Heller 1/72 Bf 108 B Taifun: A Mini-Review

By Jim Schubert

The Premise

If the Editor will let me, I'm going to try something new here - a Mini-Review of an old, well known, kit with emphasis on the corrections needed without going into too much detail. Please let me know what you think of this idea. This kit is also relevant to the Techmod decal sheet reviewed below.

The Kit

  1. The biggest problem and the hardest to fix is the fuselage cross section; it's too square at the top from the windscreen aft to about midway to the tail. It's probably best to ignore this one. If, however, you are a masochist you can fill the inside upper corners of the fuselage and canopy hood with putty, tape the fuselage halves together, glue the hood in place with white glue and file the whole thing to the correct shape. You can then pop the hood off and use it as a male mold to vac form a new hood.

  2. There is no Argus, air-cooled V-8 engine provided to be viewed through the air intake in the cowl bowl. Let your conscience be your guide on how far you want to go in this area.

  3. The prop and spinner suck. Hit the spares box for replacements.

  4. The wheels are too small and they are very toy like. Defenestrate them and hit the spares box again. The wheels from an Aurora 1:150 scale 747 are perfect! I have a lifetime supply of these wheels - but that's another story.

  5. The leading edge (LE) of the fin is too swept.

  6. The trailing edge (TE) of the rudder tapers too sharply forward making a pointy rather than a rounded tip.  

  7. The break from the vertical hinge line of the rudder to the area balance is wrong; the diagonal line is too long. NB Early 108's had no area balance, rather they had a mass balance weight on a rod projecting forward of the hinge line.

  8. The wingtips need a few swipes with a sanding stick to obtain the correct shape.

  9. The tailplane is way too broad in chord and the tips are too square.

  10. The aileron mass balances are blobs. Use the ones from a Hasegawa 109.

  11. The interior is basic and you really ought to enhance the detail in there.

  12. Typically for a kit of this vintage almost all the details need a bit of attention.

Everything, except the fuselage cross section is easy to fix. I'm going to ignore that problem and figure no one will notice.

If you want a really great, easily built, Taifun, you can do no better than to go up to 1/48th scale and build the Eduard kit; it is super.

References

  • Messerschmitt (BFW) Bf 108 b-1 Taifun in Detail: Pawel Przymusiala & Dariusz Karnas, Books International, UK, 2001, ISBN 83-7219-122-0. This is rather like a combination of the Verlinden and Aero Detail books. it provides many detail photos of Lufthansa's restored late model Bf 108 B-1, D-EBEI plus several pages of drawings, No history.

  • Monogram Close-Up 5 Taifun: Thomas H. Hitchcock, Monogram Pubs., USA, 1979, ISBN 0-914144-05-7. This provides a thorough history of the 108 A and B and discusses their civil and military operational use. There are many photos of different 108's.

  • Air Enthusiast Quarterly No. 22.

  • Aeroplane Monthly - April 1988 and January 1994.

  • Skyways No. 34.

  • Replic - May 2002; Eduard 1/48 build

  • Scale Aircraft Modelling - Vol. 25, No.1, March 2003; Eduard 1/48 build.

  • Scale Aviation Modelling International - April 2003; Eduard 1/48 build.

 

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