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Zoukei Mura Bf109G-14 /U4 - UnBoxing


Thunnus
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Hey guys!  I thought I'd share some pics of the latest USPS delivery.  It is the newest release by Zoukei Mura... the 1/32 scale Bf 109G-14 /U4.  This is not a review but simply a tour of the box contents with some minor commentary from me.  I won't know anything definitive about how the model actually builds until I start building it and this one probably won't start for quite some time. 

 

The model was ordered from Sprue Brothers as soon as I found it was in-stock and ready for delivery. As usual, Sprue Brothers delivered it quickly and safely, double boxed with scrunched paper packing material.
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The first thing that I noticed when I opened the box was the color of the plastic: grey!  Which is a win-win for me.  My last experience with a Z-M kit was the Ta-152H-1, which was molded in black and metallic grey... both of which I hated working with.  Neutral grey is much easier on the eyes and I applaud Z-M for going back to the basics with this color choice.  Right at the top is an addendum correcting the instruction book... there should only be one each of Sprues E and F, not two!
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The small black container has a nice resin figure of the Blonde Knight, Erich Hartmann, cast by Master Box of Ukraine.  It's pretty cool to see this type of collaboration.
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I'm not a figure builder but the figure seems to be well done.
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The actual model is comprised of 10 grey and 2 clear plastic frets, each individually packaged in plastic bag.  This is probably a necessity with a kit like this due to the amount of very fine and easily breakable parts.
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Sprue A holds the fuselage parts.  Or at least the largest of the fuselage parts, which extends from the cockpit to the tail.  As you know, Z-M's schtick is to provide a significant amount of internal detail including bulkheads and spars, even though they will not be seen after assembly.  Model assembly is patterned after actual aircraft assembly and this can result in some sacrifices in ease of model construction.  So the major components, fuselage and wings, will cobbled together using a modular approach.
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Finish of the plastic is satin smooth and Z-M utilizes what I call the "Hasegawa" approach to external detail by providing finely recessed panel lines but leaving the rivets off.  I personally like this approach and gives modelers a choice by allowing those inclined to add something extra to the model if so desired.
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Molding looks nice and crisp.
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The older "short" rudder is provided on this fret but is not the only choice.  One of many options that is included in this kit, increasing the value and appeal of this release.
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More options:  The short tail wheel comes in booted and unbooted versions.
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Some interesting interior side detailing on the bigger Sprue A parts.
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Sprue seems to contain the wing parts although I don't see anything that resembles a standard one-piece wing bottom.  More of that modular approach it seems.  All control surfaces, such as flaps, ailerons and leading edge slats, are separate.
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Only the smaller kidney-bean wheel bulges are provided on this kit. Again, molding is nice and crisp and unusually smooth due to the lack of rivets.
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The interior side of the wing tops house some raised detail for the wheel wells.
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To be continued...

Edited by Thunnus
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Moving on to Sprue C...  which appears to hold the internal components of the wing structure.  This is where the Z-M kits really get interesting.  On one hand, the amount of detail, especially stuff that you've never encountered before in any other 109 build can be very interesting and even educational. But the whole tree falling in an unpopulated forest argument arises... what good is this detail if it is going to get covered up with the solid wing panels?  And no, I am not a fan of clear parts!!!  Being unfamiliar with the internal wing structure, most of these parts are a mystery to me, which I don't think this is a bad thing... IF the parts go together well and don't adversely affect the fit of the external panels.
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The four oblong holes signal the trough that accommodates the legs of the landing gear legs but I don't see an obvious attachment point for the landing gear.  Slightly nervous about that.
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There is no Sprue D... was this intentional so that Z-M could call this Sprue E for Engine?  Naturally, the kit includes a representation of the Daimler-Benz DB605 engine that powered the G-14.
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Subjectively, the molding on these parts seems to be sharper than what I remember on the Ta152H build.
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The amount of fine piping and tubing provided in molded plastic is staggering.  Getting through the engine build without snapping one or more of these parts is going to be a real challenge.
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The exhaust pipes are individually slide-molded, allowing the tips to be hollow.  And leave the molded seam in place... the real exhausts had a weld seam here.
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The tall late rudder style is included on Sprue F.
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The smooth style tire is unweighted and features a separate outer hub for easier painting.
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Both styles of rudders are devoid of any stitching detail but feature some very subtle undulations to mimic the fabric-covered surface.
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Ahhh... and it looks like a late model tall tail strut is provided.
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The majority of the cockpit components seem to be found on Sprue G.
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An exception are the engine mounting arms.
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The throttle quadrant features very delicate linkages and actuating rods.
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This looks like the starboard sidewall for the cockpit with the oxygen regulator.  The characteristic yellow fuel line is found the clear fret.
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Sprue G also equals "guns". This looks like one of the MG131 guns that were mounted on top of the engine. (Correction: I think this is actually an MG151 20mm cannon and not an MG131.  There is only one of these so I'm thinking it is an optional MG151 to be used in place of the MK108 that the U4 carried)
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To be continued...

Edited by Thunnus
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The prop and spinner are the major components found on Sprue H.
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The prop is one piece and features some nice hub detail.
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The spinner has a nice row of rivets around the mid panel line and the correct trapezoidal openings for the prop blades.
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The modular forward fuselage includes the narrow ring between the spinner and engine cowling and the bottom of the nose and chin intake.  The small air scoops are molded open which is a very nice touch.
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The landing gear legs look relatively simple with the oleo scissors molded in place.  The attachment end looks... "different"... more nervous ensues as I'm trying to guess how these will be attached and when.
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The brake lines, with the characteristic loop at the wheel end, are provided as very delicate-looking plastic parts.
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Sprue I looks like mostly parts pertaining the MK108 30mm motor cannon.
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Two styles of drop tank and an ETC rack are supplied on Sprue L.
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The band that terminates in an attachment pin is actually a strap so completists might want to modify this area.
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The final grey sprue (N) offers two versions of the gun cowling.  The pair of MG131 machine guns mounted on top of the engine are also on this sprue.
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Z-M offers two choices of instrument panels for the modeler.  One of them is on Sprue N and features molded details on the instrument faces.  I'm personally not a big fan of this approach since it's hard to align a decal precisely on these raised features and I also find it difficult to paint and finish realistically.
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There are two clear sprues supplied with the kit.  The bigger one, Sprue O, has the older two-piece canopy with the square frames and two styles of windscreen.
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Here's the yellow fuel line part that goes on the starboard side of the cockpit wall.
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The other option for the instrument panel is clear plastic version.
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Sprue P has the late style Erla Haube canopy in two styles.  I think that one is for retro-fitted G-6's and the other is for G models that had factory installed Erla Haube canopy.
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That's it for the parts tour!  I'll wrap it up with a look at the decals and instructions next.

Edited by Thunnus
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Regarding your comment in the second post about not seeing any attachment point on the wing inner structure for the undercarriage, having studied the instructions a couple of times, the U/C attaches to the fuselage structure just as in the real thing.

 

Also, having built a couple of Z-M's other more recent offerings that also feature such a wing structure, I have every confidence that it will all go together very well.  Provided that the parts are cleaned carefully when taken off the sprue and are test fitted first.  In saying that, I've found that no filing or any alteration of the parts are needed.  They fit.

 

I'm looking forward to starting this.  It may be my next project.

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

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Hello, great and most certainly informative review, thank you!

 

My kit was delivered 6 weeks ago, along with ZM's Heinkel He 219 and Mitsubishi Raiden, two great kits but I was actually amazed at the improvement this Bf 109 displayed : the mouldings are finer, the detailing has a better definition, I feel it is quite visible when comparing it to the Raiden which was certainly not a basic kit.

 

I have zero knowledge on the Bf 109 and bought this kit by chance from Replika Modellbau in Bern because it was available at a reasonnable price but I am probably going to make a start on it this week.

 

The detailing is so nice that I am absolutely not considering aftermarket sets.

 

Cheers,

 

Stefan

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4 minutes ago, Silver Seraph said:

Thunnus, my assembly guide mentions runners E & F to be provided 2x, I wouldn't know why as Bf 109s only need 1 engine and 1 rudder.

 

How many E & F runners did you get?

 

Cheers, Stefan

 

That's just a mistake in the instructions.

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Because I'm not a hard core Bf-109 guru, based on the kit parts ptovided, what variants of the 109 can you actually build out of the box? Looks like there are a few options (rudders/tails, cowlings, canopies, armament), but only one dedicated wing option (small wheel bulges). Surely someone here knows :-)

 

I wasn't sure I was going to get one, but now I'm convinced I will. Thanks for the lovely photos!

 

 - Dennis S.

    Mount Juliet, TN

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21 minutes ago, Dennis7423 said:

Because I'm not a hard core Bf-109 guru, based on the kit parts ptovided, what variants of the 109 can you actually build out of the box?

According to Mr Vincent Kermorgant (if I understood his post), these are the version you can build OOB :

 

- early production G6

- early-mid production G6

- late production G6

- G6/U4

- G6 MW50

- Tropical versions

- early production G14

- late production G14

 

Cheers, Stefan

Edited by Silver Seraph
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Wow.  That’s some fancy plastic.  I have so far stayed completely away from Luftwaffe subjects (since I know nothing about them and have a hard enough time keeping Japanese planes straight), but this is so impressive that I may have to take the plunge.

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11 hours ago, Dpgsbody55 said:

Regarding your comment in the second post about not seeing any attachment point on the wing inner structure for the undercarriage, having studied the instructions a couple of times, the U/C attaches to the fuselage structure just as in the real thing.

 

Also, having built a couple of Z-M's other more recent offerings that also feature such a wing structure, I have every confidence that it will all go together very well.  Provided that the parts are cleaned carefully when taken off the sprue and are test fitted first.  In saying that, I've found that no filing or any alteration of the parts are needed.  They fit.

 

I'm looking forward to starting this.  It may be my next project.

 

 

Cheers,

Michael

Hi Michael... obviously not a conclusive review of any sort... just my personal observations.  It looks to be a fantastic kit as evidenced by my photos of the beautiful parts.  My concern of the landing gear attachment stems from my experience with the Z-M Ta152H kit.  That kit also had a "just like the real thing" approach to the landing gear attachment.  It required a very forceful shove and turn insertion at a relatively weak section of the wing being the junction of multiple separate parts.  I was as careful as I could be but the force required to insert and correctly seat the part resulted in a number of cracked seams.

 

This is a different kit of course and I've since looked at the instructions as you've done.  I've still got some concerns as I'll share below.

 

 

5 hours ago, Troy Molitor said:

My kit arrived a couple weeks back.  I can't wait to return to the states to look at this kit in person.  I'm hoping to see someone dive into their kit soon.  

The box is big and deep so diving in is an appropriate term!

 

 

4 hours ago, Silver Seraph said:

Hello, great and most certainly informative review, thank you!

 

My kit was delivered 6 weeks ago, along with ZM's Heinkel He 219 and Mitsubishi Raiden, two great kits but I was actually amazed at the improvement this Bf 109 displayed : the mouldings are finer, the detailing has a better definition, I feel it is quite visible when comparing it to the Raiden which was certainly not a basic kit.

 

I have zero knowledge on the Bf 109 and bought this kit by chance from Replika Modellbau in Bern because it was available at a reasonnable price but I am probably going to make a start on it this week.

 

The detailing is so nice that I am absolutely not considering aftermarket sets.

 

Cheers,

 

Stefan

Thank you!  It's great to hear that Z-M's molding quality is getting better with each release.  I got that sense too but couldn't be sure as I've only one other kit to compare to (Ta152H-1).  It's also interesting to see Z-M's approach of providing all of the fine parts in molded plastic while other companies have incorporated resin in their releases.

 

 

4 hours ago, Silver Seraph said:

Thunnus, my assembly guide mentions runners E & F to be provided 2x, I wouldn't know why as Bf 109s only need 1 engine and 1 rudder.

 

How many E & F runners did you get?

 

Cheers, Stefan

Only one each of Sprues E and F.  There is an addendum sheet packed with the kit that explains this mistake in the instruction book that I should've highlighted.

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4 hours ago, Kagemusha said:

 

That's just a mistake in the instructions.

Yes, I'll edit my post to point out the visible addendum.

 

 

3 hours ago, Daywalker said:

Thank you for the detailed photos, I was holding off on this kit but now I think I must get myself one, or two, or three...

 

I thank you, but my wallet doesn't LOL.

You're welcome!  I thought it might be useful to share decent photos of this kit now that it is widely available.

 

 

2 hours ago, Troy Babbitts said:

Thank you, John, for your time and effort with this unboxing. It was a fine treat sitting here on a day off, drinking my morning cup of sanity and reading your review. Always have been a ZM fan and this looks like another fine kit.

Thanks again. 

It looks like a great kit!

 

 

1 hour ago, Dennis7423 said:

Because I'm not a hard core Bf-109 guru, based on the kit parts ptovided, what variants of the 109 can you actually build out of the box? Looks like there are a few options (rudders/tails, cowlings, canopies, armament), but only one dedicated wing option (small wheel bulges). Surely someone here knows :-)

 

I wasn't sure I was going to get one, but now I'm convinced I will. Thanks for the lovely photos!

 

 - Dennis S.

    Mount Juliet, TN

See below!

 

 

1 hour ago, Silver Seraph said:

According to Mr Vincent Kermorgant (if I understood his post), these are the version you can build OOB :

 

- early production G6

- early-mid production G6

- late production G6

- G6/U4

- G6 MW50

- Tropical versions

- early production G14

- late production G14

 

Cheers, Stefan

I think the possibility of a G-6 built from the included parts increases the value and desirability of this kit regardless of future releases.

 

 

 

59 minutes ago, D.B. Andrus said:

I'm very impressed with this 109. Wow.

 

Thanks for the excellent photos, John.

 

Cheers,

Damian

You're welcome Damian!

 

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