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Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale
Early Messerschmitt Bf 109

by Lynn Ritger


Messerschmitt Bf 109A


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 A  is available online from Squadron




Conceived in 1934 as a groundbreaking fighter, the first Messerschmitt Bf 109 prototype flew on 28 May 1935 and remained in continuous production for the next ten years. Following a breathtaking aerobatics display in the fly-off competition by Dipl.Ing. Hermann Würster in the Bf 109V2, the aircraft was selected by the RLM as the primary fighter for the reborn Luftwaffe, and mass production orders were immediately placed. The rest, as they say, is history.

Considering the popularity of the Bf 109 as a modeling subject, the early variants have been surprisingly poorly represented in kit form. Karo-As released a reasonable vacuform kit many years ago, and of course Hobbycraft brought us their take on the Jumo-engined variants. Unfortunately, the Hobbycraft kit has more issues than National Geographic, with the nose of the aircraft being far too bulky, angled wrong, vents misplaced, gun troughs too far forward, exhausts too small… you get the idea.


As has happened time and again, Jules Bringuier of Classic Airframes saw the potential to provide a unique and interesting subject to his fellow modelers, but his choice of the Bf 109 has brought it’s own unique challenges. EVERYONE knows what a Messerschmitt looks like, and much like their “boffin” counterparts with the Spitfire, many Messerschmitt enthusiasts are not exactly shy about making their opinions known regarding the accuracy of available kits, or lack thereof. (What? Why is everyone looking at me? ) Much time and effort was spent in refining the shapes and details of this kit to make it as accurate as current info will allow.

The result is not just the absolute best Jumo-engined Messerschmitt kit on the market; it easily takes place alongside the Hasegawa and Tamiya kits in terms of detail and value for the money. Upon opening the box, you are greeted not just by the kit plastic, but also a bag chock full’o’resin bits including a full resin cockpit, well-sculpted wheel well inserts, nicely done mainwheels, a pair of leading edge slats, an instrument panel backing plate with integral gunsight (Genius!), a resin “wooden” prop, and not one, but TWO full upper cowlings. One cowling is completely smooth, while the other has the more familiar three cooling holes in the nose and extra cooling slots on the side.



There is also an Eduard photoetch fret featuring early and late gear cover doors, instrument panel, seat belts, cowling faceplate with cooling holes, and radiator inlet grille.

And as they say on TV here in the States, “But wait… there’s MORE!”

The decal sheet is easily one of the high points of the kit. Markings are included for five aircraft:

  • Bf 109V-6 D-IALY (the sixth prototype, in overall RLM 63 or L40/52)

  • Bf 109A “6-3” (the first production Bf 109 to enter Spanish Nationalist service in early 1937, in an overall silver scheme)

  • Bf 109A “6-10” (flown by Günther Lützow, in an overall silver scheme)

  • Bf 109B-1 D-IEKS (a standard Luftwaffe B-1 in 70/71/65, as coded before delivery to the Luftwaffe)

  • Bf 109B-1 “white 5” of JG 132 “Richthofen”

As of this writing, markings are also present on the sheet for the Bf 109V-3 coded “6-1”, but the kit does not have the proper upper cowling, windscreen, or oil cooler for this aircraft.





The kit itself goes together quite well. Much of the assembly sequence will be familiar to anyone who’s built a Hasegawa Emil previously, but as there are no locating pins, care will need to be taken with the stabilizer alignment and the various bits which comprise the lower cowling and chin intake assembly. Dry fitting and careful trimming will result in a decent fit in this area.

The wingtips are integral with the upper wing halves, and some filing along the mating surfaces of the outer wings will be necessary to properly square off those areas so that the lower wing fits flush against the upper.

The resin wheel well inserts have very small pour stubs on them, a refreshing change, and the cockpit has a fairly substantial chunk of resin along the floor which will need to be removed.

Take care with the resin prop as well; on my preproduction example, the resin prop base diameter was too small in comparison to the cowling, so the plastic prop was cleaned up and used.



Every single control surface is separate, which is a first for a 1/48 Bf 109 kit so far as I am aware, and this first release also features the longer slats of the early A and B-1 aircraft which did not have wing guns fitted. I am also extremely pleased to report that the spare cowling in this kit can be grafted onto the old Hobbycraft kit with a minimum of fuss, dramatically improving the appearance of that old chestnut.

The canopy is thin and crisply molded in three sections, as is the norm for everyone (except Hobbycraft, apparently).

One small concession to production considerations is the lack of the earlier, steeper windscreen… I’m sure some enterprising vacuform canopy maker will step forward with a new canopy, but the differences between them are slight enough that 99.44% of people will not notice the difference, and the kit windscreen fits like a glove in any event.





Overall, Jules and Classic Airframes have a lot to be proud of with this release.

Considering the amount of resin bits and photoetch, the suggested retail of $39.95 is a bargain when compared to a Hasegawa Emil with an equivalent amount of aftermarket resin and photoetch details. The history, markings, and configurations of the early 109s are finally being examined in more detail, and this new series of early Bf 109 kits will fill a very large void in any WW2 or Luftwaffe enthusiast’s model collection, and will be an enjoyable build to boot.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Modelling the F4U Corsair
Osprey Modelling 24
Author: Brett Green
US Price: $17.99
UK Price:
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: October 10, 2005
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768804
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model and Images Copyright © 2006 by Lynn Ritger
Page Created 11 January, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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