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by Job Conger
A philosophical Luftwaffe pilot must have
once said, "An airplane is never so much an airplane as when you try to row it back
to Pas de Calais." Here's an interesting project for waterline ship modelers looking
for something different and for airplane modelers like yours truly, who never really liked
the Messerschmitt 109. And if you've always wanted to tackle a 1/32 model but hesitated
because of limited shelf space, here is an answer to your prayers.
Recommended 1/32 scale kit for this project is the Hasegawa
issue, but if space is really really hart to find, go with the Aurora 1/48 scale rendition
of some years back. It was indisputably the worst kit ever produced of a 109E and since
you're not likely to enter this in an IPMS contest, none are your friends are likely to
complain about scale fidelity. Just to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you
also purchase the Craft-Waffe resin, brass and kryptonite detail cockpit set ($89.95
postpaid from Preparation H-werks of England). Though it may not be obvious now, you'll
undestand later in this article.
The only critical work involves making a realistic angle of cut
to remove the area indicated by blotches in the illustration above, once you've assembled
your kit. It is vital not to install the Craft-Waffe cockpit detail set during the
assembly process. Stay with me here. I do not recommend painting the airplane until
the glue has had at least 48 minutes to dry.
Do not paint the airplane until you install the end plate illustrated
But before you install the
endcap, paint the Craft-Waffe cockpit detail set and pour the loose parts into the open
forward end of the fuselage so that the weight is concentrated in the forward end of the
Cut the end plate from a scrap of perfectly flat sheet plastic or
case-hardened steel. Glue or spot weld it to the rear fuselage and trim away the excess
plastic. Why the bother? Since most of the aftermarket detail parts can't be seen in
completed models -- especially 109 cockpits -- you will have the piece of mind that comes
from going that extra mile anyway.
Choice of markings is up to you. I cannot recommend the Aurora decals because
if you've gone to the trouble of pouring the detail parts into the rear fuselage, you
probably won't be happy with no swastikas and not even a werke number for the
vertical stabilizer. I cannot confirm that Mike Grant Decals is considering a series of
decal sheets with this conversion in mind. To be sure, I recommend you contact him and
mention AeroKnow and a link to this web page.
Some fastidious detailiopaths may quibble over the need to do something
with the dangling antenna wire, but my model depicts an "Emil" whose antenna was
shot away by a lucky Spitfire jockey. That's my story.
Some may place their completed rear fuselage on a base of simulated
water. But I simply placed mine on the top of my television. It's a great conversation
piece, and God only knows, the cat can't hurt it!
||Pictured left is an actual
model, built by ex-Peoria, Illinois modeler Jim Pearsall. Jim also shared the graphic
which as used as the baseline for the illustration at the top of this article.
Thanks to Jim for contacting me more than a year ago, kindly reminding
me of my original Waterline 109 article which was published in an IPMS Michigan Chapter
newsletter in the 1970s, and encouraged me to share it here at AeroKnow.
(photo by Jim Pearsall)
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