Academy 1/48 Bf 109T-2 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2010||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||12225||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very colorful schemes, easy build||Cons||One-piece windscreen/canopy|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$35.00|
As Nazi Germany was rebuilding its military capabilities, the German Navy was interested in the potential of the aircraft carrier as a fleet weapon. Design and construction of the Graf Zeppelin was undertaken in the late 1930s. While the Graf Zeppelin was launched in 1938, it was never completed as construction priorities were shifted to submarines. While interest in the carrier concept resumed later in the war, the Graf Zeppelin was never completed and was ultimately sank after World War II.
While development of the aircraft carrier was underway, a series of parallel efforts were also started to create the first air wing for this new German carrier. Several aircraft were 'navalized' including the Messerschmitt Bf 109E. Designers were going to mate the DB 601N onto a modified E airframe that incorporated additional airframe and landing gear strength for flight deck operations, a talk hook for arrested landings, catapult hooks for getting back off the deck, and longer wings to lower stall speed/increase lift.
The first production variant of this carrier fighter was designated the Bf 109T-1 and seven were completed before the Graf Zeppelin was cancelled. The remaining 63 airframes of that initial 70 Bf 109Ts were built without carrier equipment and designated Bf 109T-2. These aircraft were comparable to the Bf 109E-4/N, though their long wings allowed for operations from shorter airfields than their land-based cousins. These Bf 109T-2s were assigned to Norway for operations out of their shorter airfields.
Academy has re-released their Bf 109E kit with some additional parts to render the Bf 109T-2. The differences between these two types are addressed in this release including the addition of the centerline fuel tank and the under-wing bulges for the MG FF/M 20mm cannon in each wing.
The kit comes as three trees of gray styrene parts, a single set of resin parts, and a single tree of clear parts. All panel lines and rivet details are nicely scribed.
Normally Academy kits like this one are easy builds that any modeler with a little experience with glue and a hobby knife can undertake. In this case, the longer wings of the Bf 109T are achieved by building the wings, carefully cutting away the wing tips, and adding the new resin extended wings to the ends of the main wing. This change not only lengthens the span of the wings, it also provides longer ailerons and leading edge slats. While not a difficult conversion, it will still be best undertaken by a modeler with more experience at using resin parts and doing a little 'body work' to blend the parts into one complete wing.
Aside from the wing conversion, this kit will be a speedy build with a simple but nicely done cockpit tub that would look good with some careful work with the canopy open. Unfortunately, the windscreen, side-opening canopy, and rear transparency are all rendered as a single part. An additional clear part is provided to render the armored glass that mounts over the windscreen. If you want to render this kit with the canopy open, you'll have to either do some careful surgery or seek out an aftermarket Bf 109E vacuformed canopy replacement.
The wing flaps are separately molded so you can pose this kit with the flaps down. The carrier-capable Bf 109T-1 had flaps that dropped lower than the standard Bf 109 (more like a Spitfire or Hurricane) and the Bf 109T-2 likely retained this capability to retain their short-field capabilities.
This release has two markings options:
- Bf 109T-2, Black 6, JG 11, Norway, 1944, as flown by Oblt Herber Christmann
- Bf 109T-2, Yellow 7, NJG 101, Manching, Germany, 1943
This is a nice kit and out of the box, will do a decent Bf 109T. Grab an aftermarket parts for the Bf 109E, most notably a resin/photo-etched cockpit set and a vac canopy, and you'll have a long-winged 109 to add to the contest table.
This kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!