Classic Airframes 1/48 Bf-109A

Kit #4123                                            MSRP $39.95
Images and text Copyright © 2006 by Matt Swan

Developmental Background
        Volumes of material has been written on the infamous Messerschmitt 109 aircraft in its many variations and I don’t care to repeat that here. This is where the series began with the A model of which only a few were produced immediately followed by the early B model. Examples of the B saw action in the Spanish Civil war and Classic Airframes has finally provided us with a high quality model kit of both early version 109’s. For more in-depth information on the 109 and its history visit The 109 Lair

The Kit
        When you first open this box your first impression may be “hey, where’s the rest of the kit?” At first glance there does not appear to be enough parts here for a complete airplane but this is deceptive. All the primary kit parts are sealed in a single poly bag and all thirty four plastic pieces reside on a single sprue. A handful of resin detail pieces are included in the bag along with a small sprue of clear parts and a fret of photo etched pieces. The plastic pieces are all very nice with crisp, consistent engraved panel lines, medium sized sprue gates and no serious flash. I cannot find any sink marks but there are several large injector pins inside the wing panels that need to be removed. With earlier Classic Airframes kits I have found it necessary to thin the interior of the fuselage to almost paper thin before the resin cockpit pieces would fit but that is not the case anymore. The plastic fuselage pieces have well defined alignment points for the resin sidewalls and all these pieces fit together well. All flight control surfaces are separate parts and wing slats can be modeled open or closed. You may have noticed in the parts image that there are two propellers. Classic Airframes has provided us with parts to model several different versions of the aircraft and also includes a resin propeller option.
        Looking at the resin package the first thing that catches the eye are the two engine cowlings; one with and one without the front cooling vents giving the modeler more construction options. By the way, you can click on the small images to the left to view larger pictures. The level of detail on these resin pieces is everything we have come to expect from any top shelf model manufacture. The resin is just slightly soft any can be removed from the pour stubs with a couple passes of a fresh razor knife. There are two control yokes but only one is intended for this kit. We also have two sets of cockpit sidewalls and two options for the pilot’s seat and like the control yoke; only one set is intended for this kit. Wheel well interiors are provided in the resin package as well as instrument backing pieces. Overall we have twenty two resin pieces. Lastly we have the photo etched pieces; here we have two options for landing gear doors, a nice spinner back plate, instrument bezels, seatbelts, radiator grills and other assorted details totaling twenty six pieces. Also here are some acetate instruments. Add all this stuff up and we have eighty seven piece in this kit, quite a few more than you would guess from the first impression.

Decals and Instructions
        Basic assembly instructions consist of a single fold sheet printed on both sides. It begins with a brief introduction to the aircraft’s history with general specifications. One quarter of the sheet is consumed by a detailed parts map followed by nine exploded view assembly steps. Basic paint reference is mostly by color name with only one RLM/FS number given. There are several construction tips given throughout the assembly steps. There is yet another one and one half sheets of directions and these are all focused on exterior paint schemes and decal placement for six different aircraft.
        The kit contains two decal sheets; one large sheet and a small secondary sheet with a couple of extra aircraft numbers. Quality wise these decals are top flight with great print registry, color density and thinness. We have markings for German, Spanish and developmental aircraft along with plenty of service and warning stencils and unlike European kits this one includes a set of swastikas.

        Classic Airframes has certainly taken a good sized step forward with overall quality not to say that their previous kits were not good. This kit shows that CA is heading towards the big leagues. Parts are well designed and fit well, interior resin details fit with little modification and the modeler is provided with a wealth of construction options that may cause repeat buying of the kit just so you can make all these variations. At this time there is not really anything on the aftermarket that is specifically intended for this kit but there are plenty of general 109 detail packages out there. It does not look like there is much need for that however you could open the hood and stick and aftermarket engine in there.
        I have no choice but to give this kit the highest recommendation especially for those just entering the world of multi-media model kits. Come to the dark side, build a 109!

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