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A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

The second year of WW2 is primarily remembered for the Battle of Britain, but there was far more besides, both from a military and a civilian perspective. So, eighty years hence, this Group Build is open to anything that was around in 1940, from fighter aircraft to armoured cars, from battleships to buses.
Runs from 8 February to 31 December 2020.
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smeg1959
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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#21

Post by smeg1959 »

One of the big pluses with the "as you go" approach of Group Builds is that participants discover issues along the way. The more expansive nature of the GB gives members free rein to describe in as much detail as they like (i) what the problem or omission is and (ii) their workaround to rectify the problem or omission. Forewarned is forearmed. No doubt, Toms is looking on with great interest as you encounter issues he hasn't yet come to. As are any other owners of the Armory Bf109E-3/4 kit. As with the A/B pairing, these Armory things are definitely not "shake and bake".
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), ČKD LT vz.38 Praga (Slovakian Army)

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#22

Post by Mig88 »

Thanks a lot guys. Smeg, that's very much how I take posting in the GBs (and my own WIPs).

Progress - Fixes, mistakes and a major flaw

Well, I have managed to make considerable progress despite what the kit has thrown at me and some missteps.

w11s.jpg
The top nose sections glued in place. The fit isn't good and the first one I didn't get quite right. For the life of me, I don't understand why the part was broken down this way and not the engine cover in full, giving a nasty seam line where there isn't any panel line! So extra work here covering the seams into oblivion. Manageable but a chore that could have been avoided.

w12s.jpg
In the meantime, I worked on the propellers. I made a first attempt assembling the blades to the backplate and then adding the spinner but this didn't work. It's definitely much easier assembling the spinner to the backplate and then inserting the blades. Needless to say, you have to widen the holes and thin the blades' tabs to succeed!

w13s.jpg
The oil cooler or radiator in place. As with everything else, plenty of trimming to get it to fit and here I made a mistake. I confused the sides of the hole for the part as flash so I had removed it which resulted in a step. I covered the steps with CA glue and then sanded the areas to shape. This means that the oil radiator would also have to be thinned in width to be able to fit in place.

w14s.jpg
I decided to make a small improvement. The main undercarriage leg oleo links come moulded solid. I tried to open a hole but it didn't work so I cut them off and made new links from stretched sprue. In truth it's a detail that can hardly be seen, if at all, as it is hidden between the wheel and u/c door.

w15s.jpg
Finally for today, a major flaw which was a real disappointment. Yes, it's the flaw that has shown up on several Bf 109 kits in all scales throughout the decades and is totally unjustified in this day and age: the position of the main undercarriage legs. One of the characteristics of the Bf 109 was the ability for the fuselage to stand on the legs without the wings as the legs were attached within the wing roots. As you can see, in Armory's kit, the legs attach just outside the wing roots. I've given them a bit of splay outwards so that the wheels are more-or-less where they should be but not any more as it would look worse than it is! The positioning of the legs is by fiddly mark one eyeball - there are no guides!

A few years ago, I built a couple of Revell's 1:72 Bf 109G-10s and, amazingly for a German kit of the 1990s, it had this same problem. I managed to fix them by increasing the wheel bays further into the fuselage and making a new slot for the legs. It was some work in 1:72 but probably easier than doing it here in 1:144 (the wings were separate). Honestly, I should have seen it but now that I have the legs on, I'm leaving them this way and leave fixing it for next time as I have 4 more boxings of this kit (another BoB box, two "Beginning" boxes and a "Mediterranean Aces" box). I'm definitely not buying more!

Some more progress soon.
Miguel
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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#23

Post by smeg1959 »

Coming along well in spite of Armory's all-too-frequent "traps for the unwary". Looking at the spinner and prop blades, it is very reminiscent of many Anigrand offerings ... other than the latter being resin kits and, hence, the approach being more understandable.

Couldn't agree more on the 109 undercart front. Reminded me of just how long it took a company to get the angles right in 1/72, let alone 1/144. Absolutely no excuse ... I doubt there's many aircraft of any era that haven't been analysed in more detail than the 109. :roll:
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), ČKD LT vz.38 Praga (Slovakian Army)

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#24

Post by F_IV »

Those are coming along enviably fast. Particularly when there's two of them. If it isn't too late, is it possible to check the intake under the nose? It's hard to tell, but it may be on backwards with the radiator flap pointing to the front.

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#25

Post by ID19 »

The oil cooler - really hard to tell! Somehow it doesn't look right either way. There are 'flaps' at both sides but most importantly the whole thing is anything but prominent when looking from the side.
Not many detail fotos of the real thing around at first glance, but this one givrs an impression:
http://109lair.hobbyvista.com/walkaroun ... 22dw01.jpg
I begin to understand why some of our fellow modellers prefer scratchbuilding; it is sometimes easier than correcting a faulty kit!

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#26

Post by Mig88 »

Thanks for your comments!

Further progress - ready for painting

In response to the matter of the oil cooler, I checked it and it is the right way round.

w16s.jpg
w17s.jpg
Fritz has nailed the problem, the part isn't quite right. I had my doubts when adding the part to the fuselage but it can only go one way round. If I had glued it the other way round it would sit too far back touching the seam where the nose and wing meet. In these photos you can also see the etched undercarriage doors - a nice touch (there has to be something positive in this kit :lol: ).

A note about the second photo. This is the kit which had the damaged ailerons. I managed to repair them with molten sprue, sanded to shape once cool, and I added the trim tabs from thin plastic card.

w18s.jpg
One thing I forgot to show yesterday was the head armour and canopy. The former is a nice etched part. It's a bit tricky to bend the top but, unlike other parts of the kit, it fits without problem inside the canopy. There are small holes inside the canopy part, at the bottom, to attach the etched part. The one-piece canopy part joined quite well to the fuselage and some very small gaps were filled with Kristal Klear. I have no idea how the separate option fits. This photo shows the headrest that I didn't quite get bent properly! The only thing I feel is that it is inclined too much forward.

w19s.jpg
The tail area. This double shot tries to show a little flaw in the rudder (left), that I have corrected on the right. All the while, every time I saw the tail area, I felt something wasn't quite right. When I added the missing tail mast from stretched sprue while consulting some plans, I realised what it was. The top rear section of the rudder is a bit too "square" and should be more rounded. It was easily fixed with a little sanding in the offending area. As a side note, other than the necessary trimming of the tabs and widening of holes, the tailplanes gave no trouble. The struts were removed with great care (I had already broken one), glued in place without fuss and the area of the sprue attachment point was gently cleaned up afterwards.

w20s.jpg
Finally, both kits are just about ready for the paintshop. On the left is Wick's machine. This one has an armoured windshield and standard spinner. On the right is Galland's E-4/N. This one has a standard windshield but a capped spinner. A detail I will have to add is a telescopic sight in the windshield. Galland had his Emils equipped with this. It seems he used it not for aiming but to identify other aircraft sooner.

Now, on to the challenge of painting these two schemes...
Miguel
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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#27

Post by Mig88 »

A simple fix and notes on the schemes

I forgot to mention that, as with the 1:72 Airfix kit, I left out the wing guns, the underwing mass balances and pitot to make things easier for painting and applying the decals.

w21s.jpg
As I was about to start painting the propellers, another thing that was nagging at me was finally revealed and solved. There was something a bit off about the propellers and I decided to check with plans and I spotted it. The blades are a tad too wide. Fortunately, fixing this was a simple matter of a little sanding on both sides of each blade. Above, the left one is unmodified and the right one has the blades sanded.

To finish off for today, I've been looking into both schemes as I started painting and have come across some conflicting facts. It seems that Galland had two, very similar Bf 109E-4/Ns in the last months of the year. I think profiles, etc seem to mix both machines. I'm sticking to the MYK profile in this case which also appears in the book I mention next.

There seems to be a bit of a mess with Wick's aircraft mostly concerning dates. The two schemes of MYK's sheet and that on the Armory sheet depict "<-+-" in summer and September respectively. This is wrong and the evolution of Wick's machine and markings is clearly shown on page 84 of Osprey's "Bf 109D/E Aces 1939-41" by John Weal. He mostly flew the same aircraft throughout summer 1940 until his death on 28 November. Until 7 September 1940, when Wick was promoted to Kommandeur, he flew with a "Yellow 2". Following his promotion, his aircraft wore a "double chevron". This remained until his promotion to Geschwaderkommodore in the second half of October where the markings changed to "<-+-" until his death. Depending on the kill markings available, I am considering making a "double chevron" option as I recall I may have some in my spares or on a specific sheet. The stipple scheme is going to be interesting to simulate in 1:144!

Miguel
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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#28

Post by Tom's »

Nice work, and so much advices for mine ! :D

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#29

Post by ajmm »

Very impressive work improving on and fixing the kit’s flaws Miguel - the propellers look a good deal better. Just keep going!

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Re: A pair of aces in E major - Mig88's Armory Bf 109E-4s

#30

Post by Mig88 »

Thanks a lot Tom's and Angus.

Painted!

First, a correction. The Armory instructions actually say October not September as I mentioned in my previous post so they are correct, for late October to be precise, although I haven't checked the kill markings.

w23s.jpg
w22s.jpg
Well, both kits are finally painted and with the wing cannon added. Wick's machine is on the left in both photos. Getting the fuselage side mottles of his scheme right in 1:144 is very difficult (not to say impossible). I'm curious to see what Tom's does with his kit. I have made a compromise that "gives the effect". The way I have done it is probably good for 1:72. The real mottling was done stippling RLM71 with a brush and I tried to do something similar with my thinnest brush. I then lightly try-brushed RLM65 to soften it. Anyhow, I'm pleased with the effect and only think I have probably lightened it a tad too much. I've used Eduard's instructions as a guide for the overwing splinter patterns in both which have variations.

I've started applying the gloss varnish and hope to be able to start putting decals tomorrow.

Having built the 1:72 Airfix kit before these I must give some praise to Armory as they include a couple of details missing in the bigger kit: the main wing comes with trim tabs and the wing cannon shell ejection ports. It's a shame the kit is a let down in other areas and in fit.

Miguel
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