metal hinges for the control surfaces that were a real pain to assemble and didn't really do all that much to improve the kit. They did learn and that silliness is behind them. Lambaste Trumpeter if you want, but they do provide most of the right things. For instance, you get two photo etch frets with this kit. These are not optional pieces but are, for the most part, required to complete the kit. The cockpit is a prime example as the trim wheels are p.e. as are the rudder pedals, harness, and the seat, though a plastic seat is also provided. The kit also has a complete engine where you install all three of the machine guns.

When you get to the landing gear, you'll find rubber tires with photo etch straps to hold down the brake lines. During the wing construction, the lower wing will have the lower fuselage fuel tank (which I doubt you'll see when the kit is done), along with the wing cannon ammunition drums. If you install the wing canon, you'll need to open holes for it. As expected in this scale, the ailerons, flaps, slats and radiator exhaust panels are separate. Interestingly, there is no photo etch for the coolant radiators.

Putting together the fuselage means that you attach the engine cowling covers. There are no props to hold these up if you want to display all those parts you put into the engine so you'll need to fabricate those. Modelers who want to leave these covers closed can skip putting a lot of parts on the engine, though the block is needed to hold the guns and exhaust.

Rudder and elevators are separate but tabbed to only fit in the neutral position, just like the ailerons. Quite a few of the small p.e. bits are used on the canopy and surround. The area behind the seat has a p.e. cover held in place by a two piece p.e. strap. The head armor is also photo etch. There is no hinge area shown to keep the canopy open, but a resourceful modeler will be able to devise something.

With the fuselage and wings completed, they are joined. There is a rack and drop tank. The tank strap is photo etch and unbelievably, the little mounting points on the tank are also separate. The last things to be attached are the landing gear, the build up lower cowling piece (which does have a p.e. radiator screen), and the gun gondolas (if you are using them). Most 109F aircraft did not use these wing cannon as they adversely affected the handling of the aircraft.

Instructions are standard landscape type used by Trumpeter. Color info is provided during the build using Gunze references. Markings are provided for three desert camo aircraft in RLM 79 over RLM 78. One is the box art plane of Marseilles, which is pretty much expected. The other two adds RLM 80 to the scheme making for a much more interesting camouflage. Decals are nicely printed with split swastikas. No unit information is provided for any of the options.


So there you have it. Another nice looking kit with lots of detail and options that the earlier offerings did not provide. Are they better than the Hasegawa kits? I don't know but I do know that they are more easily available and not as expensive, which surely counts for something.


January 2021

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