HobbyCraft 1/48 Avia S-199
|KIT #:||?HC 1524|
|PRICE:||$10.00 or so|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Avia continued building Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6s after the war under the Avia S-99 name, at two aircraft factories in Czechoslovakia: one of them officially called závod Avia (Avia Plant) (1946–48) and závod Avia-Jiřího Dimitrova (Avia-George Dimitroff-Plant, 1948–49) in Čakovice near Prague, as a postwar corporative part of the Automobilové závody, n.p. [Automotive Works, National Corp.]. The other was named závod Vysočany (Vysočany Plant, 1948–49) in Prague, as a corporative part of Letecké závody, n.p. [Aviation Works, National Corp.] but soon ran out of the 109's Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine after many were destroyed during an explosion at a warehouse in Krásné Březno.
The S-199 continued to use the Bf 109G airframe but, with none of the original engines available, an alternative engine had to be used. It was decided that as a replacement for the original engine, the aircraft would use the same (Junkers Jumo 211F) engine and propeller as the Heinkel He 111 bomber. The resulting combination of parts was an aircraft with extremely poor handling qualities. The substitute engine with the propeller lacked the responsiveness of the Daimler-Benz unit and the torque created by the massive paddle-bladed propeller made control very difficult. This, in combination with the 109's narrow-track undercarriage, made landings and takeoffs extremely hazardous.
The Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine allowed for a central cannon mount (Motorkanone in German) that fired through the propeller spinner. This was not possible with the Junkers Jumo 211, and so the S-199 used a version of the Luftwaffe's Rüstsatz VI modification kit, which consisted of a pair of MG 151 cannon, one each in a gun pod, beneath each wing. This further impinged on the aircraft's performance. A final hidden danger lay in the gun synchronizer for the cowl-mounted MG 131 machine guns, which did not work as it was meant to, leading a few Israeli aircraft to shoot off their own propellers.
Around 550 S-199s were built, including a number of conversion trainers designated CS-199 (armed) and C-210 (unarmed). The first flight took place in March 1947, and production ended in 1949. The last examples were withdrawn from Czechoslovak service (with their National Security Guard) in 1957.
In the early/mid 1990s, HobbyCraft produced the entire series of Bf-109s from the 109B to the Avia CS-199 as well as the Spanish versions. These were all tooled by Academy, which still holds most if not all the moldings and releases the 109 series from time to time. Detailing is a bit soft compared to Hasegawa or Tamiya kits, but it perfectly adequate for many modelers. The kits are generally easy to construct with few vices. For those who want more detail, you can substitute various resin upgrades.
This kit is a standard 109G sprue set with a substitute sprue for the Avia. This includes a new fuselage along with different bits that fit on it that are different from a 109. When building this one it is important to follow the instructions as there are many areas that need some attention when it comes to parts placement. This is particularly true when it comes to opening various holes or drilling new ones. The kit does provide a few options. One is a long or short tail gear. You also have options regarding the gun covers and two different styles of tires.
Instructions are nicely done and you have four markings options. All are in overall dark green, which HobbyCraft assumes is RLM 71. The large decal sheet has the choice of insignia that are separate colors or printed all together. Note that this is a 'black box' HobbyCraft kit and so the decals should be quite good. You can also see that the backing is nearly white so the white fuselage codes are nearly impossible to see.
Many years back, I built the IAF version of this kit to add to my collection and it turned out well. I'm not sure about the total accuracy of the exterior and interior color information used, so I highly recommend searching for photos to help in this area. Fortunately, the type has survived in museums.
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