Finemolds (Tamiya) Messerschmitt Bf-109E-7
Five Bf 109 E-7s were acquired by the Japanese in 1941, without armament, for evaluation. While in Japan they received the standard Japanese hinomarus and yellow wing leading edges, as well as white numerals on the rudder. A red band outlined in white was painted around the rear fuselage.
They were used in comparison trials by the Japanese Army Air Force with the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa, Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki and the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien. As Japanese were interested in the DB 601 engine and license-built it for their Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien fighter, they had little interest in the Bf 109 itself.
The Allies, expecting to encounter Japanese Bf 109s in combat, assigned a code name of “Mike” to the Messerschmitts. None were flown in combat by the Japanese.
Funny story...About 2/3 of the way through this kit, I thought to myself "Damn, those Finemolds guys really knocked it out of the park with this one...it's literally falling together like a Tamiya kit." Up to that point, I'd been having an odd familiarity about the whole process, which I couldn't quite place. Maybe an hour or two after having those thoughts, I noticed something molded into the lower left hand corner of the sprue I was holding: TAMIYA 1996. Well, I had a good laugh at myself at that. I thought this was a new-tool kit when I saw the announcement late last year, and put it on my Christmas list. The Queen got it for me, and I dug in a few weeks ago. I last built it 18 years ago. I distinctly remember putting the finishing touches on it the night before I deployed on 30OCT2004. Anyways, there goes the odd familiarity.
Having said all that, it's a relaxing, enjoyable build. Finemolds contributed a small sprue containing an airfield workshop (Pilot, Mechanic, Table, Stool, Machine Gun, Oil Drums), a parachute pack for the seat pan, and a set of their "Nano" seat belts. The decals are very Tamiya-like, in that they are thick and don't respond well to setting solutions (Micro-Sol & Mr. Mark Softer). I've no idea who sourced them.
You should build one.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.