1/48 Hasegawa Bf-109G-6/R6 

Nachtjager, 1.Jg 300 

by Greg Smith

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HISTORY

One of the most interesting aspects of the Luftwaffe to me are the "ad hoc" night fighters desperately pressed into service, to combat the nightly British bombing raids over Germany.  These brave pilots flew "Wilde Sau" tactics against the bombers, which entailed getting right up to the bombers before firing a single shot.

The Messerschmitt 109G was one of the first airframes to be put into service using these tactics, using various combinations of Rustsatze (field conversions) to find the best mix of firepower to bring down the threat. The model I chose to build is a Bf 109G-6/R6 of Jg 300, the first Gruppe devoted to Wilde Sau tactics. 

THE KIT

The Hasegawa kit is molded in light gray styrene, with delicately recessed panel lines, and no flash present.  Aires' cockpit is cast in cream colored resin, with brass photoetch parts.  Verlinden's 109 underwing stores are cast in a greenish resin, and includes a nice sheet of photoetch details.  The true details wheels were cleanly cast in a cream resin.  Building the Hasegawa kit is fairly straightforward, and a beginner can turn out a beautiful model right out of the box. The kit is also great for those of us who have "AMS* (Advanced Modelers Syndrome) as there is a prolific number of detail, conversion and upgrade sets out there to keep you modeling 109's forever. I chose somewhere in between for this model.

Armed with Aires#4034 Bf-109G cockpit set, Verlinden#1321 Bf-109 underwing stores, Hasegawa#09313 Messerschmitt Bf-109G6 "Jg-53" (although any of the Hase. G-6's will work), EagleCal#48012 Bf-109G-6 Jg 300 Wilde Sau decals, and the excellent Verlinden# 1303 Lock-on #28 Messerschmitt Bf-109G-2, I set out to create my early night fighter.

Construction begins with the cockpit, and the Aires parts are a direct replacement of the kit items.  I painted the beautifully cast parts with a light coat of RLM 66 Schwarzgrau, then added a wash using black oils. I then mixed the appropriate shade and drybrushed the parts to pop out the details. Using the Verlinden book as a guide, I painted the various details on the sidewalls and picked out a few of the instrument bezels in red yellow and blue, according to the book.  The trim wheels and various photo-etch bits were glued to the sidewalls as per the Aires instructions, and then I added the lap belts to the seat.  I sprayed the backside of the acetate gauges white, and set the cockpit components aside to dry.  Now I turned my attention to the fuselage.

The fuselage fits together well, requiring no filler at all. Don't forget to open the holes at the rear of the cowling for the cannon bulges like I did, or they will be a little more difficult to place later on. Make sure to scribe a line on the top and bottom of the rear fuselage, right on the seam line.  If you are a more careful glue applicator than I, you may be able to get away using the seam line, but I tend to be a little ham-fisted in that area...  I filled in the fuel filler doors as per the Hasegawa instructions, smoothed everything out and added the top piece of the cowling.  Be careful here, as a little test fitting will save you time on sanding.  Carefully sand the resultant seam line making sure not to obliterate any of the surrounding detail.  I added the cannon bulges, using Tenax to ensure a seamless bond to the fuselage.  These parts are curved to match the contour of the airframe, and Tenax melts the surface of the plastic just enough to make its own filler for parts like these. 

Using Tamiya tape, I attached the sidewalls to the cockpit tub and test-fit it into the fuselage. I used Some super glue to tack the walls to the tub in the correct position. I cut out the acetate instruments and used Testors clear parts glue to mate it to the photoetch instrument panel.  I used slow setting super glue to attach the instrument panel to the cockpit assembly, and carefully fit it up inside the fuselage.  Once the glue had set, I added the shoulder belts and the gunsight to the cockpit.  One part that the Aires and Hasegawa kits leave out is the stowage compartment door on the rear bulkhead of the cockpit. I used some thin scrap styrene laying around to cut the door from, and added the pull strap and a few details on the bulkhead.  This too was painted RLM 66, and drybrushed in the same manner as the rest of the cockpit.  I very carefully masked all the canopy parts inside and out using Tamiya tape. I sprayed the RLM 66 on the inside frames, unmasked the inside, and glued the front and rear sections of the canopy in place. I temporarily tacked the middle section in place with white glue to seal the cockpit.

The wings go together easily, and Hasegawa has thoughtfully provided the flaps and slats as separate pieces, as most '109's you see parked have everything drooping.   The instructions have you reshape the wheel openings to the later style, and this is easily accomplished with a sharp Xacto blade.  I also decided to open the indentions in the part of the wheel bay where the strut lies. In the Verlinden book you can see a few hoses in there, so I thinned the plastic, and added a few simple details.  The sidewalls of the main wheel area are devoid of any detail in the kit, so I took the easy way out and fashioned the cloth landing gear bay covers commonly seen on '109's.  The Verlinden book has some very good pictures of these items, and they are simple to make from lead foil. I opened the holes for the wheel bulges on the top of the wing, and glued the bulges on using the aforementioned Tenax method.  After the glue had dried, I used a dremel and carefully ground out the bulges from beneath, and added stretched sprue and strip styrene wing formers. At this time I also thinned out the main landing gear doors to ready them for painting.  As per the instructions, I finished the wing assembly and mated it to the fuselage.  Fit here is excellent.

I cut and repositioned the elevators to a drooped state, and used the kit instructions to cut the trim tabs to the correct size. I then glued these to the airframe, and added the final bits, the supercharger scoop, antenna, loop antenna (loop replaced with wire), chin scoop, and the aileron mass balances.  I accurized the kit teardrop droptank mount using the Verlinden book as a guide. This basically consisted of replacing the stays with brass tubing, and steel wire.  I used the Verlinden droptank, as it is cast with more detail than the kit item.  Now it was time to paint! 

I use a somewhat controversial painting method, known as pre-shading. I happen to love this method, as it makes the aircraft look a bit more three dimensional than just a solid color. I believe that most of the people against pre-shading have just seen it overdone, as it needs to be done very subtly. I first sprayed the rudder RLM 04 Gelb, and masked it off. Then I sprayed the plane RLM 66 overall, and then used RLM 76 Lichtblau to start with the bottom and sides. To pre-shade, you use a darker color to start with, then paint your final color just inside the panel lines on each panel.  After you are satisfied with your first coverage, hold the airbrush farther away and mist the color over the darker portions.  Repeat as necessary until you have the desired look. I like the Shading to be just barely visible when looking at it from right angles, but have it show up gradually as you look at the plane from different angles.  Next I sprayed the RLM 75 Grauviolett on the uppersurfaces, still preshading. Finally the RLM 74 Graugrun was added in the same manner.  RLM 74 and 75 were also used to lightly mottle the sides of the fuselage.  At this point I applied the EagleCals decals for "Yellow 7".  The EagleCals decals were beautifully printed, in great color and register.  The set also includes a nice black and white sheet with actual photos of each of the real aircraft. After the decals were sealed in with an acrylic clear flat, I got the black ready to make this plane unique. I sprayed the black on the bottom a bit haphazardly, letting some of the original RLM 76 show through. These planes were painted in the field without any regulations to go by, and as such, were often painted crudely. I used a form of the pre-shading technique on the bottom, but much more subtly than on the other areas of the plane. At this time I also painted the droptank and gear doors.  I mixed a darker shade of tire black and selected certain panels to lighten a bit. I did this because in most of the wartime pictures I have seen of black on any combat aircraft, it appears to become chalky in areas.  This also helped to ensure an interesting surface to look at on the bottom of the model.  I then sprayed the lighter black mixture over the markings and tail as shown in the EagleCals painting guide.  The landing gears and wheel wells were painted with RLM 02 Grau, as well as the inside on the slats and flaps. The prop and spinner were painted RLM 70 Schwarzgrun.

 

I gave the whole airframe a light wash with various dark colors to represent service wear and oil streaks. After sealing the washes with an acrylic flat, I added paint chips with a Berol Prismacolor silver pencil. This is the best method I have found for replicating paint chips, as it is the most controllable one for me.

Now it was time to add all the final touches. I used thin wire with a bit of insulation from the detail master line, (I know they are a detail company for car models, but it pays to check out what those guys have, as allot of it is useful in other fields) to make the brake lines on the landing gear, and in turn attached those to the fuselage. I used the R6 Mg151 under wing cannon pods from Verlinden, as they are a bit more detailed than the kit offerings. I used thin brass tubing to make the gun barrels, and these were painted RLM 76 as shown in the decal instructions. I used the true details wheels, and regretfully don't know the part number, as They were given to me out of a friends part box. The wing lights were painted with Tamiya clear red and green.

Overall this was a very fun build, with no surprises. It makes a very interesting and different piece to have on the shelf.

Greg

Photos and text by Greg Smith