Messerschmitt Bf 109 A
Avis, 1/72 scale
u m m a r y
||Avis Cat No. BX 72007 Bf 109 A
|Contents and Media:
||47 very pale grey plastic parts on 3 sprues, 1 clear plastic canopy, decals for 2 aircraft plus an 8 page A5 sized instruction booklet with history in 2 languages, parts plan, 8 build diagrams and 2 pages of paint/decal instructions.
||USD$14.95 available online from scale-model-kits.com
||Appears reasonably accurate, has detail up to current standards for the scale.
||Detail is a bit soft, pilot's seat looks more like an “F” or later model, some possible errors in the markings.
||There have not been many early 109s in this scale. Heller did one a long time ago, Sword and AML produced short-run kits more recently. This kit also is a short-run model but it looks to have better shape and more detail than the others.
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Not long after the first flight of the Bf 109 V1, Germany sent several prototypes to Spain for combat trials. Although not really successful due to maintenance problems, they were followed by many 109 B, C, D and Es. Most of the top Luftwaffe Aces from WW II learned their craft on these early Messerschmitts in the Spanish Civil War.
What I am not so sure about, is the letter “A” in the title (Bf 109 A). All of my references state that after the prototypes, V1, V2 etc., Messerschmitt went straight into production of the B-1 series. However, There does seem to be some question over whether a number of Bf 109As were produced before the B series and as I'm in no position to argue either way, I will leave it to others.
A or B aside, I have had a good close look at the kit parts and compared them to one of ICM's Bf 109 E-3s. The moulds look very similar, with just the appropriate modifications for the earlier mark of 109. The detail is a bit soft but other than that many parts are almost identical especially interior parts and other smaller bits.
There are two areas of criticism. Firstly the seat. Seats in the early 109s were similar if not identical to those in the 109E. Those in this kit, oddly, there are two, look more like what you would expect in a 109F or later and are almost identical to what came in a recent A-model Bf 109 F-4 that I built (more on this later).
The other area is the canopy. Shape looks okay but it is very thick, usable perhaps if it is all you have but you wouldn't be able to open it to show all of that lovely interior detail. On the other hand, if you happen to have an ICM 109 E-4 kicking around, it has a spare E-3 canopy and it's a three-piece item.
The detail level is up there with the best 1/72 scale Bf 109 kits on the market -Tamiya, ICM, Fine Molds etc., but as I said above, it is somewhat soft and like any short-run kit, every part will require some cleanup.
Decals look to be adequate but as they are an unknown quantity I'd be inclined to test one first. There are markings for two aircraft, both from Spain, 6-10 flown by Gunther Lutzow, which has a VDM prop fitted; and 6-7 flown by Fw. Norbert Flegel, Lt. Rolf Pingel and Oblt. Werner Molders. Both carry a top hat of slightly different design and both are in overall silver.
Instructions are a bit rough but will do the job. A blurry photo of 6-7 on the ground is followed by a brief history in two languages. A parts plan is next showing three parts that are not for use in this kit. They are one of the two late model seats mentioned earlier and two wing machine guns obviously for a later model. There are a couple of options as well. A wooden two-piece fixed pitch Schwarz prop and the later VDM all-metal variable pitch item, which I am told was retrofitted to some of the earlier aircraft. The engine cover is separate and you get the option of one with three vents just behind the spinner or one without. Similarly, there is a separate part for under the nose just in front of the intake and you get one with a vent and one without.
Avis - who are they and where do they come from? The artwork on the box-top looks very Rodenish and one of the two languages in the history section is preceded by the letters UA. Could this be Ukrainian? The plastic on the other hand looks very much like A-model from the Czech Republic with plenty of detail and accuracy only seen in a
small number of the very best kits. There is nothing on either the box top or instructions to indicate the country of origin.
Whoever they are, I am very glad to have had the opportunity to review this kit. With a bit of extra work, remember, it is a short-run kit, a very detailed early Bf 109 can be had.
Thanks to scale-model-kits.com for the sample
Review Text Copyright © 2009 by Glen Porter
Page Created 21 May, 2009
21 May, 2009
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