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Antares' 1/48 scale
Messerschmitt Bf 109 TL

by Greg Goheen


Messerschmitt Bf 109 TL

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The Messerschmitt Bf 109TL was Willy Messerschmitt’s backup to the illustrious Me 262 that was proposed at an RLM conference in January of 1943. The thought had been that the Bf 109TL could cut down on production time and costs by utilizing components from existing aircraft already in production by Messerschmitt, including the fuselage from the Me 155B, wings from the Me 409 and undercarriage from the Me 309. However, by March it became apparent that the modifications required of these in service components would not gain time over the Me 262 and thusly the project was abandoned.

The kit from Antares is a limited run, multi-media kit that will be of great interest to Luftwaffe aficionados tired of building the same old array of 1/48th scale Luftwaffe warbirds.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The small (approx.) 4”x6” box contains exquisite hand-molded resin parts including the one piece fuselage, wings, engines and cockpit while it also contains a small bag of white metal parts for the landing gear, trim wheel and such, photo-etched details for the instrument panel with acetate sheet for the dials, custom printed decals, two (2) vacuform canopies and detailed instructions printed on 8.5”x11” paper including painting schemes for (4) aircraft.





The instructions themselves are very simple and quite easy to follow, including painting instructions for the interior. The resin moldings for the cockpit sidewalls are truly quite accurate and detailed so spending time here will truly be worthwhile should one wish to pose the open canopy as I did. I began my construction by using my Dremel with both a fine cutting wheel and sanding disc to remove the casting blocks on all the resin components and took the better part of an hour and a half to do so to my satisfaction. At this time I only rough cut the two piece engine nacelles as I wanted to ensure as crisp of a cut as possible to as to avoid any unsightly gaps that could have necessitated in major construction to fix.

The cockpit assembly went together well and without any problems, test fitting this assembly from the bottom up into the fuselage cavity quite snug yet without the need to modify the inner sidewalls whatsoever. However, as the panel lines on the fuselage were a bit shallow I thought it would be wise to re-scribe and went to work with my scriber and trusty roll of Dymo tape. Yet it was around this time I managed to break the port side of the fuselage, having removed the Styrofoam that had been taped in place earlier while test fitting the cockpit assembly. It would seem that this block wasn’t just for shipping and packaging safely, as it would have probably aided to keep the fuselage rigid enough while re-scribing to keep from having cracked the resin from the sill to the wing root, yet the mistake was easy enough to remedy with a thin application of CA to the interior sidewall and a shot of accelerator to lock into place.


Construction resumed without any real problems again, although I did manage to cut a bit too much resin away from the casting blocks for the butt joint of the wings underneath the aircraft. I had somehow managed to leave myself with a tapered gap approximately 1” long that was nearly 3/8” at its widest point. Still, a bit of CA to crudely fill the unsightly gap was used followed by Milliput that was then sanded down and blended until I was satisfied with the results. The next big order of business was getting the two-piece nacelles to fit properly, so I fitted my Dremel with the smallest sanding disc I could find and carefully went to sculpting the roughly cut nacelles. Final contouring was done with both my hobby knife and fine wet-dry sandpaper to the results of fitting nearly perfectly to each wing. Only a minimal amount of putty was needed at this point as I readied her for paint.



Painting and Markings


The instruction sheet depicts four (4) different aircraft, ranging from a RLM 70/71 splinter patterned variant to even a tropical, however I opted for a scheme more indicative to that used on the Me 262’s, RLM 81 & 82. Gunze acrylics were used via my Iwata Eclipse airbrush and the squiggle pattern mottling was achieved at approximately 7psi with the very tip of the crown cap actually resting softly atop the fuselage sides. The fuselage band was hand masked and painted too, as there was no decal provided for such. Future was applied to the paint to ready her for decals.


At this point I discovered what is probably the only real downfall of this kit, the decals, as they are slightly off in registry as well as printed too faintly. Yet, as most of have in our boxes of spares various decals this shouldn’t pose any real problems. Decals were placed and set with Solvaset before another coat of Future was applied for final weathering. As this was essentially a prototype aircraft of the Luftwaffe I wanted to portray as clean as possible, using a thin application of Tempera to the panel lines and wiping away most of it with a lightly damp tissue.


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2008 by Greg Goheen
Page Created 02 January, 2008
Last Updated 02 January, 2008

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