Monday, March 23

Build Review - KA Models 1/48 Bf-109G-10

Gary Wickham has been hard at it making the latest kit from KA Models shine – instead of just doing a box review of both the Bf-109 G-6 & G-10 kits. He though what better than to make and paint one of them up to see what they are REALLY like? Let’s have a look at his two in-one review.
1/48th scale
Manufacturer: KA-MODELS
Model:          KP-48002A
* Plastic Injection Kit
* 1 Brass Photo Etched Part
* 1 Brass Metal Part
Manufacturer: KA-MODELS
Model: KP-48001A
1/48th scale
* Plastic Injection Kit
* 1 Brass Photo Etched Part
* 1 Brass Metal Part

KA Models is best known for their photo etch and resin accessories. They have recently expanded their product line to include injection-moulded kits and today I review one of their first offerings, the 1/48th scale Bf109G-10.

We originally believed that the kit was a completely new tool but upon closer inspection determined that the plastic is a re-pop of the ex-Fujimi kit. This is not entirely a bad thing as the older Fujimi moulds still hold up pretty well today and as you will see builds into a nice model.

A pretty simple and "cost effective" kit makes for building more models rather than collecting them - but is this kit of a decent quality?
KA Models have added some extra goodies into the kit to enhance the basic sprues and these include a small PE fret and metal pitot. New decals are also provided.

This kit includes everything you need to build a G-10 with the larger “Erla” hood. The kit is engineered with optional parts to allow many of the common sprues to be re-used across different boxings of other variants (such as the G-6).

I quite liked the Red 2 “Rita” markings found on the boxart with the colourful red tail band and option to paint the nose undersides in yellow.
As this was a fairly simple build I also added some figures from Verlinden and ICM to my home made grass base to complete the project.

The Kit(s)
KA Models have actually released two new Bf-109 kits:
A G-10 with an "Erla" canopy ...
And a Bf-109G-6
The two kits share a lot of common sprues. The clear sprues are different to allow for the change in canopy type between the G-6 and G-10. The other G-10 specific parts (bulged cowling etc) are also contained on a separate sprue. Both type of wing bulges are provided on the common sprues.

The G-10 “Rita” kit is the one I chose to build and consists of 5 major sprues. As with most WWII fighter models the part count is low (at least compared to modern jet kits anyway) and generally makes for an easy build.

The G-6 kit comes with striking box art and contains virtually all the same main sprues as the G-10 I built.
The sprues are well moulded with virtually no flash present at all. The Fujimi moulds seemed to have held up well over the years. I found that all the detail was sharp, unlike many more modern kits where the moulded on detail becomes soft and pillowy.
Sprue F contains the parts specific to the G-10. A new instrument panel and sidewall are provided along with the correct bulged cowlings of the later model Bf-109G series.
The level of detail provided for the cockpit is more than adequate for a 1/48 model. Separate rudder pedals and instruments moulded in plastic are a welcome change from the more common practice these days with relying on decals alone.
Sprue D is shared across both the G-10 and G-6 kits and therefore has two sets of:
-Horizontal tails,
-Supercharger intakes
-Canopy headrest armour plating and tail wheels
One of the more visible differences between the G-10 and G-6 was the canopy. The one piece visibility improved “Erla-haube” canopy was fitted as standard to G-10 and late model G-6 aircraft
G-6 canopy
G-10 "Erla Haube"
A small PE fret is provided that includes replacement grills for the both the nose mounted oil-cooler intake as well as the wing mounted water radiator for engine cooling. The inclusion of a metal pitot tube is most welcome as it looks much nicer than an equivalent plastic part (and less prone to breakage).
Two marking options are provided in the G-10 kit. During my build I can report that the decals performed very well, responding to both decal setting and softening solutions.

The Build
I have gotten into the habit of doing fairly extensive dry fitting of major kit parts prior to doing any gluing. This allows me to identify any problem areas that may benefit from trimming or adjusting.
As you see here the KA Models 109 fitted together extremely well with almost no visible gaps between major parts like the wing and fuselage.
The same excellent fit can be seen underneath with gaps between wing and fuselage almost non-existent.
Although probably not needed, I chose to add some extra detail to the starboard sidewall as I had decided early on to display the model on the ground with the canopy open (something which the kit does not really allow as no hinge is provided). Some brass rod and plasticard was used to busy up this area.
Before closing up the wings you need to add either the plastic or PE radiator grills. I also added an actuating rod from plastic that was quite visible in photos of the real aircraft.
The canopy and windshield have been masked both inside and out. The canopy framing is nicely done and makes masking if off that much easier.
Because I wanted to display the canopy open I needed to manufacturer my own hinge. This was actually fairly easy and only required a thin strip of copper sheet folded with a 90 degree bend and then glued with CA to the edge of the canopy prior to painting.
With the cockpit construction complete it was time for some interior paint. The KA Models paint instructions call for the interior to be painted Mr Color C301 Dark Gray FS36081. I found this odd because the Mr Color paint range actually has the correct colour RLM66 Black Grey available as C116. One omission from the kit PE fret was seatbelts. I had some spare generic Luftwaffe PE belts from Lion Roar handy so used them.
The sidewalls were likewise finished in RLM66 with the piping and details picked out by hand with Vallejo acrylics. A light dry brush of Model Master Chrome Silver completed this step.
With the interior complete the fuselage was joined. No filler was required, with the seams disappearing with a light rub. Here you can see some card being used to enhance the rear cockpit bulkhead. The battery cover has been provided by KA in PE as I assume this was missing from the original Fujimi kits.
Check your references carefully when eliminating the fuselage seam as you will need to re-scribe along the centreline on the rear fuselage both top and bottom as well as the hinge join on the engine cowling.
To accommodate the variations between rudder types in the 109G family, the rudder and tail top have been provided as a separate piece. The horizontal join here was along a natural panel line but was not tight enough to avoid filling and subsequent re-scribing.
With work on the fuselage and wing sub-assemblies complete the two could be mated together. Note the work I have done on the leading edge “Handley-Page” slats. The kit has a visible step on the wing leading edge where the slat sits when in the retracted position. This is not accurate as the wing surface should be smooth. I have corrected this with some 10 thou card glued into the wing to remove the step prior to the slat being attached in the extended position.
The completed tail unit. Note I have separated the elevators using a sharp blade and re-attached them in the relaxed position.
All the seam work on the underside has also now been completed and checked under a coat of grey primer. The fit of the radiator “flaps” could have been better designed IMO as there is very little surface to achieve a strong positive bond, especially if you want to display the flaps down as I have done.
The one join that did benefit from some filler (using CA) and re-scribing was the lower wing to fuselage seam. I have also re-scribed the centreline join along the entire rear fuselage.
First step in the painting was to apply the RLM 76 Light Blue on the undersides and up the fuselage sides. Mr Color C117 was used.
The upper surfaces where painted first with RLM75 Gray Violet (Mr Color C37) and then masked with Blu-tak before applying the RLM74 Gray Green (Mr Color C36) . The fuselage demarcation between the camo and blue as well as the mottling was hand airbrushed using my Iwata HP-B+.
The fuselage band is supplied as a decal by KA but I wanted to paint this on to achieve a better result. I had to find the best red to match the color of the number “2” decal. Based on some tests I settled on Mr Color C108 Character Red. With the painting complete I applied a thin coat of Future over the entire model. Decals were applied with Micro sol Set and Sol solutions.
The decals are not the thinnest I have ever used but respond well to softening solution and sunk nicely into the panel lines. The swastika on the tail is provided in the kit as a two part decal so some care is needed to make sure this lines up properly.
Once the decals are dry (overnight) I like to seal them under another thin coat of Future (or your own preferred gloss clear). At this point I apply the panel wash over the entire airframe. A very thinned wash of Model Master Burnt Umber is my default color as I find it makes the panel lines visible but not distracting as can happen with darker colours like black.
The panel wash dries very quickly (due to the high content of thinner) and is ready for clean-up within an hour of application.
Using a clean cloth dipped in thinner clean off the excess wash from the surface of the model. For hard to get at areas use a cotton bud dipped in thinners.
A final flat coat has now been applied to kill off the gloss of the Future. Exhaust staining along the wing root has been applied using the airbrush (Tamiya Red Brown + Flat Black).
Wear marks on the wing root and engine cowl have been added using a very sharp silver Prismacolor pencil.
A very thin mixture of Tamiya Red Brown + Flat Black has been airbrushed to add general grime on the airframe. This is most noticeable on the light undersides.
With the main painting now complete all that remains is to paint and assemble the additional parts such as spinner/propellers, drop tank, undercarriage and wheels.
To display the final model I put together a simple base using static grass (from Noch) and a handful of figures from Verlinden and ICM.

This build took me about 5 weeks.
Gary Wickham.

Both of these retail for a measly price of $16 USD each  - and their simple nature should get people building these very quickly and maybe with a degree of fun? You are able to get them directly from the KA Models website

PS - both of these kits are now on a special "Free airmail" deal from Hobbyeasy - get in there while you can!
Appendix – Instructions
Markings in G-6 kit