1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109G
Kit Number: A20209
Reviewed by  Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146

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MSRP: $8.95


Since Airfix got back into the model kit business, the firm has reissued quite a large number of their old reliable kits. However, they have also issued some new products, some of which are for kits that were certainly due for replacement. The good news is that they are basically good kits. The bad news is that they are made in China. Go figure that one. The new Messerschmitt Bf-109G kit falls into the latter category, as although it is based on one of their older issues, it is in reality an entirely new kit, much better in quality than the older issue. The original Airfix Bf-109G kit (No. 86) dates from the fifties, and it was, frankly, terrible. In the sixties, a new kit was issued (No. A01072) which was much better, but not equal to later issues by JoHan, Hasegawa, and even Frog. [review image] This kit was available through the nineties, and can still be found on line, although it wasn't competitive with the newer Hasegawa, Heller, Fine-Molds, and other kits. If you buy one on line, watch the kit number or you'll get an oldie dumped on you. Over the years, we have grown to expect better design, detail, and options in our kits, and Airfix has attempted to get back into the "109" market with this kit. So, the "new" Bf-109G kit is actually "Third Generation". I have included photos of the fuselages of the first two kits for comparison. I have the plaque hanging over my workbench to remind me of the "good old days".

Also included is a flyer for the "Airfix Club", which for £14.99 (about $30.00 USZD) you can get a bunch of stuff, including a club badge, Flying Hours Passport, Collectors Badge of the Year, an Airfix Catalog, and a Quarterly Club Magazine. Information is on their website, I don't think I can pass this one up. Wow!

The Kit

The kit consists of 41 parts, including two single piece canopies. The instructions include five pages of very general instructions, and three sheets of color drawings depicting the three decal options. In spite of the large amount of paper involved, there isn't really a lot of information given, and the remaining sheets provide space for "Modelers Notes", whatever those might be. The color drawings are good, but none of the colors are positively identified except by an arbitrary number, and with all of the documentary information available on Mf-109 color schemes, I am forced to conclude that only the Finnish Air Force option is accurate. The German and Italian examples show two tone green camouflage schemes. It would have been nice to see some RLM colors noted. It reminds me of the old Karl Reis books, which had everything the Luftwaffe operated painted 70/71/65.

The outline is very close to that of John Beaman's drawings in his "Last of the Eagles" publication from a few years back, and the panel lines seem in the proper places, although they are a little heavy. The wings feature two upper wing halves and one bottom section, making the correct dihedral angle a cinch to achieve. The MG-151 cowling bulges are cast into the fuselage, which means that they will have to be trimmed down on the top, as they were separate and did not run together at the top of the cowling. The cockpit interior is almost non-existent, except for a seat which needs a lot of work to make it right. Serious modelers will want to add sidewall detail, a floor, an instrument panel, a stick, rear cockpit armor, a cover for the panel behind the seat, and a gun sight. None of this will be especially visible underneath the thick cockpit canopy, although some details can be seen. I would suggest using one of the aftermarket ME-109 cockpit detail sets for the Hasegawa kit that are available from Squadron for about $7.00. A vacuformed canopy would also be useful, especially for the Erla hood. Wheel well details are pretty good, with some ribbing visible. The pilot figure, which I never use anyway, seems OK, although I suspect that the pilot is wearing equipment that didn't exist when these planes were in service. The seat needs to be modified, with the top section removed and replaced by a more convincing armored headrest. The tail wheel is way too small, so I replaced it with one from the spares box.

Assembly is pretty straightforward, although I needed some putty along the fuselage seams and where the wing joins the fuselage. The belly tank rack is awful, just like the old kit, and it should be removed and replaced with a more accurate one from another kit. The MG-151 gondolas lack detail, with no ejector slots, although they are approximately the right shape. I replaced them with a set from an old Hasegawa Bf-109G, and they looked much better. The canopies fit very well, but both have problems. The older style framed canopy is OK until you get to the rear frames, and then the frames are too high. There's not much you can do about this. The Erla hood, which lacks most of the framing, is entirely wrong. All they did was remove the side framing and cut out one of the top frames. In addition, there are good trim tabs on the ailerons, but none on the elevators. The G-6 had a tab on the rudder, but it was very small and would be hard to represent in 1/72 scale. Also, the kit lacks a pitot tube and the little underside aileron balances that come with most kits. These were no problem to scratchbuild, and I would have probably lost the ones if they had been provided in the kit anyway.

Painting and Finishing

Decals are provided for three aircraft:
  • Bf-109G-6, MT-422, flown by Ssgt. Bjore Hielm of 2/HLeLv 31, Finnish Air Force (SI), 1948. This aircraft has the two tone 70/71 scheme given with 65 underneath, and also uses the roundels adopted after the war to avoid the use of swastikas. It also has a colorful shark nose.
  • Bf-109G-6, "Double Chevron & Bar", flown by Maj. Kurt Brandle of II/JG 3, Luftwaffe, Germany, 1943. This aircraft is shown in what appears to be 70/71/65, with yellow the undercowling paneland rudder. No swastika is shown. Other sources show this same airplane with a standard 74/75/76 color scheme and a white rudder.
  • Bf-109G-6/R6/Trop "4-70" of 23 Gruppo, 3 Stormo. Regia Aeronautica, St. Ceveteri, Italy, August, 1943. Colors given appear to be 70/71/65 with 02 painted over the former Luftwaffe markings. No insignia is shown under the wings. The wing insignia, black outlines with fasces inside, are identical, facing to the left, not both facing outward as they should be. These should be replaced with the correct insignia. This is an error that Airfix has never made before. Gremlins? Other sources show the same aircraft in 74,75/76 with no overpainting, but with white wingtips. It is identified as 70a Squadriligia, 23rd Gruppo Autonimo, but the markings are the same. I haven't seen a photo of the airplane to confirm anything, so you take your pick. I decided to go with the 74/75/76 and used 02 to overpaint the original Luftwaffe markings. Many RA Bf-109's did not use the white wingtips, and the 02 overpainting seems logical, so that's what I went with. Photos, anyone? It could be that the plane carried two different color schemes at different times, but I wonder. Most references show Italian 109's in Luftwaffe camouflage, which would have been 74/75/76.
Painting this model was no different from any other, and this was done in an afternoon. Decals are provided for three aircraft, although no swastikas or maintenance markings are provided. The decals are thin and went on without any problems, except for the wing insignias, which I had to remove and replace once I discovered the marking error. Once on, the tenacious little buggers really want to stay on. I didn't even use any decal solution. A quick coat of Dullcote, a little weathering, and the model was ready to go.


This kit is not much more difficult to construct than a Hobby Boss kit, and is probably more accurate. The real problems lie in the lack of an interior, the inaccurate canopies, and the incorrect Italian decals. It would have been nice to build this with an open canopy after the interior I constructed, but, alas, it was not to be. In the end, it LOOKS like a 109G, and I guess that is the whole point. I suspect that the marking and color information is not correct, but serious modelers know how to deal with that. The end result was a nice little Bf-109G-6, one that makes a good addition to my collection. And it is relatively inexpensive compared to other kits on the market today. Recommended with reservations noted.

Thanks to Airfix and to IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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