The latest Takara Aircraft - Series 2, Wings of the Luftwaffe - are superb little models but come in kit form requiring assembly. Here are tips for assembly of the Bf109s.
General. The models are superbly detailed and come fully prepainted with all insignia added. Painting includes the inner wheel panels on the wings, the wheels, aerials, and picking out of the canopy frames. Delicate staining / weathering has also been added for realism and to bring out the detail, particularly on the plain sky blue underside. As all insignia have been added during the painting process, no decals are required in order to complete the kits, although for added realism tail swastika decals could be added. The models can be assembled with the undercarriage raised or lowered, and can also be fitted to a superb little flying stand that comes with the kit. Full assembly should take approximately 20 minutes.
Tip 1) Air Intake Assembly. This should be your first step in assembly.
Cut out the prepainted engine air intake manifold which attaches to the forward port side fuselage. Place the manifold face down on a soft board such as cork. The underside of a table place-mat is ideal. (Soft cork inhibits small unsecured pieces from ‘skiting’ away if placed under pressure.) Do not cut out the port side fuselage from the sprue, but take the entire sprue and place it over the intake manifold. Line up the rectangular lug on the manifold with the corresponding hole in the fuselage and gently press home. It fits easily. Apply a spot of liquid poly to the surface of the lug on the inside of the fuselage. Voila! Secured in place with no problems.
Tip 2) Propeller Assembly.
If you require a static display, forget the boss and simply glue the propeller shaft to the aircraft nose after the fuselage halves are assembled. Alternatively, if you wish the propeller to spin freely, cut out the inner propeller boss and lay on the cork mat. Cut off any excess sprue. Cut out the propeller and remove any sprue with a sharp knife / fine file. Place the propeller shaft over the boss and push into place. It is a snug fit and no adhesive is required. If you wish the propeller to spin freely, do not push fully home.
Tip 3) Tail Strut Assembly.
Note, this should only be fitted after the fuselage and rear wings have been assembled. The twin struts come attached to a small section of fuselage from above the wheel area. This part is slightly too long. After removing the twin strut assembly from the sprue, cut approximately 0.5mm from the rear end. It will then fit snugly to the fuselage without having to use excessive force and perhaps damage the delicate struts. Use a small spot of liquid poly. Do not try to place the struts into the wings at this time, but leave this piece to set for 10 minutes, then, using a small blunt object such as the end of a paint brush, gently push the struts into the receiving holes on the under wings. DO NOT USE THE POINT OF A KNIFE! The struts all fit perfectly.
The final products are simply superb models and well worth the effort. Personally I would rather assemble these fully pre-painted kits than spend half an hour applying decals.
Enjoy, Mehusla of 1/144 Direct, E-Bay store.