There has been so much written about the 109 series of aircraft I highly doubt I could write anything that isn’t already known, or hasn’t been written about before so I will dispense with the history lesson and talk about the model. I have built some of UM’s offerings of military vehicles, but this is a first for me in regards to an aircraft kit.
On first glance the kit looks a little rough, but no more than others I have laid eyes on. There are traces of flash on about 90% of the sprues, but it is not extreme and should clean up easily enough with a few passes of a sanding stick, or the back edge of a model knife. While most kits begin assembly with the cockpit or “office” as it is sometimes called, this one begins with the healthily detailed engine, with the cockpit following at step seven. The entire build takes place over 46... yes, forty six steps. Unused parts are shaded out on the instruction sheet. There is a brief history of the place written in English, German, and Ukrainian.
Parts are molded in a light gray styrene on eleven sprues that feels fairly soft (I was able to scratch it with my finger nail) Panel lines are recessed and are consistent over the entire model. Wheel well detail is molded into the bottom of upper wing pieces. A portion of the cockpit side-wall detail is molded into the fuselage halves and the result is a couple of small sink holes on the side of the fuselage exterior, but should also fill easily enough.
Separate slats and flaps are provided as well as two different tails and their corresponding horizontal stabilizers. The tail attaches at a natural panel line so there should be no seam to dress. A nice touch. I believe the choices allow for an early and late variant, but I can’t be 100% sure on this. There are separate engine cowlings that can be posed closed or opened to show off the highly detailed engine.
There is a wide selection of ordinance to hang under this plane. You are offered a choice of using a single SD250 semi armor piercing bomb, a single AB250 sub munitions dispenser, a multiple SC50 general purpose bomb dispenser with four bombs mounted, or the same multiple dispenser with four AB50 bombs. Decals are provided for each of the bombs mentioned. You are also given the option to use either of the two different centerline fuel tanks instead. But wait, there’s more. You can also install the under-wing cannons if you are so inclined. Bottom line is that the builder has a few options available to them.
Sounds promising so far eh? Well, there are some hiccups to deal with. The wingtips are separate pieces which I can’t understand why when just about everybody else these days are molding them as an integral part of the wing. The multi-piece nose assembly looks to be problematic as there is a lot going on here, and to get the fit right will require an extra set of hands or two. The biggest disappointment for me was the canopy and other clear parts. They are fogged/frosted (take your pick) and will require some work to bring it them up to standard. However, replacement ones can be found at Squadron. I also wish there was a little more info in the instructions on the tail choices, and weapons load out. Just a personal nit-pick. I had to search the net to find the info on the bombs…
Decals & painting
The decals look nice but feature a pretty fair amount of decal film around the edges which sends me an alarm when I see this. However, they are opaque and well registered. There are only two marking options provided:
• White “0” of Major Eino Luukkanen, CO of 1/HLeLv34, Taipalsaari, August ‘44
• White “3” of SSgt Hemmo Leino, 1/HLeLv34, Kymi, June ‘44
Paint call outs are for Humbrol colors and are featured on a color sheet.
Overall this isn’t a bad looking kit. It features a fair amount of flash, a highly detailed engine, a lot of parts, decent looking decals, a plethora of weapons to choose from, a color painting guide, and easy to follow instructions. But that being said, there are a couple of minor glitches such as the clear parts, and lack of info on the tail choices but if one can handle/address these, they could be rewarded with a decent looking representation of this fine fighter.
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Highs: Highly detailed engine. Finely recessed panel lines. Lots of weapons options. Choice of tails and horizontal stabs.Lows: Separate wing tips. Clear pieces fogged/frosty looking. Fair amount of flashVerdict: Not a bad looking kit. Will take some skills to clean up, but should build into a fair representation of this famous fighter
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