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Waterline 109
by Job Conger
w109Pears.jpg (9517 bytes)

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 below.
eplate.jpg (2118 bytes)

   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 abbreviated structure.

     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!

    Happy modeling!

MePearsall.jpg (96023 bytes) 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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Last modified: September 24, 2005