And the basic airframe was done:
Next, I took care of the smaller details. The supercharger air intake
was improved by adding weld beads, panel lines and rivets. In
retrospect, I think it is a tad too big, but I'll live with that...
rudder was also improved to depict the late war wooden style with three tabs, while the
horizontal stabilizers were cut and repositioned. They received new
trim tabs from plastic card. The QuickBoost spinner was devoid of any
rivets, so I added some. Be aware, though, that QuickBoost resin is
fairly soft, so do not use anything extremely sharp for this task:
The landing gear doors were sanded to a more in scale appearance, while the remaining landing gear parts are stock:
received a good coat of automotive grey primer, showing several
bad spots to rework. A trim tab actuator was added to the rudder. At
this point I found out that it would be impossible to install the
kit's exhaust stacks from the outside, so I opened the nose to allow
their installation later. I didn't liked the look of the stock
exhausts, and would replace them by left overs from an Academy Me-109G:
I said, the stock clear parts are very bad. The canopy is virtually
useless in my sample. After a hard time trying to find a usable
replacement that would fit, I gave up and ended resourcing to an old
thermoformed Falcon canopy. I hate to work with these acetate canopies,
and I'm afraid this is possibly one of the worst areas of my model.
Furthermore, they don't have the frames crisply molded, so one cannot
lay a piece of tape on it to retrieve the cutting lines for masking. A
trick which works fine many times is to use internet drawings of
commercial pre-cut masks. Using in any software, you can
print them in the correct size, it is just a matter of using a compass
to take a couple basic dimensions. Once printed, you can overlay
your favorite masking tape over it and cut your own masks.
Unfortunately this method does not work everytime, since the masks may
have been designed for a different kit (my case), but it is a good
starting point to adapt the masks for your model. At least it is a safe
method, since you are not running sharp blades over your canopy:
model was grossly pre-shaded with black paint. Gunze lacquer RLM 76 was
sprayed over the undersurfaces and fuselage. I hade already made my
mind about which version to depict, so the nose was painted yellow and
masked prior the RLM 76. As you can see, more faulty spots were
found... more sanding, more painting. Ahhhrgh! Good bye pre-shading...
Talking about camouflage, here is the version I've chosen:
bit of history about this particular bird: it is a Me-109G-10/U4
W.Nr.611048 from II./JG52, flown to Neubiberg to american hands on May
8, 1945. The pilot is unknown as far as I can say. The fuselage
received a hastily applied overpaint in several areas, suggesting it
served in another unit before. The G-10/U4 of this batch were produced
by WMF (Weiner Neustadt Flugzeugwerke GmbH), also known as DIANA, the
only factory which produced 109s in large quantities in Bohemia
(it started producing Gustavs in December 1944, and the G-10/U4
was the only sub-type produced there). The series W.Nr.611XXX were manufactured between February and April 1945.
interest is the fact that protectorate factories like DIANA commonly
employed slave labor, and were for the most part installed in tunnels,
so the manufacturing conditions were not the best, to say the least.
The Germans developed well known ramified manufacturing methods,
so much so that most sub-components were assembled and finished before
the final assembly. That resulted in characteristic camouflage patterns
for each factory. That is, each factory had its own footprint, allowing
experts to identify the manufacturer mostly by the camouflage style. To
know more about this fascinating subject, I cannot recommend enough
ref.. There you can find details about the typical camouflage
patterns followed by WMF, including hard and soft color transitions,
common markings styles, stenciling, fuel/engine specs, and other
details. On page 47, I found the only known photo of 611048:
note are the seven victory symbols on the rudder and the W.Nr. digit 6
below the Hakenkreuz. Many other details can be found in the above
mentioned book. Go read... I still have a lot of doubts about specific
details, though, but it was nice to see that my final decisions agreed
with other seasoned modelers (for instance, Mike Robertson report on Hyperscale, among others).
selected three underwing panels which were painted in Aluminum and
masked before airbrushng the RLM 76. They will remain in natural metal,
since this was relatively common during the final months of the war.
The only photo (see above) of the real thing do not show the
underside, therefore probably nobody will ever claim this is not
correct. That's one of the things I like in late war Luftwaffe
aircraft: unpainted panels, camouflage mismatches, improvised colors
and paint retouches. I think this adds a lot of interest to the model
and reflects the chaotic situation of the Luftwaffe near the end of the
that there is a consensus that these G-10/U4 were painted in 76/75/83.
I had to check my paint stash to decide which brand to use, and ended
up with a short article on the subject.
I used Gunze's Mr.Hobby lacquer paints for all colors, except for the
RLM 75, which came from their aqueous Hobby Color line:
was painted free hand using a Sotar 20/20 airbrush. I had to pay
attention to the characteristics of DIANA camouflage pattern, but at
some point I was following more the profile above than the photo
itself. This rendered some differences when comparing the model against
the photo, but you know how difficult is to camouflage a Luftwaffe
plane ipsis litteris when a photo is available.
Of course I had to use some artistic licence to guess what the starboard side would look like...
I assumed that most of the overpainted areas were in RLM 82, and used some RLM 74 too for tonal variations of the mottling.
The model received a good coat of clear gloss automotive lacquer in
preparation for the decals. All markings were scrounged from several
decal sheets, including the kit's sheet. The white 5 on the fuselage is not a perfect match, and it is a bit small, but I
couldn't find anything better. I preferred to live with it than try to make my own masks. The wartime photo shows that most stenciling was
overpainted, but I left a few of them, some partially overpainted, just
for fun. Everything was sealed with automotive clear gloss varnish:
The natural metal areas on the underside are now visible:
About this point of the project another interesting book came to my attention: Wołowski's
book (ref.), recently released by MMP Books. This fact added water
to my whiskey, as both refs. and  differ considerably in many important aspects. Here are their interpretations of W.Nr.611048:
After much thinking, my thoughts are the following:
photo below is an enlarged inset of the first photo. The werk nummer is
not clear to be considered so. The 5 on the fuselage is definitely not
white, and it seems to have some kind of symbol painted below the kill
markings. As for the yellow band, I cannot see enough hue variation to
conclude anything and, besides, the second 109 in the background
doesn't have it. But I agree that a yellow band makes a lot of
sense, considering the squadron in question. Another point is the tail
wheel, which seems to be
without its canvas boot or it is badly ripped.
states that this is an ex-II./JG 52. Considering the yellow band around
the cowling and the rudder, there may well be an overpainted yellow
band on the fuselage. I just found out that it is virtually impossible
to distinguish that from the B&W photo above.
- I do not agree with the RLM 74/75/76 camouflage statement in Ref., not for a Diana aircraft.
the kill markings on the rudder again, I agree it probably should be
red. Unfortunately, by then I had already applied those kill markings
and I'm not willing to change it now.
apparently missed by both refs. and  is the shade of the number 5
on the fuselage. It contrasts with the Balkenkreuz on the fuselage, and
I bet it was yellow, not white. I won't change that neither.
seems that there is a small W.Nr. stenciled on the fin, below the
Hakenkreuz, typical of most Me-109s. It may have scaped the paint
having been part of II./JG 52, the spinner of the aircraft probably had
a 1/3 painted in white, although not visible from the angle the photo
- Knowing JaPo books and the arguments they put in their texts, I still trust more on ref. than ref..
decided to paint the white third
on the spinner, but I was making far more concessions on this
model than I usually would accept. As I said, I'm no Luftwaffe expert
and it seems impossible to be conclusive about all these points. And of
course, it was too late to change the white 5 and the kill markings.
The tail wheel wouldn't be changed, neither, it was finished by then.
the finish seemed close, I started working on the display base. The
idea is simple: the White 5 on a tall grass field at Neubiberg, right
after falling in American hands. Besides the aircraft, I planned to add
some belly tanks scattered around, and a press guy filming an anonymous
flying officer. Therefore the name: "Under New Management"...
started working on the photographer figure. I don't remember where it
came from (I guess it is from Airfix RAF Control Tower kit), I borrowed
it from my friend Flávio Estrella.
It is a good figure, but the surface details are too shallow, and I'm
tired to paint figures without visible details... So I spent a good
time rescribing creases and folds, collar, sleeves, pockets and so on.
I used a scriber and a hard steel bristle brush to make new hair
texture, added belt features, and detailed the camera. After all this
work, I made a rubber mold to make a few copies of it. Here is the
followed the same steps for the flying officer. This one came from
Hasegawa's WWII Pilot Figure Set (item X72-8). It is not much better
than the photographer, but the surface details are more defined, and
therefore it was easier to deepen them using a new hobby knife and a
scriber. The right hand was changed for a more detailed one from my
spares box, and all sanding marks and residues were smoothed out with
liquid glue. I also prepared a rubber mold to copy it later:
The construction of the display base was actually very simple, and
I more or less followed the same steps of my other bases, except that
this time I used a tall grass from Noch. It provides a grass height
which would be impossible to achieve using static grass. I shot a
two-part video showing the main steps in the preparation of the base.
By speeding up the glue and paint drying time with a hair dryer, the
whole process took less than an hour:
Here are a few of photos showing the finished base:
the base almost done, I proceeded with the Me-109 weathering. After the
sealing the decals, I used dot filtering to produce color variations,
but the effect is barely visible in the photos. A wash with oils was
applied next, using progressively darker colors around the engine and
belly, as well as control surfaces. At this point I started to apply
stains and bleeds, concentrating the effect where is seemed more
logical. I used exclusively oils for that, since pastel chalks and
pigments would probably almost disappear, or at least this has been my
experience. After the final semi-gloss coat, I may come back and use
them on a few spots. The method I used is a well known one, and I shot
a movie showing the basic technique. Just remember that this was done
over a clear gloss coat, and I would not recommend to use the same
method over flat coats. Well, not for aircraft. Here is the video:
I waited a few days until the oils were completely dry, then I started applying the air-wash.
I used a mix of Tamiya XF-1 and XF-9, thinned with 95% of Tamiya X-20A
thinner. This was applied along selected panel lines, hatches, control
surfaces lines, and also as a base for the exhaust stains. In part,
this method helps to recover the pre-shading lost after so many
finishing steps, but it also blends the previous weathering steps.
Sometimes you may want to produce a fake panel line, showing off only
its shadow or dirty around it. Other times this is just a stain. In
1/72 scale, it is important to use a double action airbrush with a fine
nozzle. I used a Sotar 20/20, but in larger scales you can use other
airbrush/nozzle combinations. It is a matter of personal preference,
the important thing here is to be a double action airbrush (in order to
control where you start and finish the air-wash application), and use
an equipment able to deliver fine lines.
Here is a video showing part of the process:
Since the video cannot capture the effect in detail, I took some photos to give you a better idea of the air-wash outcome:
Here are a few areas where the effect was made purposely heavier:
differences before and after the weathering are dramatic. It may seem a
bit too heavy for the scale, but that's the way I wanted it, after all,
this was a surrended aircraft, and surely cleaning wasn't a high
priority during its last days of combat:
I also was taking care of the smaller details. The landing gear was
painted using usual Gustav colors, but I left the tail wheel yoke in
natural metal. The main wheel hubs were painted with semi-gloss black,
and placard decals from a Techmod sheet were applied on them. I rubbed
Tamiya weathering powders on the sides of the tires to make them dirty.
The landing gear covers were painted, washed, drybrushed and received
their share of scratches and dirt too. The same process was used on the
landing gear legs, plus the brake lines made of fuse wire. They were
bent to follow the legs and will be installed later on:
since I was at it, some addtional items were prepared to decorate the
vignette (I wasn't sure which of them to use, by then). Two models of
drop tanks were smashed with dental burr bits where it seemed more logical
and painted accordingly. I also finished a few leftover items,
like an oil tank, a wooden crate and a pallet. I would decite later
where they would go, if so:
applied a mix of semi-gloss and flat automotive lacquer to the whole
model in preparation for the final weathering. I used a few Prismacolor
pencils for that. Greys are my weapons of choice when I want to
simulate scratched paint - dark grey for lighter camouflage colors and
light grey for darker areas. This way they will be always visible. The
silver pencil is used on areas where I want to show heavy chipping,
down to the bare aluminum:
these photos were taken, disaster struck... When I removed the canopy
masking, I saw the pilot's armoured glass and the gunsight lenses
completely torn, and a lot of debris inside! Trying to understand what
happened, I recalled using white glue to fix these parts in place. The
many baths in water after each painting section probably softened the
glue and the parts moved... badly. After thinking what to do, I took a
long breath and started to score the canopy line with a sharp scalpel.
I reglued the damaged parts, retouched the paint, and glued the canopy
again. This time I made a better job in eliminating the seams along the
windscreen (I used Vallejo putty mixed with grey paint and cleaned with
a moistened cotton bud before it was dry), but definitely the gap along
the starboard hinge line is larger that my first attempt. I hate vacuum
formed canopies... Anyway, I guess it is passable. I had to chip the
paint again where I retouched the paint.
this point all smaller details were glued in place. I had some trouble
to make the landing gear doors and brake lines to stay in place while I
was glueing them. I guess I can't do 1/72 model as I used to...
aerial antenae was made of stretched sprue, while a gun muzzle
master was machined and copied in resin. Not perfect, but will do:
Anyhoo, I also glued the fuel tanks and scrap parts on the base, and of course I couldn't resist to test the scene:
finish it off, I still had to paint the figures... Oh, my old nemesis.
I did my best, let's see how they will look on the base later:
had to trim the grass in a couple of places to make the Gustav sit
properly (the model is not glued to the base). The figures were secured
in place through metal pins. Here are the final pics:
 A. Janda & T. Poruba: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10/U4 Production & Operational Service, JaPo Publishing, 2004.
 K.W. Wołowski: Bf-109 Late Versions - Camouflage & Markings, MMP Books, 2010.
Postscript: I have to acknowledge the support of modeler Nei Biazetto throughout several personal communications. Nei's expertise in Luftwaffe subjects never fails me. Thanks a lot dude!