Publisher: Quest Subject: Messerschmitt Me 109F-4 Trop Model Number: 005 Designer: Unknown Year Issued: 2002 Format: A4 My Source: Unknown My Cost: Unknown Scale: 1:33 Parts: Approximately 140 (not confirmed) Construction Style: Keel and former (converted to connecting strip) Upgrades: Gomix wheels Prototype: Aircraft flown by Lieutenant Hans Joachim Marseille of JG 27 in Africa circa 1941, credited with 158 kills, 151 over Africa. The publishing company Quest originally released this model in 2002, soon after starting business. The kit comes in an A4 sized booklet with 4 sheets--the front cover with instructions on the back; two pages of parts on cardstock; and the back cover with formers and spars on the back. The model uses the keel and former construction method, similar to that used on almost every card model ship. A central keel runs the length of the aircraft, with a cutout for the cockpit area. Formers attach perpendicular to the keel, fleshing out the shape of the aircraft. A spar on each side keeps the formers perfectly straight. The fuselage skins then wrap around the superstructure. This construction method makes it difficult to smoothly join adjacent panels, especially for novices. To create the tightest possible panel lines I discarded the keel and spars, added connecting strips inside one end of each fuselage segment, and used the formers for shape. The model was designed on a computer with perfectly straight lines and fairly good graphics. The graphics do not include fountain fills, beveled panels, or weathering. The markings look fairly accurate, but not perfectly so. The cockpit features a modest amount of detail. I started by adding the piece of canopy glazing just aft of the cockpit. Next, I added two small tabs, rising just above the edge of the fuselage, to the left and right of the cockpit. The canopy would later attach to these tabs. If you want to build the plane with the canopy open, do not add the tabs I just described. Continuing on, I assembled the cockpit tub, test fitted the completed assembly, and secured it within the fuselage. Carefully adjust the size of the instrument panel and bulkheads to make sure that the cockpit tub fits correctly. The small windows forward of the cockpit were added last. Proceeding forward, I assembled the nose of the plane, inserting the machinegun channels before closing up that fuselage segment. Moving aft, I built up the tail and rudder, using some pieces of the keel as required. I made sure to blank off the area inside the tail wheel. The wings build up as a single piece around an extremely robust superstructure, which I simplified. As designed, the outer panels go on first, followed by a central panel that wraps around and over the outer ones. This leaves a stairstep connection, common to models with tabs, so I recut the parts to butt against one another, joined with connecting strips. I attached the very basic wheel wells to the inside of the wing skin and then wrapping the whole thing around the superstructure and securing it. Before joining the wings to the fuselage, I test fit the assemblies and trimmed parts as required. I added numerous connecting strips inside the model so that the wing and fuselage would join smoothly. With that done I discovered the wing fairings did not fit perfectly--not surprising considering all the modifications made thus far. I cut and test fit the fairings repeatedly until everything looked acceptable, then glued them in place. This left a small gap between the front and back fairing on each side, so I covered each gap with a small piece of scrap card. The detail parts--prop, spinner, canopy, landing gear, radiators, air filter--all fit fairly well. The spinner did not close up completely at the very front, so I added some extra cardstock to cover the gap. I did not like the design of the exhaust pipes but built them as designed. I used very fine piano wire for the antenna. Keel and former models give many builders great difficulty, so I would not recommend this kit to a novice. However, an experienced modeler can achive good results with this kit. In 2005 Halinski released a much more detailed and finely weathered model of this specific aircraft with different rudder markings.