Hobbycraft 1/48 Hispano Ha.1112 Buchon Build Review
|Date of Review||May 2011||Manufacturer||Hobbycraft|
|Subject||Hispano Ha.1112 Buchon||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||HC1523||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple build, unique subject||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
I have wanted to clear the closet of a few of my older kits but just couldn’t get inspired to do anything. After fumbling through at least 30 kits I started thinking more and more of the Ha-1112Mil “Buchon” made by Hobbycraft. Not a perfect kit by any means but it has a lot of potential and is a fun kit to build. I looked through the instruction book and started to think that the all blue version would look really good on the shelf next to my other 109’s. That’s settled. Hispano it will be.
No sooner did I start this build than my trusty old Sony camera start giving me problems. I didn’t take any in-progress builds and had to borrow a friend’s camera to take the final shots. It is time to bury that soldier and get a Cannon or Nikon. My wallet will decide who wins that match. The Hobbycraft Buchon is not a complex build anyway and can be handled by just about anyone. The things I did want to document were modifications and improvements I did so I will just have to talk you through them.
Like most kits, step one is the cockpit. I got rid of the gun breach covers, parts F33/34 since the Buchon didn’t have a hub firing cannon. The two foot pedals got replaced with some from Tamiya’s Fi156 when I used photo-etch on that build. They are more detailed but not that big a deal because you can barely see into the dark recesses of the cockpit anyway. The back wall of the cockpit, Part F37 doubles as the seat back too. I put a small upside down triangle on there to replicate the seats I have seen in my research photos. It adds some dimension to the plain flat area. The stick came from an old Monogram Bf-109G-10 and the trim wheel is actually from the original kit. I also detailed a little trap door on the back of the cockpit for radio access. It was easy to do but you have to use very thin sheet plastic or it will be out of scale.
Everything got a coat of Vallejo RLM66. I hand painted the instrument panel and added a rather large blue handle seen in those very same research photos. Little red and white stripes for the trim wheel and silver for the rudder pedals and other sidewall details and the cockpit is ready. Photo-etch harnesses will be added later. At this point there was no need to stray from the instruction sheet so I kept to the plan.
Step 2 is drilling out the holes you will need for the top and bottom of the wing. On the top of the wing I drilled the farthest inboard holes for the small bulges that glue to the top of the wing. Then I drilled out the outer holes for those strakes that go from front to back about mid wing. On hindsight I would not have done this because the drilled holes are bigger than the fences and I had to go back and fill the holes from the top of the wing. The bottom of the wing got everything drilled out. Don’t forget the underwing cannon shell ports. Something 109 folks are not use to seeing.
I did deviate from here a bit and glue the fuselage halves together then the bottom of the wing to the fuselage before gluing the top panels on so I could get a better fit and set the dihedral up. I held off on the exhaust ports. The fit of those ports is not the best and you should glue some scrap plastic sheet to the inside of the fuselage so you cannot see light through the engine bay. I should have known this from years of experience but continue to re-teach myself lessons all the time. The small prop shaft came back to haunt me again too. This completes step 3 but not exactly in order.
Step 4 was the engine rocker covers and a small bump labeled B20 that goes right off the top front of the cowling. Hold off on putting that on until you have successfully blended those rocker covers. The fit on those are not the best but with a little filler you will be fine. I added a bit of small mesh screen to the intake before gluing the intake lip on, part B3 and added a small bit of sheet plastic to replicate the splitter plate in the intake that was overlooked by the kit manufacturers.
Then I got an idea to do those leading edge slats. I had already glued the wings together so it was going to be difficult. I got embossing tape and marked off the area around the wing I didn’t want to get damaged and started carving the area out using the flat side of a #11 blade. Slowly letting it scrape away just a little bit until I got a nice indentation. Then I used some tin from a Coke can and formed new metal leading edges. I glued a small rod along the leading edge to replicate the slats in the open position. Not too bad for just about free. Then glue the two piece cannons to the wings, leaving off the very tip of the barrel until after painting. Next were those strakes and those small bulges. Another hindsight I had is that I would have glued those strakes on right before painting. I knocked them lose a few times sanding the leading edge and handling the plane during construction. A also would not have glued on the horizontal stabilizers until after painting. This made it very hard to mask off the white rudder later.
I skipped step 5 which is the landing gear until later. Step 6 has a faring for the lower engine cowl. I glued it on and added some vents and other holes per my research material to improve the look and carved out the rather large oil cooler flap which is not depicted very well. I also left off the under fuselage antenna, part B19 until later and the tail wheel boot and strut, pitot tube, aileron counter balancers, and rocket racks. The rest of the construction will have to wait until after painting.
After using Mr. Surfacer as my primer and many hours of finding holes, scratches, seams, and other blemishes I finally got to load up the airbrush. Model Masters Acryl RLM 24 Blue was used for my exterior color. Everything gets blued. The interior of the wheel wells, landing gear legs and both sides of the landing gear covers. While I had it loaded up, I painted the glass frame. I have found out the best way of doing this is to clean the glass very well and paint the main canopy in a grid. First do all the horizontal framing and wait until it is completely dry then do the vertical framing rather than trying to cut out squares and get them placed perfectly. The downside is you have to be careful not to pull off the paint you have already put down.
Next thing on the list was to paint the prop with Alclad Silver and while you had that loaded up in the airbrush, you might as well get the rocket rails. They are fragile and need some cleaning up. Be careful not to bend them in the process. I also painted the rudder black, masked off the X that goes on the tail and then painted the rudder white using Model Masters Acryl ran through my airbrush, cursing the whole time that I glued the horizontal stabilizers on earlier.
The most difficult part of painting for me was the tri-color spinner. I tried a hundred different methods and it just comes down to luck for me. This time I used a circle template to paint the different colors. It worked this time because of the more pointy shape of the Buchon spinner. The next time it could be a flop. Small tape strips were used to mask off the tips of the blades that were painted red. Then everything got a coat of Future. Then another coat after that one dried. I used some polishing compound to try to get the gloss a little better but you can still see some blemishes.
Time for decals. They are crap! They broke apart and stuck to the backing paper. Out of about 6 decals I got one wing roundel to stick and when I did it was so transparent that it turned purple against the blue skin of the aircraft. I hit the internet and asked for another set and a kind soul got me a set but they were not much better. I did coat the white decals with future but did not save the roundels at all. I broke into my Academy offering of this same model and used those after painting white circles where the roundels were to go. A dab of Solva-Set got them to stick but marred the clear coat that I could never seem to get smoothed out. I was very aggravated after all that work to have that happen. But we have all been there before. The black decals for the exhaust were so bad I ended up carefully masking off that are and spraying it black.
I used a set of True Details G-10 wheels and painted the center hub white per my picture of the real deal. The kit wheels are just fine and will work. I had these sitting around and thought I would use them. The landing gear went on with no problem and then all the bits and pieces that tend to take up all your time. The missiles fiddly and had no real positive placement points on them making them difficult to get aligned. The gun barrel tips were painted steel and the prop wen ton but for some reason that prop shaft is not near the same size as the hole in the back plate of the spinner. I had to drill out that back plate for it to fit. I am still trying to figure that one out. There is no antenna on the top of the fuselage, part F4 on the plane I am modeling so it was left off. Some Krystal Klear glued the canopies on and it was sitting on its own.
I enjoyed this build all the way up to the decals. I had nothing but problems with them. The top of the 7 on the left hand side was so far out of register that I had to paint a small white bar above it. You can still see how far the white is out of register on the 1 and the tail code but I was getting worn down by the build by this point so I pressed on.
Things I could have done better. I wasn’t real happy with the numbering on the fuselage. I was getting tired of the build and settled on the decals I had. I wish I would have polished the plastic on the prop blades prior to spraying the Alclad. Alclad has a habit of showing you every flaw you didn’t fix prior to painting. I should have painted the canopy frame interior RLM 66 prior to the RLM 24 Blue. During photography I noticed it looks like the landing gear doors are sitting on the table top but that is just the soft fabric causing that. I am working with a new light tent and was trying the fabric supplied. I might change that before the next batch of photographs. I wish my camera would have not broken during the build so I could have shown some in-progress photos. Should have, would have, could have.
The old Hobbycraft and Academy offerings in the 109 family of exotics are still viable kits. The B, C, and D are the only ones still in production after Classic Airframes went on Hiatus and are a heck of a lot cheaper on the bank account. But they need some work. They are still the only ones to produce an Avia S-199 that is worth anything. Did you ever see the old Ventura offering….
I plan to build more of these kits and add to the long list of 109 variants. They look great sitting on the shelf and can be found for dirt cheap almost anywhere. I consider them a good bargain and a good addition to anyone’s collection. Recommended. Just find some aftermarket decals to keep your sanity in check. Trust me on that one!