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Trumpeter's Super Scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6

Detail Analysis and Tweaks

by Lynn Ritger


Lynn Ritger's sample Trumpeter 1/24 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6
was supplied by Hobbylink Japan



So we've seen that Trumpeter managed to get the dimensions reasonably close on their 1/24 scale Gustav family, which is heartening. But what of the details in the kit?

Well, that's where I come in.

For those who are content with the "It looks like a _____" approach, you may stop reading here. It most certainly resembles a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6.

However, those of you who demand more from your investment (and make no mistake, any kit costing north of $100.00 USD should be considered an investment) may be interested to read the remainder of this.





Seems pretty obvious to start here, doesn't it? And right off the bat, we're confronted with one of the same problems seen on every other Gustav kit in any scale, namely an inaccurate spinner.

As you'll see in the scan, the prop holes on the kit have straight edges. So what? Well, the original article has a pronounced ovoid shape to these holes. The original article also has a slight flare to the tip of the spinner aperture; this is absent from the kit as well. The rivets are tastefully restrained, however, a feature thankfully shared on the rest of the kit surfaces, and the overall shape is decent (see scan).

The prop blades are surprisingly good in shape... I have not measured them against drawings, but they capture the shape of the VDM 9-12087 blades quite well.

Moving into the cowling area, we run into another couple of issues. The oft-maligned cooling scoops are not one of them... yes, some were staggered, while many others were straight in line. The kit gives a slight stagger to these scoops... this existed on actual aircraft, so if you want to change it feel free- but no one should smack you in the noggin with a Klappenstutzen if you don't.

That bit aside, the biggest issues are the cowling panels themselves... somehow, Trumpeter got the aft cut line all wrong and wound up giving us panels whose lower edges remain on the fuselage halves. (see scans) For those who intend to build their Gustav with the cowlings closed, this won't be too big an issue. The cowling panel interiors have ejector pin mark issues as well.

Click the thumbnail below to view larger images:

To their credit, Trumpeter gives you the option to add the "double bulge" on the starboard cowling, but to install it you must completely remove the existing bulge. Maybe a bit of awkward engineering there, but at least we have the option.

The gun troughs are of the earlier style, pressed directly into the cowling panel itself as opposed to separate troughs welded into place. However... for those who want to display the cowlings open, several nasty surprises await.






The DB605A as given in the kit is reasonably well done. There are three spurious circular plates on the top cover piece which don't exist on the real thing, and the accessory section could use a bit more dressing up. These are minor issues, however, when compared to the problems with the engine bearers.

On a real 109, the upper engine bearers were mounted at the upper corner junction of the firewall and fuselage decking which carried the MG131s. This decking would be flush with the sides of the fuselage when the gun cover was removed (see scans). However, for some reason Trumpeter places this decking about 1/8" below the edges of the fuselage (presumably to make room for the MG131s), and this wrecks the whole geometry of the engine bearers. As given in the kit, rather than a gentle forward and downward slope from the firewall, the bearers slope UP, then horizontal... it's very, very noticeable and those people interested in building their Gustavs with exposed engines will want to consider ways and means to rectify this issue. (see images below) I am working on just such an approach, and will report on this as I progress with my build.


Click thumbnails below to view larger images:

You will also want to drill out the center of the supercharger intake, as the kit places a sunken waffle there, and at least add a piece of screen if not a supercharger impeller. This may seem a minor detail, but the supercharger is a pretty obvious focal point and extra time spent here will certainly show. The kit gives rubber plug wires on a harness, which I'm going to replace with copper or brass wire... there is PLENTY of room for superdetail aficionados to go nuts in the engine compartment.

It is odd that the main cowlings are given as open while the gun hood is fixed closed... a razor saw would attend to that right smartly, however. Another very puzzling omission is the complex fuel injection pump centered between the cylinder banks beneath the engine... this was an inline unit with twelve feed lines extending off the top to each cylinder, and the absence of such a prominent part of the engine is puzzling, at best.

Other details such as the magneto, gun synchros, etc are basic but decent, giving plenty of room for someone such as MDC's Vincent Kermorgant to craft replacement items.

The guns themselves are reasonable, if simple, facsimiles of the original articles... in assembling one, I've found the barrels to be somewhat oval instead of round. There's a tremendous opportunity here for photoetch cooling jackets... again, hint hint. Also, there is no, repeat, NO evidence of the characteristic MG131 feed chutes anywhere to be found. It seems the design department took a shortcut here and either made up some details, or tried incorporating some MG17 bits from the G-2 for the feed mechanism... whatever the situation, it ain't right. So add that to your list of things to do if you're building this with the engine compartment exposed. (Skip if sealing the cowlings shut... you won't see'em at that point).





The cockpit is rather well done, with a number of welcome features such as a multi-part throttle box, separate hood jettison mechanism and ordnance drop handle, air inlet knobs, etc. However, there are still issues... once again, there are no drive chains for the flap and trim wheels located to port of the pilot's seat. The seat itself couldn't be any more basic, and could stand to be thinner as well.

While a separate fuel line is given (in grey plastic) for the starboard wall, the characteristic wiring bundle that comes out of the fuse panel just beneath the fuel line is not present.

The modeler has the choice of a Revi C12 or 16B gunsight. They're reasonably well done, if somewhat on the simple side (one piece plastic molding for the body), with two separate glass panes, and will certainly spruce up nicely.

You'll need the 16B if you're building Kühlein's bird. (see pic) The KG13A stick is a bit clunky but will clean up very nice, and almost all of the various ancillary goodies (primer pump, headset jack, O2 regulator and gauge cluster, etc) are accounted for. (Note: the O2 flow valve is not included)

The floor is eaten up with ejector pin marks, however, as is the back wall... you'll need to take extra time to clean those up, as they'll be quite visible.

The instrument layout is dead accurate, as shown by the accompanying scan, which is a relief. The omission of the separate oxygen blinker and flow gauge faces is a bit of a letdown, but at least they're given in their proper location.

The rudder pedal mechanism needs to be noted here... at first glance, I thought "Hurrah, finally we get these parts separate!" But no! Only HALF of the mounts are given separate in the box, the other half is molded to the floor itself. Grrrrrr.... why did they even bother? Oh well.

The pedals are just beautiful, though, and some lead foil straps would set 'em off just right.

The kit also gives you a basic centerline 20mm cannon which you can detail to your heart's content if you so desire... but as with most other kits, the cover is too blocky and needs to be sanded down and rounded off. No centerline weapons panel is included in the kit, so if any manufacturer is planning on doing a Jabo or a WGr 21 conversion, you'll need to include this piece with that conversion set... for I have decreed it to be thus...

Click thumbnails below to view larger images:

There are a couple other odd omissions and errors as well.

Frst, as Brett noted in his overview, the "Galland Panzer" is solid plastic. How the heck they missed that, I have no idea. It shouldn't be too hard to drill out and fix, and there is ample clear plastic included in that "visible fuselage" tree to provide a suitable chunk to add the armor glass. You'll also need to add the various bolts and brackets which hold it in the hood.

Second, even though this is billed as an "early Gustav", there's no early head armor. And third, for a kit retailing over $100.00, the complete omission of any sort of seat belt hardware (even molded on plastic ones) is absolutely absurd. This may seem overly harsh, but considering that 1/48 kits costing about a quarter of this one have such details included, I do not think this is an unreasonable expectation.



Clear Parts


Well... first of all, either the windscreen is a bit too short in length, or there's something amiss with the framing itself (see image at left). I haven't quite sorted out which is the case- but the good news is that the kit comes with two full sets of clear parts. Well, mine did anyway.

Following the theme of the kit so far, the hood is nicely done but basic... I intend to remove the forward windows and pose them slightly open, just because I can.

The canopy latching handle is included in the kit, and is very well done... another little burst of inspiration from the designers.

The aftmost canopy portion lacks only the upper central internal support, but this can be added from a piece of strip styrene. There are no further details... no hood jettison equipment or any of that. Oh, and before anyone asks, yes, these canopies suffer from the same slight "crazing" that most other Trumpeter kits have, primarily on the central hood. This apparently comes from removing the plastic from the mold too quickly... whatever it is, it's irritating but not fatal.

Once again, though, one would expect a bit more for the MSRP.





Is this the Hasegawa 1/32 kit scaled up? One could be forgiven for thinking so, given the surprising lack of internal details in the wing assembly.

The gear bays give you no more than any other 109 kit... a simple wall around the circumference, the characteristic four dimples in the leg trough (which YOU get to drill out...), the raised ribbing detail on the upper wing, and that's it. This is a huge missed opportunity, but will no doubt be accounted for by enterprising aftermarket manufacturers with photoetch wheel well liners (do'em in ALL scales, people, we need'em), etc. And just like the Hasegawa kits, the upper "bulges" mount via two pins which project into the well... sure, it can be taken care of, but c'mon. That's an engineering cop out.



Trumpeter does show flashes of inspiration here; for the first time, we have separate radiator inlet doors with actuating rods. They're quite nice, and unfortunately, that's the extent of the "superdetailing" provided... the "gator" flaps suffer from severe ejection pin marring (more sanding and putty), and there is no semblance of any flap hinge mechanism, a fairly obvious omission in this scale. Again, a photoetch set would be ideal to dress this area up... hint, hint.


The ailerons share an unusual (and wrong) surface texture with the rudder and elevators, and will definitely require sanding to bring the surface back to reflect some sort of reality. Also, the ailerons and midwing flaps are all hinged... separately. Naturally, I am opting to cement these in place; otherwise, these multiple movable control surfaces would tend to flap about like some medieval orninthopter, a decidedly unattractive display option for this big beast.

It should be noted at this point that Trumpeter presumes the modeler will be constructing an R6 variant (with the 20mm underwing cannons)... the holes for the underwing pods are already open, and in one of more bizzare features I've seen on a kit, the ammo drums and feed chutes are provided for the 20mm cannons, although both are fully tucked away within the wing and thus completely invisible. The inclusion of this detail really left me wondering what was going on in the design department, especially given that the cowl 13mms feature NO semblance of feed chutes, proper mountings, etc... it's just weird.

At any rate, the cannons and pods are nicely rendered, and will benefit from a little careful cleanup. If you want to do a bird without the guns, it shouldn't be that big a deal to plug the holes using scrap plastic, sprue, wadded-up grass, old chewing gum, etc... it would've been preferable to see the kit in a "clean" configuration with the holes flashed over, but that's a minor point at best. Anyone with basic modeling skills can address this.

Also, the slats are correct, if basic, and will look a LOT better with some extra detailing. The wingtip light covers are included in clear (as they should be), but they need to have a little hole drilled on the inside of each one and a drop of red (port) and dk blue (starboard) added to simulate the bulbs. Very quick, very simple, and very effective.




Landing Gear


Well... somebody at Trumpeter was paying attention to Tamiya when they released their Zero with the internally sprung landing gear, because that's what they give you in this kit. Neat, right?

Well, if you're going to have functional oleos, don't you think you should make the oleo scissors moveable as well? I guess not in Trumpeterland. This is another example of a relatively easy-to-correct shortcoming in the kit that really shouldn't be there. Another source of dismay is the mounting method of the gear assemblies... it's no different than every other 109G from 1/72 scale on up, in that the visible portion sof the gear legs just plug into sockets in a blocked-off inner well. Am I going to try and correct this? No way... I don't have that kind of time or patience. I'm sure it'll give the proper stance to the bird when complete, but once again we've got a missed opportunity for a real step forward in detail here.

The gear doors are in one piece, just like any other 109, and aside from some countersunk rivet detail around the edges are equally as devoid of detail as their counterparts in lesser scales. There *are* more ejector pin marks for the modeler to deal with, however, so be sure to keep that putty tube nearby! The wheels are VERY nice, to be fair, although they have separate rubber tires. I may try to "insulate" the rubber from the plastic using BareMetal Foil, I've heard that works to keep the rubber from eating the plastic... resin wheels can't be far down the road, though. And for the first time, we have separate brake lines to attach to the front of the struts... they're given in flexible rubber. They're certainly serviceable, and will no doubt suffice for the majority of builders.



Aft Fuselage


Not much to report here... as pointed out in Brett's review, the profile is quite good, the panel lines and rivet detail are tastefully restrained, and aside from a somewhat larger than necessary bulge on the aftmost fuselage station (to clear control horns, etc) which can be lightly sanded to shape, the whole thing is quite acceptable.

There is a small bit of filling to be done on the port fuselage half; between fuselage stations 5 and 6, you will find the external fill point for the compressed air which was only present on those machines fitted with MG17s (indicating that the fuselage tree is shared with the G-2). A small bit of putty squares this away neatly.





The kit gives you the "stock" fin with the angled counterbalance cutout... the shape is right on, and while the airfoil profile isn't as pronounced as it might be, it's still present.

The stock rudder is a whole 'nother story, though- it will require some careful work to get that thing into a proper shape. The upper aft edge does not curve outward enough, and the heel of the rudder projects down too far, following the lower contour of the fuselage. Needless to say, that's wrong. (see pic)


Click thumbnails below to view larger images:

This'll take some doing to get sorted out properly.



Horizontal Stabilizers


The stabs look good in the box, no surprises there... the elevators have that strange ribbing effect much like the elevators which must go away, but their shape again looks fairly decent. For the truly pedantic among us, the trim tabs on the elevators need to be angled inwards somewhat, but anyone who can't handle that task shouldn't be around sharp implements anyway.





The decals are printed by Aeromaster, and are very crisp and in perfect register. While the national markings are very well done, the stenciling introduces another annoyance... there is certainly sufficient documentation on the Bf 109 to at least get the spellings correct on the fuel tank stencils and the oil cooler warning label. And maddeningly, the instruction sheet says they've simply made up the W.Nrs for the aircraft given (Klein and Hackl.), both of which were mid-production aircraft as well, but I digress). I

'll bet at least 80% of the folks who get the kit won't care, but it's frustrating to see this especially when all they had to do was consult the Prien/Rodeike book "Messerschmitt Bf 109F/G/K" to see Klein's bird identified as 163269.

Besides, WNr. 15120 was a WNF-produced G-4... but that's getting overly pedantic, isn't it?





So, there ya go. A detailed breakdown of what to expect from the new Trumpeter Bf 109G-6.

My personal conclusion is that it's a nice kit... yes, I said a "nice kit". Not a *great* kit, and certainly not a $100.00+ USD kit... but a nice kit nonetheless.

I am most pleased that they've gotten the basic shapes right, but there's far too many shortcuts and detail omissions to justify the price the importer is asking for this beast. Of course, that's just my opinion, your mileage may vary. For those who enjoy superdetailing and adding scratchbuilt parts, though, this kit will bring you hours and hours of enjoyment.

Sample supplied by HobbyLink Japan

Text & Images Copyright © 2003 by Lynn Ritger
Page Created 16 September, 2003
Last Updated 19 April, 2004

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