Me 108 “Taifun”
The Messerschmitt Me 108 recently gained interest again after the sortie of a new kit in 1/48 by Eduard. Perhaps this was the reason also to release a detail set in 1/72 for the (only?) existing model of this aircraft by Heller although this being an old kit.
As we have said, it is an old kit. There is no photo-etching (PE), the interior is rather Spartan, there is no wheel well detail, raised panel lines and thick clear plastic in the cockpit. The Eduard set helps in solving these shortcomings.
But the Heller kit is a reasonable kit and can pass concurrence with many, newer and more recent, kits of other manufacturers.
First thing to do is to work as much as possible with the PE set.
First, we assemble the dashboard with no less than 7 parts and a piece of celluloid with the bezels. Next we have six side panels that need detailing with, among others, the flap trim wheels. The seats receive seat belts and there is a new panel in the back of the cockpit.
The most nerve racking job is the assembly of the new cockpit doors and glazing. The Me 108 had very big, front opening doors.
Eduard proposes to bend these doors to the overall cockpit shape and then to add the celluloid glazing. The only glue you can use is superglue.
But…the celluloid refuses to adjust itself and always returns to its basic flat shape which results in a bend window frame and straight celluloid. Gluing the frame to the celluloid when still flat is the only possible thing to do.
The cockpit needs some minor adjustments in order to have a perfect fit and also receives a beautiful dashboard, pedals and steering column need to be scratch built.
The body of the aircraft receives a small PE part behind the left part of the cockpit where a hatch was located. The kit provided this in the form of a thicker piece on the body half and this needs to be sanded away before fitting the PE.
A lot of attention needs to be given to the landing gear and wheel wells. Eduard provides parts for these wells that need to be bend and curved.
This was the occasion to use a new device for the first time, an Etch Mate, and this proved to be very useful in the bending and curving role. I had some problems in finding the right positioning of the wheel wells regarding the lines in the wheels but in the end it became apparent that those lines ran from front to back.
The landing gear doors of the kit were replaced by those in PE because of their thickness. I also added a small oil line from a piece of wire.
A very difficult part is the adaptation of the rear wheel because the kit part needs to be cut in several pieces and than to be glued together again using some kit parts and some PE parts. This rear wheel took several hours constructing but the end result is impressive.
Construction of the wing to the body and cockpit gave no major problems but some filler and sanding was needed. The tail planes were also mounted without problems but I needed to replace both struts under these tail planes by metal wires because the kit part broke.
According the article published in Replic, something was wrong regarding the underside of the engine compartment. I also found 2 pictures of the real aircraft in one of the Kookabura books and the following occurred: Heller provides one air intake at the underside of the engine but there must be 2 intakes. There also needs to be 2 exhausts but none are provided.
So, I constructed 2 intakes and 2 exhausts from Evergreen tubing and added them where needed.
The cockpit received a dark grey colour, seats and side panels got leather. A wash with Raw Umber gave depth to the seats.
Once the model looked good enough, I sprayed a cote of Graupner primer over it. After some sanding with water abrasive paper and the repair of some minor faults, some pre-shading was added on the seems. This was followed with a cote of sand for which I tried to follow the instructions as given in Replic. Finally the sand received some green mottle camouflage.
To make a long story short: I have not been able to match the PE cockpit and its glazing to the aircraft in a decent way. All my efforts were in vain. I think that Eduard took his PE in 1/48 and simply reworked it to 1/72. The idea was good and it is a beautiful PE fret but it simply did not fit to the Heller model in my possession.
As result of this, I had to fall back to the reasonably good cockpit provided in the kit. The windows were taped with Tamiya tape and the rest was sprayed with a coat of sand.
Falling back on these parts meant that the doors could not be positioned open and also meant to omitting of several PE parts. Eduard provides amongst others a rear view mirror and door handles but those went to the spares box.
I did add the two bar grips just behind the cockpit.
Heller brings two decal options: a German aircraft stationed in Sicily and a Bulgarian machine. I gave the aircraft a coat of Klir (the Belgian equivalent of Future floor polish) followed by a coat of gloss varnish on those places where the decals had to be positioned.
I chose the German version and the decals as provided in the kit were still good. There was just a little problem with a decal on the nose that did not want to fit with Humbrol decal cote 1 and 2 and even not with Daco decal setting. The decal simply refused to settle.
To solve this problem, I simply glued the decal in place using Klir (Future) and it worked out well. All decals were finally sealed with a cote of Klir (Future).
An old but, regarding its age, a good kit. A bit of patience and a bit of scratch can result in a nice aircraft but the Eduard PE set gives a result that should be 100% better than the original kit.
Unfortunately, nevertheless the many hours spend trying to fix the cockpit in place, I did not succeed in the adjusting of this cockpit as provided in the Eduard kit.
But do not be discouraged by this, just try it, and perhaps you will get a good result.
My model will not be seen on events but it is not lost and it will receive its place on my airfield.
Keep ‘m building.