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James Kelley
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Finemolds (Tamiya) Messerschmitt Bf-109E-7

February 13, 2022 · in Aviation · · 18 · 1.3K

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 guys really knocked it out of the park with this's literally falling together like a 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.

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. Very cool looking machine. On my very long oddball to-do list

  2. They've also released the Famous Brewster Buffalo in Japanese markings of what I assume was a captured aircraft being evaluated.

  3. I watched a documentary on this exact subject not to long ago. Really great job!

  4. A very nice build, James @jkelleycrna
    That Japanese scheme suites the 109 very well.
    Well done.

  5. Fantastic effort James! Now head over to the new group and add it there, as it fits the category perfectly.

  6. Excellent job, James! The 109 in Japanese markings looks really cool!

  7. You should build one

    I shall (it is in the stash). Sadly FineMolds made a small error regarding the coloring of this one. The squares on the flaps are really frost/snow, as can be seen in the picture you added at the end. Apart from that small flaw it is really nice that they have re-issued this kit with japanese markings. (they have re-issued Tamiyas Buffallo too)

    Your build is very nice - I especially like the windbreakers / waterdeflectors on the antennawire where the insulators are. I have been wondering how to add these in some of my own builds @jkelleycrna.

    Thank you for sharing! I'll hit the star on my way out.

    • Hold a piece of thin plasticard over a lit candle. When it softens, poke it with an airbrush needle. Trim it off, drill a tiny hole in the tip ,and thread the EZ Line through. It takes some practice, but the effort is worth it.

  8. i love the colours. are they accurate or what if? I've one in my stash and considering colour options

  9. Thanks. Accurate to the best of my knowledge.

  10. Very cool work James! ? I like it a lot! ?

  11. That's a beautiful 109! I am also going to have to ask about the colors, as I have a "multiple 109" project going, and love the unusual scheme. Can you let me know a. where you got the color info and b. what paints/colors you used to pull it off? I hadn't planned on one in Japanese markings, but because of the scheme I think I will.

  12. Now that's a 'orse of a different colour! looks great!

  13. Interesting, never knew that this kite had Japanese colours over the original German camo. Makes sense though, and certainly makes for a rather unusual Emil

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