Zvezda 1/48 Bf-109F-2

KIT #: 4802
PRICE: $30.00 MSRP
DECALS: Four Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit.

(not Fritz, nor Franz) was the major redesign of Bf 109, with new sleek looks, improved aerodynamics, new DB 601 engine giving much more speed, nose mounted cannon firing thru spinner (as intended since E version) and no elevator struts. It was stopgap solution till G version comes, and it gave nasty surprise to Spitfire pilots, outperforming most of the machines flying at the time. It was best 109 version as stated by many German pilots, later G versions introduced heavy equipment and firepower making it too sluggish. Although ready in 1940, F wasn’t introduced till early 1941, mainly due new engine being late in production and RLM opinion that Emil was good enough.

 Bf 109F-2 was introduced in March 1941, soon after F-1, first production version, reached units, still with old DB 601N engine, and new rapid firing MG151/15 15mm auto-cannon instead old MG/FF in the nose. Some pilots, like Galland, considered this weapon arrangement to light, especially for inexperienced fliers, so later F-4 got heavier MG151/20, still not heavy enough.

Friedrich was the principal fighter at the start of Russian campaign and many top aces started their scores with this fine plane.


Zvezda joins the ranks producing 1/48 Bf-109F versions that Started with Airfix. A goodly amount of time followed until Hasegawa produced their still excellent series, followed by Hobbycraft then ICM. ICM introduced a full engine and a ton of fillers and inserts. Zvezda continues this trend, however, it seems from the look of the parts, that this one may well fit a bit better than the ICM version. If you recall how nice Zvezda's La-5 kits are, then I fully expect this one to follow in its footsteps.

Molded in a standard grey plastic, there are four grey sprues and one rather large clear one. It is pretty obvious that Zvezda will be starting a rather large line of later 109 as there are lots of inserts and it starts with a fuselage that is in several parts. There is a center section, a separate tail section, and separate nose section. The nose is so designed so that you can install a full engine, which is included. Not only a full engine, but separate exhaust stubs which means this is a kit for those who like to have everything opened up. The cockpit is quite well detailed and includes a pilot figure for those who wish to use it. Two instrument panels are provided, one with raised detailing and the other a flat section on which to place the decal. There is lots of sidewall detail including separate map pocket, radio panel, fuel line, oxygen regulator and other bits.

Moving along, the wheel wells are separate bits made up of several pieces that fit into the wings. There are even two different styles of wing tips, one with larger light lenses than the other. On the underside, there are different lower wing inserts and vent sections for just behind the engine. Of course, ailerons, flaps and slats are separate pieces,  as are the rudder and elevators. Even the radiator openings have separate 'lips'. Two separate engine cowlings are also provided, but for the life of me, they look the same. It seems that one is for the 'in flight' version with the cowling closed. Several different windscreens are provided depending on the markings option chosen.

Instructions are very well done with color info by Model Master, but no RLM shades are pointed out. This results in the same paint color being chosen for several different shades. I won't bother trying to decipher what is what, but it does seem that at least two planes are in standard RLM 74/75/76 while two seem to be in locally painted camouflage using whatever was at hand. All are on the Eastern Front, of course, with planes piloted by Hannes Trautloft, Hans-Ekkehard Bob, and Hans von Hahn. The box art plane is the only one that is not piloted by an ace and that is from an unknown unit. The decals are quite well done and while not as crisp as most aftermarket, are well printed and should provide no real problems.


Apparently all the Luftwaffe geeks are agog about this kit and I can see why. One of the prices one pays for all this detail is what will be a more fussy kit to build than the Hasegawa one, for instance. I should also point out that this can only be built as an F-2 variant as it doesn't include the external fuselage reinforcements that were on most F-4s. However, it should, with careful building, make into a superb replica.


August 2010

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