Airfix A68205 Messerschmitt Bf109E-3

My first ever German fighter aircraft and the first model I have blogged about on this site. A present from my wife. The kit handily includes a paintbrush, small tube of glue and small pots of the necessary paint all included. Having looked online many of the kits now do this. A positive move I think for people to try out building a model.

The Box

The box displays an illustrated dog fight on the front, Skill Rating on the side and painting / decal guide on the back.

One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Airfix kits are the clear painting guides and paints required.

In the Box

All contents present. Unfortunately the black paint had dried to a tar like residue but with a few drops of water from the tap it was made good. One clear change from when I was a child is a switch to acrylic water based paints from enamel paints.

The detailing on the model is really good and the plastic parts have almost no flash which is unusual.

Painting Begins

Having studied the Assembly and painting guides (a little confusing given some of the painting guide is part of the assembly instructions and some are part of the packaging), I decided to paint all the black parts first (33) followed by the green components (31). These are the small pieces or hard to reach areas. As I’d had to add water to my black paint some pieces needed two coats but the result was good.

If you do the same you’ll need to make two decisions, first whether your completed model will include the pilot, and second whether the landing gear will be deployed or not. I went with landing gear down and pilot in the cockpit.

Note: I didn’t use the paintbrush included in the kit. I used one of the brushes from my basic toolkit that had a finer nib

By this point I’d painted all the parts indicated in the paper build instructions (not the ones on the back of the box). I was undecided whether to start assembly now or paint the remaining parts (wings, body, rudder, etc). In the end I decided to paint everything on the frame. 

You can see that the paint shades don’t actually look anything like the illustration on the back of the box. You can also see that for some parts I chose to paint the camouflage. I chose to do this because I thought it would be easier then after assembly. Time will tell if this is the case!

Once the plane is assembled the cockpit will be sealed (or if you choose to have the “cockpit open” option, then extremely hard to get to). So I applied the instruments and dials decal once painting was complete.

I cut out the two decals I needed.

Then added them to water. On this case I added a bit of water to a saucer and submerged.

Then finally transferred the decal from the backing card to the instrument panel using my craft knife.

Assembly

At last, the fun bit!

My preference is to use a craft knife to cut the pieces from the frame, only cutting what I need for each step as I come to it.

First on the list is the nose cone. The design allows a free moving propeller however, I decided to fix with glue.

You can see where the pieces were attached to the frame (no paint). I used a file to remove excess flash and plastic from the spar.

Next stop was the cockpit. This was tricky and I’m glad I applied the decals while on the frame. It was easiest to glue the pilot in last.

Now propeller and cockpit meet fuselage. The top of the instruments board doesn’t fit well, but other than that it was an easy part of the assembly. At this point I also did some touching up with the paint.

Then assembled the engine cowling, exhaust, tail-wings and rudder. Unfortunately one of the support struts for the rear wings had snapped on the frame so I decided not to add them to the model.

While they were glueing I assembled the wings which fit exceptionally well without needing any trimming.. I used some garden pegs as clamps to ensure a secure bind.

Once the glue had set I installed the wings on the fuselage. Again a very snug fit.

Now for the landing gear. I decided on landing gear down. I installed the landing struts and flaps, let the glue set, then glued in the wheels and covers.

Final Touch Ups and Camouflage

Finally I completed the camouflage painting and installed the cockpit canopy. The canopy was a little disappointing as the glass behind the pilot doesn’t fit well.

Decals

I always had difficulty with applying decals when I was a nipper. My toolkit this time was a small container with water, a pair of tweezers, and some kitchen role.

I cut out each decal, then held them in the water for a minute or until they were suitably loose. Removed the decal from the water (while still on the backing paper), blotted away the excess water then used my craft knife to gently tease the decal onto the model in the right place.

It was fairly straight forward and took me about 45 minutes to complete them all.

Final Thoughts

A great model with fantastic factory quality. A little fiddly in areas for small fingers, but overall a pleasing result.

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