Hasegawa 1/32 Bf-109K-4
As the Second World War drew to a close, the last primary operational Bf 109 fighter variant, the K-4, was introduced to the skies.
The Bf 109K-4 was a pressurized-cabin, high-altitude capable fighter-interceptor that would draw to a close Messerschmitt's 30,000 flugzeug-plus legacy. Powered by the DB-605ASC or DB-605DC engine, with GM-1 nitrous oxide boost, delivery began in October of 1944. Armed with one 30 mm MK 103 or MK 108 cannon and two 15 mm MG 151 heavy machine-guns, the Kurfurst was poised to be a robust Heavy Killer, intended to deal more effectively with the incessant Allied bombers in the skies above Germany.
Approximately 700 examples were delivered to active units before war's end.
The kit is Hasegawa's 2003 Bf 109K-4 release, Number ST 20, an excellent kit overall.
But a kit this size demands more detail, and the resin set from Eagle Editions was used. The model depicts Werknummer 334176, manufactured at Messerschmitt's Regensberg Flugzeugwerks. And was flown by Uffz. Martin Deskau, III./JG3, Germany, April 1945. You'll note the hastily sprayed suffix of the Werknummer on the fuselage. Towards the war's end, the time to correctly stencil the numerics coming out of the Flugzeugwerks was not taken…although, apparently, someone corrected it later, presumably in the field.
Construction went as one would expect from a Hasegawa kit; fairly uneventful. A few fuselage modifications are required for the Eagle Editions cockpit set to fit properly, but they are simple to do, and illustrated with photos in the accompanying instruction sheet.
The wing roots, however, posed more of a problem than anticipated. Even after grinding down the floor of the resin cockpit set with a Dremel tool as far as I dared, the one root still had a major gap, despite the ventral surfaces being flush. It was almost like the wings and fuselage were from different kits! A little styrene, a lot of Porci-Flex and Mr. Surfacer, and a great deal of sanding later, they were well-mated! The port wing was a bit better, but still a surprisingly mediocre fit. The fillet seam was rescribed on both sides.
Although I have a photo of this particular aircraft parked with the tailwheel gear doors open, I chose to re-make them shut (I didn't want to detail the tailwheel gear bay, to be honest with you, and this was easier!). I cut off the open, molded doors, and measured a piece of styrene with the two cutouts. I scribed a simple line down the middle, cemented it over the gear bay, and sanded to fit. A few panel lines were rescribed where needed, and a few access panels were added where they should be but weren't. Rivets lost during sanding/buffing were re-applied with a Hasegawa rivet tool. Aside from the required fuselage alterations for the cockpit and the wing root issues, the rest of the model assembled easily according to instructions.
Below is a summary of detailing and accurizations of the model:
Eagle Editions Bf 109K-4 cockpit set #26-32
Seat Harness fashioned from 0.015” sheet brass
Canopy tensioner made from 0.015” solder
Cutting Edge resin ventral radiator door
Cutting Edge hollowed out exhausts
Tailwheel doors removed and replaced with scratch built doors from sheet styrene
Numerous panel lines and rivets rescribed as necessary
Cutting Edge resin MG 151 cowl-mounted guns added
Wire mesh screen added to supercharger intake
Strip styrene “weld line” added to supercharger intake
Cutting Edge resin rudder & horizontal stabilizers added to replace kit parts
Rudder hinges fashioned from 0,20” sheet brass
Day fighter camouflage scheme replicated with Gunze Sangyo 75/76/82
Post shading done with Tamiya “Smoke” (X-19) thinned 95% with ETOH, airbrushed at 5-10 psi
Chipping done with Silver pencil and Napoleon Blue artist's acrylics
Eagle Editions EagleCals sheet #EC74 used
Spray painted “Werknummer” airbrushed using EagleCals templates (included with decals)
Instrument panel dials a combination of individually placed kit and ALPS decals.
Reheat 1/32 Vintage placard and ALPS decals in cockpit
After masking the canopy and windscreen with Bare Metal Foil, the model was primered with Gunze's Mr. Surfacer 500. I mix it 50/50 with laquer thinner. Then the entire airframe was lightly wet-sanded (?) with Micromesh pads and cloths, beginning with 1500 grit and progressing through 12000 grit.
The late-war RLM75/82/76 day fighter camouflage scheme was applied with an Iwata HP-C at 10-15 psi using Gunze Sangyo Auqeous Hobby Color acrylics (H69, H418, H65, and H422). Testor's Clear Gloss coat laquer was decanted into a 30 ml cup, and then applied.
The EagleCals decals were applied, with the hastily applied fuselage Werknummer airbrushed through a “stencil” I cut out using the provided template on the decal instructions (which also include a 1/48 and 1/72 scale template). Postshading of the panel lines was achieved with Tamiya Smoke (X-19) applied freehand at 5 psi. Final sealant coat was a covering of Tamiya Flat Base (X-21) mixed 30/70 with Future.
The Messerschmitt Bf 109K-4 Flugzeug-Handbuch
Late-War Luftwaffe Fighter Camouflage, Part Eight: Fighter Profiles
Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front