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Mike Still
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Airfix 1/48 Bf 109E-1

January 22, 2016 · in Aviation · · 15 · 3.2K

A bargain compared to the Tamiya and Eduard Emil kits, if only for the optional parts. You can do just about every major E subtype from the parts in the box.

There are a few minor let downs. The propeller blade shape us a tad dodgy, and the leading edge inserts for the machine guns or cannon option need some shimming and putty work. Otherwise, fit and detail are excellent.

Aside from rigging and a canopy latch handle, the kit was built stock.

The finish is Testors Model Master enamels.

In this particular issue, the decals seem more like those found in 's 1990s kits like the Spitfire 22/24 and Seafire 46/47 - well printed but poorly conforming to surface detail.

I chose the kit option for a Spanish Civil War E-1 from 3 Staffel Jagdgruppe 88. Although that option features a Mickey Mouse cartoon, it's not Adolf Galland's plane - he flew He 51s in the Condor Legion.

After applying Future/Kleer/Pledge floor finish for a gloss coat and several sessions with Micro Sol and an Xacto blade, I was able to get the decals to lie down in most panel lines. With the smaller stencils, I applied those to small puddles of Pledge to avoid silvering.

Panel lines were highlighted with a sharp HB pencil and India ink wash. A thin airbrushed wash of off white blended together the tones.

Airfix now puts Cartograf decals in its new releases, but I'm not sure about their Emils. I'd recommend getting a good aftermarket sheet, but you can get two or three of these for the price of one Eduard or Tamiya kit.

An Ultracast propeller might resolve the propeller shape issue for the purist.

This kit is a solid value, and I've got plenty of spares for when I do my Falcon vacuform Emil!

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

15 responses

  1. Nicely finished and photographed...I like it. 🙂

  2. Nice work Mike. I always enjoy Spanish Civil War stuff.

  3. Nice looking livery, Mike.

  4. Mike,

    I like the modeling ,painting and of course its Airfix. Two thumbs up on many levels. My niggle is the back round. If your showing a gray a/c in front of a gray or white back drop it shows the camouflage to good effect. I.E. the model has a tendency to blend in with the back round. I would use a blue or black back round to bring out the details of your model. Blue to have the yellow nose pop out and show details of your weathering or perhaps a black back round to bring out the gray's in your model. These colors would help focus the viewer to look at your work even more and show how well you've built the kit.

    • Thanks. The backdrop is a work in progress - an easy-build with a foam-core floor, two foam-core folding presentation units for the back walls, a cheap yardstick for a floor stiffener and tube spackle to fair in the joints. I'm going to spray it a darker neutral color, but the weather's been a bit bad for spray painting this week lol. It'll be cheap enough to make two or three while I work on my larger photo booth with permanent lighting fixtures.

      • A inexpensive back drop can be bought at the arts and crafts store. I bought several sheets of craft paper in blue and red. Something with a heavier grade of sheet and large enough to be taped behind your model. It works reasonably well for some of 1/48 and 1/72nd scale models. The colored paper could easily be taped to your current set up with out having the fuss of painting. Of course picking the right shade of blue,red,and black paper preferably a neutral shade works best and is easier on your wallet.

      • Not sure what a "back round" is, but your background looks great. Not a thing needs to be changed. Lovely work on the model.

  5. Nice Mike! I've been wanting to build one of my 109 E's in the Spanish Civil War scheme. What did you do to get the gray-white color - was it a mixed off-white or did you use a particular light gray?

    • I can't remember the exact RLM number, but its a Model Master Luftwaffe shade - but light gull gray lightened about 10 percent with white should be a close match. Osprey;s book on Legion Condor aces has good info on colors as well.

  6. Mike, Grau 02, though there seems to be two shades of it. Rumor also has it that the first ME/BF 109s sent to Spain might have been in a then used commercial gray shade, not RLM.
    My thought: any light gray, probably semigloss to start.
    Humbrol 40.

    • Osprey's 'Aces of the Legion Condor' calls for RLM 62 Grau on the Emils sent to Spain, and that shade is comparable to a lightened Light Gull Gray - I used the Model Master RLM 62 on this bird. When I was researching the paint scheme for this bird, RLM 02 came up but also the possibility that some Bs, Cs and Ds might actually have been in the splinter green Luftwaffe scheme too. It was a minefield, but the RLM 62 seemed to be a safe bet for the Es according to the contrast and tones in the Osprey book's b&w photos..

  7. Thank You for the review with highlights and letdowns. I think I will get an Airfix Emil just to try it out - I have several E's in 1:48 in my stash but so far all are Tamiya.

  8. Beautiful work, Mike. It seems the Airfix kit is a bit "underrated" against the competition. Eduard equals with their Weekend Kits the price of the AX Emil here. Maybe i should give the AX 109 a go too.
    Well made pictures by the way !

  9. Lovely job Mike. Clean & crisp & slight;y dlfferent in Condor Legion markings. This is the only WWII Airfix kit I haven't got - but not for long!

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