Bf 109K-4


The  K series of the Bf 109 was the final production version of the 109 and was primarily the result of trying to rationalize the large number of sub types of the G series to standardize on a basic model to which all plants engaged in 109 production would progressively convert. The K model was based on the G-10 but embodied as standard certain of the progressive changes incorporated in the G series as well as some aerodynamic refinements. Pre-production models appeared in September 1944 and the initial production models, the K-2 and K-4, began to leave assembly lines in October 1944. the only difference between the two was that the K-4 was equipped with cabin pressurization. For Germany and the Luftwaffe the changes had little effect on the outcome. For more information on the K series there is plenty of information on line and in various publications

The Kit

The Hasegawa Bf 109G-6 comes in a box whose size reflects the scale. The box is the top open style with Hasegawa's usually lovely artwork on top. The box is nice and sturdy with the bottom half made from corrugated cardboard. Inside the box one find the gray colored sprues divided between two bags, one large and one slightly smaller and the clear parts in yet a third bag, separate from the rest. The large bag has three large sprues in it but one of the three has a couple large spaces where the dies have been blocked off, most likely where the wings for early versions were located. The parts are crisply molded with only a light amount of flash. The surface finish is smooth and glossy and the detail is mostly recessed, panel lines and access panels with a few raised fasteners and other details as applicable. The only surface defects I found on my kit were a couple of very slight sink marks on the bottom wing center panel where mounting bosses were molded on the inside and some rather nasty looking sink marks on the back of the propeller blades. Except for the flaps, all of the other control surfaces are molded in the neutral position. If you plan to leave the flaps down you will have a lot of ejector pin marks to clean up. Fabric control surfaces are smooth and provided with rib tapes with stitching detail. These are probably a little large for the scale but I think will look OK under a coat of paint. The piano hinge detail on panels that are hinged look nice. The leading edge slats are molded separately and I'm assuming they can be assembled open or closed but they should be open when static on the ground. Since there were changes that affected both the wings and fuselage of the K model the fuselage and wing parts are different and the fuselage is divided directly behind the cockpit rather than back near the tail like the G model kit. This still occurs at a normal panel line making things a bit easier. There is some cockpit detail molded on the inside of the fuselage and it looks a bit different than what is in the G model but there are also still some faint ejector pin marks that will be tough to smooth out. The starboard side wall has an overlay part that will cover the molded in detail but it doesn't add much in the way of detail.The cockpit is well enough appointed to satisfy most. In this scale one could go nuts on detailing or if you don't want to the kit contains a fairly decent pilot figure that will pretty much hide most of the visible cockpit when installed. The instrument panel has raised detail and the instruments have nicely molded internal details which should paint up nice. A decal is provided for them but due the height of the dials and other details the instructions recommend removing the detail before installing the decal. The other option would be to punch the decal dials out and place them individually or use after market instrument decals. The landing gear are nicely molded, free of ejector pin marks and include brake lines down to the oleo. There are a couple light ejector pin marks on the inside of the gear doors but these should be mostly hidden by the gear strut when installed. The wheels are molded in half and look nice but are not weighted. The tail wheel and strut are molded in two halves and are not all that convincing looking, I would have rather seen a separate wheel in this scale. The wheel wells are closed in with structural detail in the upper part of the well. There are holes that need to be drilled out in the upper wing before gluing the wing together for the upper wing bulges. There is a wing spar attached to the fuselage which should make for a sturdy wing mounting and keep the dihedral correct. The kit comes with a drop tank. There are a few parts that are not used with this version and they are clearly marked on the parts map. The sprue photos follow.


The clear parts are a bit thicker than the norm for newer kits but should look OK once dipped in Future. Two wind screens are supplied but only one is called out for use. In spite of being bagged separately I still have some scuff marks in places that will need to be polished out. The frame lines are scribed but clearly marked so masking should be fairly easy. See below.


The decals are fairly normal for Hasegawa with the exception that the white is actually white instead of a cream color. They look thin on the sheet but I have varying success with Hasegawa decals. Markings for two aircraft are provided, both from JG52, no pilots listed, with a Werk number, one without. See below.


The instructions are printed on a long sheet folded to create panels, in this case 8 of them. The front panel has history and specifications in Japanese and English, the second has a parts map and color chart calling out colors by generic names and some by RLM numbers and Gunze paint numbers. The third, fourth and fifth panels have the assembly steps divided into 15 steps. The sixth and seventh panels have the painting and marking diagrams and the eighth panel has basic assembly information, safety warnings and decal application instructions.

After Market Goodies

Most of the complaints I read about this kit center around the rather lack luster interior so I decided to whole hog on this kit and purchased the EagleParts museum quality cockpit.  This is EagleParts number 26-32. It comes in a molded bubble pack and consists of replacement side walls, seat, front and rear bulkheads, floor, stick and rudder pedal mounts. The parts are beautifully molded with no visible defects and as you can see have a level of detail far beyond the kit parts, I only hope I'm up to the detailed painting required. The instructions are printed on four A4 size pages printed on one side. The instructions are quite complete well printed with half tone photos of most of the steps. The set also includes a small photo etch set with rudder pedals and all the buckles and parts needed to assemble a set of belts and harnesses. See below.

I also opted for the EagleParts # 28-32 oil radiator fairing as it is much better shaped and detailed than the kit part, again the molding is superb.

And finally I got the EagleParts # 20-32 replacement spinner as it is claimed the kit spinner is not quite correct in shape but it's hard for me to see the difference.

Conclusions

This kit was released around 2003 but is based heavily on the earlier G-6 kit so from a technical standpoint the quality and engineering are about the same. The experts have found some minor shape issues here and there on the kit but nothing that the average Joe would notice. By all accounts the kit is a fairly easy build with no serious assembly issues and therefore I give it a highly recommended rating for all but the most rank beginners in the hobby.

Links to kit build or reviews

A build / review can be found here.

References

I have more 109 references than I care to list and the Internet is loaded with information, let Google be your friend.

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Updated  1/5/14