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First Look Review
132
Regia Aeronautica Bf 109s
Messerschmitt Bf 109 In Regia Aeronautica Service
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

One of the things that makes the Bf 109 such a fascinating modelling subject is the sheer variety of camouflage and markings carried by the aircraft during its long career, not least when it served with foreign air forces. Aviation 3-D artist and decal designer Chris Busbridge has produced a new sheet of decals devoted to the Bf 109 in the colours of Italy's Regia Aeronautica.

Designed for the Hasegawa 1:32 kits (and Revell reboxings), the sheet includes national insignia and unit markings for no less than 14 aircraft, with a mix of Bf 109Fs and 'Gs , plus one set of stencils.

The schemes provided are:

● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. unknown, 70 ͣ Squadriglia, 23 ͦ Gruppo, 23 ͦ Stormo, Cerveteri, August 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. 18421, 363 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. 18023, 153 ͣ Squadriglia, 3 ͦ Gruppo, Comiso, June 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. unknown, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. 18391, 364 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. 18325, 364 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6/Trop, W.Nr. 18096, 154 ͣ Squadriglia, 3 ͦ Gruppo, Comiso, June 1943
● Bf 109G-6, W.Nr. 18458, 155 ͣ Squadriglia, 3 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Comiso, July 1943
● Bf 109F-4, 363 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo, Sciacca, June/July 1943
● Bf 109F-4, 363 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo, Sciacca, June/July 1943 - an alternative to the previous scheme
● Bf 109G-6/R6, W.Nr. 19426, 364 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, June 1943
● Bf 109G-6/R6, W.Nr. 19566, 365 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-6, W.Nr. 18271, 365 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943
● Bf 109G-2/R6, W.Nr. 10825, 365 ͣ Squadriglia, 150 ͦ Gruppo Autonomo, Sciacca, July 1943

All the aircraft featured still carried their original Luftwaffe temperate or desert camouflage to some extent of other, but the manner in which this was overpainted by the Italians varied greatly and the result in many cases is really quite spectacular - these '109s will make an eye-catching change among the ranks of models of German machines.

The decals themselves are beautifully printed by Fantasy Printshop. The items are thin and glossy with perfect registration and crystal clear carrier film. Several of the aircraft feature spinner spirals (interestingly, one is "reversed" i.e. against the rotation of the propeller) but these aren't provided as decals due to lack of space on the sheet.

Each camouflage scheme is illustrated with a colour profile and quite a detailed caption describing the likely colours. No topside views were included with the sample decals, but Chris informs me that he has now added an extra page to the instructions showing the placement of wing markings.

Chris Budbridge decals can be purchased directly via his website Superareo.

Conclusion
This is an excellent set of decals for anyone wanting to model the Bf 109 in Regia Aeronautica service and deserves to be a great success. A follow up sheet is planned for ANR colour schemes. At the moment the decals are available in 1:32 only, and Chris will monitor sales before deciding whether to release them in 1:48 and 1:72 as well. That's one more reason to really hope the sheet proves popular, because modellers in smaller scales are missing out on a real treat! Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent quality decals for a wide variety of interesting colour schemes.
Lows:
Verdict: Chris Busbridge's Regia Aeronautica Bf 109 decals are excellent and should prove deservedly popular with both '109 and Italian aviation modellers alike.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: CB32002
  Suggested Retail: 10.95
  PUBLISHED: May 06, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Italy
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.59%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.00%

Our Thanks to Chris Busbridge Decals!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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