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Bf 109 A/B/C/D Conversions
1/32 scale for Hasegawa Bf 109 E

 

Cutting Edge Modelworks

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number, Description and Price:

CEC32134 - Bf 109 A Conversion USD$45.99
CEC32135 - Bf 109 B-1 Conversion USD$46.99
CEC32136 - Bf 109 C/D Conversion USD$46.99

all available from Meteor Productions website

Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: Each set contains grey coloured resin parts plus two parts in clear resin (see detailed descriptions for each set below)
Review Type: FirstLook and Assembly Notes
Advantages: Beautifully cast; clever engineering; comprehensive and accurate; very good fit; good instructions with detailed text and photographs.
Disadvantages: Experience working with resin will be required; some tricky cutting
Recommendation: Highly Recommended to experienced modellers

 

Reviewed by Brett Green
 


HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions


 

Background

 

Early Bf 109 Prototypes and Production Variants

The earliest Messerschmitt Bf 109 variants were fitted with the Jumo 210 engine. Compared to the the later and more familiar Daimler-Benz equipped versions, the Jumo powerplant rendered a very different profile to the nose of these early 109s.

The first Bf 109 to be fitted with the Jumo engine was the second prototype, the V2, which differed from the first production models in a number of respects. The V2 was unarmed, featured a streamlined upper cowl, different spinner design, large main wheels requiring a long "bump" on the top of the wings (similar to the later model Bf 109s such as the G-10 and K-4), small tail wheel with no oleo scissor and other detail variations.

The next prototype, the V3, was fitted with cowl armament and a revised windscreen, but was otherwise similar to the V2. It is generally acknowledged that the V3 was the prototype for the Bf 109 A series.

The V4 introduced the production-style engine cowling and tail wheel, narrower main wheels (with the upper wing bump deleted), and a separately-framed quarter panel on the bottom of each side of the windscreen. Other changes included the provision for a centre mounted machine gun firing through the propeller hub, relocation of the pitot tube from the side of the fuselage to under the wing, and a new style of oil cooler mounted close to the port-side wheel well. The Bf 109 V4 was the prototype for the Bf 109 B production series. A variable pitch metal two-bladed VDM propeller assembly was planned for the Bf 109 B, but delays in supply meant that the first production machines were fitted with the wooden Schwarz propeller.

It should be pointed out that there are discrepancies between reference sources regarding identification of some of these prototypes and early production models. One recent case in point relates to the first production machines. Conventional wisdom has been that the Bf 109 B was the first variant to reach production status but recent sources, including Lynn Ritger's new Bf 109 "Modellers' Datafile", suggest that there might have been a small Bf 109 A series production run. Regardless of the label, however, these early production machines varied little. For example, the main feature suggested as distinguishing the Bf 109 A from early Bf 109 B production machines is the location of the underwing oil cooler.

In service, these "Jumoschmitts" were relatively underpowered, and the initial armament of two cowl-mounted machine guns quickly proved inadequate compared to the emerging generation of European fighter aircraft.

Despite these limitations, however, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 A, B, C and D dominated contemporary fighters in combat over the skies of Spain. The Messerschmitt airframe also proved adaptable, with continual development ensuring that the Bf 109 remained the Luftwaffe's first-line fighter weapon (although it was undeniably surpassed by other German designs) for the entire duration of the Second World War.



Jumoschmitts in Plastic

Although modellers have a great selection of Messerschmitt Bf 109 E, F, G and K kits to choose from, until recently the situation has been fairly grim for fans of the early Jumo powered prototypes and early production models.

Classic Airframes came to the rescue of 1/48 scale modellers in the last year with their family of Jumo-powered Bf 109 kits.

In 1/32 scale, however, options have been very limited.

 


 

FirstLook

 

Cutting Edge Modelworks has come to the rescue of large-scale Jumoschmitt fans with a new range of 1/32 scale early Bf 109 conversions.

Three conversions are offered. These all share a common large lower central wing part in resin, lower flap halves, replacement rear cowlng saddle, a complete replacement engine cowling (which vary in detail between the three conversions), different combinations of propeller and exhaust assemblies, and separate (optional) detailed wheel wells. The resin lower wing has a blank wheel well cast in place, including locating positions for the landing gear legs, so you do not have to use these separate wheel wells if you do not want to. They are a big improvement though.

All these parts are perfectly cast in grey resin.

Each set also includes a clear resin windscreen and rear canopy section.

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The three conversions use the nomenclature quoted in Lynn Ritger's Modeller's Datafle  - Messerschmitt Bf 109 Part 1.

Here are the specifics of each set:

CEC32134 - Bf 109 A Conversion

This set includes the early style cowl with flashed over slots at the front, and six vertical vents at the rear (pictured above). There were many variations of the vent arrangements on these early machines. At this stage, the changes were made in the field in an attempt to prevent overheating. Check your references carefully to decide which slots to open and which vents to fill.

 

 

The early wooden fixed pitch Schwarz propeller is in this set, as is the early style short exhaust stubs.



CEC32135 - Bf 109 B-1 Conversion

This set provides the same style of engine cowl with the flashed over forward slots and six vertical vents.

 

 

The two-bladed adjustable VDM propeller assembly is included, along with the extended exhaust stubs.



CEC32136 - Bf 109 C/D Conversion

This engine cowl features the factory installed cooling slots in the front of the cowl, which were more refined than the early openings.

In addition to the two-bladed adjustable VDM propeller, this set includes the spinner and base for a three bladed propeller; plus the option of the extended stub exhausts or the full ejector exhausts that were sometimes retrofitted to the Bf 109 D.

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The parts are all cast to Cutting Edge's customarily high standard. These replacement parts feature crisp and petite recessed panel lines. The subtle shapes are captured well.

Cutting Edge's conversion parts deal with the worst aspects of the old Hasegawa donor kit. The shape of the 1/32 scale Hasegawa Bf 109 E nose is poor, and the spinner is worse. The profile of the rear gun cowl is too rounded, resulting in problems with the shape of the front of the windscreen and the small quarter windows. The wheel wells are very shallow and totally featureless, and panel lines throughout seem to be the result of someone's imagination.

Cutting Edge's resin parts replace all of these defective or poorly detailed areas of Hasegawa's kit - even the clear windscreen. The only issue remaining will be the raised surface detail. The conversion will look good whether you decide to rescribe or not, but I think that rescribing is worth the effort.

Hasegawa's cockpit is another blight on modeldom, but Cutting Edge has addressed that issue separately. Stay tuned for a review of Cutting Edge's early Bf 109 cockpit soon.

So, Cutting Edge's 1/32 scale Jumoschmitt conversions look great in the box, but the proof of the pudding is in the building.

How do they fit?

 

 

Assembly Notes

 

The conversion samples arrived late last week, and I found some time over the weekend to start taking photos and carving parts up.

First, the nose of the fuselage halves were removed using a razor saw. The cut is along two very prominently recessed panel lines. The only trick is to make sure that you cut straight through the wing root, in line with the vertical cut.

The wing cuts are not on a panel line, so a little more caution is required. I actually managed to cut too far inboard on one side (entirely my own fault), so I have some additional filling to do.

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The casting block for the nose looked a bit scary at first, but it was free within a few minutes using only a razor saw. The entire nose assembly was together faster than I expected.

The fit of the parts was almost magic. My anxiety about the separate exhaust panels lining up with the upper and lower cowls was completely unfounded. The complex and subtle shapes are beautifully captured too, and it would have been difficult to do so with a smaller parts breakdown.

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

[../../../photogallery/photo00008443/real.htm]

Test fitting of the assembled nose showed that it mated up with the Hasegawa fuselage almost perfectly.

It seemed a shame to showcase all those nice resin parts with their crisply recessed panel lines against the fictitious and apparently random raised surface detail of the Hasegawa wings and fuselage so, after a sudden rush of blood to the head (and a few hours free on Sunday afternoon with Debbie out on Round One of Christmas shopping), I started scribing the plastic parts.

I will provide a detailed guide to how the parts were scribed in the full Construction Feature when the model is finished.

 

 

I also installed the optional deep and detailed wheel wells.

Removing the cast-in wheel wells was probably the most challenging aspect of construction so far (my Dremel fitted with a cutting wheel was a big help), but the separate parts are so much nicer that it is well worth the effort.

The front and rear of the wheel well parts must be thinned dramatically in order to fit between the wing halves though.

 



By yesterday morning I had glued the resin and plastic wing parts together.

Contrary to the instructions, I first glued the plastic upper wings to the plastic lower wing outboard sections, then glued these sub-assemblies to the resin lower centre section, and only then added the resin lower flap halves.

I did need to grind away a bit of resin on the inside edges of the wheel wells (inboard of the gear leg mounts), as they interfered with the fit of the big engine cowl casting. I also glued a strip of plastic to the inside of the bottom of the starboard wing to bridge my self-induced gap between the resin and the plastic.

 



You will see from the photos that the overall fit is extremely good. The photos here show the wing and fuselage assemblies simply resting together.

I had to slice a narrow strip off the back of the wing centre section where it meets the fuselage, but no major surgery has been required anywhere. It just fits.

 



I briefly considered dropping the flaps but reconsidered even faster. I will, however, cut out and drop the leading edge slats. I will relocate the machine gun openings in the leading edge too, which are a little higher on the D than the MG-FF on the E-3/4/7.

I was hoping to get the cockpit done by the time I left for Telford today, but that is not going to happen. I will resume on my return.



 

Conclusion

 

Cutting Edge's 1/32 scale resin early Bf 109 Conversion Sets are comprehensive, well detailed and beautifully cast. These Jumoschmitts will represent an interesting and unique addition to your Bf 109 collection.

You will certainly need experience dealing with resin conversions, and you will want to be comfortable with carving up plastic kits. If you take your time and prepare the resin and the kit parts properly though, you should be rewarded with good fit and an impressive result.

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.

Thanks to Cutting Edge Modelworks for the review sample


Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available online from Meteor Productions website


Images and Text Copyright 2007 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 06 November, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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