We’re back from Texas, hard at work on upcoming projects. As I mentioned in the last editorial, one of the purposes of our trip, in addition to our usual participation at the IPMS USA National convention, was to have a good, close up look at several P-40 examples. That’s one of the things we’re working on at the moment, and my personal goal is to finish the project early next year and then get the first kits in boxes as soon as possible. Mission successful; we documented two examples, a P-40N in Dallas and a P-40K in Mount Pleasant. I’m especially happy about the P-40K, it’s a beautiful machine, as is everything on display at the Mid America Air Museum. Plus, the P-40K isn’t often seen in museums, so it was worth the trip. We are still waiting for access to the P-40F, on which we need to confirm the nose shapes. Due to the use of a different engine, it is suspected that there are differences in the cowl shapes, after all, it is common knowledge that there is a different fairing. We have P-40Fs here in Europe, so we won’t be that far from one of those, and it won’t be as hellishly hot as it was in Texas this summer. Truth be told, scanning an aircraft in 42°C heat is a physically demanding feat and not something we want to do again this too soon!
But before that happens, we have E-day to look forward to. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in three weeks, on September 22 and 23, 2023, we will meet in Milovice. E-day will take place according to the established format. Setup will begin on Friday morning, we will open for exhibiting modelers in the afternoon, and the first two seminars will take place in the evening. There will be interesting guests in the discussions. For example, we will talk about the history of Kovozávody Prostějov with Slávek Goldemund and the pilot of one of our best known Su-25Ks, the legendary “Frog” Frogfoot, Colonel František Tabačko, has promised to participate, while his colleague Mr. Seidl has not yet confirmed his participation. Another discussion will be devoted to the introduction of new helicopters into the equipment of the Air Force of the Czech Republic. On Saturday, there will be several workshops and, of course, the traditional Pot Q & A, which will get a new look this year – I and Fredy Riedel from Special Hobby will be at the mike at the same time. We tried this recently at Prosek resulting in no fights and it went well, so we will extend this experience to E-day as well. An in-depth discussion of our plans for the foreseeable future and flight demonstrations are also traditional. This year, the Kuňkadlo, the Z-526 Trenér and, as the highlight of the event, the L-39C Albatros are planned. Contest registration opens early next week, as do club show entries.
New building blocks are absolutely essential for the progress of E-day. This year, again, a lineup of new releases has been created taking into account the Czech and Slovak markets. It centers around two Limited Edition kits, the 48th scale Hráb, aka the Su-25K with a publication by Martin Janoušek, and the 72nd scale L-39C Albatros. This is not a new model, but rather a rejuvenated item of the old kit after some mold repairs, supplemented by a newly designed canopy. The latter will be in two versions, closed and open, and I firmly believe that its shapes will satisfy not only critical Czech modelers, who were rightly dissatisfied with the original canopy due to its flatness. But please understand that I would rather hear the praises that the kit still deserves instead of how badly we need a new-tooled, modern standard kit of the type. Although this is increasingly true, the time is not quite right yet. Jumping back to the Su-25K kit, I would like to point out that the entire run of this kit will be released with the publication. After a thorough consideration of all the pros and cons, we abandoned the option of a release without it.
In addition to these two Limited Edition items, the 48th scale Profipack Z-526 and 72nd Weekend Avie S-199 with a bubble rear-sliding canopy will also be premiering at E-day. The only non-Czech item will be the Weekend F4F-3 Wildcat. There will also be a re-release of the F6F-5 Hellcat as a Weekend Edition kit, and the MiG-21PFM in 1:48th will be back on sale at the end of September in the original orange box. We will also have a replenished range of Gunze paints and other modeling accessories at E-day. And with that I would conclude the topic of E-day 2023 for today. See you on the afternoon of Friday, September 22 and on Saturday, September 23 at the Tankodrom (Tank Training Area Museum) in Milovice!
New Releases for September
The new items for September have been on sale since last Friday, so you’ve definitely had the chance to take note of them. Nevertheless, they are understandably covered here. I will limit myself to just a few of them, especially the new Bf 109K-4, which premieres in September in the form of the Limited Edition release dubbed Kurfürst. I probably don’t need to repeat the fact that as opposed to the earlier releases of the F and G versions, that shared detail sprues only and had version specific wing and fuselage components, the K-4 kit has all new sprues across the board. For the K-4, we modified and completely modernized the structure, which we technologically modified according to current standards, and we slightly modified it conceptually as well. So, unlike the older Bf 109G, the K-4 has, for example, transparent position lights or a modified division between the centerplane of the wing and the fuselage, which affects the execution of details in this area. The wheel wells also changed, which, admittedly, would have happened in any case, since these were modified on the real thing as well. Modified are the exhausts, which can be glued from the outside to the already assembled fuselage. Here I also have to apologize for an error in the instruction manual, where the old-fashioned gluing of the exhausts is from the inside. Hell, habits can run deep, and my colleagues somehow missed this. The center plane itself will probably be a controversial issue, because we have it completely different than how it is depicted on all known drawings. The problem with this lot is the lack of documentation. The parts layout of this area for the BF 109K-4 is wrong, someone once having made it easy on themselves by leaving the Bf 109F centreplane intact. Drawings were later based on this with various modifications according to the partial knowledge of the changes that were gradually made during development of the Bf 109G. The problem is that there isn’t a good quality photo of this area for confirmation. Until now, anyway, and thanks to Tomáš Poruba (JaPo) we gained access to a photo depicting this detail and adjusted our centreplane accordingly. Unfortunately, in keeping with our agreement with Mr. Poruba, we are not allowed to publish that photo. I understand that it sounds like a gimmick and a rant to defend something that would otherwise be hard to defend, but it really is how this all developed. That photo will appear in some new JaPo book eventually, maybe in the upcoming book on the Bf 109G. So hang in there, you’ll be able to check out our work with the aid of this reference at some point in the future. And I, on the other hand, will endure all the criticisms and claims until then and look forward to the satisfaction that will come one day. I hope I live long enough to see it.
The engine cowl and some other features of the fuselage have been also redesigned. The interior is also new, which counts for the wells, since these were all features that were modified on the actual aircraft. Otherwise, the design is based on the original BF 109G design, and most of the design solutions have been retained in principle. This is where the 48th scale Bf 109K-4 differs from the new 72nd Bf 109F and G. These are actually much newer designs that are at the same time significantly redesigned and incorporate new innovations. That’s why it took us so long to release these kits. Fans of 72nd scale can compare the differences between the two builds in real time, as we are also releasing a 72nd scale ProfiPACK Bf 109F-2 in September.
The collaboration with JaPo also had a significant impact in the nine color schemes offered in the kit. Even they do not conform fully to the generally accepted and published interpretations of selected machines. Although we used them when choosing options for the kit, we used the latest findings from Mr. Poruba’s research during our own interpretations. You may argue that color interpretations cannot be categorically derived from black and white and even color photographs, but this is generally true across the board. During our own reconstructions, we took into account the newly discovered regulations, information on the production sites of individual aircraft parts and, last but not least, information on paint production, the raw material situation at the time, methods of application, differences between individual paint manufacturers and individual batches of paint and their use in practice by airframe parts manufacturers. From this, for example, the coloring of the wings of all K-4s in RLM 74/75/76 follows, while for the fuselages, produced at different facilities, were either RLM 74/75 or 81/82, depending on the production block. The tail surfaces were then usually RLM 74/75, but from newer paint production lots that were darker than the shades of the older production lots of these colors. For details, see the introductory text in the kit instructions or the historical article in this issue of our newsletter, which is actually more or less the same text.
Along with the release of the Bf 109K-4, several accessory sets for this kit are premiering in September. In addition to the T-Face cockpit mask and the Space set, there are four sets in the Brassin range, to include propellers, wheels, exhausts and, perhaps most importantly, the DB 605D engine. Unlike the other three, this set is not 3D printed, but cast. But in this case, it certainly doesn’t detract from its quality, in my opinion, and receives my seal of approval. As for accessories, I will also mention the 3D printed cockpit in the Brassin line for the Bf 109F in 1:72nd scale for the aforementioned Bf 109F-2 kit in the ProfiPACK range.
In the Weekend series, I would like to highlight the 48th scale Bristol Fighter kit, which brings this type back to our range after a long absence. I think it is suitably complemented by another purely military item, the Spitfire Mk.Vc, also released as a Weekend kit. Among other things, it has, in my opinion, one of the most impressive box arts we've ever put to a kit. The final thing I would like to mention here is the re-release as a Weekend kit the MiG-21bis in 1:48 and the return of the 48th scale ProfiPACK Bf 110F to our catalog. It makes its triumphant in the original box and at the original price, and actually, in this case, it's at an even better price than it was back in the good ol’ pre-Covid days.
I will leave you to study the new releases for yourself, and you can decide what grabs your own personal attention.
Last Friday, we launched a new promotion to kick off the new September releases on our E-shop. We have created two packages for the four new kits, developing the trade name “Bundle”. Each Bundle consists of a kit plus an accessory. For the Kurfürst, which is the Bf 109K-4, it is the Brassin Bundle, containing the kit plus the DB 605D Brassin engine, and the Overtrees Bundle, consisting of the kit plus its corresponding Overtrees. The other Bundles are with masks, which we created for the Spitfire Mk.Vc and the MiG-21bis 48th scale Weekends. This is partly in response to a recent discussion about the need and desire of modelers to add masks to our Weekend releases. This is not as easy as the request makes it sound, but these Bundles at least make it happen. These two kits also offer an Overtrees Bundle, and the foursome is rounded out by the Profipack Bf 109F-2, whose two packages are the Overtrees Bundle and the Brassin Bundle, the latter with a 3D printed cockpit. Of course, all packages have a discounted price. After a week of testing this sales model, it looks like there is decent, at times even enthusiastic customer interest, which means we will continue with the concept in the coming months. The promotion will always be related to new products currently being launched and will have an expiration date, usually by the next month’s releases, but it will be different in September because of E-day. The offers will end with the start of pre-orders on E-day, which will be September 7. I don’t know yet how it will be with the October Bundles, but we will let you know in time.
In today’s issue, we focus on the Bf 109K-4 with a historical-slash-technical article, on which I collaborated with Honza Bobek, and which is essentially identical to the introductory text in the kit instructions. The Bf 109K-4 is also the subject of the build article by Jan Baranec, and the diagram of changes to the Bf 109K-4 compared to the Bf 109G-10. There’s also a follow-up on the situation in the air war over Ukraine by Mira Barič, and an article on one of the Zeros from the Weekend A6M3 Model 32 kit in 48th scale, released in August, written by Ryan Toews. Boxart Stories are devoted to the events on the box images of the ProfiPACK Bf 109F-2 in 1:72nd, the Weekend Bristol Fighter 1:48th, and also Weekend Spitfire Mk.Vc , also in 1:48th.
And that’s all from me for today. I look forward to seeing you at E-day in Milovice, if possible, on the evening of Friday, September 22. The main guest of the evening will be Slávek Goldemund and we will be reminiscing about the good ol’ Kovozávod Prostějov company from Prostějov, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be a blast!