This kit is from Revell Germany abd is of the Messerschmitt Bf109 G-10 variant (1944) kit number 04532. Cost: $AU19.95 [$US13.80, GBP7.80] from Metropolitan Models & Hobbies Box Hill VIC Australia
Box: The box is a tube type (end opening) of Revell's usual thin cardboard.
Kit: The kit comes bagged in a heat-sealed polyethylene bag and at first glance looks clean and crisply molded.
Instructions: An annoying bundle of folded pages (unstapled) on greyish recycled paper, with the usual three full pages wasted on warnings in many languages that could have easily been presented as symbols, saving all that paper. The colours were listed in 6 point print and frustratingly required1) Revell paints and 2) heaps of %$(&*$#ing about mixing them to required shades. Why can't Revell make RLM colours - They're Krauts, they should still have the original paint chips!! Two paint schemes were presented. I chose the simpler to save frustration on paint mixing.
Decals: High quality, but very congested on sheet. They appear to have gone for accuracy, supplying some that were for warnings that were about 1mm by3mm - and may never have been stencilled on the real thing that late in the war! Accuracy in representation only goes so far, however, as this is an EU sanitised kit with NO SWASTIKAS!! Don't tell me the krauts ran out of them in 1944....
Kit assembly: Once I started assembly, my disappointment was kindled by a few things. First, the kit had "Copyright Revell Inc 1990 Made in USA" moulded on the inside of the upper wing half (OK...) and on the upper tail wing surface as well!!! (Aaagh). After sanding that off, I had to sand the other one to even them out.
There was some attempt to mould detail inside the cockpit walls such as throtles, trim wheel etc, but they were a bit pathetically 2-dimensional. The dasboard was laid out with faint instrument etchings but there was no decal for it and the instructions simply said to paint all the dials black. I used my imagination a bit and painted the warning lights red, gear lights red and green and that sort of thing.
The two halves mated together well but there were gaps that needed filling. There was also some sanding required to line up edges of body halves and wing halves.The panel line etchings didn't line up on the underside. There were holes under the tail wings for the supports used on earlier 109's which weren't used in this variant. The molded machine-guns on the engine cowling were pathetic and unclear. The vent underneath didin't align properly with the other side. The tail wheel was molded on to one half and represented as if it had an old sack wrapped around the strut, unlike the long, elegant strut of the real thing.
The wings assembled well, but didn't fit well into the body without considerable shaping and removal of plastic from joins.
There were many ejector pin marks, but not on the smooth surface. They were plentiful on all the small, detailed components though.
The canopy came in 2 parts for open or closed mounting. I tried closed mounting (to keep the dust out and it wasn't a well-detailed cockpit anyway) but found there was a 2mm gap between the halves! Rather than waste effort, I glued it open.
I haven't bothered with the drop-tank. I might decal it later and add it on, but the etched panel lines don't match across the joins and the shape wasn't quite symmetrical, so maybe not.
Does anyone have two 1:48 scale tailfin swastikas they can spare?
In overview, this is not a particularly well-made kit and in this scale that is unforgiveable. I used to be a 1:72 modeller and thought it would be nice to try the larger svcale, One thing I've learned is that when you increase the size, you also increase the size of the mistakes, making them glaringly obvious. In 1:48 and above, if you want to build an accurate, clear, detailed and well-fitting kit, it's really worth spending much more and buying a good brand. This is not a kit to spend money on upgrades for. It is the kind of kit you give to a 12 year-old to see if he can handle glue and tweezers.
My mistake was to think that it was a bargain at $19.95. I spent almost that again mixing paints and shaping putty. Next time I will buy a Tamiya model, and use Testors pre-mixed RLM colours.
My next kit is an Academy 1:72 Hawker Hurricane IIc - it looks very good. I think that Academy (who I havent tried before) may turn out to be like Samsung or LG - another Korean success story. Good! We need some competition in the marketplace to keep the prices down.
-- _________________ Norman Lever Melbourne, Australia _________________