Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109K-4 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2016||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Kit Number||08870||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$59.99|
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the mainstay of the Luftwaffe after its successful combat debut during the Spanish Civil War and subsequent successes during the first years of WWII maintaining air superiority over continental Europe and North Africa. Messerschmitt AG kept the Bf 109 combat relevant by introducing new powerplants and weapons as fast as they came available. By 1943, the Luftwaffe was feeling the negative side of such rapid development - there were too many different Bf 109 configurations in the field. This created a logistical nightmare to supply the necessary spare parts for each of the variants spread across North Africa and across Europe from the eastern front to the English Channel and down to Italy.
The RLM directed Messerschmitt AG to develop a common configuration aircraft which would still keep the Bf 109 relevant, but offer a common engine and key systems to ease the overloaded logistics burden and the high number of grounded aircraft. Messerschmitt took a two-pronged approach by developing a new aircraft, the Bf 109K, while also developing retrofit kits to bring the Bf 109G up to a common systems configuration. While the standardization of the Bf 109G was troublesome at best, the Bf 109K-4 was the best of the series to enter service. While over 1,500 examples were produced by the end of the war, the Luftwaffe was facing another crisis that they couldn't overcome - pilot attrition. The Bf 109K-4, like other advanced designs of the time, was being flown by inexperienced pilots who were thrust into combat against experienced air crews.
Hasegawa has reissued their Bf 109K-4 kit, first released in 2004. Like other Bf 109s in Hasegawa's re-tooled line-up, the K-4's fuselage is molded with separate front and rear fuselage sections. Fortunately the kit is well-engineered and the fit of the model is very nice. Like many other kits out there, this kit has a few ejector pin marks that will need to be cleaned up inside some landing gear doors and radiator flaps.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Fair cockpit (aftermarket options are available)
- Optional pilot figure included
- Choice of raised instrument details or decals for instrument panel
- Positionable canopy
- Leading edge slats posed extended
- Trailing edge flaps posed down
- Ailerons/rudder/elevators posed neutral/centered
The kit does include a centerline fuel tank though this parts tree is probably common with some of the Hasegawa Bf 109G variants. The instructions do not mention any external stores options with this kit.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- Bf 109K-4, W.Nr. 332529, JG 52, Black 4, 1945
- Bf 109K-4, unknown, JG-52, no number, 1945
Note that the fuselage crosses are RLM 83 with white borders (box art) but the decals only provide the white borders. That is just as well depending on what color you use for RLM 83 on your model (there are still a variety of interpretations 'out there' among the paint companies) but you'll need to paint the background as shown in the instructions.
Hasegawa produced another masterpiece that is neither over-engineered nor over-priced. This will be a pleasurable build straight out of the box for most modelers and will also be a fun starting point for the AMS modeler as well.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!