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Eduard 1/72 scale Avia S-199 Bubble Canopy model kit review

Great engineering and fit impress with this Bf 109 of a different feather
Kit:70151 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$26.95
Eduard (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Great surface detail; excellent engineering and fit
Stencils are fuzzy and unreadable
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 133 parts (36 photo-etched metal); decals; masks
With World War II over and a glut of near-obsolete fighters hanging around, several countries hoped to rebuild their air forces using these old warriors. Czechoslovakia was one such nation, and Avia, the state aircraft manufacturer, had produced Bf 109s during the war. Unfortunately, a hangar fire destroyed the Daimler engines earmarked for use on the airframes. However, all was not lost. With a few design changes, Avia grafted the Jumo 211 engine onto the aircraft. The nickname for the resulting S-199, “Mule,” was perhaps a sign that it wasn’t the most successful marriage, but, in a pinch, it sufficed.

Eduard’s 1/72 scale Avia S-199 kit is a beaut! Outstanding surface molding complements the clever engineering. The ProfiPack boxing includes photo-etched metal (PE) details, some in color, and canopy and wheel masks. A handful of the 97 injection-molded plastic parts are marked not for use. Six schemes round out the package, all but one in the enigmatic Czech dark green or grayish green schemes. The one holdout is an interesting, red-nosed Czech police force airframe.

The cockpit includes a bunch of optional plastic and PE parts, such as rudder pedals. A complete set of seat belts is provided. The cockpit is designed to slip into the completed fuselage from underneath. Don’t forget to install the tailwheel before closing the fuselage. But be careful — I broke mine later in the build.

I was impressed to see full wheel-well lining in this scale and even more impressed by the fit. The lower surface of the wing is molded in one piece, and its fit to the fuselage is stellar. Be sure to open the appropriate holes in the wing based on your selected version. The upper wing sections went on with no visible seam. Up to this point, I had used no putty.

The stabilizers fit so cleanly that I could have left them off for painting and avoided some of the masking required to paint the police version. The control surfaces, including thin leading-edge slats, are separate. The flaps and slats are designed to be posed deployed, but the ailerons will need to be modified slightly to pose them deflected. You will need to droop the radiator exit doors to match the flaps, and gentle scribing along the hinge is recommended.

The landing gear features flat PE brake lines that I chose to omit. There are optional tires but no information in the instructions about which to use for the marking options. The landing gear includes substantial molded tabs that align and angle the legs. The fit is so clean that I did not glue them.

A rack and two versions of drop tanks are included, but I did not find pictures of them used on the police aircraft.

Pay attention to the part numbers for the clear parts. Optional canopies are provided, one slightly wider to allow it to be slid back for the open version. Eduard masks are my favorite accessory, and the ones included fit perfectly.

I painted the aircraft with the recommended Mr. Color lacquers before applying the decals. A fuzzy and unreadable (not a big deal in 1/72 scale), yet comprehensive stencil set is included. Be careful when applying the larger decals so as not to fold the large areas of clear film. Adding the exhausts after painting required trimming and sanding to fit.

My Mule took just under 12 hours to complete and showed no signs of stubbornness during the build. If you are tired of “another 109,” try one of these derivatives. They are pleasingly different, and Eduard has done a wonderful job making it a pleasurable build.
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