MPM's 1/72 Bf109H-1
The Bf109H was a development of the Bf109 designed for high altitude flight. Initial development started with the Bf109F-4/Z, with the Bf109H-0 having a parallel-chord center wing section extending the wingspan. The outer panels were stock Bf109 wings, with the result that the landing gear was moved further out. At the same time a Bf109G-5 was fitted with the extended wings and a Daimler Benz DB628A high-altitude engine, as well as an enlarged tail and this plane became the Bf109V 54 and eventually the Bf109H-1. The only change between the prototype Bf109V 54 and the pre-production Bf109H-1s was the use of the DB605A instead of the DB628A engine. Several of these pre-production fighters found their way to Guyancourt outside of Paris early in 1944, where flight testing took place. Speeds over 450mph were obtained, and service altitude of around 47,500ft was normal. Some wing flutter was encountered at high speeds, though, and eventually the Bf109H series was passed over in favor of the Ta152H.
This is one of MPM's "Upgraded" kits, originally having been released as kit number 72069. The upgraded kit features some additional resin details to the existing kit, in this case a resin cockpit (complete with sidewalls), upper fuselage gun trough section, and wheel well doors. The rest of the kit is exactly as it was when it was originally released.
This isn't to say that the kit is bad. While it is an older MPM kit, it is still a decent one. There is more flash on this kit than there are on more recent MPM releases, but that's pretty easy to clean up. The parts have finely recessed panel lines throughout, and the detailing on the smaller parts is more than adequate. With the addition of the resin details in this upgraded kit, this kit has some great building potential. In addition to resin and plastic, there is some etched metal details to round out this kit, including a nice instrument panel.
The decals are nicely printed by Propagteam and there are two options included. The first one is the Bf109V 54, WNr 15708, coded PV+JB. This plane is camouflaged in the standard 74/75/76 pattern, with a black green RLM 70 spinner. In my quick research on this plane, however, I turned up the fuselage code of DV+JB instead of the kit example. With the V 55 coded DV+JC, I'm leaning towards this being correct and the kit markings wrong. There are plenty of aftermarket Luftwaffe code letter decals out there, though, so fixing it shouldn't be any problem.
The second option is an overall RLM 76 example from Guyancourt, France. No other markings on this example other than the crosses and swastikas. The latter are provided on the decal sheet, although they are split in half to avoid the printed swastika issue. Registration on the decals are excellent (and why not, it's only two colors!) and are very thin.
MPM has been putting out a number of "Upgraded" kits and the addition of the extra resin really adds some extra life to these older kits. While the older MPM kits need a bit more work, they are very buildable and it's highly unlikely that anyone else will be doing a Bf109H anytime soon. Finished in the overall RLM 76 scheme, this plane will really look striking, especially sitting next to a Lancaster, which supposedly one of the pre-production Bf109Hs at Guyancourt shot down in 1944.