Sunday, November 15, 2015

Airfix Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/Trop 1/72nd Scale, Kit #A02062

This is my third new Airfix 1/72nd scale kit this year.  They are such a far cry from the mid-20th century vintage kits many of us grew up on.  They fit together fairly well, and the quality of the parts is definitely up-to-date.

I was attracted to the desert camouflage scheme on the box art.  I found a photo of the original aircraft which I have included here.  I am sure it was originally a black & white photo that has been colorized.  This “Emil” is marked as it appeared in the Western Desert in April 1941.

My only gripe about this kit is that Airfix refuses to include swastikas, which were clearly a part of the historical markings of this and other WWII Luftwaffe aircraft.   (Without ranting anew here, I refer readers to my July 10, 2015 post entitled The Swastika & WWII German Aircraft Kits.)

Luckily, I obtained two swastikas from a friend who had some in his spares box, so I was not forced to purchase aftermarket markings which might have cost more than the kit itself to obtain a complete set of markings. (They came from an Fw190 kit, and are a little large for this model, but no matter.  Better than none.)

By the way, the decals Airfix did supply went on flawlessly with Microsol and Microset.  They are very well printed.

The panel line engraving on this model is much more delicate than the engraving on the two previous kits I built, to wit:  the Spitfire Mk.I and the Tomahawk.  The molding on this kit was a definite – and welcome - improvement.  I hope the fine engraving on this kit is indicative of what we will see on future releases.

The clear parts are okay, but thicker than you will find on most modern Asian kits.  One reason I chose to leave the canopy closed is that if left open, the thickness of the canopy moldings really shows and look out of scale.

The kit was painted with Vallejo colors over a coat of grey Vallejo Surface Primer.  I use Vallejo Surface Primer on all models.  It lets me paint with acrylic paints and use masking tape (mostly Tamiya tape) and never have an issue with the color paints lifting when the tape is removed.  Vallejo Surface Primer applies easily via airbrush with just a little distilled water as a thinner to help the paint flow.

The finished model looks like a Bf 109.  The proportions just seem correct.  Airfix is getting that right.  It looks good, and therefore it is good (to paraphrase Duke Ellington).

I realize my paint finish does not do justice to the original, but I did as well as I can with the airbrush.  If I had it to do over, I think I might just brush paint the green spots.  I still like it.

Due to incomplete markings, I would give this kit a grade of A-.  It would have been an A+.  But be warned.  If you purchase an Airfix WWII Luftwaffe model, be prepared to deal with the incomplete markings Airfix offers.


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