by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
While Hasegawa's venerable quarterscale Messerschmitt Bf 109F has been toppled from its perch in the accuracy stakes by more recent kits (most notably the superb Zvezda offering), it remains hugely popular - thanks in no small measure to its sheer "buildability". Basically a simple kit, it's easy to construct and looks great when completed, so it's no surprise that it still regularly sells out when re-released in the UK in a variety of versions.
But, attractive as the Hasegawa Bf 109F kit is, there's no denying that its cockpit is rather sparse (especially when compared to some of the company's later quarterscale WW2 fighter kits), so the latest upgrade set from S.B.S Model is very welcome indeed - a superdetailed "office" designed specifically for Hasegawa's "Friedrich".
Packed in one of S.B.S's distinctive boxes, the set comprises:
10 x grey resin parts
1 x clear resin part
27 x etched brass parts, plus a clear printed film
The level of detail on the resin parts is quite superb, and the casting is essentially perfect in the review sample, with not a bubble or other blemish in sight.
The new set looks to be quite straightforward to install as, thanks to the Hasegawa kit having separate cockpit sidewalls, there's no tedious sanding and thinning required to accept the new resin parts - in fact, the only modification needed is to trim away the existing cockpit sills and the area immediately behind the seat ready for the S.B.S Model one-piece floor/rear bulkhead.
Onto these foundations attach a wealth of smaller resin and etched details, with delicate side consoles, switches and levers, trim wheels and chain-links, rudder pedals with straps, and a crisply cast control column.
The canon breech cover is well detailed, and a nice touch is the inclusion of the prominent fuel pipe on the starboard sidewall as a clear casting to depict the clear section of the original that allowed the pilot to check that fuel was flowing correctly.
The pilot's seat is the later simplified "bucket" type, and is cast beautifully thin as part of the floor/bulkhead. Added to this is an intricate 10-part harness with shoulder straps that attach with tiny locking pins so that they can be slung out of the way as so often seen in shots of the real aircraft.
The main instrument panel is a multi-part affair, with a resin base for sandwiched etched and film layers for the fascias and instrument faces. The bomb-fusing panel is a separate casting, and topping everything off is a beautifully detailed Revi gunsight with film reflectors.
Finally, there's a new armoured headrest made up of two pieces of etched brass, plus a resin pad.
The instructions are very well drawn, with clear illustrations and English notes. Construction is broken down into 12 simple stages. Perhaps surprisingly, no painting notes are provided, but that's hardly a problem as references for the Bf 109F's "office" are readily available.
ConclusionThis is a superb set from S.B.S Model that instantly takes to cockpit of the Hasegawa "Friedrich" to an entirely new level. For anyone tempted to try to fit the parts into the superior Zvezda kit, hold your horses - S.B.S Model are planning a similarly detailed upgrade specifically for that model, doing away with the need for tricky surgery. Highly recommended.
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