Messerschmitt Bf 109K-4
by Julien Haccoun
Arguably the most famous German aircraft of all time, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 barely needs an introduction. It became the symbol of the Luftwaffe, spanning the dark years of the Second World War.
When Hasegawa released their 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf109K, having already built their G-6 model, my first reaction was: "OK, that's another 109..." But after reading the comments and reviews on Hyperscale and in magazines I was tempted.
My objective was to make this project as simple and straightforward as possible. I chose to build my Bf 109K as a moderately detailed model with the help of the replacement Aires cockpit (ref 4055).
Hasegawa's model is very nice and easy to build. I needed no filler at all except for the aft of the upper engine cowl, and to reshape the extreme front of the fuselage to ensure a perfect join between two cowl parts and the fuselage halves.
I didn't try to correct the oil cooler housing, nor did I close the tail gear doors. I just thinned the doors to make them look more convincing in scale. The exhaust shields were given the same treatment. The propeller blades were replaced with Fujimi's ones which have a slightly wider chord. They looked better to me. I drilled out the gun muzzles
Minor problems were encountered during cockpit installation. I retained the kit's instrument panel which is nicely detailed, as well as the armored headrest. I scratchbuilt the horizontal axle behind the seat and spent quite interesting moments trying to glue and tension the canopy restraining cable. The only other scratchbuilt additions are the brake lines and pitot tube.
I chose to represent "Yellow 1" of II./JG 27 featured as one of the kit marking options. The camouflage is RLM 76 (Gunze H417) undersurfaces and RLM 81 (H421 + brown) & 83 (H423) upper surfaces with a few RLM 83 mottles on the sides. The scheme was airbrushed free hand according to the pattern supplied with kit instructions, with a Paasche V (25 PSI, or less for the mottling).
The Reich Defense band was masked and airbrushed with Aeromaster RLM 25.
I used the kit's decals (a bit thick) over a gloss coat, along with some Aeromaster stencils and crosses. They went on smoothly with no silvering. I had to fight with the spinner's spiral. I destroyed one while trying to apply it with the blades in place (thanks, Fujimi...).Then, the second one (Aeromaster) appeared to be rather transluscent. So I overpainted parts of it with Humbrol white. The result was a less than perfect spiral, which is after all rather similar to the real ones.
I weathered the model using the airbrush. I sprayed a very thin mix of black/brown along all panel lines. I then treated the whole airframe with oil paints (black and raw umber) diluted in lighter fluid. This further enhanced the details. A top coat of Aeromaster flat gave a nice finish. I finally sprayed the exhaust stains with Tamiya XF-1 because it gives a very flat finish.
All the delicate details (antennaes, canopy...) were, of course, added at the very end.
The model was photographed with a Nikon digital camera, in VGA mode at a normal resolution. During the photo session I managed to lose the pitot tube. It is still reported missing to date...
This kit was a real pleasure to build.
The Bf 109K gave me the opportunity to try out some new techniques and to complete a model (for once!...), in the midst of a series of overly ambitious superdetailing projects that will probably take years to come to fruition!
Model, Images and
© 2000 by Julien Haccoun
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