Reviewed by Brett Green
Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 suggests many possibilities for alternate versions and detail variations. Cutting Edge's new Bf 109F/G/K Detailing Set offers a simple path to a number of these variations, in addition to enhancing kit detail in conspicuous areas.
Cutting Edge's Bf 109F/G/K Detailing Set comprises 38 parts in perfectly formed resin, and a small sheet of transparent "Black Magic" self adhesive material. The parts can be sorted into two main categories - Conversion Parts and Detail & Enhancement Parts:
1. Conversion Parts
Tropical Bf 109Fs and Gs featured a cylindrical filter with two clamshell doors mounted in front of the supercharger intake. When tropical Bf 109Fs and Gs were on the ground or taking off, the front covers were kept closed to protect the supercharger from the grit and sand of primitive North African airfields. The clamshells were open when the aircraft was airborne to permit normal airflow.
Two styles of tropical filter are supplied - early and late. The body for each is separate to the mounts and the clamshell front covers. Two sets of filter mounts are supplied but only one set of clamshells doors. However, these covers were sometimes omitted from the filter, so depending on your aircraft subjects both filters might be used on two models.
The bulged battery box cover is another handy conversion part. The installation of the MW50 tank in the fuselage of the Bf 109 required the relocation of the battery. The front of the battery then protruded into the space previously occupied by the pilot's stowage compartment. The cover for this compartment was redesigned to accommodate the relocated battery. This modification was sometimes present on the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 with the standard tail (for example, one of Erich Hartmann's later G-6 mounts). Cutting Edge have captured this elusive shape quite well, saving the modeller another small but tricky task.
2. Detail and Enhancement Parts
This set also supplies some welcome detail and enhancement parts.
The biggest and most obvious replacements are the rudder and elevators. These resin parts are essentially the same high standard as the kit parts, but they have extra material added at the hinge lines to assist realistic positioning. The replacement rudder detail might be fractionally more subdued than its kit counterpart (not necessarily a bad thing) and the navigation light is more prominent. The resin rudder, being a single part, will also eliminate any possibility of gaps or gaffs at the trailing edge resulting from joining the kit tail halves. The elevator trim tabs are already cut back to their correct length.
When you reposition these control surfaces, don't forget to move the control column in the cockpit - it will be obvious in this large scale.
Replacement exhausts are also supplied. The exhaust stacks are precisely and evenly drilled out. They are certainly much neater than I could manage with my scriber, Dremel motor tool and blunt knife (my usual tools for the task). The weld seam is correctly still in place along the exhaust centreline. Don't sand off this seam!
Next are the underwing radiator leading edge slats. These are narrow strips that run the width of each radiator, actuated by a thin rod in the centre of the radiator opening. Upon receiving this set I checked my references and observed these slats in the "dropped" position on many Bf 109s on the ground. The moulded slats should be carefully cut out and replaced with the resin items. Cutting Edge even supply the skinny actuators.
The oil cooler flap is supplied in resin too. This was also frequently seen in the open position on full-sized Bf 109s.
A separate tailwheel is provided. The wheel hub is the correct diameter and the tyre is subtly flattened. The hub detail is excellent, even including a recessed air valve. The separate tailwheel strut is cast from Cutting Edge's special "strong" resin, and should withstand the weight of the model. The instructions note how to slightly reposition the vertical yoke, which the kit locates a millimetre or two too far back. The real benefit of this new assembly, apart from the extra detail and the more realistic depiction of the yoke as a separate part, is the ability to now pivot and fix the tailwheel at any angle. It was not uncommon to even see the tailwheel pointing backwards after the aircraft had been pushed back into its parking position.
Other finishing touches include drilled-out gun barrels for the cowl-mounted MG 131 and the MG 151 for the gondolas. The MG 151s also feature the canvas boot often fitted to the base of the barrel. A replacement DF loop is also supplied in resin. All the German kit DF loops I can think of are depicted as a tubular cross-section, whereas the real thing was actually flat. The loop is cast on its side. When it has been sliced free it is fairly flexible to be glued to its teardrop-shaped base (supplied in the Hasegawa kit). The final external detail is a starter crank. This is another little touch that will help make your large-scale Bf 109 look ready for action!
Four cowl intakes are provided. These will permit the repositioning of some or all of these small scoops depending on the location of the intakes on your chosen Bf 109 subject. The kit scoops are staggered horizontally, but there were many minor variations in the positioning of these intakes - some in-line, some staggered. Check your references carefully! The main issue here is that enough scoops are supplied to replace all four kit intakes if required.
Finally, a few bonus parts are also supplied for the canopy.
My review of the Cutting Edge 1/32 scale Bf 109 cockpit noted the absence of UV instrument panel lamps (mounted on the windscreen frame) and the canopy release lever. These features are supplied in this Detail Set. Furthermore, Cutting Edge has provided eight tiny circles in transparent "Black Magic" self-adhesive material to depict the desiccant capsules in the canopy of the pressurised variants of the Bf 109.
Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 is a great kit. Cutting Edge's Detail Set provides more options for the base model, and adds to the high standard of detail with some genuinely useful enhancements.
Thanks to Meteor Productions for the review samples.
Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available fromMeteor Productions Website
Text and Images Copyright © 2002 by
Brett T. Green