Replicast's Me 209V1 in 1/48th
By Allan Wanta
The setting is 1939; the place is somewhere in Nazi Germany. William Messerschmitt and Ernst Heinkel are at war. No, not a World War as that is yet to come, but a war of world records. Attempts at the absolute speed record pitted these two giants of the aviation industry against each other at a time when the fledgling Luftwaffe was just getting back on it's feet and starting to rebuild. Heinkel and his He-100 had bested the best at the world speed record, in an attempt to best that, Messerschmitt designed the Me-209V1, a bare bones record attempt plane designed without a radiator to minimize any protrusions that would cause drag. The plane was according to it's pilot Fritz Wendel, quite an unpleasant aircraft to fly. But fly it did and on April 26, 1939 broke the speed record, which was to stand for almost 30 years. All that remains is the fuselage in a Krakow Poland museum.
This kit is great, simple in construction, well thought out and executed in resin, along with white metal undercarriage, skid and control stick. The fuselage is a two-piece hollow casting, complete with sidewall details and even an attempt at locating pins. The one-piece wing has just about pushed the limits of the art of casting, thin trailing edges almost cut paper and smooth surfaces and fine panel lines, moving surfaces are accurately represented with distinctly deeper lines.
The tail planes are cast as one unit; the left side was cast a bit thicker than the other but was left, as not to destroy the surface detail, it's barely noticeable. The Instrument panel is resin as are the rudder pedals.
The white metal landing gear is nicely done, but they are a knock-off of the Hasegawa Me-109 gear and end up looking a bit chunky. I used a pair of Monogram Me-109 gear legs instead.
The decals are printed by MPD; they must be associated with Propagteam, as the finish and thinness are identical.
Rounding off the parts are two clear vac canopies, but not super thin so these are easier to work. Only one canopy was useful, the other had a vacuform egress nub directly on top, in a most visible spot. The only needed items are seat belts, but that's easy to remedy.
I started with the cockpit, which was Spartan, as was the original, painted a very light gray as per instructions, trim wheel and sidewalls picked out in grays and blacks, controls highlighted and washed. The seat belts came from an Airwaves etched sheet; seat and stick were the last items to be put in place. No weapons were on this craft hence no gunsight.
The fuselage halves were checked for flatness by lightly rubbing on sandpaper on a glass plate, no problems were encountered joining both halves together. All panel lines lined up between halves. Wings are one piece and fell into place with little work, some small air bubbles appeared on the leading edge and were filled with Zap-a-Gap and sanded. The wheel wells are well detailed with solid locating holes for the gear. The wheels provided look like those found on a later G or K series Me-109, wide and without spokes. Since this plane flew in 1939 I gave it wheels from an E series plane that only seems more appropriate.
The rudder is separate and a bit of fiddling helped to mate it to the tail plane. The only other area which requires a bit of attention was the mating of the cowling to the main frame, it seems it was never supposed to blend in with the smooth lines of the nose so I left a bit of a step. Cleaning up the spinner and backplate was more tedious than I thought; carving the propeller blade holes was needed to get them and the backplate to fit well.
This is the first airplane that I didn't have to worry about what camouflage scheme I was going to do. Seems all Messerschmitt's world attempt planes were painted in Messerschmitt blue, a.k.a. RLM 24 Blue to be exact. Here I used Testors RLM Blue; it looks a bit better for this scale than the other brands I had available. Decals went on without a hitch, I would however recommend painting a white band on the tailplane where the Red band appears. The decal will darken when applied over the blue too much.
Careful trimming of my only canopy reaped benefits and fit perfectly. All in all the construction of this kit was better than most injection kits and certainly provides me with an unusual addition to my Messerschmitt line up. Also available is the V-4 version, which was an attempt to use the 209 as a combat plane. A complete failure, but an interesting modeling subject.
Hands down a great looking plane and kit, along with a couple hick-cups in assembly, nothing that someone with a resin kit or two can't overcome.