Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Messerschmitt Bf 109B

by Jose Rodriguez


Messerschmitt Bf 109B


Hobbycraft's 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109B
is available online from Squadron.com for less than USD$10!




The Messerchmitt Bf 109B series or Berta was built at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke facilities in Ausburg-Haunstetten. It was equipped with the Jumo 210Da engine.

Construction of the first batch of B-1s started in the late autumn of 1936 and the first aircraft rolled off the plant in February of 1937.

The first batch of B-1s arrived in Spain in April 1937 where they replaced the obsolete Heinkel He 51B.

The Bf 109B-1 series was considered an interim production model and fewer than 30 aircraft were built before the B-2 series took over. The main difference between both series was that in lieu of the fixed-pitch wooden Schwarz propeller of the B-1, the B-2 used a variable-pitch two-bladed Hamilton metal prop manufactured under license by VDM. The kit offers both props as an option but the propeller is not specified for the aircraft shown in the assembly guide, so is up to you.

Again, the first batch of B-2’s ended up in Spain. The B-2 was the last Berta built before the C series got started.


Hobbycraft’s Messerschmitt Bf 109B - S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: HC1566 from Hobbycraft Canada
Scale: 1/48
Price: Less than USD$10 from Squadron.com
Contents and Media: Light gray injected plastic parts, one-piece canopy and one decal sheet for two aircraft.
Review Type: FullBuild
Advantages: It's the only Berta out there; good fit; nicely engraved panel lines; good cockpit detail.
Disadvantages: Sparse detail in some areas; erroneous panel lines.
Recommendation: Recommended to all modelers thanks to its easy build. Experienced modelers will also find a good platform on which to practice their scratch building skills.


While it is true that every kit manufacturer makes a variant of Willy Messerschmitt ‘s brainchild, only Hobbycraft offers the early versions, the B and the C.

These kits are not state of the art but they do have recessed panel lines, a decent cockpit and the potential to be good kits with aftermarket parts and some work on the part of the modeler. Anyway, who wants to be one more on the crowd and built another late series Bf 109? That would be too easy!

The aftermarket parts that I bought were:

  • Squadron’s vacuum formed canopy (part #9535)

  • Hi-Tech Bf 109 B/C resin cockpit.

  • True Details bulged tires in resin (part TD48003),

  • True Details seat (part #48410), and

  • Aero Master decals sheet 48-458, Spanish Civil War part I.

Of these parts I only used the True Detail tires and the Aero Master decals. The Hi-Tech resin cockpit was not much better than the kit’s. The Squadron canopy was not worth the trouble of cutting from the mold when I decided to build my Berta with a closed canopy as the kit’s canopy is a good fit and is very clear.



I tried to stick the True Details seat in the cockpit after the fuselage had been glued together and it turned out to be too wide so I used the kit’s seat. I think I will be using the unused parts on a future C series.





The cockpit was completed straight from the box, painted in RLM 02 gray, stained with chalk pastels diluted in soapy water and dry brushed. Good enough for me. I scribed the vertical panel on the canopy side that simulates the partition of the sliding glass. The fit of the parts is good.

Using Squadron’s Messerschmitt Bf109 In Action Part I as a reference, you will notice that some of the panel lines in the kit don’t quite match the close up photographs. You can either close the faulty lines and scribe new ones or leave it alone. I opted for the second option because I build for pleasure, not to torture myself. I fixed the location and shape of the inspection hole at the front of the horizontal stabilizer. This aperture is on the vertical fin and the one in the kit is too big and too way forward. I closed the factory hole and opened a new one with a 11 blade to better match the excellent close up pictures in the Squadron book.

I scratchbuilt a few new and replacement items.

The chin radiator has no surface detail so I scribed texture and added diagonal and vertical braces. You can see through the oil radiator so I stuck a painted piece of tissue paper inside to simulate radiator body.



The tail wheel is an early version so it needs a torsion brace. I made mine out of beer can aluminum. I added the control cables to rudder and rudder horns. The hydraulic brake lines were made out of electric wire. The air scoop over the cowling was carved out with a number 11 blade. All control surfaces were cut and repositioned.

Construction was easy and required a minimum of putty. The horizontal tail plane braces presented me with the biggest construction challenge. They did not quite fit into the predrilled holes. I had to fill the holes and redrill a new set.



Painting and Decals


The kit decal sheet offers the option of a German machine, 6./JG 132, circa 1937 or a Legion Condor machine, 1938. I used AeroMaster’s Bf 109B option for Oblt. Erich Woitke’s machine of 1./J.88.

The paint scheme is RLM 62 Dunkelgrun over RLM 63 Hellgrau with RLM 65 Hellblau undersurfaces. Aero Master calls for a bare aluminum prop but photographs show props painted black so I opted for the latest.

All paints were Model Master enamels. I waited 24 hours between color applications and then another 24 hours before applying a coat of Future floor wax. The decals went next and without a flaw (they were AeroMaster, remember?).



After 24 hours I washed off the decal residue and applied a coat of furniture varnish. I used semi-gloss Polyurethane made by Minwax. This sealed the decals and paint job from the oil wash that came after 48 hours. I used burnt umber for the oil wash, and wiped model clean with a rag slightly soaked in turpentine. Next came the fun part of chipping and pastel chalks along the panel lines. I added some more oil stains picked from the bottom of my brush jar cleaner and weathering was done. After another 24 hours I applied the last coat of Model Master semi gloss clear lacquer finish.





For less than ten bucks you cannot beat this kit. It is fun to build and you get the chance to exercise all those modeling skills that have been suppressed from building too many Tamigawa late series 109’s!



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2002 by Jose Rodriguez
Page Created 17 February 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Features Page