Spanish Air Force, Spain
Constructed at the same time as my Hobbycraft Avia S-199 (which shares the same basic moulds), this Academy Hispano HA-1112-M1L is another post-war modification of the famous Messerschmidt Bf109. Comments on construction are the same as for the Avia, including the very badly fitting canopy. The only modifications to this kit were to replace the pitot tube with brass tube and wire and to drill out the gun barrels and engine exhausts. I did not attach the underfuselage housing provided in the kit since I couldn’t see this on the only pictures I could find of this aircraft (see the walkaround in the 109 Lair). These pictures also caused me to paint the prop and spinner silver, rather than brown for the former (as suggested by the instructions) or black for the latter (as on another museum aircraft photographed on Wikipedia). As with the Avia, I would have replaced the wingtip lights with clear plastic had it occurred to me before I painted the aircraft; as it is, I painted them to represent coloured lenses, which I believe is incorrect. Of note is that the instructions would have the builder place the wing guns in the wrong place; they should be further outboard so they don’t interfere with the wheel wells.
After cleaning, the airframe was primed with Mr Surfacer 1000 and polished using Tamiya polishing compounds. The rudder was painted with Mr Base White and the Azure Blue is Mr Hobby and is only available as part of their RAF WWII Color set #2. I didn’t preshade this model and the silver is also Mr Color. Some of the blue paint lifted under Tamiya masking tape. This is a frequent problem with Mr Color paints that I cannot solve, even with carefully washing the plastic, using a primer coat and only handling the model with gloves. Johnson’s Klear was airbrushed over the final colours and an oil paint wash applied, again using Zippo lighter fluid as a thinner. The kits decals were used and were okay. They also lacked adhesion and were a bit stiff, not reacting much to Mr Mark Setter or Mr Mark Softer. The black tail cross was cut out from the rudder decal and applied separately. All the smaller parts were then attached (landing gear, antenna mast, etc.) and a mix of Pollyscale flat and satin applied to dull it all down.
Overall, a nice build. It did cause me some trouble with the canopy, and the plastic did not react very well (or maybe too well) to Revell Contacta cement. A long ghost seam (a very shallow depression along the seam) appeared on the nose after painting and decalling. I decided to deal with it, rather than leave it, and applied Mr Surfacer 1000 which was gently polished out using Tamiya compound. This removed the seam completely and it looks much better, but it was a real pain to cut into a perfectly good paint job and reapply the silver. I may try constructing airframes solely using super glue from now on to see if I can reduce the number of ghost seams that often appear on my models as a result of the liquid polystyrene cement slowly reacting with the plastic.
Year bought: 2005 (The Aviation Hobby Shop, London)
Year built: 2007 (Caiyuan, Zhengzhou, China)