THE SAGA OF EDUARD’S MESSERSCHMITT

When your best is simply not good enough…

The modelling world is littered with kit releases that are rubbish and those products simply hit the model shop shelves and stay there, never to be corrected

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You may well recall a while back that Eduard had decided to add to their range of 1:48 kits with the release of a sparkling new Messerschmitt Me109G-6. This kit was announced to a fanfare of “this will be the greatest kit ever of this aircraft” and “you’ll never have seen detail quite like it” – you get the picture. The rhetoric was a little overblown, but it was certainly nothing we haven’t heard from other companies. When you have great faith in your work, you trumpet that as much as possible – and trumpet it, they did.  Well, the kit was released. Those that just like nice kits looked at it, admired the detail, cooed over surface features and then surfed Online, to discover the extraordinary number of additional parts available from Eduard to further enhance the basics. We were bowled over.

And then, as someone pointed out that the model was not actually 1:48, the sky fell in…

Eduard — honestly, I believe — had used what now appears to be an inaccurate set of plans to create their kit, meaning that the model not only exhibited some — shall we say — odd shapes, they also resulted in wings that were too wide in span and a model that was just, well, too big! Closer to 1:45/46, the results were nothing short of a disaster for Eduard. As time went by, it seemed as though there was nothing in the kit that was completely accurate; from the size and shape of the airframe to the smaller details that adorned it, everything started to unravel. With each passing day there was another mistake, another modeller keen to light the funeral pyre. It was a horrible mess.

The Online community were of course up in arms about all of this, slating the powers that be for their oversight and asking how in this day and age, such things could happen. Eduard made a fatal mistake: they had bragged about this new kit to an audience who knew what was what and who didn’t like such outward shows of arrogance and now, those to whom such things were particularly irksome, vented their anger. Eduard had been hoisted by their own petard.

I was more circumspect. Accidents and mistakes happen. Eduard had not gone out of their way to create an inaccurate model – why would they? These things cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to produce and the damage to their reputation from such a mistake can and did, cost them dearly. It was an honest mistake, but it was a mistake that they decided to rectify and rectify it they have.

Several weeks ago, Eduard released their ‘new’ Messerschmitt Me109G-6. And when I say ‘new’, I mean, new. This is no simple reworking of the original moulds, a wash and brush up that is designed to pacify the detractors, no, this is an all-new product that in my opinion does exactly what they set out to do with the previous release: it closes the book on this aircraft in this scale. It is, to all intents and purposes, magnificent. From the accuracy of the model’s shapes, through it’s surface detail that has to be seen to believed and on to the smaller features that are so important to the look and feel of a replica, it is simply spell-binding. But more than that, it’s a fun project that’s easy to build and looks great once complete. I spent a week on mine and I’m already considering another – it really is that good.

What Eduard did, was completely rip up the original files and start again. Every part in their G-6 is new, from the airframe, through to the smaller details, it’s a testament to what Eduard can and do achieve on a regular basis. The engineering, levels of detail and precise fit have to be seen to be believed. Having now built this new kit I can honestly say that it is every bit the equal of their much vaunted Spitfire range – it might even be better.

What I applaud Eduard for though is not loosing sight of their initial vision. They wanted to create the ultimate ‘109 and they fluffed their lines, to produce anything but. Their first attempt was a dog’s dinner that generated what can only be described as a storm of protest. They went away, tail between their legs and started again. How many other companies would do the same? Hardly any. The modelling world is littered with kit releases that are rubbish (not too strong a word, as I am sure you can imagine…) and those products simply hit the model shop shelves and stay there, never to be corrected, never to be addressed, always to be sold to modellers who deserve better for the money that they spend.

Eduard’s ‘109G-6 is a fantastic kit that bears testament to their ability to replicate aircraft such as this in miniature. But more than that, it’s an example of how a company can admit a mistake and then take the time and money to rectify it. When their best was simply not good enough, Eduard went back to the drawing board and started over and that’s the real story of what will be seen by many, as one of this year’s best aircraft kit releases.

GLOSTER METEOR – THE BEST YET FROM AIRFIX?

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 19.06.14Meteor F.8 – Excellence in miniature from Airfix

I first saw this kit several months ago and was blown away by how Airfix had gone about replicating the Meteor. What stood out were the subtle details, not only within the cockpit, gun bays and engines, but over the airframe, delicate panel lines and rivets, holding hands with rippled skin panels to create a finish that was utterly in keeping with the original. I was bowled over. Today, now having to the kit to hand, I feel even more impressed.
This is a very complex kit – or rather, this is a straightforward kit that creates a very complex model, if you see what I mean. The chance to replicate a complete cockpit, two open engine bays and two complete engines, is something of a first for Airfix and shows exactly what their designers are capable of. The fact that all of that is packed with a kit that looks to be simple to build, makes it all the more attractive.

This is a very fine kit from Airfix, perhaps their best, ever. Certainly in 1:48, I can’t think of another product from this company that matches what they have achieved her

Construction begins with the cockpit, nose-mounted undercarriage and also, gun bays that can be shown open, under the canopy rail. Detail within all of these areas is top notch. I particularly liked the ejector seat with its choice of plain cushion, or one with seat belts moulded in situ, the complex cockpit side walls and the guns and their separate ammo feeds. For the painters amongst you there’s plenty of detail to bring out. As almost all of the internal sections are either black or aluminium, you’ll be able to build large sections seat then paint and weather them all at the same time – great for those like me who don’t like to mess aroundwith multiple painting sessions! What it will face you to do is work out how best to paint, weather and detail the internals. The cockpit for instance is black, but that detail will need a lighter shade to allow the detail to pop, dark grey being perhaps a better starting point.
With the nose done the engines can be looked at. The kit offers a full set of internal bearers to go within the wings, onto which you can mount the two jet engines. These can be built and painted and then slotted into place during final assembly – or, thanks to a neat little trolley that’s supplied, shown on display beside the aircraft. The engine detail is excellent, only a few wires here and there being needed

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to produce two highly detailed replicas. That said, I am sure the aftermarket guys are licking their lips at the chance to add detail to this model, Eduard’s new parts seen this month, being just the start…
As with the Defiant seen this month, all of the control surfaces are separate parts and that allows a degree of flexibility when it comes to set-up and display. I was amazed to find that the control surfaces actually feature raised rivets over their surfaces. This is really welcome as it adds to the look of the completed model, no end. Add to that the depiction of rippled skin on some of the fuselage panels and you get an idea of the lengths that the designers have gone to to create a perfect replica.
Along with the plastic parts, the kits supplies a comprehensive decal sheet that allows the replication of two different aircraft, one in overall sprayed aluminium paint, the other in standard RAF camouflage, Dark Green, Dark Sea Grey and aluminium. The choices are as follows:

Gloster Meteor F.8 – No. 111 Squadron, Royal Air Force North Weald, Essex, England, 1954.
Gloster Meteor F.8 – No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England, 1968.

FINAL VERDICT
This is a very fine kit from Airfix, perhaps their best, ever. Certainly in 1:48, I can’t think of another product from this company that matches what they have achieved here. Detail, surface textures and features are all absolutely top-drawer and the match of almost anything that you will find elsewhere. As you imagine, we are looking at the kit in far more detail, the results of which we will bring you in a future edition of this magazine.

SHOOTING STAR

Great Wall Hobby reveal details of their next 1:48 kit – the delightful T-33

The Hyperscale website has just revealed details of GWH’s next 1:48, offering shots of the made-up kit and the options offered on the decal sheet. As you can see from this link, the model looks great once built up and the options of the decal sheet will certain provide the basis for a wonderfully colour addition to the display cabinet.

As you might imagine, we have no further information on this kit, but when do do, we’ll be sure to pass it. This is one that we are looking forward to…

http://www.hyperscale.com/2015/reviews/kits/gwht33a48previewjh_1.htm

SEAMS EASY!

A nice simple way of checking you progress, using nothing more exotic than a marker pen…

I’ve just posted a new video on my YouTube channel that shows how to use an alcohol-based marker pen to check whether or not you’ve cleaned up the joints around you models properly, and if there is any further work to do. Essentially, this involves marking the seams with the pen and then sanding away the ink; if it all disappears, you know that the joint is smooth and in need of no more work, if ink remains, you know you have to do more to make it perfect. The video shows this off in detail. Here’s the link!

Although the video tells you all you need to know, it is perhaps worth seeing some of the steps in more detail, so I have taken some shots of the tools used and the steps taken – nothing too in-depth, but enough to point you in the right direction, should you wish to have a go. Let’s take a look:

Tools Of The Trade

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This is the central tool in this technique, a Kurecolor, alcohol based, marker pen. These are available widely and in a huge range of colours.

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As you can see, the pen has a wide marker nib on one end…

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…And a fine nib on the other. These two nibs will allow you to carry out a wide range of highlighting tasks on any model that you choose to build.

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Sanding sticks in a wide variety of grades are used to clean up the joints, a final, very fine grade being used to polish the surface ready for painting (especially useful when building cars and the like that need a perfect finish).

Step by step – almost…

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Sink marks can be highlighted using the fine nib, these areas being either filled and smoothed over, or simply sanded away, depending on the severity of the marks.

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As seen in the video, the larger nib is used to highlight areas that need to be sanded smooth, such as the leading edge of this wing.

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Once highlighted, the seams can be sanded smooth using either the Flex-i-file seen in the video, or sanding sponges, seen here. Take your time to ensure that all of the ink is removed.

And that’s it! I hope you have found this useful and I will see you next time!

Raptors seen in North Wales…

It’s been a cold an miserable spring so far, so imagine the delight of those hardy souls that braved the elements to visit the Mach Loop in North Wales, when an F-22 Raptor dropped in for a visit. Apparently this is the first time this ‘Fifth Generation’ fighter has played at low level, so those that were there had a rare treat. Will it be back whilst the 48th Fighter Wing’s deployment to RAF Lakenheath continues – who knows. Chances are though, those that were unsure whether or not to visit the Loop, will now be champing at the bit to catch sight of a Raptor in the wild…

THE KIT BOX MEETS YOUTUBE!

For those who may be keen to see how I build the models that you see here, I’ve set up a YouTube channel, on which I will reveal some videos that allow me to expand on what I do here in terms of news, features and builds. This will of course be separate from my day-job at Model Airplane International, but it will nevertheless be a fun way of adding to the information that I am able to pass on. If you are are interested in seeing the videos, please check out my channel at:

The Kit Box on YouTube

And for those that would like to see the first video, here’s the link to that!

UNPAINTED EMIL

This is not the first 1:32 Me109E to appear from Dragon, but it is the first to cross my workbench

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There are no shortage of Me109 kits, so when a new one arrives for review, it’s often tempting to leave well along, familiarity breeding a certain degree of contempt. When we received both the Trumpeter and Dragon kits within a few days of each other, it was decided to build them both for Model Airplane International and compare two kits from different companies and time periods, the early war Emil and late war Gustav, being too distinct to pass up! Having made the decision to build both kits and sent the Gustav to Mike Williams, how would I go about building mine and make it different from every other Emil ever built?
Last year I completed a 1:32 Bristol M1C fighter, finishing it as if unpainted, with areas of natural metal, fabric and wood and limited national markings. I loved the build and resulting model and so vowed to have a go at something similar when I got the chance. When the ‘109 arrived I was mindful of a Fw190 build by the talented Diego Quijano, who had finished his aircraft in natural metal with red-primer control surfaces. Being extremely impressed by this model, I decided to create something similar and so elected to finish my ‘109 in natural metal with painted control surfaces and rudder and then leave the cockpit and engine bay open, to show off the fine detail. Hopefully, this would create a model that was both different enough from the norm to create a memorable replica and interesting enough to take me a little out of my comfort zone.
Decision made, I could get to work.

In The Box
This is not the first 1:32 Me109E to appear from Dragon, but it is the first to cross my workbench. Initial impressions were very good; from the excellence of the mouldings, through the complexity of the fine detail and on to the options available from the box, everything appeared at first glance to be more than acceptable. Digging a little deeper and further highlights revealed themselves. I was particularly taken by the engine and cockpit sub-assemblies, the complexity of their construction and the detail once complete, being more than acceptable. Initially some thought was given to adding further detail, but that was dropped in favour of a carefully applied paint job: this model is more than acceptable from the box!
Though a 1:32 kit – and a Dragon one to boot! – there is very little here that will tax all but the most inexperienced. The breakdown of the airframe and smaller components follows logical lines and thanks to the quality of the components and a level of fit that’s a joy to behold, assembly is simple and straightforward. Working through the kit, it became apparent very early on that if a slightly different route was taken to that suggested in the instructions, areas such as the fuselage could be completed and painted before any internal sub-assemblies were glued in place, thus cutting down to almost nil the need for tricky masking. This was particularly useful as I was planning to have the cockpit open and engine completely on show – with no evidence of the kit’s upper and lower cowling panels – and that meant that sharp, perfectly defined areas of colour were a must.Pic 10
Across the board, detail is fine and complex. The kit offers a complete DB601 engine, guns (fuselage and wing mounted), cockpit, weapons load, separate control surfaces and the option to open or close the canopy. Instructions guide you through assembly and though found wanting when it came to accurate colour call-outs for the smaller details (and camouflage as I later discovered!) these are well-drawn and easy to follow.
There are issues with the kit. The internal liners for the wheel wells are supplied in what looks to be Dragon’s DS plastic. These were deformed in the box and when I tried to straighten them out, they broke. I really wish Dragon have taken a leaf out of Tamiya’s Spitfire book and moulded these in plastic, the results being far easier to assemble and much neater to look at, once in place. The separate control surfaces are also a problem area – and one that pushes this kit up a skill level. Though the control surfaces are separately moulded in plastic, their hinges are supplied as tiny, individual etched metal pieces that need to be folded and glued together. Not only are they incredibly frustrating to assemble, they are extremely weak once in place! It would have been so much better to supply either alternative parts for either deflected or retracted surfaces, or plastic hinges that could be inserted into both the moving parts and their surrounding wing and tail surfaces. I liked this kit a lot – all bar these awful hinges!Pic 12
Along with the parts needed to build the basic aircraft, you’ll also find alternative belly racks as well as bomb and drop-tank stores. These are nicely detailed, though I couldn’t work out how the bomb fixed in place, there seemingly being no hole for the pin moulded on the bomb to fit into under the pylon. Further investigation seemed to show that a hole needed to be opened, up but even now I’m not sure! Given that I was going for a clean look, the underwing stores were consigned to the spares’ box.

Along with the parts needed to build the basic aircraft, you’ll also find alternative belly racks as well as bomb and drop-tank stores

Decals are supplied for two rather generic German aircraft, both of which are finished in camouflage. It was only whilst writing this that I realised that Dragon’s instructions, though revealing a couple of colours, don’t actually tell you what paints to use to finish the model! Come on Dragon, your instructions really do need work! Anyway, the choices are as follows:

•    Unidentified, III./JG 27, 1941
•    Unidentified, III./JG 54, 1941

The decals are well printed and appear accurate in colour and detail. As with most modern kits, the sheet lacks swastikas, but as all of the markings were going to be sprayed anyway, this was not a problem. Should you decide to use decals, there are plenty of aftermarket options from which to choose…

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