Saturday 31 May 2014

Eduard 1:48 Bf 109 G-6 Gustav - in-box build review

Spent my first day cutting plastic on the new 48th Eduard Bf 109 G-6 Gustav. What to say ? ...well it's not often that we acknowledge on this blog that former Berlin hobby shop owner Bobo is right about anything but, to put it bluntly, he is on this. Beautiful detailing, fabulous in the box, but apparently according to Bobo and other modelling Experten out there Eduard's new G-6 may not be the most accurate new-tool Bf 109. How could they let this happen after their brilliant Bf 110s (1:72nd) and Spitfires (1:48th). When I first read/heard that there was a potential problem with this kit, I was kind of prepared to just accept it, put it down to one of those things even. I mean I tend to think that 'accuracy' when building a kit shouldn't necessarily be the be-all and end-all of modelling; but there are limits, the subject has to at least look 'right' as a scale replica. Now after having purchased two Eduard Bf 109 G-6s (total outlay with postage, 60 euros) and then received a third one for review I'm feeling a little ambivalent towards this one...

Of course this is probably old news to most of you, but here's a look at the kit parts put up against the plans published in both the Kagero and the Aerodetail monographs. Firstly, the cockpit aperture appears to be a little over-size. The two photos immediately below show the Eduard fuselage parts taped and placed next to a partially completed Hasegawa 48th scale Gustav..

Aerodetail plan above, Kagero below. Note over-large cockpit aperture and overly long fuselage. I notice that 'Andy' on Aeroscale is attempting a rather convoluted 'fix' although there is really nothing you can 'easily' do to correct that..

Here you can see the wings are far too long towards the tips. The Bf 109 wing has considerable dihedral so a comparison with one-dimensional plans is, I agree, hardly an exact science, but even so, note how long they are. In the comparisons above and below they are minus the large rounded tip parts and are much longer (8mm) longer than the Hasegawa wings. Trimming the wing-tips might be an option but again a little tricky given their nice aerofoil section!

...and unfortunately that's not all. The undercarriage has been molded with no compression and the locating lugs mean the gear legs are too long and "up-right" making the stance of the model from the box totally wrong. The gear legs have brake lines molded on too, but these stand proud of the leg and look a little unrealistic in my view. Nor do I like the join between the lower wing and the fuselage which has been designed too a 'V'-shape. I recall the Fujimi kits way back getting slated because they introduced panel lines where none existed on the real machine- why break it down like this ?

Below, well I made a start on attempting to correct some of the more 'obvious' errors; here's my first day's work on this kit; modifying the gear legs, cutting back the locating apertures for the gear and performing surgery on the wingtips...

I notice Brett Green has now "revised" his review to take into account all these various glitches he missed first time around and is still prepared "to build a bunch of them". He writes,

"..there are a number of strange detail errors and probable misinterpretations, and it seems certain that the kit is oversized too. Having said that, there is no doubting that this model looks like a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, but those who want a 100% accurate kit will be disappointed by these issues..."

of course I suspect -and indeed I'm hoping - that once built up and displayed on its own a very nice model will result, in fact there have been a couple of nice examples already posted, especially on aeroscale by Ayhan Toplu (below). Ayhan's "Yellow 1" does look fabulous. My guess is the Eduard Bf 109 G-6 will be spoken off by enthusiasts in the same terms as Trumpeter's 32nd scale Emil - nice model but not a scale replica in a scale that we all recognise.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

"wilde Sau und Moskito Jagd" - The Luftwaffe's single-engine night fighters - Mike Grant's Eduard Bf 110

Part 1 of my two-part feature on single-engine Luftwaffe night fighters is published in the June issue of "Model Aircraft" magazine in the UK (SAM Publications). Entitled "wilde Sau und Moskito Jagd" my 6,000 word article features the recollections of JG 302, NJGr.10 and NJG 11 pilots Fritz Gniffke and Walter Schermutzki, some 25 rare photos from the collection of Jean-Yves Lorant and exclusive profile artwork created especially for the piece by Anders Hjortsberg.  You may recall that I had started to translate the Gniffke memoir elsewhere on this blog, a number of Jean-Yves' photos are unpublished anywhere and Anders' artwork is simply exceptional!

  " ..Welter had downed two Lancasters during the night of 2-3 December 1943, bringing his total to 11, all returned on wilde Sau sorties. On the night of 21-22 January he had run into a Mosquito north of Magdeburg, but the English pilot had managed to get away..Welter was our role model - we certainly didn't have any others.."

Also not to be missed on UK news stands this month, a full build article of the 1/72 Eduard Bf 110 E by Mike Grant which appears in the June 2014 issue of Tamiya Model Magazine. Fabulous!

Friday 9 May 2014

Ofw. Alfred Surau III./ JG 3 Bf 109 G-6

...just in the process of finishing the nicely-detailed AZ Bf 109 G-6 "Jagdgeschwader 3 Udet" limited edition boxing of their new-tool 1:72 nd scale kit as Ofw. Alfred Surau's 9./ JG 3 machine ...

Bf 109 G-6/R6 W.Nr. 18 807 "Gelbe 6", Ofw. Alfred Surau, 9./JG 3, Bad Wörishofen, September 1943.

This aircraft is fitted with the underwing Rüstsatz VI gondola cannon kit which consisted of two 20 mm Mauser MG 151/20 underwing gunpods with 135 rpg. Note also the tall antenna mast - the loop for the DF set, or Peilrufgerät - as depicted on the AZ box art below - started to appear from the summer of 1943 and features on the aircraft flown by the Staffelkapitäne of III./JG 3 (Lemke, Bitsch) - but not Surau's for obvious reasons. Surau's machine does however sport the elaborate eye markings on the cannon bulges. During the summer of 1943 Alfred Surau was briefly one of the most effective aces in 9. Staffel. He scored his first victory on 28 February 1943, while flying on the Russian front. When III./JG 3 was transferred to the Western Front his claims had reached 41 in just six months. The skilled veterans of III./ JG 3's Eastern Front campaign had been rushed back to the West by a Luftwaffe leadership nervous at the ever-growing strength of the US 8th AF build-up in the UK, potentially threatening German cities and industry on a daily basis. While the Bf 109 G-6 was not the most effective machine for tackling heavy bombers it was still a capable enough interceptor, especially as the Americans as yet had no long-range escorts. Surau's run of success was not to last though. On 14 October 1943 return fire from a B 17 fatally injured him. He bailed out but died of his injuries later that day. As was Luftwaffe practise this last 'victory' was 'officially' confirmed. He had been awarded a DKiG - usual precursor to the RK - during September.

Above; profile artwork courtesy Vincent Dhorne via " Le Fana de l'Aviation ". There seems to be a consensus on the yellow wing-tips. From the "banded" scheme this should be a MTT Regensburg aircraft. See Anders Hjortsberg's blog here for an explanation of the relationship between manufacturing installation and camouflage finish; how identifying which factory an aircraft stems from will help pick the correct camouflage pattern for the wings, something that model companies as well as decal companies constantly get incorrect. As usual you can click on the images to get in closer..

I first looked at this AZ kit back in March at this link where I have also posted views of the sprues and the instruction sheet - there are a lot of detail parts and options, including different tail wheels, props, rudder/tailplanes etc etc. I noticed some comment about the length of the nose and its lack of bulk, but under a few coats of paint it does not look too bad at all in my view..I just need to add the pitot to the port wingtip and its done..

As already mentioned, Surau's "Gelbe 6" G-6 is also a markings option in the brand-new Eduard Bf 109 G-6. I've got the Profipack on order along with some overtrees (kit minus decals, etch etc) direct from the Eduard site and down-loaded their free 'Eduard Info' magazine in pdf format compiled by Jan Zdiarsky.

This and the following pics are from Guy in Brighton who has already made a start on his kit;

" I've been struck down recently with a case of lack of modelling mojo - don't know why, I've started a few kits then just lose steam halfway through. In an effort to overcome it I've splashed out on the super-duper new Eduard kit - it's an absolute cracker. The finesse of the mouldings is as good as I've seen. I've got the engine kit too - this is awesome! Huge amount of resin/PE - well worth the money. I'll probably get the resin cannons too and maybe a Montex set of markings..Hopefully I'll get stuck into it shortly, but I won't be rushing..."