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Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: Revell
Ref No: 04857
Material: IM
UK Distributor: Revell GmbH (UK Branch)
UK Price: £17.99

Kit Review
This kit originates from Monogram in their Pro-Modeler range back in 1997, although it was also issued in the standard Revell range at the same time. The only thing to note about this edition is that the crew figures included in the original releases have been removed, and there is a separate piece of paper in the box mentioning this, with the parts crossed-out on the parts diagram.
Well 18 years have passed and this kit is not bad, although there is flash on some of the parts that has to be removed. The interior detail is good and you have the option of the upwards firing cannon in the rear if you want. Oddly neither colour option is shown with this and you can't see from the box art if they apply either, so a bit of clarification would have been nice. I opted not to install the system, just going with the standard hand-held MG81Z instead. You really need belts for the pilot's seat, so I used those from the new Eduard 'Super Fabric' range for Luftwaffe fighters. The bench seat in the rear only needs lap straps, so you could use those elements from the Eduard set, but I just made up some basic belts from tape etc., as you can't really see them if you don't have the rear canopy section open. The engine nacelles are one of the weak points of this kit, they are dubious in overall shape and they don't fit well. In this instance they needed a lot of work and that destroys the engraved panel lines, which, because of their complex nature, are difficult to reinstate. When the kit was released Cutting Edge did a resin correction set for this, now 18 years later we face the same problem, but the correction set is long out of production. Maybe someone will do one, but I doubt, as most now prefer the newer Eduard G-4 kit. The front edge seam on the tailplane is not good either, so this needs a little sanding, then the gap was levelled with Mr Surfacer 500. When you do the undercarriage, omit part 58 from each, this part was erroneously produced by the tool-makers originally when they looked at the preserved example in the RAF Museum, Hendon. This part depicts the undercarriage lock that was made by the museum to reduce the risk of the u/c collapsing when the aircraft was towed about; it is in fact two lengths of L-section angle iron! I built up, but left off until after paint etc., the canopy, undercarriage, exhausts, radar antenna, drop tanks, mass balance weights, altimeter 'T' antenna, propellers, tailwheel, ventral rack, radio masts, access ladder and IFF rod antenna as these will all just get knocked off otherwise. The wing tips are separate, the parts had quite a bit of flash and the fit was not the best, so I had to spend a bit of time trying to get these to fit (some filler is required). Leave the tip lights off until the very end. I also cut off the pitot, as it's a bit 'flat' in cross-section, drilled a new hole and fashioned a new pitot from Albion Alloys interlocking aluminium tubing   
The kit comes with two schemes.
• D5+BS, 8./NJG3, Skrydstrup, Denmark, June 1944
• 3C+DK, 2./NJG 4, Langendiebach, Germany, February 1945
Both options have the same basic RLM 74/75 over 76 scheme, option 1 has the fuselage in a mottle of RLM 74 over the base 76, whilst option 2 has a solid splinter application of RLM 74/75 along the dorsal spine and slightly down each fuselage side (no mottling)
I went for Option 1, it had a sharks-mouth, so there was no contest. All the colours came from the Gunze-Sangyo Mr Aqueous Color range and they were post-shaded with slightly darkened versions of each colour. The mottling was actually done with Xtracolor enamel, simply because I find that a lot easier to use for mottling. Everything was left for a few days to dry (enamels take at least 72 hours to harden, even when you use cellulose thinners), then the model was sealed with Johnson's Klear (if you do this too soon, the Klear with 'pull apart' the slightly soft enamel, causing the 'crazy paving' we all dread). Once this had dried overnight, the decals went on. I did remove some of the carrier between the codes, but otherwise with a little Mr Mark Setter, they settled down very well indeed, even the tiny stencils. If you get a gap in the two halves of the sharks-mouth on the nose, Valllejo Model Air Scarlett matches nicely. Being a Germany company, Revell do not include swastikas, not even split ones, so these came from an Xtradecal sheet. With all the markings on and dried, the whole model gets another coat of Johnson's Klear and another 24 hours to dry. With everything set a Dark Wash from MIG Productions was applied to all the recessed detail, then the excess removed after about 30 minutes. The whole model could then be sealed with a coat of Xtracrylix matt varnish.
Final Assembly
Masking up the canopy is a bind, the 'greenhouse' of the type is tedious but with Aizu 0.4mm micro masking tape for the edges and Vallejo masking fluid to fill the rest, it only took about 30 minutes of so; it just seems longer. This was then sprayed RLM 66, followed by 76 and a bit of mottling with RLM 74 to match the rest of the airframe. You have to do the windscreen and side/front panels at the same time and I found that the framing on the former was lacking along the lower starboard edge (I also think the armoured frame on the windscreen is too pronounced and heavy). The exhaust stacks build up quite nicely, so these were sprayed Alclad 2 White Aluminium, then a very weak mix of XF-64 and black, followed by detail painting around all the raised edges etc. with a suitable contrasting brown shade. I would also recommend drilling the outlets of each pipe to start with, because as moulded they are solid. The spinners were done blue (XF-4 I think) and the propellers had the hubs in White Aluminium and the blades in RLM 70. The tailwheel assembly is moulded with the fuselage half and amazingly I did not damage it during the build thus far, so this was painted RLM 02, then the canvas gaiter was painted with a suitable tan colour, followed by a little Dark Wash applied to give depth to the curves (this can be done straight over the paint, as you just want it to sit in the hollows, there is no need to wipe any excess off).
I had from the very start decided that the radar array was going to need extra attention, because the mounting lugs on the parts are pathetic. With this in mind the parts were taken from the sprues and then marked with their part numbers (masking tape wrapped around them will do for this), simply so you can keep tab on what is what. The moulded lugs were removed and a micro drill bit was used to carefully (by hand) make holes in the end of each antler arm. Lengths of strong thin steel wire was then cut to length and superglued in place. I also drilled corresponding holes in the nose of the aircraft. The antlers were now painted RLM 76, with the bottom two having the lower sections of the antenna painted white/red/white as per the instructions. The whole lot was only added right at the end and I recommend you do the upper and lower sets separately, so that one can dry before you attempt to position the other (you will just knock them about or off otherwise). The aerial mast was drilled at the top and an attachment loop made from fine wire. Uschi van den Rosten fine rigging material could then be attached to one endplate, run through the loop and attached to the other endplate. I also superglued a piece to the dorsal spine, then tied it off on the aerial lead itself to make the wire that went into the aft fuselage. The final task was to apply some earth coloured pigments to the wheels and seal it in with Pigment Fixer from the MIG Productions range.
I have meant to build one of these for years, so that was why I did this reissued one now, or I would never have done it. Overall it is not a bad kit, nowhere near as complex as the Eduard one, and sadly not as accurate either, but once built it does look good. I am happy with the end result and if you are just building for enjoyment, then this is an inexpensive way of adding the G-4 to the collection. Now I must go and do an Eduard one by way of comparison!
Highly recommended to all Luftwaffe modellers, regardless of experience.
Paints used;
Alclad 2
Jet Exhaust
White Aluminium
Gunze-Sangyo Mr Aqueous Hobby Color
H65 RLM 70 Black Green
H68 RLM 74 Dark Grey
H69 RLM 75 Mid-grey
H70 RLM 02 Grey
H417 RLM 76 Light Blue
H423 RLM 83 Dark Green
Tamiya Color
X-1 Black
X-2 White
X-25 Clear Green
X-27 Clear Red
XF-64 Red-Brown
Matt Varnish
MIG Productions
Dark Wash