Saturday, July 27, 2013

Revell's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 Part 1

This model was built straight from the box for a forthcoming book to be released by ADH Publishing.
Revell's initial release will include parts for an early and a late Bf 109 G-6, including:
  • alternative cockpit parts (different cannon breech covers, alternative footrests, and battery box option behind the pilot's head)
  • both early framed and clear-vision Erla canopies; and two windscreen versions
  • standard and tall tails
  • long and short tail wheel strut and alternate tail wheel well fairings
  • treaded and smooth main wheels
  • Morane mast with clear insulator base and DF loop for late version
  • early and late shell ejector panels under the fuselage
  • alternate starboard side engine cowls (with and without the G-5-style compressor bulge).
The kit is cleverly engineered to allow different panels to be fitted to the engine cowl and fuselage sides, suggesting the possibility of other earlier or later variants. This does mean that there are a few extraneous join seams that do not fall on panel lines, but fit is very good so filling and sanding are minimal.
Another unique feature is that the wing wheel bulges are not separate stick-on parts but fully formed on the top and bottom surfaces of the inboard upper wing panels. Also, the internal wheel well sidewalls are split into three parts plus wing spar on each side, resulting in a uniquely realistic depiction of the undercarriage bays without the canvas covers fitted.

Surface features are crisp and fine, comprising mainly recessed panel lines. Recessed rivets are used sparingly.
I like the fabric texture on the control surfaces, which is raised and appropriately restrained. All control surfaces, including the leading edge slats and even the front radiator ramps, are separate. The rudder, elevators and ailerons are hinged and may be built to be moveable when the model is complete.
The cockpit is very well detailed. It is made up from a modest 19 parts, but the result is really impressive. The fuel line that runs along the starboard sidewall is provided as a clear part, so the inspection panel may be masked off during painting. Harness straps are moulded in place on the seat pan and rear bulkhead. Also interesting is the wing spar, which is attached directly to the bottom of the cockpit floor.
Outline accuracy appears to be spot-on. The fuselage length is correct, and the nose captures the streamlined yet muscular appearance of the real thing.
There are a number of areas that could have been done better. The characteristic cowl bulges are undernourished and do not appear to carry far enough to the top of the fuselage; the circular front of the supercharger intake is thin and some details are absent; the sides of the oil cooler housing lack the curves of the original; the propeller blade shape is not quite right, while the small cowl scoops and exhaust ejectors are moulded solid. The shapes of the 300 litre drop tank and ETC rack have not been captured perfectly either.
The spinner shape looks good, and it correctly depicts the tapered "keyhole" openings for the propeller blades. However, the split between the top and bottom of the spinner is not on a natural panel line and will be a pain to eliminate, especially if you want to apply a spiral decal.

Fortunately, these are all add-on parts so if you are a full-on 109 affiance do there will be ways to address these issues by the time the kit is released.

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