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Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4

by Ian Robertson

 

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4

 


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Introduction

 

My model depicts a Bf.109G-4/R-6 from 13.JG52, a Slovakian fighter unit in 1943. Many of the aircraft in this unit had spotted cowls, a feature that caught my eye and motivated me to build this model. I found this scheme in a recent Czech publication by HT Models entitled "Messerschmitt Bf109F, G-2 a G-4: slovenskych pilotov 1942-1943".

 

 

The book, written in Czech, is filled with color profiles and period photos of the aircraft in 13.JG52, and it contains many detailed walk-around photos of museum Bf109F's and early G's.

 

 

Construction

 

I converted Hasegawa's 1/48 Bf.109G-2 into a G-4/R-6 by adding underwing cannons and bulges above the wheel wells, both of which were scavenged from my Bf.109 spares box. Although G-4's typically had wider tires than G-2's (hence the need for bulges on the upper wings), my reference photographs indicated that the narrow, spoked wheels were present on some of the G-4's in this unit.

 



A number of minor enhancements were made to the kit.

  1. Ventilation scoops on the aircraft's nose were made from sheet styrene. I heated the styrene under a flame and then poked a toothpick with a blunt tip into the styrene, being careful not to pierce the material. Scoops were fashioned from the hollow tips that resulted from the stretched styrene (thanks to Boise Kent for the idea).

  2. The control surfaces on the horizontal stabilizers were repositioned.

  3. Internal framing was added to the lower flaps of the cooling radiators.

  4. Brake lines were added to undercarriage.

  5. Wing tip lights made from clear styrene were molded into the wingtips.

  6. A thin rod of styrene was added to the middle of the oil cooler intake under the nose.

  7. Etched metal seatbelts from Eduard were added. (8) Antenna wire was made from stretched sprue.

 

 

Paint and Markings


This aircraft displayed the standard Luftwaffe mid-war fighter scheme of RLM74/75/76, with yellow theatre markings under the wing tips, around the fuselage, and under the cowl. Photographs showed the camouflage pattern on the wings to have deviated somewhat from the straight, hard-edged pattern often shown in painting instructions. I sprayed the wing pattern and the fuselage mottles free-hand using an Iwata HP-C airbrush and Polly Scale acrylics. The cockpit was painted RLM66, and the undercarriage and wheel wells RLM02.

The spots on the engine cowl were easy, albeit tedious, to produce. I started by spraying the cowl RLM76 light blue. Once the paint had dried, small pieces of UHU-Tac (an adhesive product similar to blue-tac) were carefully positioned over the cowl. The cowl was then sprayed RLM74. When the masks were removed the cowl was spotted. I toned down the intensity of the spots by spraying a light coat of highly thinned RLM74. I believe this method for creating the spots is much more effective than adding spots with a brush.

 



Exhaust stains were made by spraying highly thinned black paint. Some additional "post-shading" over the model was done in a similar manner, although more lightly than the exhaust stains.

A gloss coat of Future floor wax was spayed over the model and left to cure prior to adding decals. Most of the decals came from spare sheets, which I tend to accumulate for 109s. Normally I would have painted the yellow fuselage band; however, I decided to use a yellow decal for the band in order to ensure a close match with the yellow numbers.

For the spinner I painted the tip white and then added a blue and red decal from Eagle Strike's "Augsburg's Flyers" (sheet 48051, a/c number 3). The decal reacted well to MicroSol and conformed perfectly to the curved surface of the spinner. The rear half of the spinner was painted RLM70 (Black green), as were the propeller blades.

For the final clear coat I spayed a mixture of 50% Polly Scale clear flat and 50% Polly Scale clear satin once the decals had dried.

 

 

Photography

 

All images were taken outdoors on a sunny autumn day with a SONY S-75 digital camera set at its highest picture resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels). Other camera settings were as follows: 200 ISO film speed (a setting on my camera, even though it is digital), 800-1000th/sec shutter speed, F-stop 8.0 (highest possible), and fixed focus distance of either 20 or 30 cm.

 

 

Images were cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for the Macintosh. Specifically, the interface between the base and background were merged using the software's "blur" tool, and edges in some photographs were sharpened using the "sharpen edges" tool.

Sharpening images in such a way helps to restore some of the clarity lost during image compression.

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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Model, Images and Article Copyright 2002 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 23 November 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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