Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tamiya Messerschmitt Bf109E3 – 1/48th Scale

After a brief hiatus away from the building table while I attended a family reunion on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, I needed to start another kit.  One of my areas of great interest is the Battle of Britain.

Since my current collection did not include any German aircraft, I pulled this kit from the stash.  It is a typical Tamiya kit, i.e., finely molded and well-engineered.  I did add an aftermarket resin seat with molded-in seatbelts.  I was planning on using some Xtradecals I had purchased for the German aircraft of the Battle of Britain, but then I noticed that the kit decals were for Adolf Galland’s Battle of Britain mount.  Passing them up was not an option.  I had never used Tamiya decals, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were at least okay for the job.

This is the first model I have finished with Vallejo paints, and I really liked working with them.  I have been using the Vallejo Surface Primers for some time, but not the Model Air paints.  What really impressed me is the little waste that you have using these in a gravity fed airbrush.  All you have to do is put a small amount of paint in the cup (you can feed the paint a drop at a time), thin it and go to work.  If you gauge things correctly, you will have no leftover paint.

The paint flows very well, and with the Surface Primer underneath, masking is no problem with either Frog tape of Tamiya tape.  I will be using a lot more of the Vallejo line of paints.

I read in Clash of Wings by Walter Boyne that the yellow noses were not added to the German aircraft until just at the end of the Battle (July 10 to October 31, 1940 according to Wikipedia) and after.  These were applied to stop trigger-happy German AA gunners from firing on Luftwaffe aircraft!  After October 1940, they became rather standard all through the Luftwaffe.

The model recreates the appearance of Galland’s aircraft in August 1940 at the height of the Battle.

I did see some posts on the Internet (mostly the scribblings of outraged rivet counters) stating that the nose of the model is all wrong, Tamiya should be driven out of business and all of their molds should be impounded in a salt mine. 

Maybe they are right about the shape of the nose.  However, the finished product looks good to me, and that means to me that it is good.  Besides, who knows at this point?  It was three-quarters of a century ago.  If one reads about the harrowing mess the German aircraft industry was in during the war, some variances must have been introduced.  (See The Third Reich at War by Richard Evans for a fascinating glimpse into the confusion of German production after the war began.)

I had fun building it, and the model looks great on the shelf in the growing Battle of Britain section of my collection.



  1. Hi Matt,

    welcome to the 'blogosphere'. I look forward to following your builds - but couldn't find a 'follow' button on the page here ? Your Tamiya Emil is very nice. These 'blue-fuselaged' machines are great for trying out a bit pre- or even post- shading and panel line washes which really bring the detail out!

  2. Thank you! I know my work is not to the standards some have set, but I am plugging away and getting some skills back and developing new ones. After some searching around, I found out how to add a "Follow" gadget and have done so.