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Classic Airframes 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109A

Kit: No. 4123
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Classic Airframes, 773-883-8888,
Price: $39.95
Comments: Mixed media, 86 parts (37 injection-molded plastic, 21 resin, 26 photoetched metal, 2 photo film), decals
Pros: Needed subject, excellent fit, delicate scribing, alternate parts, separate slats, lots of marking choices
Cons: Part edges and mold-seam lines require clean-up
Modelers of 1/48 scale Luftwaffe subjects have anxiously awaited a kit of the first Messerschmitt 109s for some time. The Jumo-engined versions include the prototypes, A models, and some early B series Bf 109s.

Classic Airframes' plastic, cast-resin, and photoetched metal parts are all well done, and the Microscale decals are top quality, too. Optional parts include one set of plastic and two sets of photoetchedmetal gear doors. There are alternate cockpit side panels (one set included is correct for this kit, the other for a later issue). Two engine covers, with and without cooling slots, are provided, and there's a choice of three different propeller assemblies. The control surfaces and leading-edge slats are molded separately, too.

Classic Airframes' instructions include a brief history, parts map, clear assembly drawings, and full four-view painting and marking guides for all six marking choices.

Assembly went well, with only a few complications. The three-piece instrument panel and cockpit tub look good and can be installed from beneath after the fuselage halves are closed. Fuselage panel lines align perfectly between the halves.

The resin wheel-wells required the removal of plastic on the inner surface of the upper wing panels to achieve a perfect fit. A little grinding with the motor tool took care of that problem.

I had trouble fitting the windscreen on my model as it interfered with the top of the instrument panel. I had to file the bottom of the windscreen to gain extra clearance. The rear portion of the canopy sat too high and too far forward. I had to sand the mating surface on the fuselage and deepen the cockpit coaming to get a reasonable fit. Other than that, the kit parts fit great.

I chose to model the fourth prototype, coded D-IALY, one of six marking choices on the decal sheet. I airbrushed discontinued Floquil light gray 63 accented with AeroMaster RLM 02 gray. The instructions suggest the airplane was overall aluminum, but photos in my references suggest gray. The decals were trouble-free.

The finished Bf 109V-4 measures correctly to scale. It's great to have a fine kit of the earliest versions of this classic fighter. Now, I want to build Classic's Bf 109D!

- Al Jones


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