Hasegawa's 1/32 Me-109 G-6
and Text by: Tom 'Mr.109' Norrbohm
Photos by: Steve Jantscher
announced that it was coming out with a 1/32nd scale Zero, I was very excited
as I felt a model of the ME-109 would surely follow at some point in time.
I have always wanted to build a 109 in this scale, and as you can see by my
moniker above, I have a keen interest in this airplane. I have built nearly
60 1/48th scale 109's since 1979, and have built them in every other scale available
at some time or other including recently in 1/144th scale. I am basically
an out of the box builder, but will occasionally add some aftermarket stuff
to the model. When I saw the early test shots of the Hasegawa 109 I knew
that I had to build this! All paints use on this model are Testor's Model
Master II enamels. So let's get started!
Wow! This is a big model! After having built a couple of 1/144th
models, this kit seems huge! Molded in gray plastic, there is very little
flash on some parts. Per usual Hasegawa has extra parts on some of the
trees that are to be use with future variants of the 109 that they will I assume
release. These parts are shaded on the parts diagram in the instructions.
Depending on what variant you are building, you can use some of these parts.
We will cover those later. You get decals for two aircraft. One
is Erich Hartmann's and the other for Gerhard Barkhorn.
1 & 2 - COCKPIT ASSEMBLY After assembling parts M28, M39 and A12 to
the cockpit floor A25, I painted it RLM 66. At the same time I painted
the interior of the two fuselage halves in the same color, leaving off the detail
parts. After the paint dried, I gave the cockpit and fuselage insides
a wash of flat black to give the interior some character. I then took
a silver color pencil and went over all the highlights and sharp edges.
I then take a Q-tip and buff the areas down. This will give a slightly worn
look to the surfaces where the silver was applied. Look at the photo of the
cockpit assembly for the end result.
All the detail parts such as the control stick, trim wheel assembly and parts that are to be glued to the cockpit side panels, are painted separately and detailed. See photos. When done, we can glue them into place. The trim wheel assembly (#M3 & A10) is left off at this time. Waldron buckles #WR10 are used to make the harness for the pilot, and the lap belts are put into place at this time. The shoulder straps will be installed at a later time. Then the trim wheel assembly is installed. Kit rudder pedals were also replaced with Waldron #WR17 and installed at this time. As you can see a pilot figure is supplied (see photo) and you can use this should you not want to go through the trouble of making the seat harness.
STEP 3 - FUSELAGE ASSEMBLY After all parts have been assembled to the sidewalls of the cockpit, we can now put the fuselage halves together. Fit is good. Some areas may need a little tweaking. Remove the two teardrop shaped bumps on the outside of the left fuselage under the cockpit. These are the umbrella mounts for tropical aircraft and won't be needed on this particular model. Putty over the two access panels on the upper right fuselage behind the cockpit. You can now assemble the tail assembly and glue it to the fuselage. Before gluing, I took a sanding block to the fuselage where the tail meets the fuselage. This is to square everything off, and to make sure you get a clean join. This is a panel line on the real plane, therefore there is no need to fill this seam. You might want to take some sandpaper and lightly sand the seam down to remove any high spots.
STEPS 4, 5 & 6 - MAIN WING ASSEMBLY
AND COCKPIT INSTALLATION The kit wings come with round wheel well openings.
I am sure this will be for a future 109F-2 variant, but for a 109G-6 we have
to square off the openings per kit instructions. This is very simple and
can be done with a knife and file. Open the two locating holes in the top wings
for the wing bulges and glue them into place. The bulges fit to the wing perfectly.
This now leaves an unsightly pair of holes in the wheel wells. How you
deal with this is up to you. You may want to putty and sand or in my case,
I cut the locating pins short on the wing bulges and then after gluing into
place took some white glue and filled the holes inside the wheel wells.
I didn't want to remove any of the detail by sanding and chose to go this route.
My model had a faint sink line that ran down the top of both wings from wing
root to the tip. I didn't
notice it on mine until after it was painted, but if yours has this seam, now is the time to deal with it. Also if you intend to install the underwing cannon, drill out the locating holes now.
Assemble the spar to the center section. Paint and detail the instrument panel (see photo) and install to the fuselage. You can also choose to use a decal supplied with the kit for your instrument panel. Cockpit assembly can now be put in and the spar assembly glued into place. We can now glue the wings onto the spars. The fit here is excellent! The correct dihedral is already determined by the spars and is a novel approach to installing the wings. When glue has dried, sand all seams on fuselage and wings. Some putty may be required.
STEPS 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 - SPINNER AND NOSE DETAIL ASSEMBLIES After gluing part M2 to the spinner backplate, trapping the polycap, I pre painted all parts according to the scheme I was painting. The props were painted RLM 70 and the spinner and backplate painted black. I gloss coated the spinner and applied my 'spiral' decal. When the decal had set, I assembled the props to the backplate and glued the spinner on. The fit is excellent and very little glue is needed. I put white glue in the locating holes and that was enough. See photo of finished prop & spinner. Glue part #M15 to A22 and paint RLM 02. This will be installed at a later time.
Now we must choose which gun cover we want on our plane. Parts J1 and K1 represent two types of gun covers. If you have access to photos of the plane you are building, pick which one you need and glue into place. If you don't know, take your pick, as either one will work. When dry, putty seam and sand. There is a panel line here from the front of this part to a point even with the rear of the gun openings. You can scribe or draw this in later. Machine gun barrels were drilled out, painted and highlighted and put aside. Part M24 was painted in RLM 66, highlighted and put into place.
All parts for the exhaust assembly were painted and set aside to be installed later. If you choose to drill out the exhaust stubs, now is the time. Exhaust were painted using a Rust and Steel mix and highlighted with a black wash and silver pencil.
The gun bulges fit excellent. Again you have to choose whether or not your plane has the gun bulge #J2 or K2. If not sure, use part K2. Now to one of the weak points of this kit. There is a beaded seam on the outside curvature of the supercharger intake (parts G7 & 6). Hasegawa chose to have the attachment point on the tree to this beaded seam! The best way to deal with this situation is to remove both parts from the tree and glue together. Remove whatever is left of the beaded seam and make a new one from stretched sprue, and glue into place. Paint the inside RLM 66 and the outside RLM 76 (see photo) and put aside to be installed later.
STEP 12 - LANDING GEAR ASSEMBLY Glue wheel halves together, paint, and decal per instructions. Glue detail parts to landing gear struts and glue gear doors to struts. The attachment points for these are very fragile. The locating pins are very fine and if improperly handled, could break. You might want to sand the pins down until the gear doors will touch the struts so you have more contact for gluing. Paint the landing gear assembly RLM 02, and highlight as needed and set aside (see photo).
STEPS 13, 14 & 15 - ODDS AND ENDS As we approach the painting stage, we now have some odds and ends in the way of assemblies. Parts G5, M5 & M6 are glued to the nose. Part G4 is left off for now. Glue part A20 to underside of fuselage. Cannons parts are painted and assembled. I used tissue paper and white glue & water mixture to put on the canvas covers where the barrel meets the gondola. This is painted black (see photo). Cannons are set aside for later. Tail wheel is glued together, painted, detailed and put aside. Elevator trim tabs are trimmed at this time per kit instructions.
Drop tank rack is installed to bottom of fuselage. Drop tank is assembled, hollow tube installed in front, painted, detailed, decaled and set aside. The retaining strap is molded on and I feel that in this scale it should be a separate piece (see photo). Clear plug for underwing antennae mount is installed, puttied and sanded.
Leave wing slats off at this time. Assemble flaps and glue to wing. If you attach them by using existing locating tabs, you will end up with a gap between the flap and the upper wing. This should not be so. Glue flaps into place in such a way as the flap makes contact with both the upper and lower wings. Glue lower radiator flaps into place (#B7 & B8) leaving the upper flaps off for now.
Canopy is masked and painted. Future floor wax is applied to all clear areas. Hand holds are made from sprue and attached to front windscreen. Choose which headrest you need to use and paint and detail. Install it into place, and add supports from plastic strips. Red dive lines are made from sprue and put in place with Future. Clear grab handles made from cut clear stretched sprue and put in place with Future. Canopy latch made from scratch with plastic sheet. See photos regarding canopy details. Gunsight is painted and detailed and put aside.
PAINTING We are now ready to paint. After sealing the cockpit opening and doing a final check of all seams, the model is primed. The slats, and upper radiator flaps, and the two separate horizontal stabilizers are primed as well. The model is then airbrushed in the Luftwaffe colors of RLM 74, 75 & 76. All Model Master II paints were thinned with lacquer thinner. Paints went on very well. The inside of the radiator flaps are painted RLM 66 and glued into place afterwards. Wheel wells are painted RLM 02. Wheel well masks were made from an outline made from the gear doors and applied, and finished off with separate strips of tape. Tamiya masking tape is used through out. When we are happy with our paint job and all touch up work is done we can now apply the flat finish. I use Testor's Dullcote (from the spray can!) and let sit overnight. All of the assembled and painted subassemblies are now airbrushed with a clear flat and set aside.
PANEL LINES & DECALS I do not weather my models. That is a science unto itself and if not applied properly can ruin a good model. I do not use any washes or the like for panel lines either. What do I use? A No.2 pencil or a drafting pencil. Wearing a white cotton glove on the hand that holds the model, I draw in all the panel lines. In this case, I used a mechanical pencil with a 2B lead. The glove keeps me from smudging the panel lines. When I use a No.2 pencil, I have an electric pencil sharpener that really give me a sharp point. You usually have to break the point a little after sharpening. For rivets I use a Gundammarker from Gunze Sanyo in Gray or Black. All hinge points for the rudder, ailerons, flaps are highlighted with a drafting ink pen. When all the panel line work is done, I apply Testor's Metalizer Sealer in several coats to seal the panel lines and prep the model for decaling.
I chose not to use the kit decals,
and instead used EagleCals #39. The markings I used represent an aircraft
from JG 54 in early 1944. Decals are thin and must be handled carefully.
Applied with Micro Sol and Micro Set, they went on perfectly! Highly recommended!
After the decals are applied, a thin coat of Testor's Sealer is applied.
The model is then flat coated with Testor's Dullcote, thinned with lacquer thinner,
and applied with an airbrush.
FINAL ASSEMBLY & FINISH At this point I apply all the subassemblies the model. Cannons, drop tank, tail wheel, wing slats, nose intake cover are all glued into place. Most fit so well that white glue was used. Any filling needed was done with a white glue and water mixture. Painted horizontal stabilizers were press fitted into place, no glue needed! Wheels were put on landing gear, and assembled into place. Pre-painted exhaust stacks and shields are put into place now. DF loop is painted and installed as is the pitot tube. The propeller shaft assembly is now installed by pushing into the fuselage and twisting, locking it in place. I put a little glue in here to make sure it stayed in place. If you press the spinner assembly on now, you will mostly likely find that the spinner is very loose. I fixed this by shaving the shoulder on the propeller shaft off and then pressing the spinner on. This solved the loose spinner problem.
At this time I apply panel lines
over the decals and apply a final flat finish where needed. The gunsight
is installed, the leather strap put in for the pilot's storage compartment behind
him, and the canopies installed. The hardest part is holding the open
canopy in place while the glue is setting. You will have to use your own
devices to figure this one out. Stretched sprue was used for the bungee
cord on the canopy. A little more touch up around the canopy and the radio
mast is installed and sprue used for the antennae wire. Done!
CONCLUSIONS This was the most fun I have had in building a model in a long time! The size and easy of assembly made this very enjoyable. There are some minor problems, but what kit doesn't have some problems? I will definitely build another one. I am hoping for some photo-etched brass and the like to help spruce this kit up. Cutting Edge is apparently coming out with a detail set that also includes a tropical filter. I have yet to see this. For the money you can't go wrong with this kit. I know one thing for sure....... I won't be building 60 of these babies..... I don't have the room! Happy Modelling!
1) German Aircraft Interiors
1935-1945, Vol. 1 by K.A. Merrick Monogram Publications
2) Messerschmitt Bf109G by Aero Detail #5
3) Lock On No.28 - Aircraft Photo File, Messerschmitt Bf-109G-2 by VLS Publications (highly recommended!)
(click to order)