Revell | 04665: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 Late & Early
Reviewed by Kevin Williams
I decided at the outset to remove myself from the somewhat typical and lengthy description of the '109' technical development and operational history. I will however say that I personally believe that for all the hard work these aircraft performed, and sometimes under very harsh conditions indeed, they definitely left their mark on aviation history, being instantly recognizable to even the novice/non-enthusiast, and therefore are very worthy of a good kit. Despite the presence of the very nice Hasegawa series of 109s, Revell has here taken it upon itself to jump on the bandwagon with their own attempt at recreating this fine aircraft in miniature. (Since this is more of an in-box review than a build review, I have no photos of assembled sub structures, so should be considered more of an overview of the various areas I thought might be of interest.)
While not really a new kit as such (released in 2013), nonetheless, this 1:32 Bf 109 series (at least I hope the line will continue) from Revell, was a welcome addition to the hobby scene, at least as far as I'm concerned. Also worth pointing out, this is not a re-pop of the Hasegawa 109G-6, as has been released before, but is in fact a brand new tooled kit from Revell.
Instructions are depicted in a sort of pictographic way, typical of Revell Germany kits, making assembly a straight forward process. A complete "parts chart" is included, and I see this as a terrific aid to the modeler.
Markings are provided for two 109s
- 411960, Stab III/JG 5
- 160717, Stab II/JG 51
Decals appear to be in register, quite opaque, and well detailed, with very nice stenciling. (Marked as "Researched and designed by AirDOC", no mention is made of specifically who the printer may have been, though probably Cartograf would be my guess.) It's also worthy of note that are there are no swastika decals for the tail, absolutely none at all. While this may make sense for a kit produced in Germany, I still find it just a bit annoying. To achieve a proper and authentic depiction of the aircraft markings, the swastika decals will obviously need to be sourced elsewhere.
Air Frame General
Now that I have the kit "in hand", I can say that the fuselage looks quite acceptable, to include the elevator shaft opening at trailing edge of vertical stabilizer, ahead of the rudder. Also, two different upper cowls are provided, as well as two right hand cowl pieces. Three distinct rudders are also included; two late and one early. The two late versions also have mass balances molded on, so that rudder may be articulated.
There have been some web grumblings about the multi-piece wing assembly, but I personally don't see it as too challenging, even if a bit odd. As has become more or less standard practice these days, a spar is also included that should greatly assist with getting the correct dihedral, as well as providing additional strength. The oval shaped lightening holes in each landing gear leg well are open, allowing one to see through them (this is a feature not present on the Hasegawa kit). Unfortunately, area inside upper wing (beyond these slots) is bare, not that anything would really show there anyway, other than to purist, flashlight wielding zealots.
Again, to my eye, tail surfaces look good, if not just a tad overdone. The addition of all the round gizmos on the elevators (and ailerons), is new to me, and I cannot presently verify that they ever appeared this way.
Not a lot to be said here, save for the notion that if one takes his time, cockpit will build into a very nice and busy "office". On my example, seat belts, particularly the shoulder belts, are molded with very soft details, some almost disappearing entirely, and will need to be replaced (photo #27). IP looks pretty good, and decals are also provided to overlay the raised details, but whether that will work out OK, remains to be seen.
Continuing on with the early/late theme, Revell has also provided two gun sights, two cannon shrouds (Mk 108 & MG 151/20), as well as two aft of seat bulkheads, for lack of a better term.
Two separate windscreen and canopy options are offered, and both are as clear as one could hope for. Two styles of pilot head armor are also included, as are tiny canopy release levers.
Somewhat surprisingly, there is no engine in the kit, none at all. This undoubtedly helps reduce costs, and is fine with me, as I seldom, if ever, display the engines on my models anyway, but some may find this a bit frustrating.
Spinner and props look good to my eye, with adequate chord and twist to blades.
One under fuselage fuel tank is provided, and appears to be of correct proportions, with corresponding mounting pylon, which also looks good. Oddly, there are no under wing stores at all. One of the disappointments to me personally, is the complete absence of the gun pods that were sometimes seen on the G-6, though Barracuda produces a nice set that will come in very handy.
Landing Gear, Wheels and Doors
The split gear configuration is a real head scratcher to me, but overall, detailing of gear looks excellent. Two sets of MLG doors are provided, one set for when aircraft is depicted on the ground and one set for an "in flight" display option, a nice touch.
In almost all cases, ejector pin marks are either in hidden locations, or very easily accessible for removal (not adjacent to delicate details). The exception to this, is the landing gear doors, as the connection points to the sprues are in direct contact with the delicate riveted edges of the doors themselves, so special care will be needed here. There is a fair amount of "flash" on this kit, more than what some might expect from new molds. Some may see this as a weakness of some sort, whereas I just see it as an opportunity to have some extra, very thin plastic bits, which can be mixed with liquid cement for a nice plastic filler later.
Despite some shortcomings (the split gear comes to mind), I see this as a very nice alternative to the Hasegawa kit, offering up several optional parts to create either an early or late G, and all for a very reasonable cost. All in all, I think this is a great effort from Revell. I am very pleased with what I've found, and anxiously await the opportunity to begin working on my example. I also expect that the AM folks will jump on when and where needed, to provide us with additional enhancements for this cool kit.
© Kevin Williams 2016
This review was published on Monday, October 10 2016; Last modified on Wednesday, November 23 2016