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Matchbox 1/32 Bf109E-3 Resurrection


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Greetings all, this is my first post here. I'm afraid I've been off the modelling bench for almost 2 years now due to the unwelcome intrusion of work into my spare time, a situation I've decided needs to change! What has bumped me out of my modelling inertia is that a friend has given me an old kit to build which was left to him by a housemate way back when and has been sitting in storage for however many decades. The kit is the venerable old Matchbox 1/32 Bf109E-3 first produced in 1977. Here's the tattered old box I was given.




When I first opened it I was confronted with an array of partially built and painted sub-assemblies and parts. An audit of the parts indicated that, amazingly, everything seemed to be there.



The sprues came in several different colours and, interestingly, from my initial faffing around the different coloured plastics seem to have different properties. For example, the black pastic seems to be harder and more brittle than the rest. Don't know what Matchbox's logic was here...




The build instructions were covered in paint but still legible, however the painting and decalling instructions were missing. The decals look pretty old and not up to much and I don't really like any of the supplied schemes, so I'm going to go with another scheme anyway.



A piece of 40 year old history in my hand, from a simpler time...


I'll be back shortly with my thoughts on how I'll proceed with this build...

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This was my first 1/32 build.

A one day build, starting on a Saturday morning with 3 other family members, team build for sure and finished round 5 PM, when my 3 nephews went home. 

Those were the days...Late Seventies / Early Eighties.


Will follow along.


Robert Jan

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3 hours ago, crobinsonh said:

Welcome aboard - from all accounts a great kit


Indeed: and afaik the only source of Slovak markings for a 109E - unless, of course, you're into cutting your own masks.



Edited by MikeC
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Thanks for the warm welcome everybody and good to see people have fond memories of the kit! So, after some thought I decided I'd like to pay homage to this old kit by building a faithful representation with just a few touches to spruce the old girl up. Hopefully this is what the previous owners, who the model will eventually return to, will have wanted. What this means is ignoring my usual urge to fill it full of aftermarket and build it pretty much out of the box, warts and all. 


The scheme I have chosen is the mount of Uffz Karl Wolff of 3./JG 52 based in Calais during 1940. He crash landed Yellow 15 on August 30 1940 and was later shot down and bailed out over Sussex on 30 September 1940 in Yellow 14, becoming a prisoner for the remainder of WWII.







The only aftermarket I am going to allow myself is this Montex mask set for the scheme and some seat belts. I have used Montex masks several times before and find that painting markings, particularly at this scale, gives a superior result to decals. It allows full retention of surface detail and flexibility in colour tones and weathering effects. This set is for the Eduard kit but should be fine for the Matchbox.




Now, time to start actually doing something!

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So, the first place to start with resurrecting this old model is the front office. Detail is a bit sparse as you might expect for something this vintage, but not too bad for its time. Here's what was inside the box.




The previous owner has sprayed the sub-assembly a light grey which doesn't really bear any resemblance to RLM02, so it will need to be repainted. There's dirty great ejector pin marks in the middle of the bulkhead and the seat too and the slot in the seat where the harnesses emerge from their anchor point is just moulded. The ejector pin marks were sanded down and the slot drilled out.



The assembly was sprayed Gunze RLM02 and given an oil wash along with a little shading using oils. A few scratches were introduced with a needle, taking advantage of the previous owner's grey basecoat for contrast. 



I added some HGW fabric belts from a previous project and the joystick, which I fortunately found rattling around in the box. Some more wear and chipping was added using a pencil. The rudder pedals are horrendous but my commitment to building this kit in its original form means I have to embrace the warts (mantra, I think I'm going to be saying that a lot!).


Better than what we started with at least...

Edited by turbo
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I build this kit in the late seventies and was so happy with it because it was so much better detailed as the expensive Hasegawa kit wich I build before. It was out of box and I painted with Humbrol enemals and brush because had no airbrush. It`s a pleasure to visit your building and go back into the seventies :rolleyes: . So have a good time!


Greatings from Germany.



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8 hours ago, MARU5137 said:

This is a great choice for your first WIP.  one of MY favorites aircrafts.


Thanks guys and thanks Maru for the welcome - must admit I'm very partial to the 109s myself!


1 hour ago, Froschn said:

I build this kit in the late seventies and was so happy with it because it was so much better detailed as the expensive Hasegawa kit wich I build before. It was out of box and I painted with Humbrol enemals and brush because had no airbrush. It`s a pleasure to visit your building and go back into the seventies :rolleyes: . So have a good time!


Hi Herbert and welcome! Glad this kit brings back some memories. It is an old school time capsule sort of build for me and must say I'm enjoying it! B)


Getting back to the front office, the Matchbox kit IP has this weird arrangement of a panel face and bezels with solid plastic backing parts with thin protruding pins which stick into the bezels but leave large gaps. I figured I'd have my best chance of a passable result by painting the pins black with some random white marks on the ends to represent guage markings and then fill the bezel with drops of Krystal Klear to optically "flatten" them out. The IP face was painted, drybrushed, and knobs, switches, and placards painted.




Looks a bit messy as it was hard to paint markings on the pointed plastic pins.The assembly was put together and drops of Krystal Klear applied.

I think it's come out OK everything considered. I think it's an interesting exercise tackling these issues we're not really confronted with with modern models.



I found the Revi gunsight in the box. I'm amazed some of these small loose parts haven't been lost. I'll allow myself a small modification here and replaced the plastic reflector with a small section of acetate sheet.






Moving on, the pit sidewall detail as it is was given the same treatment of Gunze RLM02, oil wash, drybrush, and some chipping, Details were hand painted including the oxygen bottle holder and circuit breaker panel with knobs and placards. Never mind the ejector pin marks, they'll be hidden behind the IP. Promise.



Dry fitted the pit components and I must admit it looks better than I thought. This old kit was probably pretty good for its time. Just don't look at the rudder pedals.



Getting close to closing her up but just thinking of one more thing before I do...


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That’s hella nice man, love this old chestnut. I have two in the stash that I plan to build alongside an Eduard offering at some point. I will try to bring them up to a more modern standard. Please keep the updates coming!


THOR    :ph34r:

Edited by bdthoresen
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Thanks Thor! I have committed to building this model largely OOB to preserve its original form, so while I was faffing around with the pit I was having a philosophical debate with myself what to do about surface detail. In the end, I decided to add riveting as it does not alter the form of the model and is something I could have chosen to do back in '77 anyway while listening to Fleetwood Mac on the wireless and sipping on my Blue Hawaiian.


I used plans I found on the web and also close up shots of surface detail on the Eduard kit as a guide. I like to draw out the riveting pattern on the plastic with a pencil and flexible ruler and then rivet freehand rather than using tape or some such as a guide. My weapon of choice for 1/32 is the RB Productions Rivet-R Mini with the 1 mm wheel.




Here are the wings pre and post-riveting. It really does add something. I traced the circular pattern above the wheel well with an appropriately sized coin and riveted manually with the point of a scribing tool. Some people do circular patterns with the riveting wheel but I haven't quite worked up the confidence for that yet. Any tips welcome!




Here's all the riveting done. It takes quite a lot of time and patience but worth the effort I think :wacko:




I drilled out the horizontal stab actuation gap which looked pretty rubbish otherwise. After drilling I tidied up the gap with a hobby knife and a run of Tamiya Extra Thin.




While I had the drill set out I drilled out the barrels of the kit MG FF cannons. I use a pin to establish a guide hole then use progressively larger drill bits until an acceptable result is achieved. It's best to do it this way and take your time as it's easy to drill through the side of the barrel. 




Pretty much ready to button her up and get on with the build now...

Edited by turbo
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