|KIT #:||HC 1542|
|PRICE:||$20 or so|
|DECALS:||Multiple options; four shown in instructions|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The HA-1112 was based on the Bf-109G-2 for which Spain had obtained a license. Germany was to supply the DB.605 engines, but was unable to do so and only provided a bit over half the documentation in order to build the aircraft. The first two versions were powered by the Hispano 12Z engine. Fewer than 100 of the first two variants were built with the first version being unacceptable for operational service and the second not well suited for the mission.
The final variant was the HA-1112-M1L Buchón (Pouter), which is a male dove in Spanish. It first flew on 29 March 1954 with a 1,600 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 engine and Rotol propeller, both purchased as surplus from the UK. This engine required a chin intake, that altered the lines of the Bf 109's airframe. It was an improvised assembly of outdated components but this was appropriate for the intended purpose of controlling Spanish colonial territories in Africa, where more sophisticated technology was both unnecessary and unavailable in isolated Spain at the time. It carried two 20 mm Hispano-Suiza 404/408 cannons and two Oerlikon or Pilatus eight-packs of 80 mm rockets and remained in service until 27 December 1965.
Due to their longevity, Buchóns have appeared in several war films masquerading as Bf 109Es and Gs. in movies such as Battle of Britain (alongside CASA 2.111 bombers, a Spanish-built version of the Heinkel He 111), Der Stern von Afrika, Memphis Belle, Dunkirk, and The Tuskegee Airmen. Remarkably, Buchons also played the Bf 109's opposition, the Hawker Hurricane, in one scene in Battle of Britain.
Back when Hobbycraft was a going concern, they did a whole raft of 109s from the 109B to the 109K. This included the HA-1112 K1L. From what I understand, all the tooling for these kits was done by Academy, and when Hobbycraft went under, it was unable to pay for a lot of their molds so they ended up with Academy. Academy then reissued most of Hobbycraft's line under their nameplate. This is the Hobbycraft boxing,
If you have ever built any of Hobbycraft's 109s, this will look quite familiar. There are three grey and one clear sprue. the majority of the sprues are from the later Bf-109G-10/K-4 kits with a new sprue for the specifics of the 'Buchon', mostly the fuselage halvesprop and weapons. The kit's interior is adequate with some detailing on the sidewalls. No instrument decal is provided so you will need to paint the main panel.
One the fuselage halves are together, you need to add the lip of the chin intake as you do on the HC Jumo 109s. Wings are upper halves and single lower piece where you need to open holes for the rocket rails and the wheel bulges along with the fences on the top. The guns just scab on with the instructions offering location guides. Landing gear is the same as with all their 109 line.
On the underside you have the rocket rails with rockets. You also have a lower fuselage antenna to add and you will need to shorten the tail gear to fit.
Instructions offer generic color information. Though the plastic is the same as with the Academy offering, that is not the so when it comes to decals. As this is a 'black box' Hobbycraft kit, the decals are actually quite good. They also offer the ability to build any of the aircraft operated by the Spanish Air Force. This includes the dark blue RLM 24 aircraft, the RLM 02/62 camouflaged planes and the ones that are silver. In all cases the underside is listed as RLM 65. You will have to paint the rudder white for the Spanish option.
Not a great kit, but not a bad one either and one that will look nice on your shelf when you are done. I recommend looking at photos of the real plane to get the color just right.
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