Strip stock for bracing the framework was
cut from the kit’s sheet wood with a balsa
The offset hinge point and a little extra
sheeting on the fin hide the rudder gap.
Now that the tail group is shaped and hinged,
it can be set aside until it is time for covering.
There are a few parts that need preassembly
before the real fuselage construction can begin.
Tail group outlines were created by laminating
softened balsa strips around a foam-board form.
Several years ago, I designed a park
flyer model of the early Bf 109 with a
30-inch wingspan. The design was in
the Free Flight style—
stick-and-tissue-type construction with lightweight
electronics. To keep things simple and
lightweight, this little Messerschmitt
was a belly lander without any landing
This 30-inch 109 flew so well that
I scaled up the design to a 45-inch
wingspan. The enlarged version retains
the same structure, but with some
upgrades. Because the heavier 45-inch
model would be more prone to damage
on a belly landing (that big chin scoop is
dying to eat up some dirt), the wing was
redesigned to include accommodations
for servoless retracts.
The bigger plans are introduced
here as a free download from Model
Aviation’s website. Like the 30-inch Bf
109, the 45-inch version is available as a
short kit with a plastic canopy and front
cowl. The kit includes parts to build the
larger chin scoop of the A through D
The 45-inch plans also include
outlines for the chin and underwing
scoops of the Emil, should the builder
choose to model this variant. For
builders who prefer to cut by hand, the
parts’ outlines are included as a second
sheet to the plans.
The construction of the 45-inch Bf
109 will be the subject of this three-part series. We’ll get through most
of the framework in this article and
move on to the internals in the next
The design of this model and
the techniques used to build it are
very similar to the Miles M. 20 that
was covered in detail in last year’s
“Construction Series.” This series will
continue in the same fashion. I’ll spend
more time on general balsa-building
techniques than the traditional step-by-step build instruction format.
For techniques already discussed
in detail, I’ll refer the reader to a
“Construction Series” article when
appropriate. These articles can be found
on the Model Aviation website.
The tail of the Messerschmitt builds
up exactly the same as the Miles M. 20.
The process begins by soaking 1/16 x 3/16
balsa strips in water overnight. After the
balsa is flexible, the strips are stretched
around a form to create the outlines of
the tail parts.
Complete the lamination by gluing
three layers, one against the other. After
the outlines have completely cured,
they can be removed from the forms.
Although they appear fragile, these
laminations are strong and lightweight.
Assemble the tail parts from the kit
over the plans and then fit the cured
outlines into place. Cut strips of 3/32
balsa for the bracing that goes between
the short kit parts and the laminated
The rudder and elevators are built-up from 3/16 balsa, while the fin and
stabilizer are built from 1/8 balsa.
Sheeting the thinner stock on the fin and
stabilizer with 1/32 balsa will build these
parts up to 3/16. The rudder and elevators
will be left as open structures. This
procedure does a good job of replicating
the construction of the full-scale 109,
which used fabric-covered control
surfaces on an otherwise aluminum-sheeted structure.
For hinging models of this size, I’ve
become a fan of Robart hinge points.
One reason for this is that the hinge
pivot point can be moved back into the
leading edge of the control surface. This
allows a builder to minimize the gap
between the fixed and movable surfaces
in the same way that is typically done on
These processes are explained in more
detail at http://ModelAviation.com/
The fuselage construction begins by
building the left side over the plans. Get
started by preassembling formers F6
through F8, and the two side keels K5
and K6 over the plans.
Now pin the vertical keel parts K1
through K4 to the plans. Join these parts
48 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016