kit. No. HC1539, 1/48 scale
of the aircraft modeled:
in October 1944, the Bf-109 K-4 was essentially a refinement of later versions
of the older G (Gustav)-series of 109s. It standardized the newly developed
Daimler-Benz DB 605 D engine, developing 1,800 hp for take-off and driving a
three-blade VDM 9-12159 propeller. Armament consisted of one 30-mm MK 108 engine
mounted cannon with 65 rounds and two 13-mm MG 151 machine guns, each with 300
models of the K-4 were standardized on the one-piece Erla canopy with shoulder
and head armor. A new instrument panel was also fitted and most were equipped
with FuG 25a (Erstling IFF) and FuG 16ZY radios. All K-4s were fitted with the
tail vertical tail made of wood or metal. Most K-4 standardized the lengthened
tail wheel, which came complete with a retractable capability, the first series
of 109 to feature such since the F-series. It was also the only 109 to have
fully covered main gear doors, utilizing two outer retractable doors.
fuselage of the K-4 was essentially that of a Bf-109 G series, except the
location of the access hatch on the port side, relocation of fuel filler points,
and relocation of the direction-finding loop.
K-4 was equipped for a number of Rüstsätze (auxiliary
apparatus) items, including:
K-4/R1 - One ETC 500/Ixb or Schloss 503 bomb rack.
K-4/R2 - One Rb 50/30 reconnaissance camera.
K-4/R3 - One 300 liter under fuselage drop tank.
K-4/R4 - Two MG 151/20 underwing cannons.
K-4/R5 - One Rb 32/7X9 or Two Rb 12.5/7X9 cameras.
K-4/R6 - One BSK 16-gun camera in the port wing.
performance figures for the K-4 indicate that, when fitted with the DB 605 DCM
engine incorporating a MW 50 hp boosting with C-3 fuel (96 octane), a maximum
combat speed of 416 mph (670 km/h) was attained at the maximum altitude of
29,515 feet (9.0 km), which made the aircraft 23 mph faster than the similarly
equipped Bf-109 G-10/U4.
production of the K-series is unknown, but best figures put it at around 750
examples before Germany collapsed.
model represents a Bf-109 K-4/R3 from 14/JG 53, denoted by the black band around
the rear fuselage. The wiggly line in the band indicates the plane belonged to
is out of the box, except for using my paper printed seat belts and
harnesses and masking tape rudder foot straps. The cockpit was painted RLM
66 and various control boxes painted flat black. After glossing the
painted finish, I applied instrument gauges using disks of white decal
trim film and Reheat Models Instrument Panel Gauge decals. Some
Reheat Control Placard and Data placards decals were applied
also to spruce up the cockpit. After the decals had dried, all received a
sealant coat of clear gloss and after that had dried, I applied my ink
washes. Once the inks were cleaned and dried, I applied three misty
coatings of clear flat.
on images below to see larger images
Instrument gauges were lastly finished with drops of FUTURE and my paper
belts and harnesses applied as a decal using a watery solution of Elmer's
glue, blotted out using a cotton swab, positioned to my liking, and
allowed to dry. The rudder foot straps are nothing more than leather
painted masking tape.
armor-plated glass was masked with masking tape and painted RLM 66. Masking was
removed from the glass area and it received a brushing of FUTURE. After the
FUTURE had dried, I finished the armor-plated glass's framing with RML 66
painted strips of clear decal film. The gunsight was painted semi-gloss black
and the reflector polished and coated with FUTURE.
kit exhausts were used and they were done very well. They were first
painted flat black, and then the individual exhaust stacks brushed painted
burnt iron. Once the burnt iron was dry, the stacks received a heavy wash
coat of rust and the stack ends were brush in black. My only complaint is
that the exhausts must be inserted into the fuselage halves before closing
up the fuselage, which makes for tricky masking. I pre-painted the exhaust
area in the paints required and it enable me to make strip mask for the
exhaust and not have any seepage on them.
on image below to see larger image
straight out of the box, excepting the spinner's cannon port, which was
done with a cut piece of styrene rod that had been thinned with a drill
bit. The kit's spinner was rounded and had a hole for the cannon port,
which would be too wrong, as all photos of K-4s I have show the port
protruding from the spinner. I also added the small whip wire to the FuG
antenna from a piece of stretched sprue. Aerial wiring for the FuG
16ZY radio was done using 0.006-in smoke-colored invisible thread, a thin
nylon monofilament. Insulators were done with drops of Krystal Kleer
painted graphite after the glue had set. The kit's MG 151 barrels ends
were drilled out and worked out with a Dremel cone-cutting bit held in a
pin vise. These along with the cannon port were first painted black, then
gunmetal. They were applied in the final assembly with a small drop of
Elmer's glue. The propeller was painted RLM 70 black green, with the hub
painted bright silver. The propeller spinner and backing plate were
image below to see larger image
I always like to prime my models with the appropriate under surface color, I
primed the model with RML 76. Canopy and windshield were masked with bare-metal
foil, with the windshield being permanently attached with Krystal Kleer and the
'Erla' canopy being held in place with strips of two-sided Scotch tape. I had
previous painted and masked the exhaust areas, but I hummed and hawed over what
to paint the landing gear wells and the gear struts. Thanks to Vincent and Lynn
at the 109 lair, I knew they were not RLM 02. Although some struts borrowed from
other 109 series may have been RLM 02 (the main struts were interchangeable from
the prototype 109 up through the K-series). So I ended up leaving them RML 76,
since about every B & W photo I have of a K-4 shows the struts as a light
color matching the underwing. Anyhow, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
enlarged the wing camouflage pattern from the kit instructions and ran off the
fuselage patterns one to one, as they were already in the proper scale. I masked
the undersides and fuselages sides where appropriate and painted the uppers RLM
81 brown-violet. Once dried, I cut patterns from my prints and masked off areas
to remain RLM 81. I then shot the exposed areas with RLM 82 dark green. All
masking was then removed saving the Bare-metal foil on the canopy and the model
was given two coats of clear gloss for decals prep.
used the kit decals exclusively, except for the spiral on the propeller spinner
(rifled from an Aeromaster sheet) and the vertical tail swastikas (the kit's
were split into) taken from a Hasegawa sheet of swastikas. For kit supplied
decals, I'd have to rank these highly; they went on with no problems, were
opaque and in register, easy to slide and achieve correct placement, and they
reacted well with setting and solvent solution.
the decals had dried, I gave the model two sealant coats of clear gloss. When
dried, I applied my ink washes to the control and access recesses. When the ink
had dried, I finished the model with three misty coats of clear flat. The
Bare-metal masking was removed from the canopy and the glazings polished with
Meguiar's Mirror Glaze #3 before given a brushing of FUTURE. Navigation lights
were first covered with Bare-metal foil, and then painted clear red and clear
green on the port and starboard lights respectively. Once the clear paints had
dried, I brushed a little FUTURE over them to further heighten the effect. The
rear flying light on the rudder was done with a drop of chrome silver paint and
a drop of Krystal Kleer after the paint had dried.
gets a bad rap too often, but I found this kit to be a pleasingly simple out of
the box build. Sure, I would have loved having optional flaps and radiator
doors, but one gets a great fitting kit and a really nice set of decals for five
K-4s for half the price of those major brands. A special thank you to Lynn and
Vincent of the "The Messerschmitt 109 Lair" http://therapist109.tripod.com/
for the quick responses to my queries.