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Build Log - 1:48, Airfix, A50160, Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7 & Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb


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Airfix A50160 Build Log 00 - (600 x 420).jpg

Summary

  • Description and Catalogue Number: Airfix,  Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7 and Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb, (Dogfight Doubles), A50160
  • Scale: 1:48
  • Contents: Bf 109E-7 - Two sprues, 98 parts in light grey plastic; one sprue, nine parts in clear plastic; markings for one aircraft. Spitfire Mk.Vb - Five sprues, 120 parts in light grey plastic; one sprue, 17 parts in clear plastic; markings for one aircraft.
  • Comments: Reasonable detail and simple to build. Kit comes with 10 small tubs of Humbrol acrylic paints, two small tubes of Humbrol Poly Cement, and two paint brushes. Various build options, not all parts are used, and some parts are obviously common across other kits. Bf 109E-7 appears to be the same model from the single aircraft kits A05120, A05120A, A05120B, A05122, and A05122A. Spitfire Mk.Vb appears to be the same model from the single aircraft kits A05125 and A05125A.

Introduction

Airfix have had a fluctuating reputation over the years for the overall detail and quality of their model kits. It being many years since I last touched an Airfix kit, I was somewhat looking forward to what these two aircraft models were going to reveal in terms of detail and quality. I decided early on that these two aircraft would be basic, "out of the box" builds with only minor modifications, if I so desired, and maybe the application of some basic weathering techniques during the final stages. Either way, one thing I was sure about was the builds were going to be typically Airfix simple. Let's be fair though, many a young and old new modeller alike have cut their modelling teeth on what has been the beginners "go to" brand of choice since the 1950s/1960s - though this has probably changed with the large expansion of model kit manufacturers.

The Build - Spitfire Mk.Vb

I chose to start with the Spitfire Mk.Vb as it appeared to have more detail than the Bf 109E-7 and was the more recent of the single aircraft kits. A review of the build instructions confirmed the expected simple build and with minor build options. A review of the build instructions for the aforementioned single aircraft Spitfire Mk.Vb kits (I was able to access them on the Scalemates scale modelling database web site) revealed that the cockpit paint schema had been simplified, obviously to reduce the number of supplied paints. This wasn't an issue as I had already begun to research the cockpit on the internet with the intention of making enhancements to the painting schema. The detail and quality of the parts looked good and the sprues looked clean.

Airfix A50160 Build Log 1 - (400 x 269).jpg  Airfix A50160 Build Log 2 - (400 x 269).jpg

As usual, the build starts with the cockpit interior, which is built as a series of sub assemblies inside an inner shell. The detail and quality is quite good but oh the agony of the detail I force upon myself in ensuring parts are clean and prepared to the level of my satisfaction. Then, just when I thought I was satisfied, I would see something days later and do more and know I could still do more. :faint: The cockpit build is at final sub assembly stage, notwithstanding the application of the instrument panel decal - can't ever remember having them back in the 1970s, final fit testing/adjustment, and minor touch-up painting. Note the flight controls sub assembly and the rudder pedals where the gap between the two foot blocks was enclosed at the rear but has been drilled and filed out on each rudder pedal to better represent what they are really like. I'd forgotten how slow the cockpit build stage progresses, exacerbated by my level of attention to detail and satisfaction. This stage was also my first foray into airbrushing and I continue to learn with every session.

Airfix A50160 Build Log 3 - (400 x 269).jpg  Airfix A50160 Build Log 4 - (400 x 269).jpg

The final assembly of the cockpit led to quick progress on the preparation and assembly of the wings and fuselage. The model was starting to take shape and I was satisfied with the results thus far. The final part in the assembly of the main fuselage, a single piece incorporating the forward fuel tank cowl and forward sides and front of the cockpit, was a poor fit, as can be seen from the application of plastic putty to fill the gap. You will also note the cutaway section for the side door as I intend to display the model with the canopy and door in the open position.

Airfix A50160 Build Log 5 - (400 x 310).jpg  Airfix A50160 Build Log 6 - (400 x 310).jpg

Airfix A50160 Build Log 7 - (400 x 310).jpg  Airfix A50160 Build Log 08 - (400 x 310).jpg

I always have multiple projects in progress at once and modelling is no different - it was time to start on the Bf 109E-7. My logic with having multiple builds in progress in modelling is that it is easier to batch the airbrushing of the large external surface areas of the models at the same time. It also covers periods of downtime on a model whilst waiting for glue/paint to dry and also adds some variety which counters getting bogged down on one model.

The Build - Bf 109E-7

On reviewing the build instructions for the Bf 109E-7, it confirmed a similar simple build process as the Spitfire, again with minor build options and a simplified paint schema. I had already done my research and downloaded a copy of build instructions for the single aircraft kits which have a more comprehensive paint schema. Sprue and parts quality was similarly good. Starting with the ubiquitous cockpit build, this was a lot simpler than the Spitfire, using a method commonly seen in smaller 1:72 scale models. Progress was a lot quicker than the Spitfire, not only for the simpler build but also because I had started to reacquire the routine and rhythm for modelling that I had lost over the years.

Airfix A50160 Build Log 09 - (400 x 310).jpg  Airfix A50160 Build Log 10 - (400 x 310).jpg

To be continued.....

Cheers
Andrew

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The ultimate Spitfire kit has to be the Mk26B 90% scale. Not exactly cheap, and they take a while to build (but you get very good at riveting!). We have two at Enstone, one flying, the other not far off. Plus a 100% scale Mk9 cockpit running X-Plane 11 . . .

They come in a VERY big box (actually, several)!

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