Erich Hartmann is the undisputed Ace of Aces. To amass over 300 victories is an astonishing acheivement even considering the tactical, training and technical superiority of the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front in the first years of that campaign.
Toward the end of the war Hartmann was still flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6. Despite the fact that he had already acheived more than 300 victories, no victory bars adorned his tail. The black tulip-nose was the only indication that this was the aircraft of the greatest fighter ace of all time.
Claes Sundin has kindly supplied his colour rendering of Hartmann's mount. This illustration proposes that this aircraft was, in fact a Bf 109G-14/AM. The colour and marking details are very consistent with previous descriptions but Claes has presented the tall tail most often found on this variant.
This side profile, together with 123 similar colour renderings, may be found in "Luftwaffe Fighter Aircraft in Profile" by Claes Sundin and Christer Bergström (see refs below). Check out a review of this excellent book elsewhere on HyperScale; or go to Claes' website "Luftwaffe Fighter Aces and Aircraft" for more of his colour profiles and news on forthcoming titles.
Five sprues of medium grey, slightly brittle looking styrene underneath the superb Shigeo boxart. Two sprues, including the wing, are from the earlier 109F/G series. Three sprues, including the fuselage, are new. Anyone familiar with Hasegawa Bfl09s will know exactly what to expect of this kit's surface detail. It is crisp and delicate (although personally I sometimes prefer the slightly chunkier approach to surface detailing demonstrated by Tamiya).
There is one sprue of clear parts. The canopy parts are from the earlier G series. A new section on the sprue adds the appropriate gunsight and armoured glass from the headrest.
Some of the sprues are labelled "Bf109G6/14". The inner surface of the new fuselage has a tiny hint of a raised line running along the inside of fuselage station 7. This was a clue that Hasegawa moulded an entire new fuselage for the tall-tail G-14 version instead of taking the easy way out and making the modeller do the surgery. For details of the differences between the kits, see the section describing the G-14 kit (below).
There are a few small ejector pin marks on the gear doors, the tail wheel and the mainwheel hubs. These are all new parts. Any other ejector marks are on the unseen inner surface of parts.
Cowl bulges are separate pieces. Options for both main styles of starboard bulges are provided (i.e. with and without the small scoop and starter bulge). We are also given the option of using a tropical air filter.
The bulges on the upper wing to accommodate the wider wheels of the late G series are also separate pieces. You know the deal - you have to drill out the two locating holes in the upper wing and stick the bulge on the top. This is all very well and good - as long as you don't look at the model from underneath as the locating pins will protrude through the wheel well roof!
The interior looks a little sparse but is identical to Hasegawa's earlier Bf 109G/F kits except the instrument panel. A good range of detail sets for Bf l09s is already available to improve this area; including Cooper Details, Hawkeye Designs and Eduard.
One of the most comprehensive accessories so far is the newly available "Hi-Tech" set from France. This set includes cockpit, bulged and flattened wheels, separate control surfaces and a full engine! (editor's note - remember this was written way back in 1998)
The standard Hasegawa kit also features separate flaps and slats.
Ordnance is limited to a centreline drop tank and underwing MG151 20mm gun packs.
Dimensions look good. Fuselage length is spot-on, but the tail doesn't look 100% right. The angle at the front of the vertical tail may be a little shallow. Comparisons with scale drawings in Aero Detail No. 5 Bf l09G seem to confirm this impression. Also, the nose seems to be angled slightly upward - only a degree or so. Wingspan is a couple of millimetres short according to Aero Detail. Don't get me wrong - I am not a member of the micrometer brigade. These are just observations. It still looks like a Bf 109.
Two sets of markings are described in the instructions, but the decal sheet seems to have markings for three aircraft. The first is "White 10", a 109G6/R6 (with the MG151 gun packs) of J. Gr. 50. This aircraft is finished in greys 74/75/76 with an all-white tail and black-green spinner. The tail is adorned with an iron cross and a swag of victory markings; and the mid-fuselage has some interesting "waist art" (well, its not nose art).
The second scheme is not actually a G-6 at all, but a Bf 109G-5/R6. However, the only external difference between the pressurised G-5 and the non-pressurised G6 is the lack of the air scoops below the windshield of the G-6 version. The truly obsessive (probably including me) will want to represent the small, round desiccant capsule wedged between the two layers on each glass panel.
This aircraft is "Yellow 13", with a squiggly 11 gruppe bar, from 11/JG27. It is also finished in the mid-war greys, and has a black and white spiral spinner, a white rudder and white fuselage band.
The mysterious third option, "White 7", is an alternate machine from J. Gr 50.
Chris Wauchop built Hasegawa's 1/48 scake Bf 109G-6 almost out of the box.
He added harnesses, brakelines, an auxilliary fuel line in the cockpit. release handle on the canopy and antenna wire running all the way from this release handle via the antenna mast to the post on top of the tail.
Chris reports that the kit was a dream to build - no fit problems at all.
The paint scheme was based on the artwork on pages 62 and 63 in Bernd Barbas' "Planes of the Luftwaffe Fighter Aces Vol. 2" (ISBN 0-85880-050-0). Decals were sourced from Aeromaster.
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