Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2
Zvezda, 1/48 scale
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||Zvezda Kit No. 4802 - Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2
|Contents and Media:
||195 parts in medium grey plastic plus eleven parts in clear. Markings for four aircraft.
||Zvezda has delivered a genuine Bf 109 F-2 straight from the box – no filling of hatches or panel lines required; accurate outline and dimensions; very high level of detail; beautifully restrained surface features including recessed panel lines; full engine detail; useful alternate parts for different sub-variants of the F-2 including canopies, breech cowl, main engine cowling, tail wheel assemblies and more; thin, distortion free clear parts; specific parts for building a wheels-up or wheels-down version; control surfaces and flaps all separate and poseable.
||One propeller blade is short-shot; squared-off wheel wells appropriate only for early F-2s; inclusion of the engine will demand more care and skill than Hasegawa’s kit.
||In my opinion, this is the best Bf 109 F kit so far available in 1/48 scale.
Eduard's 1/48 scale Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-11/D-13 Dual Combo is available online from Squadron.com
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 F was a major transformation of the famous Augsburg Eagle. The airframe was streamlined with a newly designed engine cowling, large spinner, rounded wing tips, revised flaps and many mechanical modifications compared to the earlier Bf 109 E.
The Bf 109 F entered service in 1941, at around the same time as the RAF introduced the Spitfire Mk.V. RAF Fighter Command also switched to offensive operations over France and Belgium during this period, creating a new challenge for the Luftwaffe.
The new Spitfire was superior to the Bf 109 F in most respects, and it would not be until early 1942 with the general introduction of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 that a Luftwaffe fighter aircraft would gain a temporary upper hand.
Despite this see-sawing combat on the Channel Front, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F achieved stunning success over the grassy steppes and frozen tundras of Russia, and the harsh desert of North Africa during 1941 and 1942.
Zvezda's 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2
I reckon Zvezda must qualify for the “Most Improved Model Company” award of the last few years. The Russian manufacturer’s recent military releases, including their 1/35 scale Mercedes L4500 trucks, have been very well received, and their debut 1/48 scale aircraft offering, 2007’s Lavochkin La-5FN, was packed with detail and subtly textured.
Zvezda has now followed up with a brave and ambitious kit – a 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2. It is a brave choice because there is no subject likely to attract the level of scrutiny and criticism as the famous Augsburg Eagle; and ambitious due to the sheer level of detail.
Zvezda’s 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 comprises 195 parts in medium grey plastic plus eleven parts in clear.
Surface features are beautifully restrained. Panel lines are crisp and finely recessed. You will not be required to fill or scribe specific panels for the F-2 – these are all moulded in place, including the telltale circular fuel filler under the canopy. There are no panel lines moulded on the top of the wings at all. This is not an error, as apparently at least some F-2s featured a smooth upper wing.
Moulding quality is generally very good, but one of the propeller blades is slightly short-shot on the end. This will need building up and reshaping with scrap plastic. Replacement Bf 109 F propeller blades are also available from a number of sources.
Zvezda has chosen to pack complete engine and cowl gun detail into the plastic fuselage. Assembly of two different versions is called out throughout the instructions. Version 1 is wheels down and engine on display; while Version 2 is wheels up and cowl closed. Alternate parts are included for these versions. For example, the engine cowl for the closed engine features a smooth interior, while the open cowl version has structural detail on the inside.
The engine itself looks well detailed, and parts for the cowl guns and ammo boxes are also included. Although the instructions suggest that the basic engine must be installed even if the cowling is closed, some modellers have found that the cowl parts may be carefully assembled without the engine. If you choose this course, however, you’ll have to find a different way to mount the individual exhaust stubs. Once again, plenty of after-market options are available.
The cockpit is generously equipped with separate parts for the throttle quadrant, switch and instrument panels, map case, fuel line, rudder and mount, and more. The seat is the pan style seen in most Bf 109 F, G and K variants. Some very early Bf 109 F-2s may have been fitted with the Bf 109 E-style full seat though, so check your references carefully.
An excellent pilot figure is also supplied, complete with moulded-in harness straps.
Three alternate windscreens are provided, plus armoured glass if required.
All movable surfaces – elevators, rudder, ailerons, flaps, radiator flaps, leading edge slats and even the front radiator ramps – are moulded as separate parts and may be posed to the modeller’s taste. Wheel wells are nicely down with separate parts for the lining. Zvezda has even moulded detail inside the wing and has provided separate inspection panels on the bottom of the wings. The opening for the wheel wells has been squared off. This is correct for early F-2s, which were supposed to be fitted with inside gear doors (but never were). Later F-2s featured round wheel well openings in the lower wing. Minor plastic surgery will be required if your subject is one of these later F-2s.
The wheels are also worthy of mention. Often an afterthought even on large-scale models, by contrast Zvezda’s wheels are a joy to behold. The hubs are beautifully detailed and deep, while they have included detail even on the back of the wheels. No after market required here.
Two styles of wing tip panels are included. One has the covered navigation lights, while the other is the more common raised/uncovered version.
The empennage and tail is a separate assembly. The empennage is moulded with the two strengthening strips on each side in place. Check your references, as these were not always fitted to the F-2. It will be a simple matter to scrape or sand these off if they are not required on your particular subject.
The small diameter supercharger intake and shallow oil cooler and radiator housings typical of the Bf 109 F-2 are provided. If you want to build an F-4, you’ll have to wait a while, or find replacements for these parts.
I am also pleased to report that the dimensions and outlines of this model conform to respected plans.
Four marking options are provided for some colourful Eastern Front machines, including Major Hannes Trautloft’s famous tan and green Bf 109 F-2 from JG 54.
Decals are glossy and in register.
In my opinion, this is the best Bf 109 F kit so far available in 1/48 scale.
Hasegawa’s Bf 109 F/G/K family has been the benchmark Augsburg Eagle to date in this scale. Although it is a justifiably respected kit, it does have some well-known flaws including its slightly short nose and bulbous spinner. Zvezda’s 1/48 scale Bf 109 F-2 successfully addresses these issues and adds a stack of detail to boot.
The short-shot propeller blade is a surprising disappointment but this will be fairly easy to fix or replace. The inclusion of the engine means a little more care and time will be required for assembly but, even so, this kit should not be beyond the skills of a moderately experienced modeller.
Zvezda deserves to be congratulated for tackling such a tricky subject so successfully. Let's hope they work their way through the entire Bf 109 F, G and K family.
Purchased by Reviewer
Zvezda is distributed in Australia by J.B. Wholesalers
Zvezda is distributed in the UK by The Hobby Company Limited
Review Text and Images Copyright © 2010 by Brett Green
Page Created 4 June, 2010
4 June, 2010
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