iModeler Review: 1/32 Revell Messerschmitt Bf-109G-6
After finishing the last 1/32 Hasegawa Bf-109, an F-2, I told myself I was finally "109ed out," that the airplane as a model held no suprises and no further interest to me. So naturally, when the neighborhood Walter White associate, er, I mean our fine editor here, Martin, came along and offered the junkie a new fix, er, asked me if I'd like to review the new Revell kit, I was just like Badger and Skinny Pete when Jesse offered them some new "Blue Sky." I said "OK, sure, why not?" (You can tell who's going to miss that show now that it's over. 🙂 )
So here is the new Revell 1/32 Bf-109G-6, done as the airplane flown by Gunther Rall when he was Gruppenkommandeur of III/JG 52 in the spring of 1944 on the Eastern Front. I used decals out of the "dungeon" and followed the markings information in the old Aeromaster "Top Guns of the Luftwaffe" sheet to do this model.
I had the privilege of meeting Rall at the American Fighter Aces Convention in 1984. I was at the bar with my new good friend Robert L. Scott Jr. (he liked my writing), when a very hail-fellow-well-met with a light German accent stopped by to say hi to him. After a drink together, Scott remembered to introduce me, "Gunther, this is Tom Cleaver, a good writer - Tom, this is Gunther Rall." That was pretty cool. Rall was an engaging conversationalist throughout the weekend, and one would never have known he was Gunther Rall, 3rd-ranked ace of history and then-current Commanding General of the West German Air Force unless you already knew that. Unlike any American general out of uniform, Rall did not radiate "General-ness" and did not expect to be treated as one. He was with his peers and having a good time, and doing a good job of creating that for anyone in his orbit. Getting to talk to him and Walter "Count Punski" Krupinski was interesting, but best of all was seeing him with Hub Zemke, the man who shot off his thumb in 1944 - he nearly bled to death hanging in his parachute, but here they were the best of friends. I am really surprised that the only place I have ever found markings for any of his airplanes was on that Aeromaster sheet.
As to the model: the "early" 109 you can do if you follow the instructions is an Erla-built Bf-109G-6; if you switch windscreens to the alternate that's there, you can do this as a Bf-109G-5. the "late" 109 can be either a short-tail non-Erla G-6 with the "panzer" hood, a tall-tail G-6 with either hood or a G-14 with the later hood. Both long and short tailwheel forks are provided.
Construction is mostly less-fiddly than the Hasegawa kit. I liked that they did the different vertical fins and rudders with separate fins above the stabilizers, rather than the entire rear fuselage as Hasegawa does. I did not like the design that has you build the fuselage, then glue in a spar, and then assemble each wing in pieces to the fuselage assembly, so I cut the spar in half (it's not really that necessary and doesn't provide strength, just confirmation of the wing dihedral) so that I could assemble the wings as separate sub-assemblies and then attach them to the fuselage. I recommend gluing the upper wing parts together before further assembly, so you can work that joint from both sides and get it right - if you do that you won't have a gap or need any putty. Also be sure to attach the cowling side pieces to their appropriate fuselage halves before proceeding further with assembly of the fuselage, so you get those joints right.
I very much like the separate control surfaces, which allow for more dynamic posing of the model. The control surface detail is nice - a bit more than it really was, but not so much as the Hasegawa kits.
The kit offers as much detail out of the box for the cockpit as does the Hasegawa kit. Do note that the instructions for which cannon breech to use are reversed from what you actually want. I used Eduard seatbelts, which was really all that was needed to make the cockpit interesting. The attachment for the canopy hood if you pose it open is much stronger than that provided by Hasegawa.
The model was painted with Xtracrylix RLM 74, 75, 76 over pre-shading. The national insignia from the kit was used for markings. I used stenciling from an Eagle Cals sheet since it was better. Any 109 nut who buys this is going to have sufficient decals on hand to not have to worry about being limited to the kit offering, though those are attractive schemes. The kit decals work without problem.
The best part of all is the kit has an MSRP of US$29.95, and I have heard from friends that if you shop around, the price ranges from $22-$25, a far cry from the $50+ now being charged by Hasegawa.
It is obvious from the way the kit is designed and from various unused parts on the trees that other sub-types will be coming along, including an "F."
Go get 'em!